By Tony L. Sheppard, Psy.D., CGP, FAGPA
Each of our therapy groups at Groupworks focuses on three very important core areas. One of the first things that people notice about our groups is that we don’t do “topical” groups. We very seldom offer ADHD Groups or Depression Groups. There’s actually a very good reason for that. Like many of the things we do at Groupworks, this decision is based upon what we’ve learned about the brain over the past decade.
While there is certainly a place for “topical” groups that address a specific issue or problem, those tend to be more short-term and focused in nature. At Groupworks our groups are ongoing and more broadly focused. Research has shown that there are key deficits that underlie a number of challenges and problems that people face. Whether a child or teen is dealing with depression, anxiety, ADHD, Autism, or relationship problems, improvement in any or all of these core areas helps!
The first area that we address is something called Self-Regulation or Self-Control. This involves learning about your own feelings and behaviors. People who are able to know and name their own feelings, reactions and behaviors have more control over themselves. This impacts moods, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Group therapy offers a safe and confidential place to gain more self-awareness and self-control. Those with depression learn greater awareness of their own thoughts and feelings. People dealing with anxiety develop a greater awareness of what triggers their symptoms. Members with ADHD become more aware of what causes them to lose focus or to become over-active.
Secondly, we address Self-Esteem. This is often referred to as the “fuel in the tank of change”. Research has shown that it is critical for a child or teen to feel that they can change in order to make improvements in their lives! Group therapy offers a big shot of positive energy in their lives each week. They are built up and given the confidence to attain their goals. As people make changes in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, they begin to prove to themselves that they can do it!
Finally, we work on Social or Relationship Skills in groups. This involves learning to “read” others and respond to them in ways that are healthy and effective. Group relationships become templates for healthier relationships outside the group setting. Different groups offer differing levels of intervention with relationship skills. Some of our groups offer very basic social skills training while others offer more advanced intervention. This can include conflict resolution, social problem-solving, and other aspects of healthy relationship building.