If an adolescent requires therapy, regardless of the reason, you should inquire as to whether or not group therapy would be suitable for the individual adolescent. Group therapy is highly effective, and this is especially true for adolescents, for a variety of reasons.
Why Adolescent Group Therapy is So Effective
This type of therapy for adolescents seems to work so well simply because adolescents are so incredibly group oriented. They do everything in groups from the time that they are very small. Children have always learned from each other. In fact, this is the best way that they seem to learn – whether that the information that they learn is good or bad. Another reason that group therapy works so well for adolescents is that they are more likely to trust and rely on each other than they are to trust or rely on adults.
Different Levels of Adolescent Group Therapy
Currently, there are four different levels that are considered for adolescent group therapy. The four different types of groups are prevention groups, specific problem groups, adjustment groups, and indirect counseling groups. Naturally, it is up to the therapist to determine which type of group the adolescent needs. For example, if the adolescent suffers from depression, he or she would need therapy through a specific problem group. If the adolescent has had a traumatic event in his or her life, he or she would require an adjustment group.
Problems Associated with Adolescent Group Therapy
Group therapy does have its share of problems – especially with adolescents. Although adolescents are very group oriented, it doesn’t mean that they do not have problems with each other in a group setting. This is true despite the fact that they are more trusting of each other. Some adolescents will become so angry with others that they may threaten to stop participating in the group. This can be detrimental to the individual’s therapy. The adult therapist must be able to contend with this prospect when it arises.
Another issue that often occurs with this type of group therapy setting is that teenagers tend to want to impress each other, and of course they want to avoid any type of embarrassment, which may prevent them from openly discussing their true feelings or desires in the group setting. Again, the therapist must intervene appropriately so that this does not happen, and the participants are able to essentially show their true colors without fear of judgment by the rest of the group.