April 30, 2012

Group Therapy: Proven Effective for Teen ADD/ADHD

By Matthew Ryan, MA, LPC


Group therapy usually consists of six to eight individuals gathered together with a group leader. These individuals work interdependently and collaboratively towards a common goal. The most common of these groups are psychoeducational groups and counseling groups. Both types have shown to have significant impact on the individual or family.

Groups Focus and Give Support

Psychoeducational groups focus on learning a certain topic. The primary goal is for the participants to have a greater understanding and increased awareness of their issues and how they affect them. Group therapy has been found to be very efficacious and can be applied to a vast array of issues. For example, teen groups are useful for ADHD awareness, life-skill development, coping with depression, and support groups for families with a loved one returning from war. Peer-to-Peer groups can be more efficacious than family therapy alone, as adolescents commonly discuss and receive support and feedback from group peers. This builds social skills, self-awareness, and gives adolescents the ability to make changes in their lives. Research indicates that parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD) in psychoeducational groups have higher stress tolerance and a deeper understanding of how their child receives and interprets information. This ultimately results in reducing family conflict, improved communication, less substance abuse, and marked improvement in the child’s academic performance. The goal of these groups is to understand an issue or disorder and use that information to work towards goals outside of treatment.

Groups Promote Individual Growth

Counseling groups usually promote individual growth through the group process. This process differs from individual counseling in its setting and the course of treatment; teens and parents draw strength from one another in identifying and coping with issues that led them to seek treatment. Most counseling groups encourage feedback and support from peers, which shows participants that they are not alone with their issues. It has been found that individuals involved in group therapy experience an improvement in self-esteem and social skills as well as a reduction of depressive symptoms over the course of treatment. Within the group, feedback is provided by the group leader as well as peers, allowing the individual to develop a deeper insight into issues through personal reflection and feedback. Group members use role-playing and social interaction to practice coping skills.

Cost effectiveness is another benefit of group sessions, which are significantly less costly than individual sessions. Members should be able to successfully use the coping skill gained in the group process after completion of 10-12 sessions.

Finding a qualified counselor

The right counselor who understands the problems that affect the productivity of individuals living in this fast-paced, high-pressure area is especially important. Look for one who specializes in results-oriented counseling for adults and adolescents, and understands the need for tools to remove the stumbling blocks impeding their ability to function at their full potential in order to succeed. Especially beneficial is a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Crisis Intervention, or ADD / ADHD Counseling.

To schedule an appointment at Duffy Counseling, call 703-255-1091.

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About Matthew Ryan, MA, LPC


Matthew Ryan, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified
Counselor. He attended Georgetown Preparatory, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from George Washington University, a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in Washington D.C and is also a college athlete. As a
native of McLean, Virginia, Matthew Ryan provides counseling for adults and adolescents, specializing in results oriented Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Crisis Intervention.

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