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Workshops on friendship and interpersonal Relationships: towards healthier and more harmonious connections

Paul, Emma, and Zoé, psychology interns, conducted a three-session intervention with 9th and 10th-grade students on the topics of friendship and interpersonal relationships.

The workshop took place during the student council meeting over three sessions of about an hour each, over three weeks.

The first workshop aimed to define friendship with the students: they started by identifying key words (both positive and negative) that made them think of friendship.

These were concepts they wanted to find or, conversely, wanted to avoid in their friendships. They then classified these concepts into two categories, "Green flags" and "Red flags," to determine, as a class group, what they sought in friends and what they did not want, based on their experiences. They finished the session with a debate about their (sometimes slightly different) definitions of friendship.

The second workshop was a role-playing exercise on the theory of mind. This concept refers to the ability to infer emotions, thoughts, and intentions of others, which helps explain their behavior—the goal being to show them that everyone has a theory of mind and can use it to navigate their interpersonal relationships. The class was divided into two groups, each receiving a scenario depicting a misunderstanding between two friends. Each group had the perspective of one of the friends with details specific to each viewpoint. Thus, each group had information about the situation that the other group did not. They were then mixed together to answer questions and debate to determine which of the two friends was at fault, without knowing that they did not all have the same information. As the students gradually realized they did not have the same information, they were able to share their knowledge. They were then asked to think of solutions to resolve the conflict between the two friends. Finally, the class was reunited to discuss their feelings together, and the psychology interns provided an explanation of the theory of mind.

The third and final workshop focused on communication, especially in conflict situations. A theoretical part on non-violent communication methods was first presented by Emma, Paul, and Zoé, before offering students scenarios in which characters had to communicate about a disagreement. The students were asked to propose ways to communicate non-violently.

The goal of this intervention was to allow students to reflect on their own interpersonal relationships while providing them with tools to resolve conflicts that can be challenging at their age.

Bibliography :

Chaltout, L., Audet, J., Brosseau, C., Couture, N., Goulet, J., Gravel, N., Hardel, M., Ngo, T.-L., Reid, C. D., & Wentser-Leporé, E. (2014). L’affirmation de soi.

Thibault, M., Bax-D’Auteuil, C., Doyon, L.-L., Duhamel, C., Landreville, M., & Meilleur, R. (2012). L’affirmation de soi.


Wellman, H. M. (1992). The child's theory of mind. The MIT Press.


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