Group counseling for adolescents can harness the power of interpersonal dynamics. Through peer feedback and multiple perspectives on an often shared issue, clients can use collective experience toward transformation. With one or two therapists guiding small groups, focused sessions around common challenges like eating disorders, generalized anxiety, or depression help clients feel they’re not alone. For other clients, a group counseling program helps process grief, regulate emotions, and grow social skills.
At HillsidesCares, our group therapy program in Los Angeles facilitates peer support, which bolsters confidence through vulnerability and acceptance. We empower teens to share, listen, and process in a safe common setting.
Benefits of Group Counseling for Teenagers
Research indicates that children and teenagers more readily express themselves to their peers and rely on friendships and group dynamics for support and guidance. While young children may look for parental approval above all else, teenagers look for validation, input, and connection from their peers. Games and hands-on learning elements also factor into group counseling settings, tapping into an adolescent’s tendency toward interactive learning.
Moreover, a teen support group helps adolescents feel a part of something bigger than themselves or their concerns. Group counseling creates perspective in several ways:
- Listening: By hearing others’ stories and absorbing feedback, teenagers learn from their peers. Being heard in a group fosters understanding, insight, and increased tolerance.
- Collective Experience: Sharing in a group counseling setting shows teens that they’re not alone. While each person has their own story, commonalities emerge. Knowing someone else grapples with a similar issue helps with processing and peer relationships. A group counseling program helps its members feel more connected–to themselves and others.
- Relationship-building: Group counseling settings are a safe and supportive space for working on social skills, reaching out to others, and building stronger relationships with peers and adults. Through open and honest communication, adolescents can experiment and grow confidence with new friendships and social interaction. Through developmentally appropriate activities, children and adolescents can appropriately articulate feelings and social feedback that they would have difficulty expressing to adults.
- Socialization: In learning how to offer feedback, opinions, and observations, adolescents learn how to give and receive input. Positive reinforcement acknowledges what works well, while guidance from trained providers transforms what works less well.
- Growing confidence: A peer support group fosters giving and receiving. While some teens feel they have nothing to contribute, they see how their input and presence matter in a group setting. The conversation and shared experience, give and take, help teenagers feel valued and essential.
Therapists and Group Counseling
Group counseling is a rich environment for therapists to observe and assist teenagers, as interpersonal issues arise within the group setting such as Anger, defensiveness, shyness, and distraction…behaviors manifest in a real, organic way. Group therapy turns theoretical into the actual, enabling a therapist to help clients process in real-time. A trained therapist notices non-verbal cues, including shrugs and facial expressions, and helps clients fine-tune problematic communication styles. By asking questions and leaving space for silence, therapists model active listening and cultivating a growth mindset.
As clients gain confidence in group settings, that confidence transfers to the world outside. From raising their hand in class to speaking at graduation, adolescents grow comfortable with expressing themselves, including thoughts and feelings. By learning how behavior impacts others, teens in group therapy learn to make more informed decisions about how they want to be in the world.
Discover Teen Support Groups at HillsidesCares
At HillsidesCares, our group therapy program in Los Angeles serves adolescents up to 18 years of age. Our trained providers facilitate self-discovery, recovery, and growth by welcoming LGBTQ+ teens and kids from all walks of life. Call us today at 323.641.4842 to learn more about how group therapy can help your loved one.