Healthy peer support is an essential part of treatment for mental health issues. Adopted girls may have unique struggles, such as difficulty setting boundaries and creating bonds with peers. Gender-specific mental health treatment can benefit adopted girls because it provides them with a safe and structured space.
The treatment programs at Havenwood Academy can give your teen the confidence she needs to feel comfortable connecting with other girls. We ensure girls experiencing mental health issues find healthy ways to cope and engage with others.
What Are Gender-Specific Treatments?
Therapy that uses a gender-focused approach empowers, uplifts, and affirms girls and young women. Activities and group therapy sessions focus on their needs, strengths, and motivations. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Group psychotherapy is a useful clinical practice for adolescents with mental health issues.” Gender-specific treatment and therapy for teen girls provide a positive, affirming environment. Girls of similar ages who have similar life experiences attend sessions together to address and treat mental health disorders.
The benefits of gender-specific therapy include:
- A sense of belonging and understanding
- Less fear or embarrassment about sharing personal details and experiences
- Shared life experiences
- Alternative points of view
- Increased nonverbal and verbal communication skills
- Improved social skills
Co-ed groups can decrease the effectiveness of some therapies. Girls often feel more comfortable disclosing underlying causes of mental distress with other girls around the same age than they do with a mixed group. Additionally, mental health issues often present very differently between the genders, making gender-specific treatment especially necessary for teenage girls.
Gender-Affirming Care and Transgender Teenagers
Gender-specific therapy programs at facilities like Havenwood Academy provide critical gender-affirming care for transgender youth who identify as female. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported, “For transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, early gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being.” Gender-specific care “allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence.” If your adopted daughter is transgender, she may benefit from attending therapy groups and treatment programs that support her self-identity.
How Does Gender-Specific Therapy and Support Help Girls?
Girls tend to internalize negative aspects of their experiences, which can lead to problems such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and self-harming behaviors. The opportunity to interact and bond with other girls can help your adopted daughter find healthier ways to manage negative feelings. Peer and parental support affect teen girls’ mental, emotional, and physical health.
According to the HHS, “Adolescents often try on different identities and roles, and all of these relationships contribute to their identity formation.” Furthermore, “Peers, in particular, play a big role in creating an identity during adolescence.” Gender-specific therapy can help your child explore her own identity and build self-confidence among peers.
Gender-Specific Treatment and Avoiding Re-Traumatization
Over half of all adopted teen girls have experienced some form of trauma or sexual violence. During treatment, avoiding re-traumatization is essential. Gender-specific therapy can provide a safer environment for healing. Girls may not encounter as many social triggers if they participate in treatment and therapy alongside other teen girls.
A few additional ways gender-specific therapy mitigates re-traumatization include:
- Fewer social interactions with the opposite sex can decrease triggered stress responses
- Girls who discuss their experiences with other girls their own age feel less isolated and find their voice
- Increases self-confidence and self-esteem
- Improves verbal and nonverbal communication and interpersonal social skills
- Eliminates instances of inappropriate behavior between boys and girls
Children with reactive attachment disorder (RAD) may be more vulnerable to re-traumatization and benefit from professional, gender-specific treatment.
Peers and Practicing Healthy Social Interactions
Therapy focused on gender-affirming care, and positive peer interactions is an ideal space for adopted teenage girls. The setting allows them to explore their identity and practice healthy social interactions by helping them develop the following:
- Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills
- Personal and social boundaries
- Communication skills
- Stronger interpersonal connections
Group therapy and activities give your child an opportunity to grow and heal while interacting with other teenage girls.
Safety, Security, and Support
Gender-specific therapy provides safety, security, and support by ensuring that girls attend group sessions with others who have similar life experiences. Therapy sessions allow your daughter to hear different perspectives and attitudes toward treatment and recovery from other girls. The girls can learn and heal together, celebrating successes and overcoming challenges as a group.
Personal growth is only possible if young women learn to cope with their issues and find new ways to think about themselves and others. Your child may be more willing to listen to other girls her age during and after treatment. The stories they tell can validate her feelings and experiences. Hearing from others and watching them make progress can also provide motivation and inspiration for your daughter.
Havenwood Academy offers gender-specific therapy for adopted and foster teenage girls. We treat behavioral issues and mental health disorders caused by adverse childhood experiences or other traumas. We understand that, as a parent, you want your child to feel safe and secure. Gender-specific care allows your daughter to connect with others who share similar life experiences. We use group therapy, peer support, and other tools to ensure the young women in our care heal together. Participating in peer activities with other teenage girls can help your child develop essential social and communication skills. She can use the skills she learns at Havenwood to heal and grow. Find out more by calling us today at (435) 586-2500.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.