Child and youth workers have a tremendously important responsibility. Providing services to emotionally troubled and disturbed children represents a challenging yet very rewarding career. There are several techniques and strategies that child and youth workers will use to address different situations at different points in their career.
One exercise that is commonly used with children is group therapy. The positive results of group therapy with children demonstrate that it can be an effective strategy. Read on to find out more about how you can use group therapy in your career as a child and youth worker!
How to Use Group Therapy After Child and Youth Worker Training
Group therapy is a popular form of psychotherapy. In a typical group therapy session, multiple children are led by one or more facilitator(s). Group therapy relies on the interaction between group members to create peer dynamics. These dynamics can be used to work on a variety of skills such as:
- Building self-esteem
- Learning to be an empathetic and active listener
- Self-regulating emotions
- Developing the social skills required to function well in a group
One benefit of group therapy that is often overlooked is that the participants can learn as much from each other through observation as they learn from the person facilitating the session. In child and youth worker training you’ll learn how to organize group sessions. With group therapy, you may see that when children can understand what other children are doing well and what they are not doing well, they can instinctively correct their own behaviors.
What to Consider Before Organizing a Group Therapy Session
Group therapy has benefits, but to see those benefits realized you’ll need to plan beforehand. When planning a group therapy session, there are two factors to keep in mind:
1. Do you have time? This might seem like an obvious question, but any counseling, including group therapy, takes time. Things are not usually resolved in one session. It is important to make sure that you and the children you are working with are available for a prolonged period. Long-term benefits happen because of long-term engagement.
2. Does your group have compatible personalities and goals? If you decide to organize group therapy after child and youth worker college, you will have to be able to determine if the children in your group have similar personalities. If the group’s composition is too different, and children are working towards different goals, group therapy might cause more problems rather than fixing existing ones.
What Children Learn in Group Therapy Can Help Them Long Afterwards
Group therapy can be a defining experience for children. The skills that they pick up might greatly benefit them later in life. One thing that is often worked on in group therapy is interpersonal skills, or the ability to interact with others properly. For some children, this is extremely difficult. Group therapy gives them an opportunity to work on this skill in a controlled environment. It also gives them a chance to reflect on their behavior and make adjustments.
As mentioned, long-term benefits are the result of long-term engagement. Because the objective of group therapy is to develop skills that can be used throughout a person’s lifetime, the learning is extremely valuable. What children learn today in group session can be used tomorrow.
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