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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. 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. There is an array of benefits of group therapy for children:

  • Enhances social skills: Group therapy sessions provide an emotionally safe and structured environment, allowing young people to have positive social interactions with peers that create supportive bonds, fostering a 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 children increase their capacity for self-expression and emotional assertiveness, as this process encourages kids 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 why young people are oftentimes more open to participating in 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. 

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. Group therapy can help young people acquire a new way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. 

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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