In March 2012 Tri-City Psychology Services will begin running some small therapy groups (4-6 people in a group). They will all be held in the evenings and will require a commitment to attend a minimum of 3 sessions. This commitment is needed in order for you to get the maximum benefit of the group.
What is group therapy?
Group psychotherapy involves a small group of people who share the same concerns or problems. The leader (a group psychotherapist) encourages and guides discussion, fosters mutual support among the group’s members, and helps them recognize, understand and resolve their difficulties. The help members give one another is what sets group psychotherapy apart from other approaches to therapy. When listening to another person talk about a problem you often discover that you have similar problem and thus realize that you are normal and not alone in your suffering. Participating in discussions of how to deal with someone else’s issue often gives a better perspective on your own concerns, as well as giving you the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when help someone else feel better.
What are the different kinds of groups?
- Psycho-educational or Problem centred group: One type of group psychotherapy is more effective for people who have distinct, well-defined problems — such as relationship difficulties or problems parenting teens. The focus of these groups is often educational and informative. The goal is increased awareness and knowledge of some life problem and the gaining the tools to better cope with it. These groups are generally short term and have a relatively set agenda for each session. To get the maximum benefit it is best to attempt to attend all groups in a series (generally 6-8 sessions) in order understand and learn all the skills involved.
- Psychotherapy or Self Growth group: Sometimes our problems are not so clear, our feelings more difficult to untangle. We know we feel unhappy, dissatisfied, or difficulties connecting with others, but don’t know why –and we have a tough time explaining our emotions to anyone else. In situations like these, there is a second type of group psychotherapy, which helps resolve the distress caused by these more general personal and social problems. Discussion in these groups is free-flowing however a little more is asked of its members. People generally participate to try and alleviate specific symptoms or psychological problems such as depression, sexual difficulties, anxiety or psychosomatic disorders. These are closed groups, which means it will consist of the same group members for the life of the group and members are expected to attend every session (usually once a fortnight). The focus is self-examination and the goal is to become aware of self-defeating attitudes and learn to better manage our thoughts and feelings such that they have less impact on us and we are able to lead more meaningful, satisfying lives.
- Support groups: This is a good option for people who feel temporarily overwhelmed, whose lives seem overloaded with unmanageable change and pressure. These groups are generally oriented toward the resolution of specific short-term issues, and are not concerned with treatment of the more severe psychological disorders. Focus on interpersonal processes and problem-solving strategies. These groups tend to be more informal in that they are open – meaning that membership changes overtime with new people joining.
Benefits of group therapy:
- Timely and more cost-efficient: Of course cost is the main advantage over individual therapy, the fee is lower which is definitely an attractive option in the current difficult economic times.
- Sense of belonging: Group members have said “There was this co-hesiveness, that we were all there for a common goal and just all very supportive of each other”.
- Support, sense one is not alone in their concerns, our sense of security and wholeness is largely based on being part of a socio-psychological network. Being socially embedded is a buffer against stress and has profound consequences for health and well being because we are all social beings.
- Facilitates insight in group member. When you listen to and learn to understand each others’ problems it assists in acquiring new perspectives into your own problems.
Groups represent society “microcosm or real world” thus it is a safe place to try out new behaviors and discover how one is perceived and experienced by others, our insight into ourselves is increased by the observations made by our peers. Most social learning takes place by observing others.
What is the cost?
$60 per each 90 minute group session.
3 sessions paid in full ($180) at the start of the group (6 people in a group).
This commitment is needed in order for you to get the maximum benefit of the group.
Groups that we will be running (timing will depend on level of interest):
Problem centered groups:
• Parenting Teenagers Group: this group will provide tips, strategies and skills for the difficult task of parenting a teenager.
• ACT for Depression & Anxiety – this group will teach the skills to better manage the distressing thoughts and feelings which may be contributing to your current struggles in life. Skills taught will include how to differentiate between helpful and unhelpful thoughts, how to detach from thoughts and feelings, and mindfulness: how to be present in the here and now ( as outlined in Russ Harris’ book The Happiness Trap.)
• General Support Group – 4-8 members, to be held monthly, for any one struggling with stress, relationship issues or work issues. In order to attend this group you must have previously attended individual therapy with either Dr.Lisa Eisen or Dr. Owen James or alternately first have at least 1 individual session in order to assess suitability to attend this group. (Couples or friends are welcome to attend this group).
• Psychotherapy Group : 4-6 members, to be held fortnightly, will require minimum commitment of 3 months attendance.In order to attend this group you must have previously attended individual therapy with either Lisa or Owen or alternately first have at least 1-2 individual session in order to assess suitability to attend this group. (Couples or anyone who has prior knowledge of each other cannot attend this group).