September 13, 2017
How Can Group Therapy for Girls Benefit Your Adolescent Daughter?
Written by Rachel Eddins
Cecilia is hard on herself. She is struggling in middle school. She feels weird, awkward, and a step behind the other girls her age.
Her mom is concerned. What, at first, seemed like normal adolescent moodiness seems more and more like hopelessness and ongoing anxiety. Is it time to seek help?
Cecelia’s mom is wise to consider early intervention, specifically group therapy for girls.
Recent research indicates that teens between eight and 15 years old are dealing with mental health issues in increasing numbers. Unhealthy coping mechanisms like risky behavior, substance abuse, and unhealthy relationships can further complicate matters and exacerbate emotional pain without intentional intervention.
Professional family counseling and therapeutic support can provide some guidance during this challenging phase of a young woman’s development, her family life, and personal relationships. Studies show group therapy can be a helpful option.
Why group therapy for girls may be a beneficial way to go
If you spend time observing groups of adolescent girls at school, at the mall, or even in the virtual world of Instagram or Snapchat, a few things become clear. Friends matter. Appearances are vital. Identity is an issue. And it can all be overwhelming for a lot of girls.
Group therapy for girls who are struggling helps normalize their experiences and give girls tools to navigate the transitions in their lives. Learning to celebrate themselves and compassionately relate to others is a vital part of the therapy and accomplishes the following ends:
Group therapy prioritizes the space, time, and focus to deal with issues important to your daughter
The simple truth? Girls today have so much more exposure to the world at an earlier age than we did at their age. It’s difficult to shield them from the stresses and challenges that were once reserved for adulthood. Acknowledging that, group therapy provides a way to look at various issues with others who “get it.”
Coming together to recognize and empathize safely and intentionally is both soothing and validating. Group therapy sends a message that their concerns are important and deserve attention.
Group therapy for girls can strengthen your daughter’s self-confidence and improve her self-esteem
Authentically sharing herself and her challenges with people who understand can make a world of difference in the way she views herself.
Therefore, group work can be a powerful way to boost self-esteem and expand her social skills. Such connection with other girls is a way she can more fully grasp and practice self-acceptance, self-compassion, and empathy.
In time, a healthier self-identity, confidence, and ability to cope with tough emotions will develop. Even if your daughter is usually very uncomfortable in groups, she may find that the therapeutic, supportive environment helps her relax socially.
Group therapy for girls provides meaningful peer support
Groups are powerful in the adolescent world. Belonging, social connection, and acceptance are key themes in your daughter’s life.
Hearing about the problems and possible solutions of other people may help your daughter grasp that she isn’t alone and trigger a desire to more fully connect.
Community is key. Thus, gathering intentionally with those who share specific struggles can help girls learn to explore their behavior, be more creative in the way they approach problems, and make transitions well.
In a sense, your daughter can gather emotional “intel,” garnering information from other people who are going through similar circumstances. Her therapist helps too, so that she gets both intimate, individual interaction and a professional perspective.
Group therapy for girls helps her observe and change her relationship patterns
Adolescent girls often engage in unhelpful relationship patterns that may be obvious to others but not to them.
Through therapy, patterns of engagement like withdrawal, exclusion, aggression, or avoidance may become more apparent. As your daughter begins to see which patterns are getting in her way, she may be more able to open up and shift into patterns that support healthier, more affirming connections.
Group therapy for girls fosters routine relationship skills practice
Group therapy is a great place for your daughter to get her head in the relationship game and practice the skills she’s learning before venturing into the friendships of middle or high school, social media connections, or relationships with the opposite sex.
Your young teen can look forward to regularly honing her own way of effectively relating. She’ll be coached and encouraged in a caring environment. She’ll also be challenged and discover ways of coping with the discomfort that may leave her feeling more relationally capable.
Group work s a way of learning and practicing skills routinely. Over time, your daughter’s confidence and ability to apply her skills will improve and become a part of her everyday life.
Group therapy for girls is a compliment to family counseling
In both forums, family counseling and group work with peers, your daughter can develop her own voice and engage the people around her. Most of all, she can develop stronger support systems and explore the potential of the relationships as well as her own compassionate role in them.
Therapy will provide an avenue for the support you both need and afford a caring community that can ease the adolescent way. Take advantage of it by reaching out to Eddins Counseling Group.
Our therapists in Houston, TX can help you get started. To read more about how our counselors can help you support your teen through trying times, please contact us today at 832-559-2622 or click here to schedule an appointment with our teen therapist.