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
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.