Having a group of peers you can trust and who provide support is essential to well-being at any age but is particularly true for teens struggling with mental health or substance use disorders. Parents who grapple to get their teens to communicate might find it hard to believe that their child would share their intimate thoughts and feelings in a group setting. However, guided by trained professionals, teen group therapy provides teens with a safe, supportive environment to let their defenses down to process complex emotions and events with peers who have similar experiences and challenges. In fact, nearly one in every three high school students reported experiencing poor mental health in the first half of 2021.
At Beyond Healthcare, teen group therapy is a core component of our integrative mental health treatment for children, teens, and families. We understand that when teens realize that they are not alone and that their feelings and experiences are more common than they think, they feel more connected and empowered, leading to better treatment outcomes. Contact us at 833.698.0453 to learn more about our flexible outpatient mental health programs.
Commonly Used Teen Group Therapy Activities
While every group therapy experience is unique, there are numerous commonly used activities designed to foster communication, understanding, and bonding so that group members know they are in it together and working toward a common goal. Teen group therapy activities can include:
This activity helps the group learn to work together as a team to solve a problem. Group members stand in a circle and connect arms randomly. They then have to work together to untangle themselves.
Two Truths and a Lie
Group members write three facts about themselves, two of which are true and one false. They then read these aloud, and the group has to determine which is a lie. This activity helps group members get to know more about one another in a fun way.
Fear in a Hat
This activity is excellent for groups that struggle to open up. Each member writes down a fear, emotion, or worry anonymously and puts it in a hat. The therapist reads them aloud. Group members learn what others are feeling and see that they may have things in common.
Each group member receives a paper with categories, such as people, places, things, skills, and experiences. They write at least one things they are grateful for in each category. This activity reminds teens of the positive things in life that a particular problem at hand might overshadow.
Group Writing Exercises
Writing or journaling is an excellent way for teens to work through emotions or experiences that are difficult to verbalize. The therapist gives the group a prompt that reflects the group’s goals. Writing exercises can be done within the session or assigned as homework.
Recognizing the Benefits of Group Therapy
The core of group therapy believes that people feel better when recognizing that they are not alone. It is not uncommon for teens to feel unheard, confused, lonely, or misunderstood. Trauma and mental health issues are challenging and compound these feelings. Group therapy helps teens recognize that their feelings are not as unique as they believe and that others are experiencing similar feelings, thoughts, and situations.
Group therapy helps teens build social networks, find support, and create connections outside of the environment in which they may be struggling. Once teens realize they can work through their challenges with peers, they become open to accepting feedback. They learn that sharing their feelings and experiences can benefit others. Each group member feels more connected and empowered, resulting in:
- Improved self-esteem
- Enhanced social and communication skills
- Improved coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills
- Decreased feelings of isolation
- Reduced levels of anxiety and depression
- Increased accountability
- Symptom reduction
When group members see their peers improving and making progress toward their goals, they are inspired to do the same. Another significant benefit of group therapy is that therapists can observe social interactions directly and provide instant feedback.
Contact Beyond Healthcare for Teen Group Therapy
At Beyond Healthcare, our goal is to provide high-quality outpatient mental health treatment for children and teens with mental health issues and behavioral concerns. We provide comprehensive treatment with flexible scheduling to accommodate your family’s busy schedule. Contact our team at 833.698.0453 to learn more about the benefits of teen group therapy and how we can support your family.