Young men face issues that are unique to their gender and age group. Group therapy for young men in addiction treatment is useful in addressing a number of these matters that affect mental and physical well-being. Difficulties with peers, school or employment challenges, family problems, trauma and drug or alcohol abuse are all problems that can arise in young men’s lives. Let’s take a closer look at how group therapy gets to the root of many issues by addressing gender-specific concerns and emotional expression.
Group Therapy for Young Men Addresses Gender-Specific Concerns
Since men are often discouraged from showing emotions such as helplessness, fear or sensitivity, they may worry that expressing any of these will lead to their peers perceiving them as effeminate. However, bottling up these emotions can lead to other difficulties, such as using substances as an emotional release, and the result is that their mental and physical health are negatively affected. Group therapy gives young men a safe environment to express their emotions without judgement.
Emotional Expression Through Group Therapy for Young Men
Men sometimes develop substance abuse and mental health disorders for different reasons than women. In these cases, group therapy for young men is more effective, because it’s gender-specific.
The American Psychological Association reports that men are more likely to have substance dependency or mental health conditions that are related to antisocial characteristics, because men more often externalize emotions. On the other hand, women tend to internalize their emotions, so they express them much differently.1
Men’s externalization of emotions can lead to harmful or negative expressions. Antisocial behaviors such as aggressiveness, impulsiveness, coerciveness and noncompliance are some of these unhealthy expressions.
Group therapy for young men addresses men’s reluctance to share personal feelings, their defensive reactions when asked to share emotions and common misconceptions regarding masculinity. When these therapeutic approaches are utilized, young men in therapy are more willing to address their concerns, which can decrease antisocial behaviors.
Men in treatment are then more likely to see positive results from therapy. Therapists help young men explore aspects of normal male behavior that society has either overlooked or encouraged. By exploring these traits in group therapy, participants can become better able to address their feelings, get their needs met and achieve their goals by using healthy behaviors and attitudes.2
Group Therapy Uses Outdoor Activities Young Men Enjoy
At Real Recovery, group therapy for young men incorporates outdoor activities that are designed to encourage communication, insight, trust and personal growth. Using the healing power of the great outdoors, activities such as snowboarding, skiing, swimming and fishing as well as physical exercise and team sports provide a healthy and well-balanced structure.3
Outdoor sports that are team-oriented are especially helpful in building bonds and fostering trust. Young men working together as a team encourages communication as well as physical fitness.
If you’re a young man or know one who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, consider group therapy as a path to healing and a better life and support in the journey of recovery.