Overview on group therapy
Group therapy is a highly effective tool, typically employed by mental healthcare professionals, and involves 5 to 15 participants gathering to discuss specific topics, and taking part in activities in order to overcome social and well-being challenges. Group members can develop meaningful relationships and support networks, and imitate model behavior for more positive outlooks, as well as for faster recovery. Group therapy is a great way to facilitate a safe space for clients to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, without fear of shame or judgment. It is an excellent form of psychotherapy where clients can overcome their issues, and therapists can address multiple clients at one time. Many clients incorporate group therapy injunction with individual therapy, in order to receive the best of both worlds. Group therapy allows clients to interact with it normal social settings, which can produce greater insight when it comes to alleviating mental health concerns and issues.
Reasons why group therapy is the best choice for adolescents
There are various reasons why group therapy is the best tool for overcoming mental health concerns, especially in adolescents.
Boost social confidence
Integrating group therapy into client treatment is a great way to boost social confidence. Clients can feel more comfortable interacting with others, speaking and sharing thoughts within a group setting, as well as adapting to the natural flows and ebbs of social behavior. Considering that many clients share similar feelings of low self-esteem and low self-confidence, group therapy is a great place for clients to start from a nonjudgmental space.
Better communication skills
Group members can also benefit from better communication skills. Through group therapy, clients can freely share their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with similar-minded individuals. Oftentimes, clients enter sessions feeling isolated, due to coming from backgrounds where vulnerable feelings are deemed as weak, and thus, are bottled up. Group therapy provides clients with the opportunity to open their hearts, and get things off their chest when it comes to the struggles they are facing.
Group therapy also facilitates positive relationships. Many clients who participate in group therapy may not have supportive networks and communities at home, or in their private lives. Coming together with other members who can relate to their insecurities and mental health challenges, means that clients can work towards improved relationships with others. Group therapy can instill hope that there are good people who are willing to listen and learn from each other, and who can genuinely help with what the client is going through.
Not only this, but group therapy also allows for reduced stress. Many clients bottle up the challenges and internalize their inner feelings, which can weigh heavily. It can be a burden to carry anxieties and personal pressures, with group therapy providing clients with an outlet to vent to others safely and to be received by members who understand where they are coming from. Group therapy is an avenue for clients to reduce their general stress levels, and to help them go about their day with greater confidence and lighter minds.
Group therapy also provides a place for clients to develop positive peer influences. As we're sure you know, humans are social creatures, and whether we realize it or not, the people around us have the ability to shape our behavior, thoughts, and feelings significantly. Some clients come from negative backgrounds where encouragement is nonexistent, and where authority figures don't necessarily instill the greatest values. Group therapy can help create a positive environment, where achievements are celebrated, and each individual is recognized for their personal worth.
Top 11 effective group therapy ideas for adolescents
Thinking of group therapy activities can be difficult when it comes to adolescents, which is why we're here to help. Below, we've collated a list of the best and most engaging group therapy activities to increase communication and facilitate higher treatment outcomes.
A fun idea to encourage physical interaction amongst group members is to play human knot. Essentially all members get in a circle and hold the hand of someone who is not next to them, with the aim to unravel the knot created without breaking contact.
A classic trust exercise, a trust fall involves one member falling backward into the arms of another without looking behind them. This ensures that others are there to support and catch them, which can mean blindly putting your trust in someone whom you may not know.
Silent gratitude mapping
To complete this activity, you will need a whiteboard, or multiple pieces of paper, as well as pens. Divide your group into smaller ones of two to five individuals, and instruct each member to reflect on things in their life that they feel grateful for. Members can write these down, and create a line that flows to each item. This allows members to make connections between the ideas, and visually express their gratitude.
Mindful speaking focuses on the well-being and communication of group members and can help with emotional regulation. Essentially, gather your group members together, and choose a topic for each member to discuss. This can be anything, such as their favorite movie. Inform your group that they need to think of three core aspects while speaking. This includes the ability to slow down and think in the present, analyze before speaking, and reflect on what is said and how it may be received by others. It's a great way to recognize the importance of words, and how our thoughts have immense power.
Fear in a hat
This activity is best used for members who are familiar with each other, and it involves each person writing down their deepest fear. The notes are then gathered in a hat, and each member goes around drawing out one fair each and attempting to identify who wrote it. This is a great trust-building exercise and can help foster a safe and welcoming atmosphere.
Continuing with the theme of trust, minefield works to develop good relationships between group members. To do this activity, you will need to pair off the group members and instruct each peer to blindfold one member and guide them around the room in search of a specific object. To be successful, group members will guide one another without bumping into obstacles and other group members.
The activity helps group members recognize their character and psychological strengths within themselves, as well as within others. There are four parts to this activity and the first involves participants forming groups of five to 10 people. Each participant then shares their success story of something they are proud of in their life. The group members will then provide strength-based feedback to the speaker, and read aloud what strength they identify and why. This allows for everyone to contribute, with the debriefing discussion allowing a reflective process.
Incorporating a creative collage activity is a great way to not only foster activity, but also help group members visually represent their beliefs, values, and experiences. To do this activity, ask your group members to think of their core values, and what images, colors, words, phrases, etcetera, are associated with these core values. Group members then have the creativity to compile the collage from magazines, newspapers, and whatever other resources are available, to promote self-expression. Group members can share their creative colleges before the session finishes.
Two truths and a lie
This activity is ideal for group members who already have some sort of relationship with each other. Group members will have to share two interesting true facts about themselves, in conjunction with one lie, without stating what is fictitious. Others will have to decipher what they believe to be real, and what is fake. To lead this activity, set a 10-minute timer, and prompt all group members to write down the two truths and one lie. Members can then go around in a circle, taking turns and reading out their facts, with other group members guessing what is false.
Group meditation is a great way to focus and sharpen minds, and facilitate a calming and relaxed atmosphere for group members to share their thoughts and experiences. Group meditation is a great way to regulate emotions, destress, and heightened concentration when it comes to well-being.
Creating goals is one of the most important aspects of group therapy. However, it can be quite difficult for many members to do this, especially those who do not have an optimistic outlook. Goal visualization is a great way to think about the individual's desired future and help them create motivating mental imagery that can provide encouragement. This activity typically begins with a visualization script such as thinking about a relationship goal that you would like to achieve within the next year. Take the time to search, and visualize the goals, and what they may look like.
Take home message
Group therapy activities can be difficult to organize, especially when it comes to engaging adolescents. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a multitude of ideas when it comes to fostering fun, positive, and safe group therapy environments for group members to contribute and receive value. Incorporating these activities is a great way to break the ice, and ensure that group members develop connections and encouraging relationships with one another, without compromise. Suitable for adults, teenagers, and children, you can work towards interactive sessions that boost treatment outcomes and valuable experiences.