Group Therapy for Adolescents

Group Therapy for Adolescents

Parents usually have a hard time getting answers from their teens. Therefore, imagining them expressing their feelings and secrets to people they’ve just met might be difficult. However, this is how group therapy works in adolescents. It gives a supportive and compassionate forum where teenagers let their walls down and start sharing their stories. 

When teens have a group they can trust, they can deal with everyday conflicts, including friends’ dramas and peer pressure. It also gives a safe space to acknowledge and deal with substance abuse. The guidance from a trained therapist helps them process difficult emotions and events to accelerate their healing. Group therapy sessions are an important part of a teen’s treatment plan.

Group Therapy for Adolescents

What You Should Expect in a Group Therapy for Adolescents

An adolescent group therapist has several group therapy models to consider. These models utilize different approaches to yield different results based on the issue the therapist intends to solve. Group therapy sessions can help teens resolve their mental health concerns and any problems with addiction.

Here’s a closer look at the most common five models that a therapist may use:

1. Psychotherapy Group Therapy 

Group psychotherapy help teens understand that the relationship they build between themselves is necessary to regulate different aspects of their lives. It helps them focus on what they can do from their regular meetings and how they can work together to form a cohesive group.

This means that the therapist should create a safe and supportive environment. The therapist will also help the teens practice empathy for the members to communicate freely. The focus of this approach is to help the teens build interpersonal skills to share with others their experiences effectively.

2. Cognitive Therapy Groups 

This type of therapy uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapy styles to help teens struggling with addiction identify new behavior patterns that kept them in addiction. The therapist will work with the group to help individuals control their thought processes and addictive behaviors. This is achieved by giving them the tools to cope with triggers and stressors without resorting to drug and alcohol use.

3. Dynamic Group Therapy 

This group therapy focuses on helping teens struggling with addiction regulate their behavior. Dynamic group therapy provides a supportive environment to examine issues shared within the group. The cohesiveness created between the group helps them overcome their feeling of isolation and shame. They may also establish a safe environment to effectively control their feelings and emotions and achieve abstinence.

4. Relapse Prevention Group Therapy 

Therapists use this approach to help teens that have gone through a drug treatment program transition back to everyday lives. Teens rely heavily on peer support and involvement in the 12-step group, which helps them understand their addiction much better.

5. Interpersonal Process Group Therapy 

Therapists utilize the psychodynamic approach in this type of teen group therapy. Psychodynamics is part of psychology that views a person’s subconscious beliefs and life experiences as the foundation of their problem. It’s different from psychoeducation group therapy which focuses on developing a skill. 

The primary role of the teen therapist is to facilitate individual and group growth. The therapist creates an atmosphere of safety and trust. In addition, they assist the individual increase their awareness and interpersonal themes to promote personal growth. 

The therapist also monitors and examines unhealthy dynamics. At the same time, encouraging the teens to share their reactions towards their role in the process.

Group Therapy for Adolescents

What are the Benefits of Group Therapy for Adolescents?

Group therapy sessions are like a fitness center that improves teenagers’ social skills. It provides interpersonal tools to help them cope with daily life challenges. Here are the main benefits achieved in group therapy for children you should know about:

1. Build Social Confidence

Group sessions give teenagers an excellent platform to incorporate new ways to develop better social behaviors. They build confidence for speaking in groups and making teens more comfortable asserting themselves in different social situations in their daily lives.

2. Improves Communication Skills

Many teenagers have difficulty communicating their emotions. Irksome behavior like irritability, moodiness, and defiance are triggered by the need to relieve their emotional stress. However, when teenagers engage in group therapy, they’re given a rare opportunity to explore their fears and feelings with other teenagers. They develop better communication that surges to maturity.

Group Therapy for Adolescents
Group Therapy for Adolescents

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Group Therapy for Adolescents

3. Provides Positive Peer Influences

Peer pressure influences young people positively and negatively. However, they develop healthier ways of relating when they are in the company of people going through similar struggles. Many group therapies for teens hold small celebrations or cheers for their weekly victories. This creates a positive environment to overcome self-doubt and take more social initiatives.

4. Build New Friendships

Teenagers will most likely make new friendships with others with who they share similar experiences. This helps them cope with triggers for their unusual behaviors or addiction better than friends with bad peer influence.

Group Therapy at MCAW - Near Boston

Group therapy can help adolescents deal with abnormal behaviors and mental struggles. Many parents don’t know how to help their teens cope with these behaviors, but teen group therapy can. 

At Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness, we use several therapeutic approaches to help teenagers deal with their struggles. If your teen is struggling with mental health disorders, contact us today to learn more about our therapies. Our team can answer any questions about our day treatment and intensive outpatient program for adolescents. 

Clinically Reviewed by:

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Melanie Carbonneau is the Clinical Director at Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness and is a licensed counselor and certified music therapist with a Ph.D. from Lesley University. She leads MCAW with a focus on holistic care, emphasizing the importance of family and community involvement in the healing process.