Our postgraduate students had the opportunity to participate in a very powerful experiential learning activity called ‘The Masks’, during which identity-related issues were explored.
The students were asked to design and create a mask for themselves that they would wear during the exercise. Students wear their masks and talk with their fellow-students about their hidden desires, thoughts and feelings. The masks exercise is highly interactive as fellow students can ask questions and discuss points raised by the student wearing the mask. The activity presents participants with the opportunity to go deeper into themselves and identify their personality issues or repressed desires. The activity proves to be quite revealing for many students and fun for everyone.
Nikos Sapkaris, one of the students that participated in the activity said: "It was an interesting experience because using the masks enabled us to express and comment deeper thoughts and feelings. Hiding our faces (literally) encouraged us to reveal insights. Each student projected emotions and Dr Savvidou, helped us create an interesting story which was related to personal 'unfinished business'."
The exercise takes place within the context the ‘Personal and Professional Unit’ of the MSc/MA in Counselling Psychology programmes, led by Dr Suzie Savvidou. Dr Savvidou said: “Students find these exercises very helpful in getting a deeper insight in who they are at personal and professional level, and they also become aware of aspects of themselves that they need to explore further before practicing as counsellors in the future. Also it enables us to move from theory to practice, since students can actually experience what they have been studying in their texts.”
This was just one of the many experiential activities taking place in the Psychology Postgraduate Programmes, as part of the taught part. These activities are used for reflection - an approach used in applied fields to bring trainees in touch with their thinking and feeling patterns and to help them acquire self awareness, which is a critical skill in such fields.