One of the many family services we offer at Paradigm San Francisco is our Multi-Family Group Therapy sessions, which are a supplement to our individual family therapy sessions. Our Multi-Family Group Therapy sessions are a time in which a group of teens and their visiting parents and family members gather together for a therapy group, usually led by two of our lead therapists. Whereas our individual family therapy sessions are dedicated time for teens and families to work through and address specific dynamics and issues in their family, our multi-family group therapy sessions are a time in which teens and family members can broaden their perspective and understanding of the treatment process. Our Multi-Family Groups are often very useful to teens and families, in helping them to gain insight, encouragement, and support.
One of the benefits of our Multi-Family Groups is families are often able to learn from hearing from other families that are going through similar struggles. Because of the increased distance, it can be easier for teens and parents to have perspective on struggles that are outside of their own lives, and this often then can help them gain insight into their own treatment, as well.
Because teens and family members get to hear new thoughts, feelings, and experiences from other families that are both similar and different from their own, the groups tend to organically create a wonderful atmosphere of kindness, empathy, understanding, and support. Our multi-family group therapy sessions tend to be extremely valuable for parents and family members in gaining a sense of community and support, throughout a time that can feel so isolating. Often the struggles that precede and make up a teen’s treatment process are very challenging and stressful for everyone in the family. It’s common for parents to feel misunderstood, judged, or simply alone, within this tough time. Similar feelings of isolation and fear of judgment can be common for siblings. Though of course each teen and family have their own unique experiences through mental health and behavioral health journeys, many experiences overlap and it can be incredibly powerful and healing for families to come together and support each other, throughout this time.
The Multi-Family Therapy group sessions are conducted similarly to individual family groups, except that the topics will be less specific to the individual family. While the teens here will be experiencing numerous forms of group therapy sessions, it can take time for family members to adjust and become comfortable sharing openly, in this context. It can sometimes feel intimidating and exposing to speak openly about struggles that are so intimate. However, our therapists are highly skilled in helping to create an environment in which family members can learn how to participate in a manner that helps them to feel valued and supported. At the same time, getting to hear from other parents and family members that really know what their struggles like is often so powerful that it motivates everyone to want to engage.
Lastly, we also find that our Multi-Family group therapy sessions are beneficial in helping teens and families to continue gaining compassion and kindness for different people who are going through different struggles. Sometimes, hearing others speak openly about their particular experiences can inspire within us a new source of patience, inspiration, and even hope.