The Center for Professional Development


Group Work with Adolescents

(See also Group Work with Children)


Adolescent Group Psychotherapy: Clinical Potentials and Dilemmas
Saturday, March 23, 2013
3 CEUs - 3 Act 48 credits

Prerequisite: Completion of one of the following: 1) graduate level coursework in the general principles and foundation for group psychotherapy or group counseling (ex. Bryn Mawr’s Contemporary Group Psychotherapy Certificate program); 2) a course in group treatment in graduate school; or 3) permission of the instructor.

This workshop will focus on some of the clinical opportunities, as well as challenges and dilemmas, encountered in contemporary therapy groups with teens. Specific focus will be on how to manage and work with particular problem areas often encountered in adolescent groups, including aggression and resistance, drug and alcohol use, sexual behaviors, and the ubiquitous presence of the “new media” .  A didactic presentation highlighting both difficult clinical situations as well as opportunities to enhance the group connectivity will provide a conceptual framework to guide the subsequent discussion. Small group problem-solving exercises using examples of the issues introduced, and a discussion period to expand upon the issues presented, allowing participants to explore their own clinical vignettes, will conclude the workshop. Diversity will be discussed in terms of group composition and how greater diversity maximizes the therapeutic process.  Participants will also discuss how diversity issues can be managed to help the development of group cohesion.  Upon completion of the course participants are able to: 1) distinguish those aspects of working with adolescents that lead to the therapists trilemma; 2) explain the measures group clinicians can take to maximize group cohesion and to facilitate a therapeutic group process with adolescents; 3) describe the impact of new media engagement on the process of adolescent group psychotherapy, and how to work with these issues clinically; and 4) identify the practice dilemmas they personally encounter in their work with adolescent groups. This workshop is appropriate for all levels of post-master’s degree practitioners in private practice, outpatient clinics, hospital settings, schools, and residential treatment facilities.
Thomas K. Hurster MSS, LCSW CGP, FAGPA, is an adjunct faculty member at Bryn Mawr College GSSSWSR where he teaches Group Treatment and other courses.  He is a Supervisor of Child and Family Support Services at Benchmark School in Media, PA, and is in private practice.  With over 30 years of group experience, he currently conducts two co-ed open-ended private practice psychotherapy groups for high school aged youth, three school based children’s groups, and a parent group.  He is co-chair of the Child and Adolescent Special Interest Group of the AGPA, and on the board of the Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society.