Who doesn’t love solving a mystery – especially when the probing questions lead to hysterical fun?! Psychiatrist is a quick-to-organize game that will have the whole group laughing within seconds while giving everyone a chance to unwind, get talking, and bond. Psychiatrist is a non-competitive game, which makes it an awesome choice for mixed-aged groups.
The goal of the game is for one player each round – The Psychiatrist – to diagnosis the secret symptom being displayed by every member of the group (the Patients). We have a list of symptoms below for you to choose from – or you can make up your own!
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The core gameplay of Psychiatrist pits a single player (The Psychiatrist) against the rest of the group (The Patients). In this game, The Patients are given instructions ahead of time by the Game Leader (which will likely be you) on how to act with secret symptoms, which is the mystery The Psychatrist has to solve in order to win the round for themselves. The game is played in rounds, which can continue for as long as time permits.
Before game begins, choose a Game Leader, who will administer and referee the game. The Game Leader may participate in the game after providing instructions between rounds.
Psychiatrist Game Rules and Instructions (Read Aloud To Group By Game Leader)
We’re now going to play a game called “Psychiatrist!” This game is played in rounds, and each round pits one player, known as “The Psychiatrist” against everyone else, who are known as “The Patients.” To begin gameplay, we will first select a person to be the Psychiatrist in Round 1. Once selected, the Psychiatrist leaves the room so they cannot hear or see the Patients. Then the Game Leader instructions the Patients to all display a unique symptom, which is what the Psychiatrist will have to diagnose. For example, the Patients might be instructed to all pretend like there is something smelly in the room, or laugh hysterically when looked in the eye. All Patients will display the same symptom for the entire round. The Patients can stand or sit in a circle, line or any formation that allows them to be easily examined by the Psychiatrist. After the Patients have received instruction about their symptoms, the Game Leader invites the Psychiatrist back into the room. Then, the Psychiatrist is allowed to freely question the Patients, asking any questions they believe will be helpful for coming up with a diagnosis. Patients must answer questions truthfully, and if they intentionally mislead the Psychiatrist, the Game Leader should step in to correct the answer (without giving too much away). The round ends when the Psychiatrist comes up with an accurate Diagnosis or gives up. If it becomes clear the Psychiatrist is not going to figure out the Diagnosis, the Game Leader should stop gameplay, ask the Psychiatrist to make one final guess, then reveal the correct Diagnosis. After the round ends, another Psychiatrist is selected and the game continues as long as time permits or each person has had a turn as the Psychiatrist.
- Select a Game Leader who will administer the game (such as yourself).
- Ask everyone to gather in a group. A circle, line, or seating arrangement is fine – as long as the Psychiatrist is able to easily walk to all of the Patients.
- A Psychiatrist is selected to begin the first round using whatever method you prefer to select the starting player.
- The Psychiatrist leaves the room where they cannot hear or see the rest of the group.
- The Game Leader instructs The Patients (the rest of the group) on a secret Symptom which every Patient will display. See our list below for ideas for symptoms.
- Once The Patients have the Symptom in mind, the Psychiatrist is invited back into the room.
- The Psychiatrist questions the Patients freely, seeking to uncover a correct diagnosis.
- The Psychiatrist is allowed to question the Patients as long as the Game Leader sees fit, but there should be a time limit to their questioning, such as 5 minutes, in order to allow everyone to have a turn as the Psychiatrist.
- Game Leader should listen closely to all the questions and answer to make sure the Patients are being accurate in their responses. If a Patient gives a misleading answer, the Game Leader should tell the Psychiatrist to try the same question again with another Patient, without giving too much away.
- The round ends when the Psychiatrist announces the correct diagnosis or comes very close.
- If it becomes obvious the Psychiatrist is not going to figure out the diagnosis, the Game Leader should ask the Psychiatrist to make one final guess before revealing the correct Diagnosis.
- After the round ends, another Psychiatrist is selected (using whatever method you prefer to pick) and the game continues as time permits or until everyone has had a turn as the Psychiatrist.
Ideas For Symptoms
The following is a list of ideas of Symptoms for the Psychiatrist to diagnose. Please feel free to come up with your own ideas for Symptoms, or allow the remaining group to decide. Focus on the Symptoms being neither too easy nor too difficult to figure out.
- The Patients blink rapidly when the Psychiatrist says the word “you” to them.
- The Patients only talk using text message lingo (such as lol, brb, idk), etc
- The Patients act like the person directly to their left, mimicking one another.
- The Patients all pretend to be in their first year of college.
- The Patients all pretend to be in Preschool.
- The Patients all pretend to be the youth leader (mentally prepare yourself for this one!)
- The Patients all pretend to answer like a mother would.
- The Patients all pretend to be very cocky/full of themselves.
- The Patients are allergic to the word “and”.
- The Patients act like they haven’t slept in 24 hours.
- The Patients act like they are running late for an appointment.
- The Patients all pretend like they are Instagram/Tik Tok Influencers.