One of the most common techniques in therapy group is the role-playing game and it’s particularly effective with adolescents. Through dramatization, the teenagers are able to develop more insight about the critical situations arising in the group.
This kind of technique is also very useful when you have a situation in which verbal communication is difficult, it helps to get over the feelings of shame or the fear of shaming themselves in front of, or within a group, quite common among teenagers.
In a non-therapeutic situation, an adolescent usually joins a group in order to experiment and unlink or unchain himself from his family (his original group), finding a new one which will act as his auxiliary ego. The same happens in the therapeutic group and the therapist should pay attention to all of these interactions and help the group along in forming a collective insight.
If you are a therapist you should pay special attention to the affective charge within a teenage group. This age group is specially overwhelmed by it, so it has a much greater impact than in an adult group.
Main Problems You May Find
As I said in a previous post, this kind of intervention is very efficient in adolescence, however, it also has some issues that you should be aware of:
– it can cause more anguish – communicating is not easy and, while doing it, you can often face some conflicts, which some of the group members may not react too well to
– maturity – even with the same age, the group members will have very different levels of maturity, which could cause quite a number of conflicts and make it hard for the members to identify with one another
– abstraction ability – this isn’t yet fully developed in most of the teenagers, which can potentially make it that much more difficult for them to accept our interpretative work
– body language – it’s quite common among teenagers, and the therapist need to learn to read it, be able to recognize it and even make use of it himself.
The truth is that the level of maturity is very important for group therapy to work, so the older or more mature teenagers show a better chance of evolving positively within a group, since they already show a more well-defined identity and a stronger ability to deal with conflicts inside the group.