The group of girls gabbed gregariously. There were pumpkin shaped sugar cookies and some popcorn (hint: if you want students to show up to something, feed them. Same goes for teachers) and in many ways the conversation could have taken place in any group of high school girls. Except that it wasn’t. This is the group for girls with anxiety. So, though today’s topics included venting sessions about tough teachers and finding a guy- no, wait, a TALL guy- to take to the semi, there is an openness about the way these girls interpret and feel about the everyday chaos of high school.
I was first introduced to this group by the school psychologist who had led it last year. Many of the same students would be returning, she explained, and generally it was expected that the confidentiality of group would allow these girls to talk about their problems with others who could truly sympathize and strategize with them. The initial group was interesting, loud, and very superficial. I wondered at the lack of structure or goals to the sessions. And decided to wait. Waiting is the hardest and can be one of the most valuable tools in counseling.
Today’s group, through the fistfuls of cheddar coated popcorn, was still loud. But the body postures around the room began to relax. Topics stayed the same, but the girls vocalized their feelings, and their fears about resolving the concerns at hand.
Score one more for waiting.