Grouptherapy Essay

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Working with an adolescent population is rewarding yet can provide a taxing emotional draw. Malekoff (1997) brilliantly stated, “Perhaps the greatest challenge in working with adolescent groups is that no matter how prepared one is, one is unprepared” (p. 100). This statement speaks to the unpredictable and impulsive nature of youth and how easily that can present itself within the group process. Adolescence is a time of awkward development for some and requires that facilitators be aware of the developmental needs (Weisz & Hawley, 2002). As a critical task in the teenage years, personal identity may influence group identify and be subject to alterations during the process. Dynamics such as this one creates certain challenges for the facilitator that will need engaging solutions to maintain member participation and investment. Adolescent group work is most beneficial when there is a focus on building competence and resilience rather than correcting weakness. Researchers generally agree that the specific developmental tasks of adolescents include but are not limited to the following (Kramer, 1986; Malekoff, 1997; Scharf, Mayseless, & Kiyenson-Baron, 2004; Weisz & Hawley, 2002): (a) separating from family while increasing autonomy and intimacy in peer relationships, (b) creating a healthy sexual identity involving acceptance of physique and certainty about masculine or feminine social roles, (c) developing skills related to future performance in relationship or economic ventures, (d) identifying a moral value system that will guide one’s choices in determining how behaviors will be aligned with social attitudes. Developmental tasks will find their way into the group process demanding attention from the facilitator. Lack of motivation for treatment is common among teenagers and tends to be more problematic for those youth who are more focused on peer relationships

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