00:00:01 Speaker 2
Hello. My name is Brian Frith Smith and I am the office manager, marketing coordinator, secretary
and treasurer of Child and Teen Counseling in Woodland Hills. I wear a lot of hats. Child and
Teen Counseling is a nonprofit 501 C three organization. We are a training site for up and coming
mental health professionals, and we provide therapy and mental health services at an affordable
rate. We focus on kids, teens, and families. However, we also provide services for adults and
couples and families. And another service that we provide is group therapy. And I am here today
to talk to Adriana Navarro Gonzalez, who is next to me. Hi, Adriana.
00:00:48 Speaker 3
Hi, Ryan. How are you?
00:00:50 Speaker 2
Good. And Adriana is one half of the team that hosts, along with Dr. Kat Valentine that hosts
Girls Who Glow, which is our therapy group for teenage girls. Would you say that's a good description.
00:01:05 Speaker 3
Of it, adriana, you're doing wonderful. Yes, it is.
00:01:08 Speaker 2
Oh, thank you. Good. And we started this group we launched this group in March of 2021. Let history
show that for the records. And it is now April. And so I just wanted to check in with Adriana and
find out how the group is going so far. How would you say the group is going so far?
00:01:28 Speaker 3
I think the group is going wonderfully well. We're starting small. We do have a small group of
girls right now, but I think that's perfect for the environment we're in because it is on Zoom.
I know there's some people who would love for it to be in person, but we are still in a pandemic,
so it's on Zoom. So I think having a small group has been a great opportunity for the girls. We
do have to connect with one another and start building a relationship, and we're really hoping
to grow it and have all the girls join. But for now, we're starting off small.
00:02:04 Speaker 2
Do you think that having it on Zoom for someone, a teenager, do you think that maybe in some ways
or for some people, that's an advantage? Like it helps loosen people up a little more and makes
people more comfortable? Or do you think there's just something about in person that is better?
00:02:21 Speaker 3
I think there's pros and cons to it, for sure. I think that for some people who might be a little
bit more anxious, socially anxious, having being part of a group and where we're talking about
very personal things, deep things, having the comfort of their bedroom or whatever safe space
they're in can be soothing and safe for them. So definitely Zoom does provide that element of
safety and security. Also, like teenagers, they want to be in their bedroom with their things.
So I think there can be that advantage to online therapy.
00:03:03 Speaker 2
When you're talking to the teenage girls, do they have, like, banned posters behind them and
stuff, or is that like 219 80s?
00:03:10 Speaker 3
No, you're not too far off. They might not have posters, but they definitely have what are those?
Mandala or mandala things that will be in the background. Some of them have all these really
cool artwork that with the time and days we live in social media, there's really great print
work that you can find. A lot of them have color. It's like, obviously my room, but you can see
their personalities, too, with the background. They're in their bedrooms. That's also helpful
for me as a therapist, so I can kind of gauge what their interests are without them having to tell
00:03:48 Speaker 2
Gives you a little bit of insight to refer to. Got you. I am wondering as being that I do not have
a therapy training as a therapist. I'm just the office guy.
00:04:01 Speaker 3
You're more than just the office guy, Brian.
00:04:05 Speaker 2
I'm wondering what are some of the advantages of having group therapy versus someone just coming
in for individual therapy?
00:04:14 Speaker 3
I think they're both great. I think individual counseling and group counseling are both amazing.
And sometimes when you actually do individual counseling and group counseling in conjunction,
that can be the Holy grail for some people. But one thing that group counseling really does provide
is peer support. That feeling of I'm not alone in whatever I am facing. I think also the sense
of community alongside with that peer support of, okay, I'm not alone. Someone else is going
through this. I'm not crazy. I'm not weird, especially for a teenager and a female teenager,
too. There's so much happening inside of them in their heads. And to have a place, a community,
to say, I'm struggling, this is hard for me, or I just feel lonely, can really, I think, be an uplifting
feeling for them and empower them.
00:05:12 Speaker 2
Yeah, I can imagine how empowering that would be. I remember I don't know if I was talking to you
about this or someone else, but the idea of how some teenage or a lot of teenage girls, apparently
they have things that they might not even want to talk about with their friends. Does coming
to a therapy group where they have they're meeting new people who don't really know anything
about them, necessarily about the rest of their lives, do you think that is helpful on some level?
00:05:41 Speaker 3
I think it is. They are coming with this knowledge that it's a therapeutic group space, right?
So they already know, okay, if something's going on with me, there might be something wrong
with her. And I think that is the starting point of I'm not alone. Okay. And I think that with friends,
sometimes I look back when I was a teenager, I remember thinking, no, my friend doesn't understand
what's happening in my home. Their life is so perfect. They don't have these issues where they
get annoyed with their mom or dad. They won't get it. They just won't get it. And I think that's
what happens with the friends. It's that there's this idea that they won't understand. Or maybe
they're just so close too, like we're such good friends. I don't want you to think differently
of me because I'm struggling with my mental health, because I'm insecure or this comparison
level that also occurs amongst friends, I think. So when you come into this group setting, you
can get rid of all those worries or at least
00:06:41 Speaker 3
00:06:42 Speaker 2
It seems like I could almost see like, in friendships, like as loving or supportive as any friendship
might be, there's still a little bit of like there's still issues like competitiveness or politics.
Just politics between friends, I would think in a group where maybe you didn't know everyone
in the group in your, quote, real life, that might be helpful.
00:07:03 Speaker 3
Totally. I mean, there is this competitiveness, I love my friend, but also how can I be a little
bit better or is my life better than theirs? And then there's also this I just want to be present
for my friend and be supportive of my friend for whatever that's happening. So my stuff doesn't
matter. It shouldn't be talked about because it's not as big of a deal as what my friend's going
through. So we tend to also put that ourselves on the back burner with friends and in group that
doesn't happen. We have an equal space for everyone to just come and let it all out, talk about
the issues that they're having with their friends or family because that's another part of
it. Sometimes you're mad at your friends and it's not easy to talk to your friend about. We're
adults, we can sit down and have, I hope, a mature conversation. But a 15 year old might not feel
very comfortable saying to their friend, you did this and I'm mad at you. So they need a space
to also vent about their friends.
00:08:04 Speaker 2
I can see we're having that structure where like, okay, everyone gets equal time to talk, where
that would also be reassuring on some level. It's like you don't have to compete to talk about
what you want to talk about.
00:08:16 Speaker 3
You're totally right. Everyone has a different personality, so someone who's more timid might
not think that they have the space to be heard. Or they might just think, nobody cares about what
I think, so I'm just going to stay quiet. And on the other hand, you have the person who just is
a chatterbox who goes with Milo in it. You're like, how do you breathe right in group as a facilitator,
I can see. Okay, hold on, let's slow down. Let's let this person talk. Okay, what are your thoughts?
So it does create that sense of comfort. And my voice matters too.
00:08:52 Speaker 2
Yeah, well, it sounds really appealing. I mean, I got to find like a therapy group for old balding
00:09:03 Speaker 2
Okay, this is just another thing that I'm interested in, knowing I have my ideas, but there's
so much pressure on teenage girls there's so much pressure on girls and especially on teenagers
and teenage girls. What are some of the biggest issues that you and Kat are kind of like having
or confronting or what are the girls confronting in the group? What are those issues?
00:09:27 Speaker 3
Right. I think the biggest one self esteem that I think is at the core of a lot of the other avenues
we're taking. Being a teenager is already difficult in and of itself, but being a female teenager
is layered. There's so much happening. 15 year old, 16 year old, 17 year old teenagers need to
feel that they have to be perfect. There's a lot of body image issues happening at this time,
I think. A lot of judgment of themselves and their worth, just to name a few. There's also relationships
that are starting to occur at this stage of their life where they're starting to venture into
dating or having questions about what dating is. And that can be an awkward conversation to
have with your mom or dad. I don't know. I did not have that conversation with my parents. It was
weird. So we want to create a safe space for them to be able to talk about their body and their self
esteem and their confidence and relationships with friends, their partners and do it in a way
that's safe and healthy and it's
00:10:39 Speaker 3
not going to be endangering to them at all. Unhealthy dating is real. We see it happening and
it's something that I think it's important to talk about.
00:10:50 Speaker 2
Awesome. Well, it sounds like the group's going really well. And I hope that if you're watching
this and you know someone who could benefit from Girls Who Glow, our group therapy for teenage
girls, that you'll go visit our website. Childteancounseling.org and check out our page for
girls who glow. And get in touch with either Adriana here or Kat Valentine and find out a little
bit more about it. Anything else you want to add today?
00:11:21 Speaker 3
It's a really great group. I really hope that people feel comfortable reaching out to us because
we really want to work with teenage girls. It's such a fun population and there's so much happening
during this stage of life that both Kat and I are very passionate about just empowering the young
girls of tomorrow.
00:11:40 Speaker 2
Yeah, right. Cool. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Adriana, and thank you at home for
joining us. And we hope you'll check out our website, Childteamcounseling.org and watch our
future therapy cats. We'll be checking in more about Girls Who Glow in the future as well. So
Girls Who Glow is Child & Teen Counseling’s group therapy for teenage girls which launched in March 2021. So how’s it going one month in? In this Therapycast, Child & Teen Counseling Marketing Coordinator Brian Frith-Smith checks in with Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee Adriana Navarro Gonzalez. She, along with Dr. Kat Valentine, hosts Girls Who Glow every Friday afternoon from 5:00 to 6:30pm. The group is online at present, but may become an in-person group once California “opens up” after quarantine.
Everyone knows being a teenager is tough, but what are the biggest issues teenage girls face today? How does group therapy even work? What are the advantages of being in a group, and do teenagers still have band posters on their bedroom walls? Adriana answers all these questions and discusses the power of having support from peers other than your closest friends. Find out why Adriana and Kat are so passionate about the work they do and why it’s a safe place for girls to talk about their struggles in this Therapycast.
Check out the Girls Who Glow page for more information and to get in touch directly with Adriana or Kat.
Is group therapy right for your kid? Watch Child & Teen Counseling’s Executive Director Kent Toussaint talk about it here.
About The Author
Brian Frith-Smith is the Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator of Child & Teen Counseling. He also serves the board as its Secretary and Treasurer. Brian brings a wealth of experience as a small business operator to the organization, and hopes to grow it into a household name for affordable mental health services in the Los Angeles area.