Social Opportunities Throughout the Therapeutic Process are Beneficial to the Mental Wellness of Young Adults

  • Posted at Aug 6, 2014
  • Written by yellowbrick

Mental wellness encompasses social and emotional health. While young adults, oftentimes with the support of their family, seek mental health help, they benefit from social opportunities throughout the therapeutic process. Programs that include group therapy and/or additional outlets for social interactions, support young adults in practicing the social and emotional skills it takes to enhance mental wellness.

Benefits of groups

As young adults take part in mental health programming, for concerns like addiction, eating disorders, or psychiatric illness, group therapy serves as a professionally guided environment that ultimately supports mental wellness. Psycho-educational groups and group psychotherapy provides planned social opportunities for young adults as they confront issues related to mental health with the support of peers and therapists. Group therapy empowers young adults to:

  • Relate to others. Taking part in group therapy may be an important step in breaking down internal feelings of social isolation. Young adults who are in therapy have often been lonely and isolated. Many suffer from depression. Group therapy allows young adults to meet others with similar concerns and hear how they deal with dark feelings and complex situations. They may find their experiences are shared by their peers, which may ease the feelings of being different and alone.
  • Find motivation. Participants in group therapy often vary in terms of where they are in the therapeutic progress. Somebody new to treatment may connect with a peer who is further along in therapy. They may feel motivated to stay sober or they may pick up a self-help skill from somebody who models healthy social and emotional behavior.
  • Reflect on their choices. During group therapy, young adults may begin to view their behaviors or patterns through a different lens. The opinions from trusted peers or therapists may contradict their perspective, which can help young adults see themselves from another person’s viewpoint.

Additional outlets

In addition, an optimal therapeutic plan for young adults includes plenty of opportunities for socializing with others outside of a group therapy setting.

  • Meal time: Sharing meals with others is a great time for young adults to informally interact with peers. Because conversation topics are not generated by a therapist, young adults can discuss what is important to them. They have an unscripted chance to connect, to empathize, and to voice their feelings. Gathering for meals can be especially supportive to people in treatment for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.
  • Community outings: Going out into the community gives young adults in mental health treatment a chance to apply their progress in psychotherapy to a “real life” setting. Whether the outing is for leisure, such as going to a special event or an outing intended to build life skills, such as a trip to the grocery store or a visit to a local college, young adults can engage in social and community networks.
  • Residential living: Taking part in residential living as part of therapy not only gives young adults 24 hour access to on-site support, it promotes mental wellness by providing more intimate social interactions. While living in a residential setting, young adults often live with roommates and gain greater understanding of how their habits affect others.  Learning to live respectfully with others is a social skill that contributes to mental health and can ease the transition into adulthood and life beyond mental health treatment.
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