How does group therapy benefit my troubled teen?
Group therapy has several advantages, especially for young people. Being with others that are feeling at a loss, possibly withdrawn from their family and friends, can help them realize they’re not alone in their struggles.
From young tweens to teens and even young adults, each suffering from their own emotionally pain, whether it’s feeling socially isolated, bullying, shy, anger and rage issues or substance abuse — all can benefit from group therapy.
Teens participating in group therapy sessions consistently benefit as they grow and develop intellectually and emotionally.
There are several advantages of group therapy, including the opportunity to develop both socialization and communication skills.
It can teach you how to appropriately communicate problems or issues you’re having and learn to accept criticism. You can develop a sense of self-awareness when you’re in a safe place with group members you relate to and who can relate to you about similar issues.
A meta-analysis of 56 studies over a 20-year period, reported in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, reports that group therapy was proven more effective with children and teenagers than other forms of therapy. It reports that the average child or adolescent treated by group treatment was better off than 73 percent of those not.
5 Benefits of Group Therapy for Teens
If you have a therapist locally that offers group therapy for your teenager, that’s fantastic!
One of the great attributes of residential treatment is group therapy. Your teen will realize they are not alone — whether it’s screen addiction, low self-worth, choosing the wrong friends, family conflict, using drugs or drinking, self-medicating, skipping school or other negative behavioral patterns. They will — together as a group, learn coping skills and start healing.
1. Social Confidence
Group sessions give kids a place to incorporate new ways of relating and developing better social behaviors. As they build confidence and develop a knack for speaking in groups, they become more comfortable asserting themselves in social situations in their daily life.
2. Better Communication Skills
Many teenagers have difficulty communicating their emotions and tend to bottle up their feelings. Irksome behaviors such a moodiness, irritability, and defiance are often triggered by unrelieved emotional stress. In group therapy, teens are given the rare opportunity to explore their feelings and fears with other teenagers. As they develop better communication skills, they experience a surge in maturity.
3. Positive Peer Influences
Peers pressure wields epic influence in young people’s lives in both positive and negative ways. When teens are in the company of peers who are also struggling to improve themselves and develop healthier ways of relating, they don’t feel so alone. Each week, group members cheer and celebrate each other’s victories. This positive environment provides teens with the confidence they need to overcome self-doubts and take more social initiative.
4. Improved Relationships
Isolated teens are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression; these teens withdraw from peers in an effort to quell fears and insecurities. Group sessions offer teens a chance to develop better quality peer relationships. Teens trapped in poor relationships at school are given a chance to start again and become part of a peer community off of school grounds that appreciates and values them.
5. Reduced Stress
Teens often feel humiliated by social and academic pressures. Group work gives teens relief from stress by providing them with an opportunity to unburden themselves with peers who understand them. They learn to keep difficulties in perspective and develop a healthy sense of humor.
In conclusion group therapy can help teens realize that they are experiencing similar situations in their lives. It provides teens with the opportunity to share their internal struggles with others and then develop strategies to navigate their feelings. Working with others, teens can discover that their struggles are normal. Teens enjoy both providing and receiving advice from their peers. During group therapy sessions, teens can share their experiences and knowledge with others.
Finally realizing they’re not alone in their feelings and they have ideas that can help others, they are naturally empowered.
Sources: Psychology Today, Sean Grover, LCSW