14074 Trade Center Dr #145, Fishers, IN 46038, United States | 740 E. 52nd St., Indianapolis, IN 46205
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Learn More About Teen Group Therapy

You might wonder how we became interested in teen group therapy. Back in the late 90s, I worked at Charter Hospital on the residential unit. Charter was a Behavior Health Hospital much like St. Vincent Stress Center is now. “Residential” meant the kids actually lived there for a period of time, usually 6 months up to 2 years. Some of the kids had gotten into trouble and were on probation for things like alcohol or drug abuse. Others had been in a foster home and had been running away or not getting along with a foster sibling. Others were referred by the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) due to abuse, neglect or some other issue like a parent having passed away or being incarcerated. The kids might be struggling with an eating disorder, self-harm, physical aggression, suicidal ideation or many other things. Some of the kids just didn’t have anywhere else to go. They had no family.

To sum it up, it could be an intense and complicated group.

Every morning at 10:15am they filed into the room sitting in chairs in a circle. Some would immediately raise their hands to talk, humming a “pick me” sound. Others would watch with wide eyes, some crossed their arms as if put off by the entire process. If a new person had been admitted, they scoped that person as the new resident shifted in their seat. We all wondered about their story.

Sometimes, someone wanted to fight someone else and the tension felt thick and even scary. Sometimes, a resident got on another resident’s nerves and they confronted that person. Occasionally, they cried from the intense shame or loneliness they felt. They shared details of traumatic histories. They told how it still affects them.

One day, I remember asking if we could all just sit in silence for a few minutes and enjoy being in the moment. HORROR! “What? We aren’t going to talk?” But they followed the directions of the exercise, settling in. One girl, however, became so uncomfortable during the silence she climbed out of her seat and got under it, sitting on the carpet with the chair covering her head as if she expected the ceiling to crash down.

They learned from each other. They gave insights and feedback that could be taken in a way it wouldn’t be taken from an adult. With a counselor guiding and structuring a group (you have to have rules!), the kids focused on being helpful. It might surprise you that even with a crowd this tough, they rose to the task of having a purpose of helping and assisting each other.

It’s amazing the wisdom these kids had. They knew things and could relate in a deeper way than I could. The truth is if someone your own age who is in a very similar situation can tell you how they made it through, it reaches you. You know the person gets it. You know they can see you and they have compassion.

Our teen therapy groups are much more mild than the ones I described, but the principles are the same. Teens learn from each other when the group is structured and on task. If someone is having panic attacks and another teen can give the tools they’ve used, it works! Teens in groups help relieve each other’s isolation in a way they don’t get in a large school setting. They create a place to process hard things and get new insights in a way that just isn’t done in the school lunchroom.

If you’d like more information about our teen therapy groups, click here:

www.freeclearmind.com/groups

We have three groups about the start of the summer. One is for pre-teens, another is for adolescents ages 14-17 and another is for young adults (ages 18-22). We would love to answer your questions and give you a tour of our group rooms. We use creativity and art to help them express themselves.

Have a great week!

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Free Clear Mind Therapy provides in-person therapy in Fishers & Indianapolis and online therapy across Indiana. Specializing in anxiety therapy for teens, adults, and kids.

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