14074 Trade Center Dr #145, Fishers, IN 46038, United States | 740 E. 52nd St., Indianapolis, IN 46205
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What We Do in Teen Group Therapy

Group therapy is one of our favorite things. The reason for this is that group therapy is experiential, whereas just talking can reinforce the problem. Merely talking doesn’t give teens a chance to practice with others.

Our Values Related to Group Therapy

We believe kids learn best from other kids who are experiencing the same kinds of things. Loud schools, bullying or biases like “who the popular kids are” or “how you should dress”. There are social concerns, plus difficult schoolwork, teachers, or sports/events.

We believe kids are craving connection and connection, by itself, is healing. They can’t easily have connecting experiences because the schools are big, competitive, and the same kids aren’t in each class. High school is almost like college now due to their size. They also are spending a lot of time online.

We believe teens begin to heal when they can help someone else. They do this by learning genuine listening skills and seeing how best to reflect back what they are hearing. (Not just jumping in and talking about themselves.)

We believe the participants see how others in the group solved similar problems and that empowers them to do the same.

We believe they learn by imitating and watching other teens. “Oh, this is how you talk to a new person!”

We believe they see what skills they already possess or how they might’ve solved a problem someone is currently struggling with. That shows them how far they’ve come!

We believe they see they aren’t alone in their struggles as others share similar experiences. I’M NOT ALONE is powerful.

We believe can teach new skills and practice them together. We do this by setting goals and working toward them. We allow them to hold each other accountable to meet those goals.

What kinds of things do we do?

  1. Share in a small group: In all of our group therapies, we have time for them to share with each other what’s happening this week. We make sure it’s related to their anxiety. Usually, we open with some kind of topic like “Have you ever felt shame?” The group participants can then comment and give feedback. “I tried leaving for school ten minutes earlier to get acclimated or go in the side door.”
  2. We can use psychodrama: This is where you have them act out anxieties or their assertiveness skills or even their problem. Imagine a scenario where one person talks about their dreams and goals while another teen yells, “You can’t do it” or “It will take too long!” or “You aren’t good enough”. We have the first teen coach the second teen about what their anxiety sounds like. Then that teen acts it out while they express what they really want to be able to do. This creates mindfulness about their anxiety so that they can keep moving forward in spite of it. It creates a new choice!
  3. Mindfulness experiments: We can do many things while having them watch their body/mind. For example, have the teens take a short walk and think of two people, person A and B. Then pretend they are walking with each one. What happens in their body? Their mind? What do the thoughts sound like? What’s different between the two people? Come back to the big group and discuss.
  4. Drawing and art projects: Draw a time you felt empowered or use markers to show us a time you had to say “NO” and it was uncomfortable. Create a round collage that represents your “anxious part”. Or, have them make something messy (Play-doh?) then watch for their reactions. “Mine’s not good enough!” Are there other times you feel this way? Can you talk about that today in group?
  5. Working in dyads. Have them get into groups of two and practice listening skills. One person tells a two minute problem. The other person isn’t allowed to respond; they can just talk about the person’s body language. “You crossed your arms, you touched your hair, you twisted in your seat”. Or have the listener hold up cards that say, “I could relate, I’ve been there, I feel empathy for you.” There are many variations on working in dyads. Another idea is have the first teen tell their two minute problem then sum it up with one sentence. “I feel confused and overwhelmed when I walk into the lunch room”, or whatever it is.
  6. Questioning thoughts worksheets. In many of our groups, we teach the kids to question stressful thoughts using four questions. This CBT technique was created by a woman named Byron Katie. First, you write out the stressful thought. Then question it. For example, “I am not smart enough to get an A in History.” 1. Is it true? 2. Can you absolutely know it’s true 3. How do you react when you think that thought (what’s it feel like in your body?) 4. Who would you be without that thought. Then, turn it around. I am smart enough to get an A in History.” Find three pieces of evidence. 1. I got an A in Sociology and they are similar. 2. I got an A on my History test last year. 3. I know how to make flashcards of the study guide.

All of our groups use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Sometimes we use IFS or DBT as well. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular type of individual therapy used to treat anxiety. Internal Family Systems has the person actually label the different parts of their mind. “I have an anxious part that says this, but I also have an empowered part that says this”. In DBT, we go through each emotion in detail. “Shame feels like a burning red face and means I’m afraid of being kicked out of my social group”.

What Groups Do You Have Coming Up?

We have three groups starting again in May and June.

  1. Pre-Teen Anxiety Group: This group is on Saturdays from 10-12pm. It will start on June 1st and run for ten weeks. We are not meeting on June 8th or July 6th.
  2. “Transition to High School” Anxiety Group for ages 13 – 14 starts May 21st and goes for ten weeks. Tuesdays, 5:15 to 7:15pm.
  3. “Art and Talk” starts June 3rd and runs ten weeks. Ages 15-17, Monday nights from 5:30 to 7:30.

 

Please reach out to Heather Sosbe or Laura Welch to get an intake scheduled. We can’t wait to meet you and your teen!

heather@freeclearmind.com

laura@freeclearmind.com

www.freeclearmind.com/group-therapy/

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About

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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