Finding the Peace in Wild Things
In some instances, the best way to experience therapy is with the help of others, others who are experiencing similar issues and concerns that you are facing. In a world where mental health issues are often stigmatized, there is something to be said in knowing you are "not the only one". Group programs allow for individuals to draw support and validation for what they are experiencing from others similar to themselves; it allows them to learn not only from the knowledge and expertise of the group therapist, but also from one another; and it allows for individuals to develop a support network that can go beyond the duration of the group. Below are the evidenced based structured programs that are offered in a supportive, small group environment. For those who do not wish to participate in group therapy, these programs may also be delivered through individual therapy.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents and Caregivers - Comprehensive Model
DBT for adults was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, and has been adapted for adolescents by Dr. Alec Miller, Dr. Jill Rathus, and Dr. Marsha Linehan. This evidence-based approach is often considered to be the gold standard of treatment for individuals suffering from emotion dysregulation, identity confusion, interpersonal difficulties, impulsivity, risky behaviours, and teen-parent conflict. DBT Skills groups is one of four primary modalities of treatment - Individual Therapy, Coaching, Consultation Team and DBT Skills Group. This group is 20 weeks long, 2 hours per group and participants must be enrolled in the Comprehensive DBT program.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents and/or Adults
DBT for adults was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, and has been adapted for adolescents by Dr. Alec Miller, Dr. Jill Rathus, and Dr. Marsha Linehan. The DBT Skills consist of skills that support individuals in enhancing their ability to control their focus and attention, increase emotional stability and distress tolerance for when painful moments arise, and develop and maintain healthy relationships. It does this through the teaching of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills. These skills have been widely used to support individuals who are not even struggling with mental health issues through to those that are struggling with significant emotional and interpersonal dysregulation. This group will focus on those who would benefit from learning of these skills but do not meet criteria for the comprehensive DBT program. The group is 12 weeks long, 1.5 hours per group.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the very present moment in a non-judgmental way. It allows us to begin to discover how our suffering is often a result of reliving the painful moments of the past, negatively anticipating the future, or judging (often harshly) what is happening in the current moment. When we are mindful we begin to become aware of these patterns of thinking and reacting and seeing more clearly how they only bring about suffering in the moment without creating any change. Mindfulness requires a great deal of practice and the focus of this group is in helping your learn the foundational skills of a mindfulness practice. You will learn how to direct your focus and attention, become more present with willingness and acceptance and how to let go of judgments and unhelpful thoughts rather than getting attached to them. This will build self-compassion, resilience and compassion towards others. Mindfulness is not a religion - anyone, with any belief system, can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness, whose benefits have long been documented in research. This group is generally 8 weeks long, 2 hours per group and culminates in a half-day to full-day retreat.
Mindful Self-Compassion centers on building skills to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. It incorporates Mindfulness as the core step to support our turning towards, instead of away from difficult emotions, thoughts and experiences. It adds the skill of self-kindness, bringing care, forgiveness and concern for oneself. Lastly, we become aware of our membership in the larger community of humanity. Research shows that self-compassion is strongly associated with an increase in resilience and capacity to cope with life challenges, reduce anxiety and depression and support healthy habits and relationships. Fortunately ANYONE can learn self-compassion. This group is an 8 week group, 2 hours per group, that incorporates teaching, exercises and interactive practices.