Updated: Oct 30
Developmentally, group therapy just fits when it comes to teens.
During adolescence, there is a significant focus on peer groups and creating independence separate from the adults in their lives. Additionally, this period of development can be associated with an increase in mental health issues due to the rapid pace of developmental changes. As adolescents encounter physical, psychological, and social changes, some may experience low-self-esteem, struggle in establishing their own sense of identity, confusion, and feelings of isolation from peers. A lot of the times, depressive and anxious symptoms present themselves socially in addition to low mood, irritability, and keeping to oneself. For example, you may notice your adolescent having trouble creating and/or maintaining peer relationships and increasing withdrawal from social opportunities.
Have you tried having a conversation with your teen and whatever you say is always wrong, yet when their friend says it, they listen? While it’s frustrating, it’s totally normal and speaks to the focus and importance they place on peer relationships. It can even happen in individual therapy (another adult), so group therapy can be a great option because it fosters what adolescents are already striving for - independence from adults and a sense of connection with others.
Why is group therapy beneficial for adolescents?
It provides real-time feedback on your adolescent’s social and communication functioning.
It offers an environment of shared experiences in which peers are a valuable source of feedback and support
Peer support and working on improving social skills in group can decrease depressive and anxious symptoms
Cost-effective and convenient
Can be less intimidating
More opportunities to practice emotional regulation skills
Allows for emotions to be normalized and accepted not only by a therapist but by peers
Feel less alone
New support system (method of coping)
Overall, group therapy offers adolescents a developmentally-appropriate, non-judgmental, empathetic, honest, and understanding environment in which positive change can occur.
Sources: Aytona, A. (2019). Group Therapy with Adolescents in an Inpatient Setting: Making It Work [Psy.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology].
O’Brien, C. (2016). The Process Behind Group Therapy: Understanding the Climate of a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Group for Adolescents with Mood Disorders [Psy.D., Palo Alto University].
Connection & Confidence Groups for Children + Teens
Is your child/teen struggling with confidence, self-esteem, or self-worth?
Is your child/teen feeling isolated or struggling to make or keep friends?
Are you noticing your child/teen having difficulties with coping and managing emotions?
McAtee Psychology is currently seeking families who are interested in participating in a group to support children/teens dealing with these types of issues. To learn more click here or go to mcateepsychology.com/connectiongroups
McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for families, children & teens, and couple. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.
McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB
McAtee Psychology SE: 105, 11500 29 St SE, Calgary, AB
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