There are various different forms of therapy that teens with mental health issues can benefit from within a adolescent treatment program, one of which is group therapy. Group therapy for teens with mental health issues is particularly beneficial because adolescents often value the opinions of their peers more than anyone else. This is especially true since people tend to establish their identity and views on life as a result of the peer interactions and experiences that they have during adolescence.
What is Group Therapy?
One can define group therapy as counseling that occurs in a group setting. This group setting usually comprises of one therapist and multiple therapy patients with similar issues.
Because the patients in a group therapy session typically suffer from similar issues, they lean on one another for support and understanding while simultaneously receiving care. This is ideal for teen group therapy patients who deeply value the opinions of their peers.
There are two major forms of group therapy: process-oriented group therapy and psychoeducational group therapy. Process-oriented forms of group therapy help therapy patients identify the thoughts and emotions that they’re experiencing as a result of the conversations and interpersonal interactions that are occurring within the group. As a result, process-oriented group therapy focuses on the group experience.
The therapist in a process-oriented group therapy session acts more as a facilitator rather than an instructor. By acting as facilitators rather than instructors, process-oriented group therapists help the focus to remain on patient interpersonal interactions. This, in turn, helps process-oriented group therapy patients build on their social and communication skills.
Psychoeducational group therapy focuses on providing its patients with information, healthy coping strategies, and new skills. As a result, psychoeducational group therapists act as instructors who lead the therapy sessions with set goals in mind.
There are two main types of process-oriented group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Both of these forms of process-oriented group therapy are useful for treating teens with mental health issues.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals identify their negative thoughts and emotions and change them into positive ones. The end goal of CBT is to exhibit more positive behaviors.
There are different forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy. For example, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a common, more specific form of CBT. DBT helps therapy patients accept their negative thoughts and emotions so that they don’t have the power to make them exhibit negative behaviors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of process-oriented group therapy for teens with mental health issues because it focuses on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of the teen therapy patients rather than focusing on providing them with information and teaching them new skills.
Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships and interactions between group therapy patients. This helps interpersonal group therapy patients build on their social and communication skills. Because interpersonal group therapy for teens focuses on the relationships and interactions between the teen patients, it’s considered a process-oriented form of group therapy.
The two main types of psychoeducational group therapy for teens with mental health issues are skill development therapy and experiential therapy.
Skill development group therapy for teens with mental health issues focuses on teaching teens healthy coping strategies. That way, when something triggers one of the teen’s anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue, he or she can cope in a healthy manner and continue enjoying life. Because skill development therapy teaches patients new skills and coping strategies, especially tailored for those undergoing anxiety treatment and depression treatment in Idaho, it’s considered a psychoeducational form of group therapy.
Experiential therapy teaches patients how to use therapeutic tools and activities to help them cope when they experience triggers of past trauma. The tools and activities that patients use in experiential therapy are typically expressive and physical.
For example, common types of experiential therapy include creating art through painting or drawing, caring for animals such as horses, cooking or baking, and playing sports. Experiential therapy is a form of psychoeducational group therapy because it actively teaches its patients new skills.
10 Benefits of Group Therapy for Teens
There are many benefits of group therapy for teens. Some of the top ones are described below.
1. Builds Communication and Social Skills
Because process-oriented forms of group therapy focus on interpersonal conversations and interactions between therapy patients, it helps the therapy patients build on their communication and social skills. This is great for teen mental health patients who are in the stage of life where such skills need to be built.
2. Creates a Peer Support System
Group therapy for teens forces its patients to be vulnerable and express themselves in front of their peers. As a result, teen group therapy patients build a supportive bond with one another.
This peer support system gives teens the encouragement and emotional assistance that they need to overcome their mental health issues. The peer support system that teens gain while in teen group therapy also helps them establish a healthy self-identity. This is because teens value the opinions of their peers so much.
3. Establishes Accountability
Another benefit of group therapy for teens is that it forces its teen patients to be accountable for the improvement of their mental health. This is because teen group therapy makes its patients talk about the coping strategies that they’ve implemented and the progress that they’ve made in front of their peers, whose opinions they value. Because teen group therapy patients must discuss their progress in front of their peers, it also opens them up to being called out if they aren’t putting in the work that they should be to improve their mental health.
4. Creates a Safe Space
While teen group therapy opens teens up to being called out if they aren’t putting in the work to improve their mental health, it still acts as a safe place. This is because group therapy is a no-judgment zone. Also, group therapy patients with similar issues tend to easily empathize with one another.
5. Helps Teach Teens Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Both process-oriented and psychoeducational forms of teen group therapy help its patients learn how to better cope with mental health triggers. This is especially true for psychoeducational forms of teen group therapy.
6. Helps Teens Establish Positive Thoughts and Emotions
Cognitive-behavioral group therapy, in particular, helps teens more easily change their negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones. This is because teen group therapy patients get to confide in one another and help teach each other practical ways to make their negative thoughts and emotions more positive.
7. Gives Teens the Opportunity to Help Others
One major benefit of group therapy for teens is that all of the teen therapy patients have one another to lean on for support. Furthermore, teen group therapy patients can give one another advice and learn from each other’s past mistakes. Helping others with their mental health issues can even help teens gain some revelations about how to solve their own issues.
Helping other teens with their mental health issues can also help teen group therapy patients think outside of themselves. This, in turn, can help put each teen group therapy patient’s own issues into perspective.
8. Teaches Teens New Skills
Through psychoeducational forms of group therapy, teen group therapy patients can develop new skills and coping strategies. This, in turn, can help prepare teen group therapy patients for adulthood. Through some psychoeducational forms of group therapy, such as experiential therapy, teen group therapy patients can even discover new talents that may help them figure out what type of careers they want to have in the future.
9. Builds Self-Esteem
Because group therapy for teens provides its patients with bonding friendships and new skills and coping mechanisms, many teen group therapy patients leave each group therapy session with higher self-esteem. This is extremely beneficial as low self-esteem is often part of the reason teens develop mental health issues in the first place.
10. Provides Freedom from Loneliness
In a time when technology has taken over and in-person interactions are less common, many individuals suffer from loneliness. The current loneliness epidemic is particularly harmful to teens who depend on social interactions with their peers to build their self-esteem and identity.
In fact, part of the reason many teens today suffer from mental health issues is because they’re lonely. That’s why group therapy for teens with mental health issues is so effective. Not only does group therapy help teach teens coping mechanisms that can help them overcome their mental health issues, but it also helps provide teens with the peer social interactions that they need to avoid loneliness and build on their self-esteem and identity.
Receive Group Therapy for Teens at Innercept
Parents who feel that their teens could benefit from teen group therapy should look into enrolling their teenage children into one of our mental health treatment programs here at Innercept, including our young adults mental health program. Innercept is a mental health treatment center and boarding school for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12-28 that struggle with mental health issues.
Here at Innercept, we use evidence-based scientific modalities and mental health treatment approaches to methodically build on the strengths of each of our patients. That way, not only do our teen and young adult patients leave our programs with better mental health, but also improved life skills.
Our exceptional set of credentials here at Innercept, along with our wide range of clinical resources, has made us one of the best residential mental health centers for adolescents and young adults in the world. To learn more about Innercept, our mental health treatment programs, and whether or not we are the right fit for you or your teen, contact us today.