Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t like therapy – it’s too corny, it’s lame, and it doesn’t actually work.
Alright, this might be your first reaction, but have you ever tried group therapy? Have you ever been in a group of kids your age who are all talking about the same thing? Imagine being in a circle and everyone else is talking about how their parents are divorcing too. Even the ones who seem to have it altogether are saying how hard it is and what they’re doing to cope. Imagine what it would be like to hear from someone else, your age, the exact feelings your feeling yourself. Imagine what a relief that would be.
“I think the hardest thing about divorce,” said a 17-year old girl from New York, “is that you find out your parents aren’t perfect. I saw my mom crying and my dad screaming. My father burned my books because he thought my mother was influencing me to read them.”
What’s great about group therapy is that you get to hear what you may not be able to express yourself. You might be feeling incredibly sad, and then when one of your friends in the circle says, “Gosh, it’s been so hard, and I feel so sad that my family is breaking up,” it might feel like a weight has been lifted. Plus, hearing this might give you the freedom to finally say what has been hard for you to express. And finally being able to say what you couldn’t up until now can be incredibly healing.
So, what is group therapy?
It’s a unique form of therapy where the benefits come from not only the relationship with the therapist, as in individual therapy, but also from the other participants in the group. Basically, there is one or more therapist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional facilitating treatment for a group of children. Participants of group therapy usually experience the same diagnosis or life challenge, like in this case, parents divorcing. Typically, everyone in the room, aside from the therapist, is experiencing the same struggle, which is why the group can become a supportive community. Group therapy for children of parents who are getting a divorce can be incredibly helpful and healing.
The greatest part about group therapy is the community. In a community of others who are struggling with the same life challenge, you can find support, love, friendship, and safety. In the community of a group, you might be able to make it through the divorce your parents are going through.