Our team of child and family therapists frequently discusses how we can offer our services to a wider audience of kids and families. We struggle knowing that we have a waitlist of people who need and want services and we are always trying to get creative about how to help more families. One of our strategies comes is offering small support groups such as our Invisible String Group.
Children often experience feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and separation, especially when dealing with a significant change or loss in their lives. In difficult circumstances, kids sometimes find it challenging to express their emotions, leading to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the people around them. While we can’t always intervene before a child is faced with hurt, studies increasingly show that the long-term impact of traumatic experiences is directly related to whether the child felt understood and supported during that difficult time.
One of our therapists recently discovered a beautiful new children’s book called “The Invisible Web” by Patrice Karst. It’s a follow-up to her wonderful, well-known book, “The Invisible String” and is well suited to helping kids see that they have a wide range of connections with other people even when they aren’t with them physically. Our therapy team saw “The Invisible String” as an opportunity to develop a therapeutic group to help children cope with feelings of loss and separation and connect with others.
Using the books as guideposts, this 10-week group is designed for children from 5-9 years old and helps them learn about this connection concept in a safe and supportive environment. Our licensed therapists guide the group through activities and discussions to identify their connections and explore the ways those relationships grow and change.
We begin our time with an introduction to the book and a reading of the story. After the reading, children are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings about the story and discuss how it relates to their lives. Often, kids will choose to talk about their own invisible strings and the people who are connected to them. We use craft activities to help them explore these topics in-depth, and throughout the group sessions, they practice expressing their emotions and connecting with others.
These therapeutic groups have become a valuable tool for helping children cope with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and separation due to divorce, death, relocation, or incarceration. While our sessions definitely cover some heavy topics, we repeatedly hear from parents/caregivers that the kids are coming home seemingly lighter, more joyful, and more willing to talk about the challenging things they’ve experienced.
NOTE: Our Invisible String groups run quarterly during the school year.