Growing Together – Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

10th February 2022

Group therapy works by naturally creating a relational dynamic between it’s members. If there are any particular social difficulties existing for it’s individual members, due to nature of the collective environment, these will ultimately manifest through interaction and negotiation with others. It is then that a therapist and young person can work together, using the tools of boxing to set realistic goals and provide manageable techniques in how to cope or better accept the undulating waves of our social worlds.

Group therapy is seen as one of the most effective forms of therapy for young people, and this is heavily based on the fact that we can attend to a young person’s social challenges using their relationships within the group environment. This ultimately means that in various ways all member’s benefit.

Blake* aged 11 and Robby* aged 14 who are now friends but originally strangers, were independently referred to EFC by their respective parents after suffering from severe anxiety, low mood, and lack of confidence. These factors severely impacted Blake and Robby’s ability to cope with societal pressures and left them feeling isolated and depressed.

Blake and Robby received school education but in different forms; Blake attends home school and Robby is in secondary school. Whilst their schooling situations are different, both experienced social anxiety and a hard time ‘fitting in’. Whilst their home life is consistent, they both experience extreme challenges from the outside world resulting in Blake and Robby struggling to build friendship circles and found it hard to express their emotions. 

When Robby and Blake first joined EFC in 2021, they lacked motivation and confidence to interact with each other in the group. Their first session held a lot of anxiety, and they found the main gym very overwhelming. Over the course of a few weeks their confidence grew and so did their friendship.

Through Boxing Therapy Blake has crushed his social anxiety and stands proud when he is in the gym. Blake is the first to put his hand up and fully immerse himself into a new challenge.

Blake said ‘ Even if I am tired, sad or not in the mood I know attending my boxing sessions will make me feel better and it’s a safe space for me, this is why I keep coming back’.

Thanks to his Boxing Therapy sessions Robby’s strength grew and so did his confidence. Robby now walks into the gym with a smile on his face and a can-do attitude.

Robby said ‘EFC has given me a massive confidence boost. I have built really good relationships with others in the gym which I could not do in school. There are people here who I never would have spoken to yet I have made lifelong friends here. When I leave EFC I have the right tools with me to help me feel confident in the outside world’.

As well as the growth in confidence for both young men, their friendship formation offered social support as they encourage each other during the sessions and have bonded after discovering they are into similar things. The development of their friendship as well as their personal development has surpassed all expectations.

*Names have been changed to protect identity. Images are not related to individual stories.