We offer a wide selection of group services at CMC, facilitated by psychologists to address the needs of clients at all stages of change. After the Initial Consultation, we offer clients for whom groups are appropriate the group option that best meets their needs (i.e., abstinence focus vs. mixed goals). Our groups range from four-days-a-week intensive services to once weekly maintenance-level process groups, and are typically 75-90 minutes. In addition, multiple groups can be combined to create the right level of support for a client. Last, group involvement can be a stand-alone service, or more often, is combined with individual therapy at CMC.

We aim to place clients in the group that best fits with their needs and circumstances such as age, specific issues, length of time in treatment, and goals. This “matching”of clients to group orientation is helpful in providing a group environment that is safe, supportive, and efficient for each client’s needs and goals. There are a variety of groups which focus on different issues, including practical strategies for avoiding relapse, communication skills, approaches for dealing with emotional distress, and life planning skills. In all of our groups, clients develop awareness of how they impact and are perceived by others within the group and in the outside world. Group participants learn skills to express themselves to others and listen constructively.

There are two basic approaches used in group therapy: a “structured” approach and a “process” approach. Structured groups are especially useful early in treatment, when there is often a lot to learn specifically about making concrete changes in day-to-day life. At this time, the increased structure of the group can also feel comforting and safe, important when beginning the often difficult process of change. Process groups are often recommended later in treatment, and are more open-ended in their content and flow. In a process group, the topics of discussion in a given group is left to the participants, and are more wide-ranging, including issues of relationships, professional life, and life goals. Again, while process groups are often recommended later in treatment, the Initial Consultation is designed to understand what would be the best fit for a given client.

Last, many of the groups start with a relaxed, non-threatening exposure to mindfulness practices to increase mind-body awareness, an essential skill for beginning and maintaining positive change. A recent (and simultaneously ancient) approach in medicine and psychotherapy, mindfulness involves physical and mental practices, such as progressive muscle relaxation and focused concentration, in order to increase awareness. Research has shown that mindfulness fosters a greater sense of connectedness to life, and helps people cope with stress and become less reactive to both physical and emotional pain.

Groups at CMC

Clients learn and practice relapse prevention skills (i.e., how to anticipate and cope with triggers and high risk situations), drink/drug refusal skills and develop better problem solving and communication strategies. They also learn skills to improve emotion management and strategies to increase overall health and well-being.
Dialectical Behavior Theray (DBT) is a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapies designed to help clients modulate behaviors and regulate emotion. Specifically, DBT targets behaviors that contribute to emotional pain and interpersonal difficulties and teaches skills to manage these problems without resorting to self-defeating behaviors. DBT skills training encompasses four areas: distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.

At CMC we offer several different, freestanding DBT groups and we aim to place clients in the group that best fits with their needs and circumstances such as age, specific issues, and abstinence versus mixed goals. A DBT group can be combined with other group options at CMC or complement individual treatment within CMC or with an outside provider.

There a variety of different process groups that include men and women of different ages and stages of life (see days and times on group schedule page). These process groups are available for clients who have achieved a sense of stability in maintaining behavioral changes. These once-weekly groups focus on the development of positive lifestyle changes and offer a chance to explore issues such as relationships (e.g. sex and intimacy), meaningful work, self-esteem and self-image, and the development of a satisfying social support network.
The men’s group is a 90-minute, once week group geared toward those who have been in treatment (either CMC or elsewhere) for a period of time and would benefit from widening their focus from substance use issues to other life issues such as relationships, sexuality, communication, professional satisfaction and long term goals. The group is for men only, so as to provide an emotionally safe forum for discussing these issues.
This weekly group provides gay men with an opportunity to deal with issues of intimacy as they move away from drug use or other compulsive activities as central to their sexual relationships. The group offers a safe and supportive environment for participants to consider these issues while they keep track of substance use, compulsive behavior, and the potential for relapse.