High school students are in a complicated stage of life, characterized by emotional ups and downs, complex friendship issues and physical changes. Group counseling activities offer teenagers opportunities to learn methods for handling this tricky time of life. Groups usually consist of several students of a similar age who may be dealing with similar problems. Counseling activities offer them a chance to relate to each other and recognize their similarities.
Role-playing is an effective way to address numerous types of issues that arise in high school. For example, one or more students could pretend to harass another based on a bullying scenario the counselor has presented. A few other students in the group could act as the audience. The counselor would stop the action to ask questions and stimulate discussion. Students could then talk about strategies for handling or preventing such an encounter, even if they find themselves as mere witnesses to such a situation. StopBullying.gov explains that role-playing helps children think through their responses to bullying in a nonthreatening environment so that they will be better prepared to react if a real incident occurs. Other scenes might involve cheating on schoolwork, lying to parents or peer pressure around drugs and alcohol.
Sometimes emotions run deep during adolescence, and children may have trouble knowing how to manage anger and frustration. Activities like journal writing, breathing exercises or even group discussion can help teens develop techniques for managing tough emotions. Students may feel comfortable discussing their feelings openly with each other, or they might prefer writing about issues and then volunteering to share. Another anger-management technique that could be used in a counseling group is physical exercise like yoga or stretching. Yoga is a practice that helps with focusing and connecting mind, body and spirit, according to the Teaching Tolerance article, "Yoga in Public Schools." It can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and ease depression symptoms.
Learning how to resolve conflicts is an important part of growing up. Counselors could lead high school students in activities that arm them with methods for solving disagreements with friends or family members. For instance, the counselor could present an argument between two friends, and students could contribute suggestions as to how the friends could solve it. A solution might include compromise. TeensHealth also offers the example of pausing before acting when you feel a strong emotion. Students could practice writing letters of apology. Sometimes children need ideas for structuring such letters and coming up with the right language to use. Students could also learn how to be fair while explaining sides of a story during conflict resolution. For instance, a timer could be used to ensure equal talking time.
Art activities help teens express themselves in a nonthreatening way. Counselors could develop art projects that can be created individually or as a group. The whole group could make a mural related to teen dating, teen violence or eating disorders. The counselor could also present a topic such as parents, siblings or body image and ask students to draw what comes to mind. Projects could be private or shared with the group. According to a "Western Journal of Medicine" article titled, "Art Therapy with Adolescents," art therapy combined with dialogue can help young people find successful resolution to their difficulties.
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