Group Psychotherapy

Group Psychotherapy

Groups Are Often a Preferred Treatment Option. I have seen the value of group work with groups I've facilitated and participated in for over 25 years. Often clients have experienced individual therapy and want something more with others in a safe group environment, facilitated by someone trained and experienced in the field. With this in mind, I have extensive training and experience in group therapy and offer groups that may fit your needs.

Group therapy is different from social situations in that it focus's on deeper levels of understanding trauma, loss, relational patterns, self-identity, self-esteem, fears, challenges, and successes. Studies have shown the benefits of group psychotherapy for people with various life challenges, histories, and needs. During group, participants deepen connection with each other and with themselves, gain insight, learn from each other and have "corrective emotional experiences" in a healthier group environment than what one may have experienced in the past. Healthy groups lessen feelings of isolation, normalize responses to life events, traumas, and losses, and help people "make sense" of their story with others who understand. Group therapy offers participants opportunities to take risks in relating to others and ask for feedback and suggestions on relational issues. With certain medical conditions, group psychotherapy can contribute to general improvement in one’s psychosocial functioning.

Group therapy is cost-effective when compared to individual treatment. "When a therapist’s time is spent with an entire group instead of one person, the expense for individuals is significantly reduced while the benefits remain and, in some instances, prove to be even greater. " (American Group Psychotherapy Association website, retrieved 8/2013).

Some people choose to participate in group and may also attend individual therapy with me or their individual therapist.  Often I will collaborate with an individual therapist for the group client's best interest, with permission of the client.

As a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) with the American Group Psychotherapy Association, I have met nationally accepted criteria of education, training and experience in group psychotherapy. A CGP is considered an expert in group psychotherapy and an ethical practitioner who is committed to group psychotherapy as an autonomous treatment modality.

I am knowledgeable about healthy and unhealthy aspects of group environments and relationships, including family of origin and professional milieus, and I know how group norms (roles, spoken and unspoken rules, leadership/authority, tasks, interactions, etc.) can support or undermine a person's self-development, individual strengths, and freedom to pursue healthy goals. Of course, there are no "perfect" families or relationships. We often continue generational family, cultural, or other group patterns, some of which are beneficial, some of which cause harm. I'm trained in family systems, couple counseling, trauma, loss, high demand, abusive groups and relationships and other specific areas to help you recognize how your past may influence your present and I can help you make desired changes.

I facilitate the following supportive/exploratory groups and workshop/support sessions. If interested or if you have questions, please contact me at 415-785-3513 or [email protected].

Motherless Daughters On-Going Workshop/Support Session is every other Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM Pacific Time (See Motherless Daughters section). This group is for women who have lost their mothers through death, separation, separation, illness, or estrangement in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. In a safe, supportive group environment, motherless daughters address relevant issues in their lives, current and past; gain validation; learn how others have survived and thrived; and have opportunities for healing from loss and trauma.I have developed and offered motherless daughters groups since 1997 in Mill Valley and Kentfield, Marin County, SF Bay area.This is an online via secure Zoom workshop/support session and not a therapy group with a small group of women. I also offer individual therapy and consultations as a specialist in mother loss and mother-daughter relationships. I am a motherless daughter since my mother died when I was 15.

GROUP FOR FORMER MEMBERS OF "HIGH DEMAND/HIGH CONTROL GROUPS or CULTS", including those born and/or raised in such groups. They can be identified as "Spiritual", "Eastern", "Religious", "Large Group Awareness Training", "Political", "One on One" including Clergy Abuse. Participants explore relevant issues in their lives, current and past, in a safe, respectful group environment. Topics addressed include: indoctrination, thought reform, recruitment/seduction; authoritarian leaders/partners; loss and trauma; deepening trust in self and one's own inner authority; relationships; critical thinking; personal rights; connecting to society at large; challenges; successes; personal goals; meaning of life. Participants learn they are not alone in their challenges and "normal" responses. Every effort is made to provide opportunities for healthier outcomes in a non-authoritarian group environment that encourages autonomy and connection, not groupthink. Since 2003 I've offered this group in Mill Valley and Kentfield, CA, SF Bay Area. It is currently suspended. See Online Workshop/Support Sessions for Cult and High Control Group or Relationship Survivors Alternate Saturdays.

WOMEN WISER AND OLDER (WOW, 50+) GROUP Motivated women meet every other week to address and explore experiences that affect them in this phase of life including those related to relationships, loss, difficult transitions, care-giving, mothers to adult children, women living alone, family of origin, aging, self-care, work, helpful life skills (communication, boundary-setting, etc.) Women also discuss "here-and-now" experiences in group, asking for what they need from others, expressing responses to the discussion, requesting feedback from others, etc. Women gain acknowledgement and mutual support, learn how others have coped, discover practical solutions, find options for change with opportunities for healing and growth. I've facilitated this group since 2016. Meets every other Wednesday, 12:00 - 1:30 PM currently on Zoom.

Group Information Obtained from The Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society, 2007, Follows:

"Group psychotherapy is a special form of therapy in which a small number of people meet together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. The therapy has been widely used and has been a standard treatment option for over 50 years.

"Each of us has been raised in group environments, either through our families, schools, organized activities, or work. These are the environments in which we grow and develop as human beings. Group psychotherapy is no different. It provides a place where you come together with others to share problems or concerns, to better understand your own situation, and to learn from and with each other.

"Group therapy helps people improve their interpersonal relationships. It addresses feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety. And it helps people make significant changes so they feel better about the quality of their lives.

"Group works! In studies comparing group psychotherapy to individual therapy, group therapy has been shown to be as effective and sometimes even more effective.

Who Can Benefit

"Like individual therapy, group therapy can benefit almost anyone. Some of the issues typically addressed include: difficulties with interpersonal relationships; problems in children and adolescents(such as the impact of a divorce, peer issues, learning or behavioral problems); aging; medical illness; dealing with loss; personality disorders; addictive disorders.

"The group therapy session is a collaborative effort in which the therapist assumes clinical responsibility for the group and its members. In a typical session, which lasts about 75-90 minutes, members work to express their own problems, feelings, ideas and reactions as freely and honestly as possible. Such exploration gives the group the important information needed to understand and help one another. Members learn not only to understand themselves and their own issues but also become “therapeutic helpers” for other members.

How does group work?

"A group therapist appropriately selects people (usually 5 to 10) who would be helped by the group experience and who can be learning partners for one another. In meetings, people are encouraged to talk with each other in a spontaneous and honest fashion. A professionally trained therapist facilitates productive examination of the issues or concerns affecting the individuals and the group.Not every group is alike. There are a variety of styles that different groups use. For instance, some focus more on interpersonal development, where much of the learning actually comes from the interaction of members themselves.

If someone is in a group, do they also need individual therapy?

"It depends on the individual. Sometimes group therapy is used as the main or only treatment approach. Sometimes it’s used along with individual therapy. Often people find that working simultaneously in both group and individual therapy stimulates growth in mutually complementary ways. And clients may see two different therapists for individual and group therapies. In such cases, it’s generally considered important for the two therapists to communicate with each other periodically for the client’s benefit. Ask your therapist about the type of therapy that will best meet your needs".

How is group therapy different from general support groups and self-help groups?

"Generally, the psychotherapy group is different from self-help and support groups in that it not only helps people cope with their problems, but also provides for change and growth. Self-help groups usually focus on a particular shared symptom or situation and are usually not led by a trained therapist. Support groups, which are generally led by professionals, help people cope with difficult situations at various times but are not geared toward change."

Why is group therapy useful?

"When someone is thinking about joining a group, it’s normal for them to have questions or concerns. What am I going to get out of this? Will there be enough time to deal with my own problems in a group setting? What if I don’t like the people in my group?"

"Joining a group is useful because it provides opportunities to learn with and from other people, to understand one’s own patterns of thought and behavior and those of others, and to perceive how group members react to one another. We live and interact with people every day and often there are things that other people are experiencing or grappling with that can be beneficial to share with others. In group therapy, you learn that perhaps you’re not as different as you think or that you’re not alone. You’ll meet and interact with people, and the whole group learns to work on shared problems -- one of the most beneficial aspects. The more you involve yourself in the group, the more you get out of it."

What kinds of people should participate in group therapy?

"Group therapy can benefit many different people, from those having difficulties with interpersonal relationships to those dealing with problems such as specific losses , traumas, depression, addictive disorders or behavioral problems. With adolescents, for example, group therapy teaches socialization skills needed to help function in environments outside the home."

Will there be people with similar problems in my group? What about people I know joining group with me?

"The therapist’s role is to evaluate each member’s problems prior to forming the group. Usually there is a mix of members who can learn from each other. While some members will have similar circumstances, it’s not necessary for all members in the group to be dealing with exactly the same problem."

What kind of commitment do I need to make?

"The time commitment depends on the type of group and the nature and extent of your problems. Short-term groups devoted to concrete issues can last anywhere from 6 to 20 weeks. Support therapy groups (for example, those dealing with a medical illness such as cancer) may be more long-term. There are also more open-ended groups in which members work at their own pace and leave when their particular needs or goals have been met. It’s best to talk with your therapist to determine the length of time that’s right for you."

What if I'm uncomfortable discussing my problems in front of others?

"It’s not unusual to feel uneasy or embarrassed when first joining a group, but soon you begin to develop feelings of interest and trust. Most clients find that group therapy provides a great deal of relief because it allows them a chance to talk with others who are experiencing similar problems -- in a private, confidential setting. Many people who have experienced group therapy believe that working together with others is helpful and they feel better by participating in this form of therapy."

What does group cost?

My fee for groups and workshop/support sessions is generally $50.00 - $70.00 for each 1 1/2 to 2 hour session.

How do I find a good group therapist?

"When talking with therapists, here are four simple questions you may want to ask:

"What is your background? Given my specific situation, how do you think group would work for me? What are your credentials as a group therapist? Do you have special training that is relevant to my problem?"

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