Group Counseling / Skill Building


Group counseling and skill building groups are part of every boy’s life at St. Mary’s.  During his first 30 days at St. Mary’s, each boy is evaluated and placed in a group(s) based in his individual treatment needs.  Each boy learns and practices new behaviors and skills.  Boys participate in several different groups while at St. Mary’s.


Group counseling helps our boys replace their behavioral excesses with appropriate and acceptable behaviors so they can successfully re-enter the community.

Guided by skilled counselors, residents become active participants in their own treatment as they:

  • become more aware of their attitudes and feelings
  • learn new ways of responding to situations
  • learn to weigh the consequences of their actions.

In the skill building groups, boys learn specific skills for living.  The counselor is a model for the boys, showing them how to look at problems in different ways, evaluating skill deficits, providing opportunity for skill development, and helping them reduce excesses.  Through the use of projects and homework, the boys learn appropriate behaviors to help them throughout their lives.  When feasible, pre and post testing are used to evaluate each boy’s progress.

Standard Groups

These groups are standard at St. Mary’s:

  • Impulse Control
  • Critical Decision Making
  • Prepare Curriculum
  • Moral Development
  • Mood management
  • Anger management
  • Social and interpersonal skills
  • Thinking errors
  • Independent Living Skills

Other groups are conducted, depending on the needs of the boys in residence at any given time:

  • Assertiveness
  • Fire Safety
  • Listening
  • Sex education
  • Problem-solving
  • Relaxation
  • Self-esteem

The Counselors

Our group counselors are behavioral specialists, trained to facilitate groups in their area of expertise.  These talented, sensitive, capable, experienced and dedicated individuals are the agents of change at St. Mary’s Home for Boys.