Pressure at school, drama with friends, over-scheduled and under-slept, parents, social media, wondering about the future.......if your teen is stressed, this may be a great group to be a part of.

Being a teen is hard and this age group is arguably more stressed than ever before.

The group that is now forming will be a safe space for teens to learn new ways to manage anxiety, build self- confidence, learn coping skills, and develop healthy relationships.

The group will begin this month (Feb. 2019) for $35 per person per session and meet on Thursdays at 5:30pm at NJ Center for the Healing Arts (248 Broad St.).

The Teen Anxiety Group will be facilitated by Kristy Mathews, MS, LAC, NCC and the group sessions are being held at the NJ Center for the Healing Arts. The co-facilitator for the group will be Parker Hilton, LPC Intern.

If you think that your teen has such anxiety that he or she would be resistant to trying this group, here's some advice from Kristy Mathews, who says she absolutely loves working with adolescents and young adults::

1. Meet the Therapist. Something that tends to help teens with anxiety is knowing the group facilitator first, so I’ll often recommend at least one individual session prior to starting the group. During this one session, I’ll focus on building a relationship and helping the client feel comfortable, which typically helps with the transition into a group experience.
2. Offer Options. As a parent of a teen, you likely often find yourself trying to find a delicate balance between setting rules and respecting their wishes. It’s important to offer options in regards to mental health treatment for your adolescent or young adult, while also requiring that the issues be addressed. This may mean offering the choice between individual therapy, several different types of groups, or some form of therapeutic activity which could mean yoga, meditation, exercise, or a new hobby.
3. Do your own work. Be the change you wish to see! There are always new things you can learn about how to attend to your child’s needs and parenting books often won’t tailor their suggestions to your specific child’s needs. Find a therapist that specializes in working with children and families, for yourself to attend parenting-focused sessions. Learn how to respond to your child’s emotional experience in a way that is effective and received well by your child.

Pre-registration is required for the teen anxiety group. Call 732-747-2944. A 6-week commitment is required. Anticipated start date is Feb. 28th.

Some insurances will cover group therapy, or ask about sliding scale rates if in need of financial assistance.

So how do you know if your teen would be a good candidate for this group? Here are some signs that your teen might be under a lot of stress or suffering from anxiety include:

-- Withdrawing from peers and/or activities

-- Excessive worrying

-- Spending more time alone or online

-- Avoidance

-- Unexplained outbursts

-- Difficulty concentrating

-- Changes in eating habits

-- Excessive fatigue

-- Unexplained physical symptoms

-- Changes in sleep habits

And if you're worried that your teen is too anxious to attend a new group that could potentially help them, pitch it as a “hang out” for teens that feel similarly to them, says Kristy.

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