Family Centre Helps Girls Overcome Anxiety

July 6, 2022

Rishèe Paschal Bermuda July 2022A therapy group set up by the Family Centre has helped local teenage girls overcome anxiety and low self-esteem.

The Girls Group, which was held on Thursdays from May 12 to June 23, taught girls aged 12 to 15 how to build a “coping toolbox” and increase their skills in self-expression and assertiveness.

Rishèe Paschal, the Family Centre counselling team leader, said the Girls Group provided a positive support network for participants.

“A lot of our groups start with referrals,” Ms Paschal told Bernews. “We found that about 20 per cent of referrals for our services were related to symptoms of diagnosable criteria.

“One of those symptoms was anxiety. We looked at the girls we currently have in our services and saw we had enough to place in a group to provide support.

“Group therapy is a great way to get the girls together and feel connected, heard, understood and supported. That’s what makes group support so beautiful.

“When girls are dealing with anxiety or low self-esteem, they tend to think they’re the only ones coping or having this challenge.”

Ms Paschal said counsellors shared several techniques with the girls to help improve their anxiety and low self-esteem and encouraged them to focus on their strengths.

“We provide several interventions,” she said. “We have conversations and use various art activities, which bring [their problems] to life and give them the space and time to have independence and make something just for them without being worried about judgement from offers.

Girls Group Bermuda July 2022 (1)

“We also make sure we do some experiential work as well. We want some of the activities to have a small level of anxiety so the girls can work through them.

“We play games and ask them to go to the board and write down what they love about themselves today. That allows them to work through their anxiety, standing up in front of everyone, and allows us to address the topic at hand.”

Skills and techniques taught during the Girls Group will continue to benefit the participants throughout their adolescence and adulthood, according to Ms Paschal.

“Self-esteem is a skill that increases during adolescence and continues to increase into adulthood,” she added.

“When the girls are in the group, they learn how to manage their anxiety, not just for their current situations but any situation they may find themselves in.

Girls Group Bermuda July 2022 (2)

“These are skills for life because they learn about the connection between their thoughts and emotions. They have the coping skills to meet those needs and regulate themselves.”

Ms Paschal said she was delighted with the signs of progress shown by the girls during the free sessions at the Sunshine League House on King Street.

“We provide them with an assessment at the start and at the end of the group programme,” she said.

“We saw that the girls were able to rate themselves higher after completing the sessions than initially. One hundred per cent of our last cohort accomplished their goals.

“If the need is there, the Girls Group is something we would love to bring back.”

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    I applaud the initiative and hope that the resources become available to expand beyond the 12 to 15 year old age group