Katie, (name has been changed), is a 14 year old girl who has a distant relationship with her father, and a mother who works evenings and weekends. She began experimenting with drugs when she was 13. She uses marijuana almost every day and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it. She has been in a series of relationships with boys and admits she is desperate for male attention. She says she doesn’t care about her relationship with her father. “I don’t see him much anymore. It really doesn’t bother
me.” While Katie was processing in group she was telling the girls about how an ex boyfriend and his girlfriend were mean to her and how betrayed she felt. “We were so close. Now he treats me like I never mattered to him.” Katie was getting tearful. Some of the girls were trying to make her feel better. I stopped them and led the girls in helping her stay in her feelings. We let her vent and her crying escalated. “This reminds me of how I was daddy’s little girl and all of a sudden when I got older he didn’t love me anymore. Now I think I know why I use marijuana, there’s such an empty space inside of me”, Katie sobbed. This was the beginning of change for Katie.
You might be thinking that Katie’s problem is obvious. I knew her unresolved relationship with her father was her issue. The girls knew too, as she had been in therapy for several months. Until now Katie didn’t know how much her estranged relationship with her father affected her. Now the real work can begin. She is ready to look at her behaviors as she continues to process her feelings. I share this story with you because this was the break through moment that we therapists wait for and celebrate when it happens. Katie trusted the group. They allowed her to have her feelings. They gave feedback and support. She felt safe and felt that she wasn’t alone. It was a powerful moment for her and for the whole group.
“The Girls Group” has helped many girls process through their issues and come to a
clearer sense of self and higher self-esteem. Please remember me when you have someone in your practice who could benefit from the group process. There are very few ongoing adolescent therapy groups in the Metroplex. I work with adolescents and adults and would welcome and appreciate your referrals. I will update you on Katie’s progress in my next letter. Until then please call me if I can help you in any way.