What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy has become a well-recognized practice within the counseling community that provides a safe and supportive environment for participants to vocalize their feelings and emotions. In a group therapy environment, a mental health professional or therapist with work with a small group of adolescents who are all struggling with similar issues. For example, one group may focus on eating disorders, while another may be for suicide attempt survivors.
Group sessions are directed by the facilitator, but much of the healing and progress for the individuals come from the group dynamic. Teens who might be reluctant to share or even defiant in individual sessions with an adult, will often open up and share with peers. Teens realize they are not alone in their emotions and struggles. Often they have the opportunity to develop a more global understanding of their situation, thus shifting them away from a self-focused world view.
What are the Benefits of Group Therapy?
- Group therapy provides a structured and safe place for kids and teens to experience positive social interactions with their peers. These relationships often help teens develop supportive bonds with peers.
- Most teens feel misunderstood and isolated that no one else understands what they are going through. Group therapy exposes them to the struggles of others who are dealing with some of the same issues. This can help them feel understood and validated.
- Even without struggles like mental illnesses or substance abuse, many teens have difficulty expressing the emotions and feelings they are dealing with. Group therapy gives them a safe place to explore and develop communication skills with their peers.
- The social interactions within group therapy provide a setting for children or teens to develop missing social skills. They can see appropriate behaviors modeled by the therapist and even other group members. Correct and incorrect responses to behavior can all be learning lessons.
- Therapists have consistently seen an increase of self-esteem and self-worth amongst the participants in group therapy sessions. When teens release they can help other who are struggling like they are, it is powerful and transformative.
- Developing coping skills is an important part of the recovery process, and within the group therapy environment, teens find a safe place to practice their new found skills. The peer feedback in a supportive group setting can reinforce the skills and help your teen develop confidence about implementing the techniques in their daily lives.
What does Group Therapy Help With?
Different groups tend to have different focuses. Some are more educational in nature, seeking to instill a better understanding of the participants’ diagnosis or teach healthier coping techniques. Other groups seek to provide a more therapeutics environment that can bring healing and hope.
Areas that group therapy can help:
If you are interested in more information about our group and individual therapy techniques or offerings, we are happy to talk with you. We can be reached at 907-789-4733.