Application of Theory to Practice - The Use of Trivia in Counseling  

    The application of trivia to counseling to children in a group is an ideal method for applying cognitive and humanistic theories into practice. Trivia is a tool to get people thinking about the unit that you are meeting for. Trivia is an enabling tool and allows creative thinking to take place.


    Trivia is a form of question and answer session. Trivia can be played with a pen and paper, a computer , NTN , or by just asking out load. The subject matter could be directly related to the subject of the counseling session or indirectly related through the use of such items as acronyms, synonyms, or palindromes. A trivia session includes a series of questions to which the student needs to answer. Answers can consist of multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, or matching. The session can be done with individual counseling or in a group session. In a group session, you split the members into smaller groups of two or three players each and have them compete against each other. After the correct answers are given, the counselor can either ask the students how they think the trivia questions were related to the unit or else they can link the answers to the unit themselves.


    Individual counseling and trivia are related because both use questions asked by the counselor to the student. The student provides answers, but the counselor provides answers and links the questions to the relevant problems the students are facing. Group counseling and trivia have a slightly different relationship. This is due to the fact that every participant will produce different reasons as to why they think the questions and answers pertain to the counseling session. Also, group sessions tend to promote more interest in the trivia process because each student is competing against other students.


    There are several ways Trivia can be applied in a counseling session. The first example would be if the counseling unit was based on divorce, you could ask the student the following:

Question Set 1:
1. This couple was married for 10 years.
2. He was a high profile actor and she was an actress.
3. They adopted two children.
4. They both played in Days of Thunder.

Answer 1:
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

Question Set 2:
1. This couple was known for being in the public eye all over the world
2. He left her for another woman.
3. She died in a car accident.

Answer 2:
Princess Diana

    After the answers are given, the counselor can connect the answers by saying "how would feel if everyone knew about your divorce or your parent's divorce?" The counselor could also ask " do these people feel any differently than you do about your parent's divorce?"

    Another example would be if the counseling unit was based on death, the counselor could ask the following questions:

Question Set 1:
1. He was the first president to die in office.
2. He was one of the four president's to die naturally at a young age.
3. He was the ninth president.

Answer 1:
William Henry Harrison

Question Set 2:
1. Teddy Roosevelt became president when he died.
2. He was assassinated while in office at a young age.
3. He was the 25th president.

Answer 2:
William McKinley

Question Set 3:
1. He won seven Wiston Cup Championships.
2. He is called the "Man in Black".
3. He has a son that also races.

Answer 3:
Dale Earnhardt

After the answers are given, the counselor can connect the answers by saying "Does it make a difference that relatives of famous people have to deal with death in the same way you do?" They may also ask "How does it make you feel that other people have died young?"


There are several advantages to using trivia in counseling:
1. Allows for interactive question and answer sessions
2. Adds an element of competition to the question and answer session.
3. Allows for enhanced group discussion.
4. Provides a gaming environment to promote responses.


There are recommendations which must be observed:
1. Ask questions which the students can easily answer to achieve satisfaction.
2. Provide a high level of correlation between the subject matter, the questions, the answer, and post discussion.
3. Use clues or hints to enhance the responses.


However, there are limitations that must be addressed:
1.  If the counselor doesn't apply the questions to the session properly then the sessions will not be productive.
2.  If the students can't answer the questions then they might not be able to relate the answers to the session.


In addition, several cautions must be observed:
1.  Make sure trivia questions are age appropriate.
2.  Keep the group on the session, especially after the high level excitement produced by the questions.


    In conclusion, trivia can be an effective tool for individual and group counseling. The application of this technique will spark significant discussions as the relationship between the subject matter and answers become clear. Trivia bridges the gap between general matters and specific problems. This allows the counselor to lead into the details of the session.


1. National Trivia Network,

2. Useless Knowledge,