Mental illness is hypernym that encompasses distinct diagnosable mental health ailments, disorders, diseases, and conditions, that involve changes in emotion, thinking and/ or behavior. The Mayo Clinic explains that mental health disorders in young people are “generally defined as delays or disruptions in developing age-appropriate thinking, behaviors, social skills or regulation of emotions,” which are distressing to teens and disrupt their ability to function well at home, in school or in other social situations. Although each mental disorder has its own distinct characteristics, symptoms, and treatment protocols, it is highly common to include group therapy as a component of one’s treatment plan when working with teenagers diagnosed with mental health conditions. Research shows that group psychotherapy is a useful clinical practice for adolescents with mental health issues (e.g., depression, obesity, social anxiety, panic disorder, chronic pain, substance use disorder, etc.) as well as to help with general issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness, and low self-esteem.
Group therapy, as explained by Verywell Mind, “is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time.” According to meta-analysis of 56 studies over a 20-year period, group therapy was proven more effective with youth than other forms of therapy. It reports that the average child or adolescent treated with group therapy was better off than 73% of those not. There is an array of benefits of group therapy for teens struggling with mental illness, some of which include:
- Enhances social skills: Group therapy sessions provide an emotionally safe and structured environment, allowing teenagers to have positive social interactions with peers that create supportive bonds and sense of comradery within the group.
- Bolsters self-confidence: In a group setting young people often come to realize that they have skills and experience that may be helpful to their peers, and through helping others one’s own self-worth and self-esteem is enhanced.
- Fosters self-awareness: Group therapy helps young people increase their capacity for self-expression and emotional assertiveness, as this process encourages teenagers to learn about themselves and the impact their behaviors have on others.
- Reinforces healthy habits: Group therapy is an excellent place to practice implementing various therapeutic tools to help with behavior modification, the integration of healthy choices, and improving positive decision-making.
- Promotes teamwork and collaborative problem-solving: It is developmentally appropriate for adolescents to be more receptive to feedback from peers rather than adults, which is another reason why teens are oftentimes more open to this treatment modality. Studies have found that high cohesion groups reach their goals more readily, and group members feel more secure about their functions and contributions.
Group therapy can help young people acquire a new way of thinking, feeling, and behaving, which can greatly improve treatment outcome.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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