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Adventure Group Therapy Effects

Updated: May 23, 2023

Group therapy is such a valuable experience. I strongly believe that group therapies…

a) help de-stigmatize mental health

b) amplify positive outcomes related to coping skills and social engagement What do I mean by this? I'll give you an example. Before I started my practice in GP I was working as a home and community-based therapist on the Eastside of Detroit for youth and families. I provided highly intensive therapies to my families in their homes, schools, parks, and communities. As a DBT and Adventure therapist, both of which strongly promote group therapy components to treatment, I knew I had to find a way for my youth to connect, establish meaningful relationships and practice skills they could use in their everyday lives. During one of the teen groups, we were engaging in an activity that required the group members to safely guide one blindfolded member to a hidden object using problem solving and communication strategies. At one point, the blindfolded individual nearly missed the object and some of the group members, wanting to ease the discomfort of the individual potentially "failing", were quick to say "it's okay, you were close enough". Empowering the individual to decide for herself, I asked what she'd like to do. Despite her initial anxieties about the activity she paused and declared "no, I want to get this". Not long after, she had retrieved the object and gotten back to the group. This was also one of my individual clients, and for weeks to come she was visibly more confident in herself. Thereafter I witnessed her take small but incremental healthy risks in her daily life, even if she was anxious about it, and thus her confidence continued to grow. This is what I mean by amplifying positive outcomes. Could she have nurtured these skills in individual therapy or her daily life? Sure, and that probably was part of it. But there's something about challenging yourself and being courageous in a group setting.

I utilize a variety of approaches to integrate skill development including Dialectical Behavior Therapy which aims to “build a life worth living” by improving stress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness and interpersonal skills. I also use Adventure Therapy which uses active experiences and learning by doing to attain therapeutic goals.

Sign up here for Summer 2023 Adventure Groups: Deadline to sign up is June 1.


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