Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

This proposal is directly related to both strands II and IV. Grief counseling groups are effective interventions for adolescents that foster both social and emotional skills. Grief counseling groups for adolescents also promote both mental and physical health.

Brief Program Description

Brief Description: This presentation will explore the affects that grief has on adolescents, including at–risk behaviors, identity confusion, issues of self-worth, and many more. The presentation will illustrate the positive impact that grief counseling groups have among adolescents (with a special focus in the public school environment). Barriers that hinder the effective delivery of group counseling within the public school arena will also be addressed (such barriers are amount of time in the school day, student caseload, and administrative support). This presentation will also address the critical role that school social workers play, in effectively providing group counseling interventions to adolescents who are affected by grief and loss. Objective: The objective of this presentation is to highlight the importance of grief counseling groups for adolescents in public schools. Topics: Topics covered in this presentation include: grief and loss, adolescent development, attachment theory, mental health, social and emotional health, group counseling, school social workers, public school climate and culture, at-risk behaviors, and barriers to group counseling within the public school setting. Target Audience: School social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school administrators, youth workers, and anyone who provides direct services to youth and adolescents.

Summary

Recognizing the impact that loss has on adolescents, it is critical that adolescents be provided with interventions that can help them appropriately cope with their grief. Although counseling resources are often available for adults, fewer resources are available for grieving adolescents, who often must grieve alone or with limited support (Slyter, 2012). Grief counseling groups are positive interventions that can assist adolescents in developing healthier coping skills. These skills can empower them to process their grief in a positive way. Groups can provide an environment that promotes resilience which acts as a protective factor against the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive grief responses of adolescents. School social workers should be encouraged to address the needs of this population and provide meaningful and effective interventions that can buffer the effects of grief for adolescents. Providing grief group counseling programs and other strength- based programs for adolescents within the context of the school setting may help adolescents to engage in more positive behaviors. The death of a parent can affect children’s self-esteem and can be associated with more behavior problems, high levels of anxiety, social withdrawal, and lower sense of self-efficacy (Worden, 1996). This presentation highlights the importance of grief counseling groups for adolescents, within the public school environment. This presentation also highlights the role of school social workers in providing grief counseling group interventions to adolescents. This presentation also purports to shed some light on the barriers to grief counseling groups for adolescents. Identifying the barriers to grief counseling groups for adolescents is important because it will help school social workers, school administrators, and state educational leaders see the impact that grief has on adolescents. It will also highlight the importance of group counseling for adolescents in the public school setting.

Evidence

The practice of group counseling is an intervention model used in the social work profession. In social work, the therapeutic benefit of group membership is conceptualized as stemming from mutual aid (Gitterman, 2004; Schwartz 1974; Shulman, 2008). However the use of group counseling interventions is often underutilized. This is despite the fact that available research suggests that group participation may be particularly helpful in reducing social isolation and assisting bereaved individuals in moving through the bereavement process more quickly (Forte, Hill, Pazder, & Feudtner, 2004; Piper, Orgodniczuk, Joyce, & Weidman, 2011; Piper, Orgodiczuk , Joyce, Weidman & Rosie, 2007). Recognizing the possible issues associated with adolescents and grief, it is important to note the positive impact that group counseling can have on this population. According to Malekoff, those who feel connected are less likely to engage in high-risk behavior (Malekoff, 2004).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Kiana Battle is a licensed Master Social Worker. She is currently in her final year of doctoral studies at Clark Atlanta University, where she is pursuing her PHD in Social Work Planning and Administration. Kiana received both her B.A. degree in Sociology and her M.S.W. degree in Social Welfare from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Kiana Battle serves as the School System Social Worker at Lamar County Schools in Barnesville Georgia. She is also a Sociology instructor at Gordon State College, in Barnesville Georgia. Her passion for serving others is demonstrated through her work. She is the Co-Author of Real Girls: Shifting Perceptions on Identity, Relationships, and the Media and Real Girls: Reflections. Kiana has also been a featured presenter at several national conferences, including the National Youth at Risk Conference in Savannah Georgia and the National Association of Social Workers Conference in Atlanta Georgia. Kiana Battle is married to Pastor Keith Battle, Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Yatesville Georgia.

Keyword Descriptors

grief and loss, adolescent development, attachment theory, mental health, social and emotional health, group counseling, school social workers, public school climate and culture, at-risk behaviors, and barriers to group counseling within the public school setting.

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 8:30 AM

End Date

3-3-2015 9:45 AM

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Mar 3rd, 8:30 AM Mar 3rd, 9:45 AM

Grief and At-Risk Behavior: A Look at the Effectiveness of Grief Counseling Groups for Adolescents in Public Schools

Verelst

Brief Description: This presentation will explore the affects that grief has on adolescents, including at–risk behaviors, identity confusion, issues of self-worth, and many more. The presentation will illustrate the positive impact that grief counseling groups have among adolescents (with a special focus in the public school environment). Barriers that hinder the effective delivery of group counseling within the public school arena will also be addressed (such barriers are amount of time in the school day, student caseload, and administrative support). This presentation will also address the critical role that school social workers play, in effectively providing group counseling interventions to adolescents who are affected by grief and loss. Objective: The objective of this presentation is to highlight the importance of grief counseling groups for adolescents in public schools. Topics: Topics covered in this presentation include: grief and loss, adolescent development, attachment theory, mental health, social and emotional health, group counseling, school social workers, public school climate and culture, at-risk behaviors, and barriers to group counseling within the public school setting. Target Audience: School social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school administrators, youth workers, and anyone who provides direct services to youth and adolescents.