Calling all teen girls dealing with anxiety, depression, eating disorders…and problems with “mean girls”: FirstHealth of the Carolinas is offering a six-week therapy group to help girls cope with peers, self-esteem and communications skills. It’s open to girls aged 14-17, and will run on Wednesdays from July 11 to August 15, 4-5 p.m., on the campus of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

“If a teen is isolating themselves from friends, has low self-esteem, emotional outbursts or is angry and irritable, this program can help,” says Kristen Buss, a licensed professional counselor with FirstHealth’s Outpatient Behavioral Services. “We’ll concentrate not so much on the situations that cause these feelings or behavior, but on skills to deal with them.”

Buss ran a similar group in the spring that participants found helpful.

“The fact that participants are all in the same boat makes a group like this a safe place to learn and share,” she says.  “They talked each week about ways they used the skills they learned, and they supported each other.”

For the upcoming group, girls will meet together with Buss for the six weeks of the program. This timeframe allows them to build rapport and get comfortable talking about and practicing the skills, she says.

Buss’s professional background includes experience with art therapy and traditional office therapy, as well as with equine (horse)-assisted psychotherapy. She has experience working with children through adults, and specializes in treating patients with eating disorders and substance abuse as well as other mental and behavioral issues.

For more information on the upcoming Teen Girls Therapy Group at FirstHealth, a teen or parent can contact Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at (910) 715-3370 to set up a brief initial appointment. To make sure the program is the best for the teen, Buss will meet with the teen and parents/guardian before the group meetings begin.


Teens’ art depicts the pressures of “perfection” in the photo above: Art therapy was part of a recent therapy group for girls at FirstHealth last spring. “Girls created this 3-D collage, which they dubbed, ‘Lucille,’ to show the pressures that teens face regarding body image and appearance,” says therapist and group leader Kristen Buss, a licensed professional counselor with FirstHealth’s Outpatient Behavioral Services. The splatter paint represents chaotic thoughts and feelings that can occur during adolescence, she says. Mirrors on the mannequin’s face represent both how society wants girls to appear and how girls hide their genuine selves. Buss will lead another therapy group for teens ages 14-17 beginning Wednesday, July 11.



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