3 Reasons to Try Group Therapy for Your Child with OCD

You have a child with OCD. It feels like you have tried everything. Nevertheless, your child needs more support.

Have you thought about trying group therapy?

Some children may be hesitant about trying group therapy. However, research shows that there are immeasurable benefits.

Of course, you can’t encourage your child to try group therapy unless you believe in it yourself. You might find it helpful to think about the reasons to give this method a try.

This way, you will feel confident when you suggest it to your child. You will know why it could be a good idea.

1. Group Therapy Normalizes Being a Child with OCD

One of the biggest struggles that children with OCD have is the feeling of being “different.”

Peers often notice OCD behaviors. For example, it may be obvious that your child is touching things symmetrically. Other children may tease your child about this.

Even if they don’t, your child may still feel self-conscious about their condition.

Feeling “different” is the last thing that a child or teen wants to experience. This time of life is already tough enough. Having OCD symptoms layers on fears of social isolation.

Group therapy helps to normalize the OCD experience.

Children get the opportunity to see OCD behaviors in others. They also have the chance to hear from other kids about how they feel living with these symptoms. Your child’s own feelings will be welcomed, heard, and validated.

Furthermore, they will be able to meet peers that they respect. They will see friends overcome their challenges. This gives children hope that they will overcome some of their own issues as well.

Additionally, the group therapist may occasionally provide information that normalizes childhood OCD.

For example, the National Library of Medicine reports that as much as three percent of adolescents have OCD symptoms. Children who take comfort in facts may find that this normalizes their experience.

2. Group Therapy Offers a Safe Space to Practice New Skills

Group therapy for a child with OCD is not just about sharing experiences. In fact, there is a big focus on practicing skills.

For example, children can learn to:

  • Recognize distorted thinking
  • Alter thought patterns in a healthy direction
  • Practice exposure to compulsions
  • Replace OCD behaviors with positive coping strategies

It is immensely helpful for a child with OCD to be able to practice these skills in a safe setting.

Group therapy offers compassion and kindness. Children receive support and encouragement from their peers. It doesn’t feel as intimidating to “mess up” in group therapy as it would in a classroom or other social situation.

3. Being in a Group Enhances the Fun

Children often do not like to attend therapy. They hate the idea of sitting one-on-one with a therapist. They feel uncomfortable talking about their problems with an adult.

In contrast, group therapy can seem like more fun.

Although children may be intimidated at first, they often find that it is enjoyable to meet regularly with their peers. They start to have friends in the group. They may play skills-based games. This creates a positive experience of therapy.

A child with OCD may attend group therapy only. Alternatively, you may have your child see a therapist individually in addition to being in the group.

The latter option provides the opportunity to compare the experiences. The child may end up with a preference for one over the other. Don’t be surprised if they prefer the group.

Group therapy isn’t just for problems with OCD. Children struggling with many different types of issues can also benefit.

Visit HERE to learn more about how we can help your child or schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.