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Yes, group therapy can be effective for youth. 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.” Group therapy began when physician Joseph Hersey Pratt who was treating individuals with tuberculosis, found that conducting group sessions benefited members as they were able to provide emotional support to one another in shared experiences. Pratt began referring to his sessions as group psychotherapy. This form of therapy began to increase in popularity following World War II, when groups of combat veterans were treated together, and similar benefits were observed. 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 percent of those not. Additional 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 Benefits

Group therapy helps young people increase their capacity for self-expression and emotional assertiveness, as this process encourages youth to learn about themselves and the impact their behaviors have on others. Group sessions provide an emotionally safe and structured environment, allowing kids to have positive social interactions with peers that create supportive bonds and sense of comradery within the group. This lends them to be an excellent place to practice implementing various therapeutic tools to help with behavior modification, and the integration of healthy choices, and improving positive decision-making. It is developmentally appropriate for adolescents to be more receptive to feedback from peers rather than adults, which is another reason youth are oftentimes more open to this treatment modality. Group therapy provides a platform for children and adolescents to help others. 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. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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