Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters


Group settings can provide its members the reassurance that they are not alone with whatever problems they are facing, but most importantly they serve as platform of hope and socialization where it’s members can learn from one another. This essay will discuss the observation of two groups in the Tampa, Florida area that covered issues related to dealing with Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use Disorders. After observing both groups, this writer will share the insights gained from attending a process group surrounded on the subject of dealing with Depressive Disorders alone and an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) group meeting held in a home group. Throughout this essay, the writer will also incorporate the developmental issues that the young, middle, and older female and male adults in these groups presented themselves with and any abnormal behaviors that were noted for further discussion. It is with hope that this essay will provide the reader some new insight on how different therapeutic groups can vary within a humanistic and developmental outlook.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

Groups Observed

In the process of observing two groups appropriate to the field of Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Disorders, this writer attended two groups that consisted of about half an hour each. The first one this writer visited was located inside a local Baker Act Facility in Tampa open twenty-four hours seven days a week. Inside the facility, there is an inpatient unit with a West wing and an East wing, that keeps patients locked indoor with minimum rights temporality until a psychiatrist discharges them for no longer meeting inpatient criteria. On the West wing, at about 10:00 a.m., this writer observed the group therapist gathering the patients towards the common area for the initiation of the group titled “Dealing with Depression”. It is important to note, that on the West wing there is a total of about 30 patients, and out of the 30 patients that morning, only 12 of them decided to participate in the group therapy and sat in a circle, the rest were engaging in other activities by the hallways or in their rooms under supervision. The ages of those 12 participants of the group ranged from 20-57 years old, with the median of those ages being around 40 years old on average.

In in the initiation of the group, the group therapist informed the patients that she would be conducting what is known as a process group, a freer flowing type of therapy without a schedule of activities planned. The group therapist began the “Dealing with Depression” group by first introducing herself and reading a powerful quote on resilience that most patients agreed on. Soon after her introduction, the group therapist mentioned some basic rules to the group, such as no cursing or name calling, no speaking when someone else is sharing, and lastly, she gave the patients the freedom to walk in and out of the group when needed.

There was an icebreaker given to the patients in which the instructions were to provide their name and to say out loud what was bringing them down lately. It was interesting to observe the dynamics of this icebreaker because the patients all passed along a colorful beach ball which seemed to keep them engaged and focused as well. This icebreaker in essence, helped build universality, allowing the patients to build trust and communication by self-disclosure, a very important factor in group therapy (Corey & Corey, 2016). The therapist and the patients then engaged in back and forth conversations after being asked “What do you do to relax?”, which led to them narrowing together as a group some healthy and non-healthy coping mechanism. Every so often the group therapist would intervene, but it seemed like the patients were the ones to carry out the group through reflecting and sharing of their own insights with other patients in the group.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

Towards the end of the group, there were only 10 patients still participating since two of them walked away due to their altered mental status at the time. At the end of the group’s half hour session, the patients were asked to write on a piece of paper one goal that they wanted to accomplish by the end of the year and then to place it inside a cardboard box in the middle of the room. The group therapist then handed the anonymous papers to different individuals and as a group read out loud the responses; some of those goals surrounded themselves on being more stable, getting back on the proper medication, fixing relationships, and improving their depression symptoms overall. By the end of observing this particular group, this writer could see a change in the demeanor of the patients who had participated-as if they had gained more hope and content feelings compared to when they had started the group session.




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The second group observed in the Tampa area was an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) group meeting held inside a small local church. The 20 participants of this group consisted of a much older population although there were a few young adults too, their ages ranged from 20-55 years old, with the median of ages being 40 years old on average. The facilitation of the Alcoholic Anonymous group was in some ways far different from the one observed inside the Baker Act facility. The participants were all surrounded in an open access room sitting in chairs in the form of a circle, and the setting was very quiet. There were some windows looking out the streets, a table with a Keurig coffee machine and cups, and the participants were wearing normal day clothes compared to the patients inside the Baker Act facility, where most wore medical gowns. The Alcoholic Anonymous meeting started with a brief introduction of the speaker and his story of battling with Alcohol addiction for 20 years.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

After informing the members of who he was and what Alcoholic Anonymous is and what it requires of its members, also known as the preamble, the twelve steps of the program were read out loud by someone else. This writer found it interesting to observe how the main speaker reminded the members that believing in a Higher Power did not necessarily mean they were religiously affiliated and that the members had the freedom to decide who that Higher Power was, as long as the love for them was stronger than their addiction. After that, another member read a passage from the Big Book and some events were announced. In the span of about fifteen minutes later, some of the participants shared their personal stories, introduced themselves, and talked about recent experiences to others in light to provide a sense of hope that saying ‘no’ to one drink can go a far way. Lastly, the Alcoholic Anonymous group ended with what is known as Serenity Prayer and members held hands, some hugged, and some started conversations at the side.

Normal Developmental Issues

For starters, research has demonstrated that the normal developmental issues that are faced within the younger to older adult population vary immensely in the lifespan. When taking into consideration the various ages observed in these two groups, there are what is considered standard physical, cognitive, emotional, and social issues. As mentioned above, at the Baker Act facility, there were 12 participants in the group that ages ranged from 20-57 years old, with the median of those ages being around 40 years old on average, where as at the Alcoholic Anonymous meeting, the 20 participants in this group consisted of a much older population whose ages ranged from 20-55 years old, with the median of ages being 40 years old on average too. Since the median or average of the ages observed for these groups lands somewhere in the 40’s, this writer will discuss the normal and expected developmental issues faced in middle adulthood.

Middle adulthood is the age group that chronologically begins somewhere between 40 and 45 years old, and for many it is the period of time where drastic physical and social changes can occur (Santrock, 2017). Some of the physical changes that are considered normal include the appearance of wrinkles on the face and arms, grey, or as some like to refer as “wisdom hair” growth, loss of muscle tone, brittle nails, and even vision or hearing loss. Among those visible physical changes in this age group, middle aged adults can face other changes such as a major decline in overall health, including heart disease, irregular cholesterol levels, low lung functioning, unhealthy sleeping patterns, and even chronic diseases like Cancer or Arthritis from arising (Santrock, 2017). Due to high levels of stress that this age group experience, it is vital to recognize that stress due to finances or relationships can be correlated to low physical health too. From a cognitive standpoint, middle aged adults also often face a decline in the speed of processing incoming information in the brain, which tends to affect their memory performance. In middle adulthood, individuals are faced with sometimes life extreme choices such as career changes, growing families, health concerns, and even finding the meaning of life as their own families expand. Individuals in this age group can essentially find themselves needing a sense of purpose in their lives through spirituality or religious views that provide healthy coping skills for them.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

The Developmental Issues Observed

Through the observation of both groups and their unique populations, this writer noted several physical, cognitive, social, and emotional behaviors that set each age group apart. The Alcoholic Anonymous group members were mostly an older population compared to the one at the Baker Act Facility, and its members seemed to be more collected, mature in emotion, and showing some physical appearances of aging such as wrinkles, slower body movements, and even greying hair. Young adults in the group made a small portion of the group population, yet this writer will discuss some of the observations made regarding them. The young adulthood population is considered to range from the age of 18 to age 25, in where individuals can become creative and start facing financial responsibilities too (Santrock,2017). In the “Dealing with Depression” group, a couple of the 20-year-old patients mentioned in the icebreaker how finances and creating independence were things that were bringing them down. lately.

Abnormal Behaviors

This writer was able to note down some unusual and abnormal behaviors in accordance to the observation of these groups. For instance, in the Baker Act Facility, there are patients who suffer from other mental health disorders other than Depression, such as Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and other Psychotic disorders. The “Dealing with Depression” group had initially started with 12 patients participating in the process group, but by the end of the group, two individuals had to step out due to an altered mental status. These two individuals were presenting with auditory and visual hallucinations that were becoming disturbing to themselves and others due to their Psychotic disorder. This writer could observe that these individuals were feeling uncomfortable and insecure in this environment. It’s vital to remember, that symptoms of Depression can be common symptoms to individuals who suffer from Schizophrenia and delusional beliefs about themselves and others being against them (Vorontsova, Garety, & Freeman, 2013).This writer recommends that the appropriate adjustments for group therapy are done to help those with this kind of condition in the future, perhaps through the use of group therapy for other mental disorders other than Depression. This writer also suggests that these individuals receive referrals for individuals’ therapy while in the inpatient unit.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters

Developmental Crisis and Psychopathology

Among the common population of individuals observed, those in their middle adulthood ages, the most shared developmental crises faced include the mid-life crisis, erectile dysfunction, menopause, and just finding self-confidence all over again for some. The chances of individual’s experiencing a mental health disorder or an addiction to Alcohol, solely relies on other factors than just age itself. For instances, there are situational, and environmental factors that can affect the likelihood of such crisis. This writer observed how homelessness played a huge role in the chances of having a mental disorder. In the Baker Act Facility, the patients who participated in the group therapy shared how they had recently become homeless and how they were interested in finding better solutions and a safer home environment. Mental health disorders and substance use disorders are much more common among individuals who are homeless in the United States and helping them with housing solutions has been shown to help them improve significantly (Urbanoski et al., 2018).


After observing the two groups, this writer has compiled a list of referrals that include individual, group and community resources for those who have an Alcohol addiction or a mental health disorder like Depression. Housing programs for the homeless have been shown to help as a form of intervention by providing stability and community function (Gentil et al., 2019). The following are sites recommened for follow up: Gracepoint Adult Outpatient After Care Program, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Salvation Army Family Services, SMART Recovery and the ACTS Adult Programs.Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters


The post Groups as Reassurance for Mental Health for Youngsters appeared first on Nursingfy.

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