- In a support group setting, children gain a feeling of acceptance from their peers that they may not normally receive. This can be a comfort and a sigh of relief for kids — and for parents!!
- Kids can learn about how they can help their peers by sharing. This can help build empathy.
- Group therapy helps kids build self-esteem. It provides a healthy place to take small, measured risks and see immediate gains. Parents have often told us how their child “opened up” in the comfort of the group space. Pre-teens often struggle with self-esteem, and groups are a great way to help them feel more confident.
- Group therapy can help kids find new ways to talk. We often have kids role-play the lessons and themes we discuss.
- Group therapy helps kids learn techniques to self-regulate their emotions. This can be a really nice natural way for kids to practice listening, not interrupting, and gaining frustration tolerance tools when they wait their turn, or practice hearing from their peers!
What can kids expect in group therapy?
They can expect a small group of kids aged 10-13 in a big play room with a group leader, in this case a female Social Worker. The group will start with an ice-breaker game to “break the ice” to allow the kids to get to know each other. It’s important to make sure kids feel comfortable, so they can expect play — even silliness — to help them feel comfortable!! They can expect that they always have the right to keep things private. They can also expect to be heard and be listened to, and that the leader will help lead the group and make rules so everyone is respected and feels safe. There will be a semi-structured activity like art or a game in the middle, then an end to the group.
At BPAR, we are strong believers in the power of group therapy. Click here to see our support groups we’re currently running and to join one.
Written by KC Craig, LICSW
Group Leader — Adoptee Group for Children and Parenting Group