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A psycho-educational group therapy is one of the psychological interventions instituted for people having certain degrees of psychological crisis or people who are at a risk of the same in the future. It is commonly instituted for people undergoing tuition where their instructors feel that they are handling a psychosomatic predicament.
According to Forsyth, one of the functions of a psycho-educational group therapy is to make the participants aware of their condition, teach them about it, and prevent the symptoms of the condition from recurring in the individual again (2014, p. 34).
The main theory applied is that, by meeting people with similar conditions, the participants are able to share and enlighten themselves and at the same time alleviate the feeling of being alone (Forsyth, 2014, p. 34). One condition that is often treated and prevented with this form of therapy is the occurrence of postpartum depression in new teenage mothers because of the new life changes.
The arguments made in the paper are based on a discussion I held with Rachel Caster who is the leader of Teen Mothers Forum Organization (TMFO). The discussion we held as tabled in the paper describes a possible psycho-educational group for the new teen mothers that can offer support and education to help them with their new life changes and to help them identify warning signs for possible postpartum depression.
Targeted audience and choice of the audience
As stated above, the targeted audiences for the psycho-educational group therapy are new teenage mothers who were selected based on a number of reasons, with the main one being the high prevalence of post-partum depression among this age group of mothers.
According to Devine, Bove, and Olson, “The transition to motherhood is a pivotal time of psychological, developmental, and biological change in a mother’s life” (2000, p. 579). Caster pointed out how new mothers are often faced with a number of psychological stressors such as physical exhaustion, role restriction, financial problems, social isolation, and depressive symptoms as well as confusion (Reis, 1989, p.146: Reis, 1988, p. 541).
According to her, mothers’ experience with these stressors decreases with the number of pregnancies and primigravidas with no prior experience process of the highest risk of the post-partum depression and associated stressors.
Based on their age and experience, teenage mothers therefore are at the greatest risk of developing the postpartum depression as compared to other mothers of higher ages. True to this observation, the number of teenage mothers with post-partum depression is high. The apparent large number of teenage pregnancies all over the world has not assisted this situation.
Teenage mothers were therefore chosen on this basis. Caster also recognized psycho-educational group therapy as one of the therapies that have the potential to prevent the post-partum depression associated with the new teenage mothers or any other category of mothers (Jacobs, Harvill, & Masson, 2012, p. 34).
Research as evidenced, “one out of four adult women in the postpartum period experiences some form of emotional distress” (Alexander & Higgins, 1993: Hopkins, Marcus, & Campbell, 1984: Pierce, Strauman, & Vandell, 1999). To help the mothers live their normal life, psycho-educational group therapy according to Caster would have an apparent effect on the psychological stress thus helping them to cope with the problem.
Time and Place of Sessions
The meetings of the psycho-educational class are scheduled for weekdays. This schedule is strategic since its timing is convenient for most of these mothers. The meetings are held once in a week for about 4 to 8 weeks as stipulated by Jacobs, Harvill, and Masson (2012, p. 34).
The standard group therapy as Kreeger states runs for between two and eight weeks, with the meetings being scheduled for once in a week at a time that is convenient to the participants (1994, p.13). In the case of teenage mothers, as revealed by Caster, the afternoons and evenings are appropriate because most of them have other activities such as school that they need to attend during other hours.
It also allows them to carry out other activities. In the proposed psycho-educational intervention for the teenage mothers, four sessions will be conducted. The setting of the group therapy meetings was set through the help of a group leader under the guidance of Caster who is an experienced therapist in the field of teen mothers.
As Kreeger states, “each psycho-education group therapy meeting is facilitated by a group leader such as a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist” (1994, p.13). In this particular group, the leader is a licensed psychologist dealing with teenage psychology, with a group of teenage students under his care. Once approached after the constitution of the group, the sharing of the group’s objective took place.
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The next agreement to be made was on the venue of the meetings, the frequency of the group meetings, and the time of the meetings. The venue would be a class in the local school where most of the teenagers attend. The other agreement that was reached was in the rules of the group therapy.
These included the standard rules such as no sharing of information from the group therapy outside the class (Forsyth, 2014, p. 34). The participants were also required not to engage in socialization outside the group setting. This decision was made to enable them be more open to discuss sensitive issues.
Adjustment of Weekly Psycho-educational Preliminary Tasks
Several adjustments to the weekly psycho-educational tasks will be made. In the first week and session, introductions will be made with the participants getting a chance to know each other and their leaders. They will also be introduced to the condition under discussion besides being allowed to contribute in the discussion of their experiences.
The participants will also be allowed to state whether they have ever experienced the problem and or how they dealt with it at the time. After the first week and the day is over, the participants will be given several tasks to undertake such as play roles, which will help in the simulation of the factors leading to teenage pregnancy and depression.
In the next couple of sessions, the leader will take the participants through sessions where they participate in encouraging one another and providing solutions to some of the problems that they may encounter. These sessions will be organized in topics with the first topic being how teenage pregnancy affects mothers at this age.
The next topic will be on the ways that the teenagers can avoid teenage pregnancy and a discussion of some of the factors leading to teenage pregnancy.
Some of the next sessions to be tackled include how to deal with the effects of teenage pregnancy, how to take care of a newborn child, dealing with social issues, and how to become independent and continue living after the pregnancy. These sessions are aimed at first making the participants secure and able to share and then allow them to tackle the problem.
In our discussion, Caster confirmed that any group therapy being successful here must be a means of getting the participants and other interested parties to know of its existence (Pond, & Kemp, 1992, p. 17). The participants and other individuals who wish to contact me should also have an easy and reliable way of accomplishing this task in a way they feel is secure.
In the advertisement strategies, a number of methods will be utilized including fliers, emails, and making of phone calls. In the advertisement campaigns, the best way of attracting the teenage mothers as utilized in this particular group therapy is the use of fliers.
These were prepared with the message of the importance of having a group session if one is a teenage mother, as there are risks for postpartum depression in the mothers of this age group.
The distribution of the fliers was also strategic, with the main places being in the learning institutions and entertainment spots as well as worship places where the teenagers are thought to be available most of the times. In the fliers, contact information will be provided where the interested parties can contact the leader. These include the provision of email addresses and phone numbers.
The next strategy that will be utilized is the formulation of emails and special text messages that will be sent out to teenagers and teenage mothers at risk. The strategy will contain information about the group, the relevant meeting place, time, and the contacts that they can use to reach the leader.
The formulation of a psycho-educational group therapy is important for teenage mothers and people at risk of developing psychiatric disorders.
This conclusion was evidenced by the discussion I held with Caster who is a chief therapist and the leader of TMFO. In the discussion, a plan for the psycho-educational preliminary tasks has been made. The target audience has been identified and the process of forming the group and initiating therapy discussed.
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