Group Therapy

We lead structured, intensive, and highly effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) groups that meet once each week.  Each group is based on an empirically supported program for a particular problem area.  Groups can be an important addition to, or even replacement for, individual treatment.

Our groups offer:

  • Safe settings in which to share your experiences with others suffering from the same or similar problems
  • Opportunities to learn and practice new skills together with other people who really know what you are going through
  • Support, constructive feedback, encouragement, and inspiration from other group members and the group leader
  • Intensive CBT treatment at a fraction of the cost of an individual therapy

Each prospective group member is first invited for an individual interview.  We use the interview to evaluate what group you might be a good fit for and to provide you with detailed information about the group.

If you decide to join a group, you are expected to commit to attending all group sessions.  The CBT groups are progressive, with each session building on the previous one.  By attending all (or almost all) sessions, you will be able to fully benefit from this program.

Generalized Anxiety/Worry Group

This group is designed for individuals who are anxious a significant amount of the time, and find it hard to relax.  Usually, anxious people are also “worriers,” often spending hours of each day wrestling with anxiety about relationships, money, jobs, health, safety, etc.  One might believe that, by worrying, you are problem-solving or preparing for “worst-case scenarios.”  However, worry tends to be repetitive, hard-to-control, and unproductive.  It leaves the worrier drained and no less anxious.  If this sounds like you, this group might be very helpful in reducing your anxiety and worry.  The group meets once a week for 1.5 hours, and it takes 8 weeks to complete.

In this group you will:

  • Learn about causes and consequences of worry
  • Learn relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation
  • Reduce your general stress level
  • Increase your tolerance for uncertainty
  • Practice mindfulness and self-compassion, and become more present and aware
  • Identify internal and external anxiety cues and practice more flexible responses to them
  • Identify and change your avoidance patterns
  • Reduce the use of safety behaviors
  • Clarify your goals and improve your planning and problem-solving skills
  • Stop being “hostage” to your anxiety and worry and start living life fully

DBT Skills Training Group (Adult Group, Adolescent Group)

The DBT Skills Training Groups (we will refer to them simply as DBT groups) are designed for individuals who have emotion regulation and interpersonal difficulties.  You might be struggling with intense negative emotions and (re)acting in ways that are not helpful and can often lead to feeling even worse.  Also, you might have a hard time forming and maintaining healthy, mutually supportive relationships.  If so, this group could be very beneficial to you.

A DBT group takes 24 weeks, or approximately six months to complete.  The DBT groups meet once per week for 2 hours.  They consist of three modules, each taking about two months.  New participants can join at the beginning of any module.  The modules cover the following skills:

Mindfulness – It is considered a “core” DBT skill, and it involves learning to pay attention, in the moment, and non-judgmentally.  It helps with being more present and with living life more deliberately, with a clear purpose.

Emotion Regulation – This module includes learning how to better notice, describe, and understand one’s emotions.  You will be able to experience emotions without behaving in reactive, destructive ways.

Distress Tolerance – In this module you will acquire skills and strategies for coping with stress, crises, and other difficult situations.  You will also learn and practice helpful ways of handling painful emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness – This module will help improve your interpersonal skills and your relationships.  You will also learn how to clarify and assertively express your own needs and set boundaries.

Eligibility:  Clients have to be in individual therapy to be able to join a DBT group.  Also, they have to be attending school, working, or volunteering, as this group is geared toward relatively high-functioning individuals.

Social Anxiety Group

This group is designed for individuals who suffer from anxiety in social situations.  Some people feel anxious in a specific setting, like public speaking, whereas others might feel anxiety in many or most social situations.   You might find that you tend to avoid those situations, which unfortunately makes anxiety worse long term.  Also, by directly and indirectly avoiding various social situations, you are likely paying a huge price in diminished social support, friendships, romantic connections, job advancement, etc.

If you are socially anxious, you might think that a group would be the hardest or the worst place to address your anxiety.  However, a structured CBT group therapy is the fastest way to overcome your social anxiety in a safe, supportive setting.  Although the group provides an optimal setting to practice previously feared behaviors, you will not be forced to be active against your will:  you will engage ONLY if and when you choose to do so.  A social anxiety group meets once a week for 2 hours, and it takes 13 weeks (3 months) to complete.

In this group, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Learn about causes of social anxiety
  • Learn how unhelpful thinking and avoidance patterns maintain social anxiety
  • Learn how relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help
  • Support and encourage others, and feel supported yourself
  • Experiment moment-to-moment with different ways of relating to others
  • Choose, complete, and share weekly homework assignments
  • Have opportunity to make friends with like-minded people, which might reinforce therapy gains
  • Practice introducing yourself, making small talk, keeping eye contact, projecting your voice
  • Practice being center of attention and asserting yourself
  • Practice giving speeches and presentations
  • Role play interviews, being put on a spot, being criticized, etc.
  • Learn to be social AND have fun!

Recurrent Depression Group

This group is designed for individuals who have suffered from depression – often on and off – for at least a year.  Clinical depression is most commonly an episodic disorder, which means that it can get resolved for a while but is likely to resurface.  If you have tried individual therapy and/or medications, and still have significant depressive symptoms, this group might be for you.  This is a structured, focused CBT group, very different from the more common open-ended, process-oriented groups.  It is based on a combination of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, both of which are variants of CBT proven to be particularly effective with persistent depression.  Recurrent Depression group meets for 2 hours per week, for 8 weeks.

In this group you will:

  • Learn about cases, consequences, and trajectories of depression
  • Learn about interpersonal aspects of depression
  • Become more aware of your emotional experience, including the physical sensations, moment-to-moment
  • Change your relationship to your own thoughts and feelings
  • Increase ability to “sit” with the negative emotions without suppressing them, fighting with them, running away from them, or engaging them
  • Become less judgmental about yourself and others and increase self-compassion
  • Learn how to deal with depressive rumination
  • Break the old associations between negative thinking and negative mood
  • Clarify your values and regain a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Act on those values!

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