Group therapy is an especially effective mode of therapy for teenagers. Typically, therapy is thought of through one very specific, often clinical lens—one in which the therapist and patient consult in a comfortable room to walk through troubles and fears. While this is surely one style of therapy and certainly a time-tested approach, group therapy breaks that mold by introducing an entire body of peers to act not only as a sort of class but as a support system and even as mutual instructors.
Group therapy activities are essential to group therapy. Through activities, rather than pure, undirected dialogue, each participant is able to understand one another through team-oriented goals, light competition, and above all, fun. Consequently, this sort of practice improves the dialogue aspect of therapy even more, giving an added layer of peer understanding that may have otherwise been absent. Group therapy is just one of the various therapy practices at Imagine Spokane. Intensive outpatient care, as well as a partial hospitalization program, allow for various treatment approaches for each individual and their needs.
What Are the Benefits of Mental Health Group Therapy?
Mental health is often perceived as an internal struggle, and to an extent, that’s true. Because one’s mental state is only truly visible to themself, it can be stifling to bring those struggles to light with friends, therapists, and even trusted family members. If mental health is so deeply personal, then group therapy, even conceptually, seems counterintuitive. If sharing mental wellness with family is a challenge for so many, why would a group of peers be any easier to open up to?
The answer lies in both commonality and community. What participants in group therapy begin to realize is that their peers, strangers though they may be, usually have the same or similar difficulties in life. It becomes clear that others have hold-ups, use coping mechanisms, or navigate problems in ways that are comparable or completely different from their own. That’s where the community element comes in—following the therapist in guided conversation allows patients to discuss what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how to achieve their common goal.
Fun Therapy Group Activities for Teens
Teenagers see an especially high level of success with group therapy. Demographically speaking, teens are much more likely to gel with their peers than adults. However, some psychiatric disorders make it hard to initiate conversation. For that reason, the leading therapist(s) offer group therapy activities to kick-start social interaction naturally. Some of the most common group activities are:
Often the first group therapy activity to occur, icebreakers encourage those meeting for the first time to introduce themselves, laying the groundwork for the development to follow.
2. Hot Potato
Pass an object (ball, bean bag, etc.) around before the group leader calls time. Introducing an element of randomness to who speaks about the discussion topic at hand means giving motivation to patients who may otherwise opt to remain uninvolved.
3. Island Essentials
Participants list the four things they’d choose to bring on a deserted island—and they have to fit in a travel-size bag. Learning each others’ priorities, even in a hypothetical situation, grants everyone a look into how each person approaches a problem.
4. Two Truths, One Lie
Each participant states two truths about themselves, as well as one lie. The goal for the others is to guess which of the three statements is false. This encourages teens to examine past the trivia element and begin to get an idea of the personality, achievements, or deep-seated phobias of each of their peers.
5. Goal Visualization
While less of a game than the previous four, setting a goal with somebody in either a similar headspace or situation to themself means a few things: a sense of accountability that the goal should be achieved, a roadmap for how to get there, and the sense that if someone they know can do it, so can your teen.
Explore Group Therapy at Imagine Spokane
Group therapy activities are the perfect starting point for teens to engage with their peers about what would normally be touchy subjects. How much or little they choose to divulge is largely up to them, and hearing the experience of others can motivate or change the way your teen approaches their own mental health. To find out more about what group therapy can do for your teen, contact the specialists at Imagine Spokane today, either by calling 509.870.3810 or by using our secure online form.