Exploring names


Personal history

Links within the group

Potential benefit

Choice on how to be known

Sharing of family history

Strengthening self-confidence of one’s place as an individual

Resources needed

Name meanings book or access to internet within session

Group/ Individual Book



  1. In turn, ask each person to share something about their name, and explore further with them in terms of: family history of name; were they named after someone; do they have a pet name; is their name a shortened or lengthened version; what do they feel about their name; what is the meaning of their name; are there any famous people who have the same name; are there any song or story characters with the same name
  2. The facilitator can model the above with their own name, to help show the possibilities of exploration
  3. Meanings of names can be shared – these can be sourced on the internet or book. The meaning of group members names can be looked up in the group together
  4. Any information that is shared can be written on that person’s page in the group or individual book if they are in agreement


This can be added to at a later stage if anything more emerges over the following weeks.

Further sessions

Exploration of each person’s name might reveal further themes for continued work: family; famous people; songs; stories.

The client’s response

This work can often lead to self-revelation of family histories; tales of the past; and empowering people to take ownership of their own name.

For example, if someone who has presented as Teddy does so because he has always been called Teddy, but would really rather be called Edward, from that moment in the group, we would call him by his preferred name.

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