If you’re a teen, you might struggle with feeling accepted by your friends, peer pressure, drugs, dating, grades, and relationships with your parents. Have you ever thought about joining a group of other teens who are all struggling and talking about the same issues? Imagine being in a circle and everyone else is talking about how they are having a hard time with peer pressure and wanting to belong. Imagine how even those who seem to have it altogether are saying how hard it is and what they’re doing to cope. Imagine what it would be like to hear from someone else, your age, the exact feelings your feeling yourself. Imagine what a relief that could be.
This is what group therapy can do.
What’s great about group therapy is that you get to hear what you may not be able to express yourself. You might be feeling left out and it’s starting to affect your mood and perhaps it’s even leaving you depressed. But then when one of your friends in the circle says, “Gosh, it’s been so hard, and I feel like no matter what I do, I keep feeling like I don’t quite belong at school, like no one really likes who I am.” You might feel like a weight has been lifted. Plus, hearing this might give you the freedom to finally say what has been hard for you to express. And finally being able to say what you couldn’t up until now may be healing for you.
So, what is group therapy?
It’s a unique form of therapy where the benefits come from not only the relationship with the therapist (like in individual therapy), but also from the other participants in the group. Basically, there is one or more therapist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional facilitating the group experience. It’s sort of like having a teacher or parent in the room. But this adult is professionally trained to facilitate therapeutic experiences. Everyone who is participating in the group usually is struggling with the same issue, which is why the group can become a supportive community. Sometimes, group therapy can be for those teens who all have the same mental health diagnosis – like anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder.
Group therapy can be incredibly helpful and healing. In fact, here are some benefits of group therapy:
- connect with others who are struggling with the same issue
- find support in your friendships you might not have had before
- make new friends
- feel a sense of belonging and community
- feel supported and loved
- feel confident and stronger in the ability to face the challenge you’re struggling with
- develop resiliency
These are just a few benefits of group therapy. If you feel like you’d like to participate in group therapy for an issue you’re struggling with, talk to your parents. They can then call a mental health professional who leads a group that fits your situation and circumstances. You can also talk to a school counselor about how to get involved in group therapy. If you’re facing an issue that you feel you need assistance with, talk to an adult you trust regardless.