Group Therapy at Apple Orchard
Each young person attends group therapy for one and a half hours per week in addition to individual therapy.
Group Therapy has a structured programme, consisting of four core modules each with a specific topic formulated from research regarding static and dynamic risk and strength variables associated with sexually harmful behaviour. However, every session strives to be relevant to the group’s current difficulties and ensures ultimately, that a focus on harmful sexual behaviour is maintained. The groups take a psycho-educational approach, drawing from a variety of resources and are designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge that compliment their learning and development as they progress through the therapeutic community programme. One group is formed of young people who are closer towards their end of placement and who are attending college/work and functioning more autonomously. These individuals often use this space to discuss their anxieties regarding living independently, relationships and for some, leaving care.
The effectiveness of working with young people in groups has long been recognised and it has a particular value with this client group. (Carrell, 1993, Dwivedi, 1993; Duboust & Knight, Malekoff, 2004; Perkins et al, 1999).
Researchers have identified some benefits and clinical advantages of group therapy for young people. These include the following:
- Interaction between individuals that can be utilised to facilitate change;
- The reduction of the likelihood of a therapist entering a collusive relationship with a client;
- Group interactions can help young people to become more open about abuse-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and by doing so, begin to address previously unresolved feelings of guilt, anger and anxiety;
- A safe and supportive group can provide an environment in which new skills and ways of thinking can be learned, practised and developed;
- Group Therapy can provide therapists with valuable insights into participants’ motivation to change, since participation in a group typically requires public acknowledgement that there are problems needing to be addressed;
- The group setting affords an environment in which young people who have difficulties in expressing emotions and experiences can learn from others, whilst developing competency in self-disclosure.
- Groups can reduce a sense of isolation; particularly for young people whose problem has a degree of social stigma;
Important interpersonal and social skills can be effectively learned and practised in a group setting;
- Groups allow a range of experiential activities which actively engage young people but may not be practical within adult-child interactions;
- Peer relationships and positive reinforcement are considered to be particularly effective with adolescents
I find Apple Orchard to be a relaxed and friendly place to visit, always made welcome. The rules of the house are very clear and adhered to without making me, as a visitor feel uncomfortable in any way.
Foster Carer – Berkshire