Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.
Posted: September 24, 2020 by Alicia Turgesen
Parenting a teenager comes with its challenges on a good day; knowing how to support your teen during a pandemic is an entirely different feat. In this stage of human development, teens are exploring and learning who they are, navigating the unfamiliar, and expressing their feelings and ideas in new ways. They’re seeking more autonomy from their families and turning toward social relationships for support. However, over the past few months, teens have been pulled away from school, their friends, and other social engagements. These young people are often feeling isolated and likely struggling to cope.
Group therapy has proven to be beneficial for people among all age groups and demographics. A study in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology showed that the average adolescent engaging in group therapy was better off than 73% of those who did not. Virtual group therapy for teens offers a way for them to connect with their peers, process experiences, and gain new perspectives throughout these uncertain times.
Therapeutic groups, especially teen groups, offer unique experiences that might otherwise not be encountered. Some of the major benefits of teen therapy groups are:
Connection & Camaraderie - Teens groups create opportunities for new connections and a sense of camaraderie. This allows teens to feel supported, a part of something bigger than themselves.
Shared experiences - Hearing and sharing experiences can unify teens in a way that no other way experience can. They will join with one another in their shared struggles and challenges.
A sense of belonging - In groups, each member contributes to the overall dynamic, which makes each member of the group feel important and valuable. A sense of belonging is felt and teens become motivated to “show up” and support their peers as well.
Increased confidence - When teenagers share their experiences with one another their confidence is increased dramatically. They are more likely to speak up in class and express themselves to both peers and adults.
New perspectives - By listening to their peers share their experiences, teens gain new perspectives. Their ability to mindfully listen will allow them to build empathy and enhance their interpersonal skills.
By listening to their peers share their experiences, teens gain new perspectives. Their ability to mindfully listen will allow them to build empathy and enhance their interpersonal skills.
Life does not come with a handbook with a chapter titled Parenting During a Pandemic, so instead, we’re guided by what works. Teenagers need social connection and as we all learn to maneuver through these uncertain times, parents and teenagers can look to virtual group therapy as an avenue for social connection.