School psychologists have many important tasks in their days, from managing services for children with learning and attention issues to developing behavior plans for challenging students. In many cases, behavioral therapy can be a huge benefit to students, but parents may not have outside resources to make this happen for their children. Adding group therapy into the behavior and support plans that are being developed for your students can be a tremendous benefit both in the classroom and in a real-world setting. It can help more students get the services they need in a format that streamlines the process and saves time.
Emotional Support Groups
Oftentimes, students who are presenting with academic and behavioral challenges are dealing with an emotionally difficult time at home. By creating small groups where children who are dealing with loss, divorce, or other emotional situations can come together, they can get help from a counselor and support from their peers. In some cases, students may benefit tremendously just from the realization that they are not the only person who is dealing with these emotions.
Bullying Prevention Groups
There are a couple of different approaches that can be taken with bullying prevention groups. It may beneficial for children who have been bullied to have a safe place to talk to others in the same situation and get advice from a trusted counselor or school psychologist on how to react or handle bullying. Students who have participated in bullying at a low level may benefit from a group that helps to educate them on the consequences of their actions. Group work is good for this as you can roleplay with students to drive the impact home.
Social Skills Groups
In recent years, there has been an influx of children who need work on social skills for success in school and in the real world. Social skills groups create a natural social situation that can be a wonderful stepping stone to help students develop the skills that they need. There is the added benefit of being in a group who understands their challenges because they are dealing with similar issues.
Anger Management Groups
Though group anger management sessions may not be the best choice for all students, those who have not escalated to a point of being a danger can definitely get a lot out of a group. Students can work together to identify emotions and triggers for their anger. Then, they can discuss appropriate reactions and ways to manage their feelings without overreacting and lashing out at others.
Group therapy for kids is a wonderful tool that school psychologists should consider implementing with their students. By normalizing issues and teaching them how to work together to find solutions, everyone benefits from the input of their peers and the guidance of their group leader. Group therapy in schools can be a way to reach children who otherwise would not be able to participate in similar treatments in a resource-conserving and cost-effective way.
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