Some issues affect the whole family and a counselor may determine that it would be most beneficial to see all of the family members together. Issues may include:
- House rules
- Household structure
- Support for a family member who is dealing with a mental health problem or an addiction
Outreach’s counseling meets the unique needs of children living in these uncertain times.
Normal developmental issues of youth (e.g. physical changes, independence, and peer pressure) are enormously complicated by factors such as family turmoil, mental, and emotional health, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and sexual abuse, violence, sexual pressures and economic stress.
Outreach seeks to establish a safe, nonjudgmental space where children and teens can come for help with these difficulties. In most instances, other family members participate in the therapy process. Counseling can be scheduled in either our Mt. Lebanon or downtown office.
Group counseling involves approximately 5 to 10 students (or clients) meeting with 1-2 trained counselor(s), typically once a week for 1 to 2 hours. Group members talk about a variety of issues including exploring relationships, improving self-esteem, and enhancing coping skills. Group members share information about themselves and provide feedback to others while group leaders facilitate productive communication in the group.
Groups can be especially helpful for people who have concerns about their relationships. Some common concerns of group members include loneliness or isolation, shyness, dependence in relationships, superficial relationships and/or a lack of intimacy, frequent disagreements with others, discomfort in social situations, difficulty trusting others, being easily hurt or offended, needing a lot of reassurance from others, fear of being left or abandoned and feeling disenfranchised. Group therapy is the treatment of choice for several other concerns as well. There is evidence for the effectiveness of group treatment for the following issues:
- Anxiety and Panic
- Chronic Pain and Illness
- Eating Disorders
- Social Anxiety and other Interpersonal Problems
- Substance Abuse
- Traumatic Experiences
Group members can expect:
- Learning to communicate more comfortably and effectively.
- Identifying and exploring inner feelings.
- Getting feedback from others.
- Learning to express your own wishes and to act on your own behalf.
- Being honest with self and others.
- Becoming more sensitive to the ways people communicate.
- Learning about closeness and intimacy.
- Experimenting with new ways of relating to others.
One of the major ways that group can be helpful to you is that it can replicate the ways you interact in your everyday life. The other group members and leaders can also give feedback about how they perceive you and offer alternative ways of behaving in order to help you interact more productively. Groups are able to provide support, offer alternatives, or gently confront group members in such a way that difficulties can be resolved and new behaviors learned. Often people in a group begin to feel less alone in dealing with their problems. It can be very encouraging to hear that others have worked through similar problems. It is also very comforting to learn that the issue or matter you are struggling with is not just pertinent to you and that many others share similar struggles.
A group is a safe place to experiment with new ways of behaving. This particular form of therapy assumes that people benefit from shared experiences and it can create a feeling of community. Group therapy attempts to counteract feelings of isolation by putting together people with similar struggles to enforce that these struggles are not singular to a particular person. This can be comforting.
The group provides a unique environment in which to explore issues in-depth while avoiding isolation and loneliness. It is an organized way to help and be helped by others. The group setting a dynamic encourage and empower while improving insight and awareness that ultimately promotes growth and change.
At OTFS we posit that an ongoing conversation and inquiry about what makes a community and its’ individuals strong can be achieved in many ways, including through group counseling. We fully appreciate that there are many views and opinions about mental health and how best to support it. Because we know that most people with mental health struggles can and do get better, and recover, we assert that individual and tailor made interventions, such as group counseling can and does positively impact our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as thus, it is a matter we take seriously. Our psychological life helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices; all of these matters can be addressed through individual, group and psychoeducational interventions at Outreach. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health and we take our job as facilitators of this process very seriously.