If you or someone you love is struggling with anxiety or depression, a treatment plan that includes group therapy for teens can significantly help. While it can be scary to attend your first group therapy session, there are some benefits to be gained in group therapy that are more difficult to achieve in individual counseling.

Group therapy for teens can provide a broader context for individuals who struggle with depression or anxiety.

What is depression or anxiety?

Depression in teens occurs when a teen’s emotional state makes everyday life overwhelming. Teens may lose interest in hobbies they once enjoyed, may feel sad or lonely much of the time, and may have difficulty engaging with others because of feeling isolated. It is not your fault, nor is it something you can overcome by your decision-making or strong will.

Depression is a mental illness for which the cause is unknown, but some of the possible contributors include brain chemistry, genetics, learned thought patterns, hormonal shifts, trauma, or a combination of these.

The good news is that targeted treatment can help you or your loved one feel better.

Depression can be a comorbidity of anxiety disorders, too, but it doesn’t have to be. Anxiety disorders range in both spectrum and sensitivity. Social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, and panic disorder are all types of anxiety.

Anxiety prohibits individuals from functioning well in everyday activities, such as school, social situations, friendships, or other relationships. They may feel afraid, worried, unusually fixated on something specific, or have a sense of dread that something bad is going to happen to them or someone they love.

Anxiety must be diagnosed by a trained psychologist and can make life difficult for you and your loved ones if there isn’t an active diagnosis and treatment plan to follow.

Group therapy for teens with depression

While group therapy can help teens learn a variety of skills such as social skills, taking turns, asking thoughtful and engaging questions, and listening well, some of the most helpful group therapy for teens is focused on support.

Research suggests that a supportive group where teens can let down their guard and share their stories helps them find hope and healing from the symptoms of depression. One of the main benefits of group therapy is knowing that you are not alone. This can apply to teens who struggle with depression, anxiety, or both.

Group therapy for teens with anxiety

Another benefit of group therapy for teens is the opportunity to identify thought patterns and practice new skills among peers who understand what they are going through. A seasoned, well-trained professional counselor will pick up on cues that exist in a group.

Cues can help a therapist lead group participants in awareness training, mindfulness techniques, and interpersonal communication tips that are hard to identify and teach in one-on-one counseling. These are important for some anxiety treatments because they allow teens to understand how they are feeling, recognize the importance of non-verbal communication, and work on strategies to overcome negative or difficult social situations.

But instead of working on these in natural friend settings or at school, teens benefit from being in a supportive group of peers who are all aiming for the same thing; healthy ways of overcoming mental illness.

Group therapy for teens brings light into dark places

In addition to reducing feelings of isolation and helping teens learn new social skills, a group led by a trained therapist can also help teens discover new perspectives.

When teens interact and listen to other people’s stories, they have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of their own struggles. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, or both, a teen’s mental health battle can be overcome, and they can see it in the stories of peers who are overcoming their battles on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Group therapy helps teens gain hope for their struggles because of others who overcome their own.

In addition to these benefits, group therapy can be less intimidating for some teens who don’t warm up to the idea of seeing a professional counselor on their own. It can also augment one-on-one counseling to help teens recognize that what they’re learning in their sessions actually works. They get to practice it together in a group if they want.

Group therapy for teens can also be more cost-effective than one-on-one therapy when a teen needs long-term counseling.

Counseling doesn’t have to be a scary pursuit, and you don’t have to have all the answers right now. Take the first step. Contact one of the offices we have near you, and we can help you or the teen in your life find group therapy for their struggle.

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