Group therapy is a great way to learn how to relate to others better, be yourself, and form authentic and meaningful bonds with others. Group therapy provides a safe environment in which to explore emotions and gain skills that change every relationship, from those in the workplace to those at home.
Group therapy has roughly two goals: 1) To help you improve your social skills such as emotional awareness, setting boundaries, individuation, seeking connection, expressing frustration and anger, receiving loving attention, and communicating warmth and empathy toward self and others. And 2) To gain insight into your own behavior, the roots of your relationship style, how your family history shapes your way with others, and automatic reactions you have to others. There are other benefits as well, however, such as developing greater comfort in a group, becoming more authentic in your self-identity and in how you present yourself to others, the healing benefits of bonding with a small group dedicated to growth and exploration, and the accountability the group provides to help you reach your goals.
Group therapy works in a variety of ways. One way is through the facilitation and shared insights of the therapist who is the group leader. But perhaps even more powerful are the reactions and feedback received from group members. Unlike individual therapy, group therapy offers multiple opinions from different people around the ways we relate to others. Such feedback can be invaluable, especially if relationships have been a sticking point in one’s life.
Group therapy also offers an opportunity to expand qualities such as patience, acceptance, and empathy for a broad range of individuals. One learns how to understand and relate to those whose personalities we may generally struggle with in life. Attachments may be formed, much like in a family of diverse individuals, conferring benefits such as increased psychological flexibility, emotional regulation capacity, and the skill to handle even sensitive topics of conversation effectively.
Our current group schedule is:
Mondays 11:30-1pm. Led by Leah Mason Cummins
Tuesdays, 11:30-1pm. Led by John Howard & Peter Craig
Wednesdays 10:30-12pm. Led by John Howard & Leah Mason Cummins
Thursdays 10:30-12pm. Led by John Howard & Leah Mason Cummins
Thursdays (evening), 6-7:30pm. Led by Peter Craig
Fridays 10-11:30am (Spiritual Group). Led by John Howard.
Our groups generally require a minimum of a 6-12 month commitment. You commit to attending your group weekly, except for travel, vacations and emergencies. Regular attendance is expected, as you become a working group with your peers. Fees for group therapy are for membership and apply monthly regardless of sessions attended. Group therapy is a wonderful, fun and rewarding way to learn about yourself, get feedback, learn how to deepen relationships, improve your communication skills, and connect with others dealing with similar issues. To inquire about joining one of our groups, simply contact us and we will schedule an individual session with you to explore your entrance into a group.
For the geeks in the room: Our group therapy program consists primarily of ‘interpersonal process’ groups. These types of groups are known in psychotherapy as deep, effective and meaningful ways to develop greater self-awareness and relationship skills. These groups are different from support groups, which are the usual ones you see on TV and consist of going around and each person taking a turn sharing while others listen. In process groups like the ones we offer, the group session consists of a freestyle dialogue between members mostly involving in-the-moment awareness and sharing of feelings, especially those that pertain to your relationships with fellow group members. Such present-moment awareness and dialogue develops advanced intimacy and relationship skills such as effective communication, boundary-setting, offering emotional support, deepening empathy, advocating for oneself, emotional IQ, expressing care and affection, and exploring triggers and projections.
Our approach to group therapy is influenced by the Modern Analytic school, headquartered in New York City. At times we may mix in the occasional meditation to increase somatic awareness and get in touch with feelings and emotions. Our group leaders have trained with Dr. Jev Sikes, one of the founders of the Austin Group Psychotherapy Society, and Dr. Charlotte Howard, one of Austin’s few Certified Group Psychotherapists, an advanced credential bestowed by the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). Group leaders are often in weekly consultation with Dr. Sikes and other group therapy mentors. John Howard has been leading multiple groups per week for many years and as a member of AGPS, has trained with various visiting group therapists such as Dr. Jerome Gans of Harvard Medical School and Dr. J. Scott Rutan, past President of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and Founder of the Center for Group Psychotherapy in Boston.