Treatment Groups for Children with Mental Health Conditions

A variety of groups have been developed to help children work through issues within a helpful group setting.

Disruptive Behavior Disorders Group

The disruptive behavior disorders group is a treatment program for school-aged children and their parents. The children's ages range from six to nine years of age, and the behavior disorders treated in the group include oppositional defiant disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The children and parents each meet during the same time in separate rooms.

Group Topics for Children

  • Self-regulation skills
  • Social skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Effective communication
  • Appropriate expression of feelings
  • Responsible behavior

Group Topics for Parents

  • Praise and play
  • Rewards and consequences
  • Time-out
  • Behavior charts
  • Good communication skills
  • Building coping and stress management skills
  • Medication issues
  • Learning and language disability issues

Parents are referred to the disruptive behavior disorders group after a diagnostic evaluation by a clinician at Lurie Children’s. Upon completion of the 12-week group program, the family returns to the primary referring clinician to discuss any ongoing treatment needs.

Healthy Kids Group

In this group, therapy services focus on health-related behaviors, which include a review of nutrition and eating, physical activity and stress management. The emphasis is on improving overall health-related knowledge and decision-making (e.g., portion size, reading food labels, making physical activity enjoyable and adaptive ways of coping with stress). Separate groups are available for school-aged children and adolescents.

Sleep Disturbance Group

This group offers help for children who have difficulties with sleep, including children who have trouble napping, falling asleep, staying asleep or waking too early in the morning. The premise is that the sleep disturbance is behavioral in nature, which could also include anxieties related to sleep, such as separation anxiety and fears. Three different groups are offered: one for preschoolers, one for school-age children and one for adolescents. The groups are structured with separate groups for parents and children.

Group Topics for Children

  • Understanding the importance of sleep
  • Establishing sleep routines
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Fear and anxieties related to sleep
  • Behavioral plans for sleep

Group Topics for Parents

  • Importance of sleep
  • Effects from lack of sleep
  • Sleep routines and sleep hygiene
  • Getting your children to bed at night
  • Keeping your children in their beds/rooms at night
  • What to do when your child wakes up in the middle of the night
  • What to do when your child wakes up too early in the morning
  • How to get your child (preschooler) to nap
  • Anxieties related to sleep
  • How various medications affect sleep

Social Skills Group

The social skills group, facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker, is a two-series program designed to help children build, practice and strengthen communication and relationship-building skills. The program is are designed so that children are grouped appropriately with others 7 to 8 years of age, 9 to 11 years, and 12 to 13 years.

Series I and II are each comprised of 10 to 12 weekly sessions of 90 minutes. Each week focuses on a different aspect of communication and socialization. Session topics can include self-esteem building, conflict resolution, social problem-solving, considering the perspective of others, reading social cues and dealing with teasing.

Parents and caregivers are involved in a parent orientation to the program and participate in the ceremony at the completion of each series. They are also given weekly feedback about their child’s participation in group. Children are typically referred to the program by their primary clinician within the department.

Make an Appointment

Schedule a first-time appointment for our treatment groups by calling 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC) or visit our Appointments page for more information.

Related Specialties