One of the biggest problems that comes up in my therapy groups has to do with friends who take on the problems of their friends.
Often teens feel burdened, overwhelmed, and stressed when they have friends who talk about suicide, threaten to commit suicide, or end up being hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. Some times kids have problems getting off of social media, getting off the phone, saying no, asking for help, getting adults involved, or recognizing the limits of what they can do. This can interfere with sleep, concentration, homework, and grades.
Group is one unique therapeutic setting where kids who have “been there” can often dish out advice. While sometimes this advice is hard to hear, the value of being in a group increases the probability of being understood. The combination of being understood and of having practical tools for speaking up, asking for help, and setting limits creates options for practical problem solving- especially when it comes to tough conversations with people we care about.
One of the projects I have taken under my wing recently is to write a book on What To Say To Your Suicidal Friend: A Resource Guide for Teens.
Do your teens need more sleep? Feeling assured that friends are safe and having concrete resources to help their friends can reduce anxiety, increase focus and concentration, and help kids perform better in school.
Refer them to group!
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