Importance of Group Therapy & How It Can Help

There's often a negative connotation associated with group therapy sessions. Unfortunately, it's led to a lot of false views about what they're really like. The truth is, they can actually be the best place to be if you've had struggles in your life and need a little help getting back on track. While it is true that sometimes certain jobs or government programs require people to go to support group meetings, people can also go on the recommendation of a doctor, church leader or on their own. No matter whose recommendation sent you to group therapy, there are four reasons they can be very important.

No Prejudice

Often, people's problems can come with a rash of judgments and misunderstandings of what the person is going through, whatever their case may be. People in your support group have all been where you are, and they are all on the same journey you're on. Getting a chance to hear these people open up and be honest about their issues can help you do the same, letting you get started on your own path to a better place. The best feeling people get during this process is when they truly know they aren't alone.

Financial Reasons

Attending group sessions are far more affordable than individual therapy. Therapy in a group setting allows you to be more efficient with getting care and won’t hit your pockets as much as individual therapy. Group therapy fees can range form $45-80 whereas individual can range from $110-$200 (depending on your area). Those fees reflect out of pocket costs. Group therapy is covered by most insurance that cover behavioral or mental health and just require you to pay your copay fees.

Learning More About Yourself

As Dr. David Susman points out in this blog article, things you learn in support groups can help you better understand your own self and be more aware of what leads to different struggles. It can be a time of reflection and perhaps a time to think of how things like spiritualism and inner peace may benefit you. Often, people come to group support meetings not expecting much, but they leave with knowledge they might never have dreamed of getting.

An Opportunity to Help Others

As you stay in a support group and see yourself start to take control of your life again, you'll find that, along with addressing your problems, you'll eventually get to help others. Fewer things are as rewarding, or make you feel you've accomplished as much, as being able to say you were a friend who guided someone else to a better place. Often, people's struggles can lead them to try to hide themselves away from the world. By being where you can help others, you'll find yourself comfortable as part of a crowd once again.

The bottom line is group support networks are not punishment at all for what you've been through, but instead they are here to bring change in ways you probably didn't think was possible. Sometimes, being connected with a group of strangers is exactly the way to bring your problems to the front and hear new perspectives on them. More likely than not, you'll come away with new emotional, spiritual and even financial support than you ever had before.

The path of recovery can be hard at times, and it’s essential to create or join a group therapy network. See how we can help you in your personal journey to better mental health.

3 Common Challenges That Come from Combining Households

When it comes to building a relationship, most don’t realize how deep the challenge goes. You’re doing more than just spending time with another person. You are, step by step, creating something completely new with them.

Moving in with a partner or new spouse can be one of the most challenging transitions in life. Along with adjusting to the changes that come with giving up some of your solo-living habits, you will also be getting used to living with somebody new and dealing with the transitional issues that come along with that change.

Here is some practical advice on how to navigate the challenges that come when combining households.

Get on the Same Page About Finances

Financial disagreements are the most common source of conflict in many relationships. You can take steps to reduce the chances of money issues causing havoc in your household if you take the time to devise a solid budget plan from the start.

It’s wise to acknowledge, up front, that you probably don’t want to have this conversation. According to Marriage Name Change, “Even with all the financial advice out there, marriages are still strained due to fights over money. There are many reasons for this but the truth is many married couples today do not want to listen to vital advice on finance.”

Even so, money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce. If you want to maintain your relationship, you’ll need to have this discussion sooner or later.

When planning your budget, you will want to account for every dollar in and every dollar out. You will also need to discuss how the incoming money will be divided between household expenses and individual spending money.

When taking the time to devise an everyday budget, be sure to write some financial goals down on paper so that you have something to strive for. Lastly, you will need to determine who will be responsible for paying the bills.

Compromise on Material Belongings

It can be challenging to combine households because it means that somebody will likely have to give up some of their stuff if everything is going to fit in one home. The important rule to follow is to be willing to compromise on what belongings to keep and what to get rid of.

All Storage Online explains that “adapting your lifestyle to fit with someone else’s is a learning process that requires a lot of compromise – key to a happy marriage. So before you begin the merge, a helpful tip is to have a conversation with your partner and decide what to keep and what to either toss or place in storage.”

Just remember that at the end of the day, these are only material items that you are debating about.

Divide Chores Early On

Once you have the budget settled and household items organized, it will be time to decide how to handle the everyday routines of cohabitation. Part of this routine involves establishing the expectations of responsibility around the home.

Successful relationships have set guidelines regarding who will be in charge of specific household-maintenance responsibilities. Chores to consider include cleaning, laundry, yard work and basic maintenance. By agreeing to the division of labor from the beginning, you can avoid arguments down the road. Remember, in the case that something goes wrong in your marriage, it is your lifestyle that impacts certain decisions. Make sure you are spending adequate amounts of time with your children and with each other. Make sure you are splitting duties and working together to instill good habits in each other as well as in your children. It will lead to greater happiness later on.

Although this life transition is full of challenges and meaningful discussions, it can also be incredibly rewarding if it’s executed with the right intentions. With a little teamwork, willingness to compromise and sensitivity, you can ensure that you get off to the best possible start in your new life together.


3 Pieces of Advice for Teenagers Transitioning into Adulthood

The transition from teenager to adult can be a challenge. Taking on the extra responsibility that comes with being an adult can be overwhelming for teens who aren't prepared. It can be helpful to provide teens with some basic information on dealing with everyday challenges that are common for adults.

Be Financially Responsible

When some teens and young adults begin getting paychecks of their own, they often make unwise spending decisions. It's important to help them make good choices when it comes to spending their money. Creating a budget that includes all their bills and necessary payments can help teens realize how much money they have left over for spending on those extras that fall into the "want" category. It may be helpful to introduce them to a budgeting app where they can easily put in the amount they have to spend each month and compare it to all their expenses. These technological tools can be extremely helpful to those new to budgeting their finances.

Plan for the Future

One of the most important lessons teens can learn is how to take care of their financial situation for the present and the future. Many young adults don't consider planning for the future to be as important as spending their money in the present. It's important to let teens know that one of the biggest financial mistakes is putting off enrolling in your employer's 401(k) due to the potential money you lose every year. Having a feasible savings plan will help set teens up for future success.

Be Wary of Credit Cards

College students and young adults in general are one of the most targeted groups when it comes to pre-approved credit offers. It's important to provide teens with information on how to build good credit without getting into debt using credit cards. Establishing credit through paying bills on time and possibly having one low-interest credit card that is paid off each month can also help with future finances.

Becoming an adult is a huge deal, the amount of responsibility that comes with it comes suddenly and can be difficult to deal with. Learning to navigate the world of adulthood can overwhelm teens who aren't prepared. By providing them with some basic information on ways to plan for their future and prevent many common financial issues, you help them start out on the right foot. Learning to save, budget, and make responsible spending choices can help teens prepare themselves for a successful financial future.


What Can Parents Do to Help Teens Have a Healthy Relationship with Technology

Technological achievements have helped improve life in so many ways. Personal electronics like smartphones, computers, and internet platforms like email and social media have opened up communication around the world. They have also given people from many different backgrounds access to resources they wouldn't have been able to find in their local regions even a decade ago. Teenagers today have far more access to information, good and bad, than their parents did just a few decades ago.

These technologies have forced teens and their parents to confront many new challenges to their health and safety. A lot of parents struggle to stay up-to-date with ever-changing advancements and obstacles in their children's paths. That said, you can make certain that your teen understands the negative impact that technology can have on their health and life and how inappropriate online behaviors can haunt them into adulthood. To start teaching your teen today, consider following the steps outlined in this short guide.

Discuss Health Risks

Teens are highly susceptible to technology addiction. According to a variety of studies, teens have extreme difficulty putting away their portable devices and stepping away from entertainment systems like TVs and game consoles. They constantly feel a drive to check their text and instant messages and social media accounts and escape reality through games and other avenues. If they stop using these devices, they can feel withdrawal just like an alcohol or drug addict. Non-stop stimulation from so many online sources can also cause attention and focusing problems. In fact, this type of over-stimulation can result in children multi-tasking so much that focusing for any length of time on a single task can cause them to feel irritation, impatience, and anxiety, leading them to lash out.

Light from electronics also disrupts the natural human sleep cycle. The resulting non-restful sleep can cause attention- and mood-related problems. Any type of disruption to a child's health can also cause them to have a poor relationship with food that leads to excessive weight loss or gain. In addition, their relationships can suffer as they pull away from the offline world to exist primarily in the virtual one. Worse yet, a lot of modern technologies contain toxic materials that can damage your child's immune and nervous systems. Also, time spent indoors all of the time can adversely affect their vitamin D absorption and cause cognitive problems.

Print out materials related to all of these health effects and then sit down with your teen and explain how unrestrained use of technology might prevent them from one day pursuing their dreams or shorten their lifespan.

Limit Technology Usage

The boundaries that you create through rules and lessons can protect your child from future technology addiction that can lead to serious consequences later in life such as distracted driving. According to this car accident lawyer, increased driver distractions is a leading contributor to serious auto accidents. More and more teens are driving while playing with their technological devices so be sure to apply those limits and boundaries to the car as well as to their time at home. Your teen won't automatically accept what you have to say about their relationship with technology. Most teens see their parents as out-of-touch people who don't understand how much they need their tech to get through their day. You must show your child that their technology is not an absolutely necessary part of every moment of their life.

To start out, prevent your children from having any access to glowing screens at least four hours before their bedtime. Give them chores and hobbies that aren't screen-based to distract them from the loss of screen time. Keep in mind that they might experience severe withdrawal initially. You must plan accordingly by weaning them off their tech gradually. Limit their time on a phone or computer to one hour at any given time, then 45 minutes and eventually 30 minutes. This will help teach them that the instant elements of internet technologies don't accurately reflect the speed of daily offline life.

If you need a more concrete limitation, try to establish a sort of iPhone lock screen time where your teen is required to do other things for a certain amount of time. Make sure you are there to enforce this period of time.Focus all of your actions on cultivating an idea in their mind that modern technologies don't exist primarily to provide non-stop entertainment or create addiction, but instead their purpose is to make life easier and simpler.

Show Reputation Damage

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Teenagers often make mistakes and have poor impulse control because their brains haven't yet reached the development stage required to make good decisions all of the time. Some teens believe that they can get away with inappropriate behaviors like excessively drinking, reckless driving, and performing outrageous stunts. Some simply act out of impulse and then regret it later. Microphones and cameras in their personal electronics, along with numerous programs designed to copy and store everything uploaded to the internet, have resulted in permanent records of these mistakes.

With a simple keyword search online, you can find countless examples of teenage antics harming the reputations of college students and working adults. Bookmark online pages that outline some of these examples; then, show your teen why they need to be more careful with their offline and online actions. Discuss with them methods for reducing risk. For example, create a list that outlines risky and inappropriate behaviors, such as their uploading or allowing someone they know to upload compromising pictures or videos, so that they have a reminder to guide them. Emphasize firmly that they need to think before they speak everywhere, especially while on social media. If they have difficulty controlling online outbursts, block them from using their social media accounts. If they lash out at you, confiscate their tech and keep trying to help them to understand that their statements as a teen might actually cause them serious losses as an adult and possibly even legal troubles.

Cover Security Concerns

Lastly, every parent should discuss the other types of safety risks caused by online technology. Create a secondary reminder list that outlines all of these dangers, the steps your teen needs to follow for protection, and instruction to report various incidents. For example, show them how to use password generators to update their account passwords on a regular basis. Talk with them about identity theft. Do more than say that a thief can create a false identity. Walk them through slowly all of the steps that you and they would have to take to report the theft to credit bureaus, police, governmental agencies and any companies pulled into fraud by someone using their name and to prevent additional events. Show them the steps they can take today to protect their data. Additionally, go over the many ways that bullies, predators, and stalkers use modern technologies to target teens and adults. Help them to understand how they should respond if someone targets them.

Your teen can have a healthy relationship with technology. They merely need you to show them the way. Since teens can have difficulty focusing, especially if overwhelmed with information, break up these topics into separate one-on-one discussions every week. Before a new discussion, quickly cover the previous week's topic highlights, go over any questions and then cover the next topic. This type of effort reinforces that you're focused on their health and well-being and that you're available to answer questions and help them. And if you feel a bit overwhelmed? That’s normal, and there are plenty of resources available for help.