The Grouport Journal

Explore all things mental health. Check out some of our latest journals below.

Social Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Anxiety

Social Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Do you struggle with social anxiety? Social anxiety is “an irrational fear of regular, daily social interactions that culminates in avoidant behaviors that can disrupt your life”. So what does this mean? It means that if you have social anxiety, you may experience disruption in your work life, education, and daily routine, as well as your relationships with the people around you. Social anxiety can bring a great degree of fear, worry, and missed opportunities to your life on a daily basis. 

While most people feel a certain degree of nervousness surrounding certain social situations, bull blown social anxiety can, unfortunately, spiral into a chronic health condition. But don’t worry! Getting ahead of your social anxiety with group therapy for anxiety can help you learn effective coping skills in order to proactively manage this condition and improve your health and wellbeing. 

Social Anxiety Origins

As is the case with many other mental health disorders, it’s likely that social anxiety is the result of a complicated mix of various environmental and biological factors, which include:

  • Environment: Experts speculate that there could be a link between the development of social anxiety and having parents who are controlling and overprotective, or who model anxious behavior during social situations themselves.
  • Inherited traits: It is often seen that anxiety disorders are common within families. It is not yet clear, however, how much of this phenomenon is due to learned behavior (environmental factors), or genetics.
  • Brain structure: The part of our brains called the amygdala might be involved in controlling our responses to fear. Because of this, people who have overactive amygdalae may have more intense responses to fears, leading to higher anxiety during social interactions.

Social Anxiety Risk Factors

There are also several risk factors that might increase the likelihood that you will develop social anxiety, such as:

  • Temperament: Children who are withdrawn, restrained, shy, or timid when they come across new situations
  • Having a condition or appearance that draws the attention of others: For example, having a stutter, tremors, or a physical disfigurement
  • Negative past experiences: Having experienced bullying, teasing, ridicule, rejection, family conflict, abuse, or trauma
  • Family history: Having biological parents or siblings who have anxiety disorders
  • New work or social demands: While social anxiety related symptoms tend to start when people are teenagers, you may see an onset of symptoms later in life when you meet new people or have to speak publicly for the first time.

Signs & Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Some signs and symptoms to look out for that might be related to social anxiety include:

  • Worrying that you will humiliate yourself in front of others
  • Experiencing an intense fear of interacting with people you don’t know
  • Analyzing your “performance” and focusing on any perceived flaws after a social interaction
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, blushing, rapid heartbeat, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, and muscle tension
  • Being afraid of the aforementioned physical symptoms themselves
  • Being afraid that other people will notice that you seem anxious
  • Fearing situations in which you think you may be negatively judged by others
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences after a negative social interaction
  • Avoiding speaking to people or doing things because you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself
  • Avoiding situations in which you could end up being the center of attention

Managing Symptoms of Social Anxiety 

The Mayo Clinic suggests a few ways to help curb symptoms related to social anxiety:

  • Seek help early on: Make sure you seek professional help as soon as you realize you are suffering from a form of anxiety. This is because, as is the case with other mental health conditions, anxiety can become increasingly difficult to treat the longer you wait to address it.
  • Avoid substance abuse: If you overuse drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or even caffeine, you may unintentionally exacerbate symptoms related to your anxiety. However, suddenly quitting any of the aforementioned substances can increase your anxiety if you are addicted to them. If you have a difficult time quitting on your own, it’s important that you discuss your problem with your doctor and find a treatment program that suits you.
  • Set priorities: Taking care to effectively manage your time and energy might help reduce your anxiety. It’s important to ensure that you take the time to do things that you enjoy doing; this, in itself, can help manage your anxiety.
  • Keep a journal: Using a journal to record your personal life can help both you and your mental healthcare provider figure out what, in your life, is leading to distress as well as what activities help you feel more grounded and less anxious.

If you suffer from social anxiety, you should always remember that help is available. One way to handle social anxiety is to enroll in group therapy. In a therapy group geared towards helping people with social anxiety, you will have the opportunity to share your experience with not only a therapist, but also other people who have experienced similar things.This is also a great, safe setting to practice overcoming your fear of social interaction in a controlled environment led by a mental health specialist.

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How To Manage Stress For Better Mental Health

Anxiety

How To Manage Stress For Better Mental Health

We’re coming up on the end of Stress Awareness Month, along with the Grouport series on “Stress L.E.S.S.” The goal of this series has been to support our members and readers with critical tips, tricks, and workshops to help them mitigate stress and avoid burnout - taking them from chaos to calm with simple reflections and affirmations every week. No matter who you are, stress will impact you at some point in your life - and some of us much more than others! If you missed any of our Stress Awareness Month content or would simply like a recap, read on to learn more! 

Battling Stress With LOVE

The first letter in our Stress L.E.S.S. acronym, “L,” stands for LOVE. Heightened stress levels often indicate the fact that we have fallen out of touch with ourselves, and are not offering our minds, hearts, and emotions the attention and affection they deserve. If you’re experiencing high levels of stress or regular stressful periods during your day or week, try journaling the following reflections in order to build self-awareness and diffuse stress: 

  1. What does self-love mean to you? 
  2. What do you love about yourself? Don’t be shy… make a list!
  3. How can you show yourself love today? What is one thing you can do that makes YOU feel special? 
  4. What is one action (communication, service, or affection) from a friend, family member or partner that makes you feel loved? 

Take time to sit in a peaceful, quiet place and develop mindful reflection with the following affirmation: 

“I am worthy of love and affection. I am supported by people who will comfort me and bring hope to hard times.” 

Battling Stress With EXERCISE

Next up in the Stress L.E.S.S. series was our exercise focus. As you probably know, daily movement can be a game-changer for ongoing stress relief. The simple effort of physical movement boosts endorphins for more positive emotional experiences! Take some time this week to consider the following reflections in order to begin incorporating healthier exercise habits into your life to combat stress: 

  1. What type of daily movement is particularly stress-relieving for you? 
  2. What is one exercise goal you feel is achievable on a weekly basis? 
  3. How can you make more time this week for daily movement? Remember, every minute counts! 

Don’t forget, simple movements count and you can always start small before building bigger or longer or more ambitious exercise routines into your daily schedule. Finding something you truly love doing (whether that’s weight-lifting, walking, yoga, climbing, gardening, cycling, you name it!) can help build healthy habits that are easier to maintain long-term.

After exploring the answers to these reflections, take a moment this week to develop mindfulness through the following affirmation: 

“Moving my body through exercise is a powerful way to take charge of my health and relieve any stress or anxiety. Every day I am getting stronger and more resilient.” 

Battling Stress through SERENITY

The third letter in Stress L.E.S.S. represents the word “Serenity.” Serenity is defined as “the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.” This might seem like a significant reach from your frazzled state of mind when you’re under stress, but we promise - you can get there!

One critical tip for building feelings of Serenity to combat stress is to practice regular grounding exercises. Grounding is a form of mindfulness therapy that involves doing activities that “ground” you to the earth, helping you feel present in your own body and connected to your own mind and emotions. When we are under intense stress, we often feel disconnected from ourselves. Grounding helps bring us back to “center”. 

Here is a simple grounding exercise you can participate in to bring you back to a place of Serenity. 

  1. Sit calmly with both feet on the ground. If possible, do this exercise outside. Either way, begin by closing your eyes for a moment. Then, begin to notice things you can taste. 
  2. Now, slowly bring your attention to things you can smell. Give yourself a second to slowly breathe in, and out, as you notice these things. 
  3. Breathing slowly, turn your thoughts to things you can feel. What do you notice about how your feet feel on the ground? In your shoes, or barefoot? Your hands, touching your seat, or your lap. Work your way from your toes, all the way up to your head as you take inventory on how you feel, in every part of your body. 
  4. Now that you’ve worked your way through your physical body, begin to notice things you can hear. Let yourself listen to sounds, both small, and big, and even to the noise of your own steady breathing. 
  5. Finally, fully open your eyes. Look without moving dramatically. Take note of the world around you. It’s movement, it’s stillness. The colors and patterns of the earth, skies, trees, buildings, room, walls, or whatever surrounds you. 

This simple grounding exercise can bring a world of peace to you in stressful times. 

Now that you’ve mastered the art of grounding, move on to the following reflections:

  1. What helps you slow down and experience serenity? 
  2. What place makes you feel the most peaceful? 
  3. How can you incorporate moments of serenity into your daily routine? 

Finally, make space for this Serenity-focused affirmation this week: 

“I inhale peace. I exhale worry. I feel calm, grounded, and secure. I release the need to control my life, and I surrender to this present moment.” 

Battling Stress through SUSTENANCE

The final letter in our Stress L.E.S.S. series stands for Sustenance, or “food and drink regarded as a source of strength and nourishment.” 

Consider the following questions: 

  1. Do you eat less or more when you are stressed? 
  2. What types of foods do you turn to in stress that you know you can eliminate?
  3. What is one food you can try to eat every day that makes you feel healthy and strong? 

For your final affirmation, sit peacefully and speak these words aloud to yourself: 

“Food is a tool to nourish my body. I deserve to feel amazing when I eat what my body needs. I can sustain myself with choices that support my wellbeing. I savor every bite.” 

In summary, diminishing stress in your everyday life is not a massive uphill battle. It simply consists of small choices you can make each day. You can choose healthy habits around Self-love, Exercise, Serenity, and Sustenance. We hope this Stress Awareness Month series helps you to grow in your ability to feel empowered to overcome stress. You are capable, powerful, and courageous. 

Looking for extra support for anxiety & stress? Check out Grouport’s online group therapy for anxiety and get started today on the road to healing in a community of peers who understand what you’re going through!

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Coping With Climate Anxiety

Anxiety

Coping With Climate Anxiety

As Earth Day approaches, many of us are experiencing high levels of anxiety about the climate crisis. If you’re feeling worried about the future of our planet, you’re not alone: more than 60% of young adults say they’re struggling with “climate anxiety.”

Climate anxiety is a new term for those wrestling with the eco crisis. As we become more aware of the ramifications of climate change, it’s normal to deal with feelings of despair, grief, and anxiety. Nature can have a powerful impact on our physical and mental health  - from stress reduction to mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety to strengthening your immune system, nature helps us recover faster from the weight of life’s challenges and the burden of mental health conditions. Here are a few key facts about nature and how it relates to your mental health:

Why Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? 

For a long time, scientists and psychologists have studied the link between nature and human health. It’s fairly undisputed that spending time outside can help create better cognitive balance and restore emotional energy throughout the day. From sunshine to earth connection, the concept of “biophilia” actually implies that physical contact and awareness of the earth is essential to our daily recovery. 

The Benefits Of Nature Exposure

Reconnecting with your natural habitat can bring soothing peace and restoration to your mind, and can help open up your senses to the bigger world around you. You can do this by spending time practicing mindfulness or grounding exercises outside (for instance, with your feet in the sand or on the grass), or simply by taking a walk and focusing on what you hear, feel and see. 

The Curse Of The Indoors

In 2021, over half of the population reported that they have spent less time outside since the pandemic hit. With higher levels of social anxiety, greater effort to socially distance, and many communities becoming dense and overpopulated with limited access to real land, it’s harder than ever to be outside. Unfortunately, spending more time indoors is directly linked to greater rates of depression, sleep disturbance, and decreased libido.

With these powerful findings in mind, it is no wonder that many people around the globe are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the climate crisis. A natural fear over the potential to experience traumatic climate events or breakdown has evolved from a concern for the state of our world.

Here are 3 Ways To Cope With Climate Anxiety:

Be Mindful 

As with most types of anxiety, you can benefit significantly from mindfulness techniques to soothe and calm your mental state. Use guided meditation tools, seek out support in online group therapy, or work with a psychotherapist to help you cope with climate anxiety. Bringing your mind to a place of peace is the first step. 

Be Positive 

With an ecological crisis swirling around us, the temptation can be to focus on all of the negatives, and to fall into a sense of disempowerment. When you feel yourself being caught up in a wash cycle of despairing news briefs, research or social media, take a break to redirect your attention toward positive information. Remind yourself you’re not alone and that millions of people just like you care about the bigger picture. 

Be Active 

Coping with climate anxiety ultimately requires taking action to rediscover a sense of empowerment and control. Try to build connections with like-minded people to pursue change in support of the climate movement as a whole. You can also use your imagination to find new ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, advocate within your local community for change, and spend more time connecting to nature. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the climate crisis, and need help coping with climate anxiety, Grouport’s online therapy groups for anxiety are a great tool available right now for you from the comfort of your own home (or favorite nature spot!). 

LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE GROUP THERAPY FOR ANXIETY

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Living With Anxiety & Depression In New York: The Struggle Is Real

Anxiety

Living With Anxiety & Depression In New York: The Struggle Is Real

Cars are honking, dogs are barking, and lights are flashing. Living in New York City can be incredibly stressful: there’s always some sort of drama going on around you, no matter where you are and what time of day or night it is. And if you’re living here while struggling with anxiety and depression, it’s no surprise that you may find it overstimulating, perhaps even to the point that it exacerbates your anxiety and depression.


While the struggle of living in New York and simultaneously navigating anxiety and depression is, indeed, real, there are also many resources available to seek help. Therapy in New York is easy to find, and because of our city’s diversity, there are many different options at your disposal.

       For starters, you could look into NYC therapy groups. The American Psychological Association says that group therapy can provide a secure way for people to address issues you may or may not be struggling with, including but not limited to anxiety and depression. A typical group therapy session will have a group of five to fifteen individuals led by at least one trained mental healthcare specialist.

       Therapy groups tend to meet at the same time and day each week for about an hour or two. Additionally, you may opt to enroll in individual therapy sessions that seek to complement the work you are doing in your therapy group. Furthermore, some therapy groups tackle more general issues, like low self esteem or loneliness, while others will focus on specific issues, such as social anxiety or substance abuse. Still, there are other therapy groups that may be hyper focused, such as ones that seek to help those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

       Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy that is completed from the comfort of your own home. This is a viable option given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the incredibly contagious Omicron variant. Furthermore, completing therapy from the safety and comfort of your own home may encourage you to open up more.

       Group therapy can be intimidating for those who are new to it. Rest assured that your privacy and comfort is of utmost importance to us at Grouport. No one is required to speak up during group sessions; if you prefer, you may instead listen and learn. Furthermore, we use end to end encrypted systems and all of our software is HIPAA compliant. You can also use a nickname instead of your real name if you wish.

       If you choose to enroll in our services, we will set you up with a private, initial consultation with one of our trained mental health professionals. This twenty minute call will allow your therapist to get to know more about you so that they can place you in a therapy group that is most well suited to your particular needs.

       Our therapy groups here at Grouport are capped at twelve people. We will continue to populate a given group until it reaches its maximum. Additionally, all of our groups meet for an hour at the same time and day each week. 






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New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City

Anxiety

New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City

       New York City is one of the toughest cities to live in: if you want to live here for the long haul, it’s important that you develop strong distress tolerance. There will always be external stimuli threatening to overwhelm you, whether it is a car honking, music blaring, or people causing a ruckus around you. All of the above can also frequently be happening at once. Fun!

There are many different approaches that can help you deal with this stress, such as going on walks, working out, and even looking into group or individual therapy options. Here in New York City, there are practically endless possible solutions at your disposal, so why not take advantage of the resources our city has to offer?

One way that you can seek help is by looking into dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is a modified version of cognitive behavioral therapy. The primary goals of DBT are:

  • Improve individuals’ relationships with other people
  • Regulate emotions
  • Teach people how to live in the present moment
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms

While DBT was originally developed to help treat borderline personality disorder, it has been adapted in order to help a broad spectrum of other mental health issues, including but not limited to substance abuse, disordered eating, and post traumatic stress disorder.

DBT also works to help cultivate healthy distress tolerance skills that are geared to help individuals accept themselves and the current situation they may be in. These techniques seek to help prepare individuals for intense emotions, as well as equip them to cope by using positive long term perspectives. Some DBT techniques for crisis management include:

  • Self-soothing practices
  • Improving the moment
  • Distraction
  • Considering the pros and cons of not handling distress well

DBT can be taught to people via individual or group therapy settings, or also through coaching over the phone. Many NY therapy groups do, indeed, teach their clients DBT practices in order to help them navigate their day to day existence here in New York. 

And in NYC, therapy is at the tip of your fingers: if you do a quick search on Google, you will find an endless amount of options and resources in the palm of your hand. It is important, however, to remember that there are many different approaches to therapy, and that it is not a one size fits all approach.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted totally online, over Zoom meetings. And engaging in therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home is likely to encourage you to open up more because you will be in a familiar place. Furthermore, online therapy is safer: as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the highly transmissible Omicron variant. 

Should you enroll in Grouport, you will receive a 20 minute onboarding session with one of our trained professionals; they will get to know you a bit and, over the course of your session, discern what therapy group is most suited to your needs. 

After the meeting is over, we will tell you what group you have been matched with. Our groups are capped at 12 people and are filled up until they hit capacity. Each group meets for one hour per week, at the same time and day. You can find more FAQs here.


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Online Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety

Online Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety disorders come in many different forms and can look different for each person who is living with one. And according to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety disorders and panic attacks that may accompany them can escalate, causing major disruption in your daily life. There are several different symptoms that may be associated with anxiety disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Having a hard time controlling feelings of worry
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid anxiety triggers
  • Feelings of restlessness, nervousness, and tenseness
  • A heightened heart rate
  • Hyperventilation, or rapid breathing
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Experiencing a sense of impending doom, danger, or panic
  • Having a hard time thinking about anything else aside from the present worry

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Panic disorder: individuals who suffer from panic disorder experience repetitive episodes in which they feel sudden, intense fear, terror, and anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset, also known as a panic attack.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: in this type of anxiety disorder, individuals will experience excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about events and activities, even if they are routine or ordinary. The worry they feel is disproportionate in relation to the real life circumstances, and it will affect their physical state and be difficult to control. Generalized anxiety disorder often appears alongside depression or other anxiety disorders.
  • Agoraphobia: individuals who suffer from agoraphobia are afraid of situations or places that make them feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped; they will often avoid these situations and places.
  • Selective mutism: also found in children, this disorder is characterized by a consistent failure of children to speak in specific situations--like school--even if they are able to speak in other ones, like when they are at home with loved ones.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: some children may experience a severe anxiety in relation to being separated from their parents or parental figures; this phenomenon is characterized as a disorder if the children’s worry is excessive for their current developmental level.
  • Specific phobias: this disorder is characterized by individuals experiencing severe anxiety when exposed to a particular situation or object, as well as the desire to avoid said situations or objects. In some individuals, phobias may cause panic attacks.
  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition: some individuals may develop an anxiety disorder in response to the onset of a physical health problem they are experiencing.
  • Social anxiety disorder: this disorder is characterized by individuals feeling extreme anxiety surrounding and avoiding social situations because they may feel excessively self conscious or embarrassed.


However, it is important to remember that there are many different therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be effective in helping individuals living with anxiety disorders. One such avenue to seek professional help is through enrolling in a group therapy program. And given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the risks associated with being exposed to individuals who may not necessarily be in your “COVID pod,” enrolling in therapy online is a great resource and option that is available at your disposal.

And here at Grouport, we offer just that: online group therapy. Enrolling in group therapy online has the additional benefit that, because you are in the comfort of your home, it is likely you may feel comfortable opening up more than if you were in an unfamiliar therapist’s office. If you enroll in our services, you will receive a 20 minute initial onboarding call during which you will have a private conversation with one of our licensed healthcare professionals. After this conversation, you will be matched with a therapy group we feel is best suited to your unique situation; your therapy group will meet for an hour once a week at the same day and time. You can find the answers to more FAQs here.

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Mindfulness Group Therapy Activities

Anxiety

Mindfulness Group Therapy Activities

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is just one of many different approaches to psychotherapy that combines techniques drawn from cognitive therapy, meditation, and the cultivation of mindfulness, which is a non judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is grounded in the belief that individuals who have a history of struggling with mental illnesses like anxiety or depression will find themselves falling back into old patterns (or cognitive processes) when they experience feelings of distress. This, in turn, runs the risk of the individual dipping back into anxious behaviors or depression.

Experts speculate that mindfulness based cognitive therapy is so effective in treating individuals because it combines mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy, the latter of which encourages people to interrupt their instinctual thought process in favor of working through their feelings in healthy, well adapted ways. Mindfulness encourages people to observe and identify what feelings they are experiencing in the present moment.

If you enroll in mindfulness based cognitive therapy, there are a variety of activities that can be performed whether you decide to enroll in individual or group therapy programs. One such technique you may be taught is known as a “three minute breathing space technique,” which is made up of three steps lasting one minute each:

  • Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

Other mindfulness techniques your therapist teaches you might include:

  • General mindfulness practices: mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Meditation: therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.
  • Body scanning exercises: clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Yoga: clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Mindfulness stretching: this technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.


According to research conducted over several years, mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been proven to be effective in treating various mental illnesses in addition to anxiety, such as:

  • General low mood or unhappiness
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression caused by medical illness
  • Depression, including treatment resistant depression

As previously stated, mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be performed in individual or group therapy settings, and in person or online. Grouport offers group therapy that is conducted totally online from the safety of your home, which makes our service a great option for all as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Once you enroll in our services here at Grouport, you will receive a brief, 20 minute onboarding consultation with a trained mental health professional. Afterwards, you will be matched with a therapy group we feel is best suited to your particular needs. The therapy group you are matched with will meet on the same day and time each week for about an hour per session. 24 hours prior to each appointment, you will receive a unique Zoom code via email. You may find the answer to FAQs you have here.

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Mindfulness Therapy Online

Anxiety

Mindfulness Therapy Online

Mindfulness is a word that describes a type of cognitive therapy associated with psychotherapy. This technique draws from meditation practices, cognitive therapy, and a non-judgmental attitude rooted in the present/reality. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is incredibly effective because of the way it marries cognitive therapy and mindfulness practices. Cognitive therapy encourages individuals to interrupt their instinctual thought processes and instead work through their feelings in more healthy ways, while mindfulness urges individuals to observe and identify the feelings they are experiencing.

According to research, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or “mindfulness therapy” can be extremely effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, such as: 

  • Bipolar disorder
  • General unhappiness
  • Depression, including treatment resistant depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression caused by medical illness
  • General low mood

Mindfulness therapy can also be helpful in preventing relapses in depressive episodes. This is because, similar to cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is rooted in the belief that individuals who have a history of struggling with depression will fall back into old patterns (aka cognitive processes) when they experience distress, leading them to a dip back into depression. 

Mindful Therapy Group Techniques 

There are various different techniques that therapists leading mindful therapy groups may teach its members. These could include:

  • Body scanning exercises: Clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Mindfulness stretching: This technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.
  • Yoga: Clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Meditation: Therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.
  • Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Three Minute Breathing Space Technique:  This additional mindful therapy tool incorporates practicing three, one minute steps:
  1. Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  2. Focus on your breathing.
  3. Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be performed in individual or group therapy settings, as well as via in person or online therapy sessions. Grouport offers group therapy that is conducted virtually, from the safety of your home.

Wondering if mindfulness based cognitive therapy is for you? If you enroll in Grouport, you will receive a brief, 20 minute virtual onboarding consultation with a trained intake coordinator who will then match you with a therapy group they feel is best suited to your particular needs.

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Anxiety Therapy Goals

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Goals

Anxiety disorders can manifest in a number of ways: you may experience unrelenting worries, obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, or a phobia that leaves you incapacitated. However, you must remember that there are various treatments proven to be effective available; this means that you don’t have to live with the deep fear and anxiety that might be affecting your day to day life in profoundly negative ways. For many individuals living with anxiety disorders, therapy will be the most effective way to alter your lived experience and lessen your symptoms. This is because, unlike when taking medication for anxiety, therapy seeks to treat the underlying origins of your anxiety--not just the symptoms you experience.

Not only is the goal of therapy for anxiety to find and address the causes of your anxiety, but it also seeks to help you:

  • Develop more effective and healthy problem solving skills and coping methods
  • View situations in fresh ways that may make them less frightening
  • Learn how to relax

What therapy does that medication does not is entrust you with the tools necessary to overcome feelings of anxiety and then teach you how to use the tools effectively, changing your lived experience for the better.

The American Psychological Association reports that many individuals who seek therapy for an anxiety disorder will see significant improvement within eight to ten therapy sessions. It is important, however, to remember that there are many different types of anxiety disorders, and the treatment plan that will work best for you will be tailored to your diagnosis and the specific symptoms you experience. For example, someone who seeks treatment for anxiety attacks will have a different treatment plan than someone who is living with obsessive compulsive disorder. And while many therapies for anxiety tend to be relatively short term, the length of your treatment plan will differ depending on which anxiety disorder you have.

Among the many different approaches used in treating anxiety disorders, exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are considered the two leading approaches. Furthermore, different types of anxiety therapies can be conducted alone or in tandem with one another, and therapy for anxiety could take place in either group or individual settings. A typical therapy group for anxiety will place individuals struggling with similar forms of anxiety together. No matter what therapy route you may choose to take, it will have the same main goals:

  • To calm your mind
  • To help you overcome your fears
  • To lessen your anxiety levels

Group therapy has been proven to be highly effective in individuals suffering from anxiety. And here at Grouport, we offer just that - but totally online, which is a safe way to access mental healthcare in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from the comfort and safety of your own home. Furthermore, enrolling in online therapy can help you circumvent the inconvenience and expense of traveling to meet a therapist or therapy group in person; furthermore, you will be joining your therapy group from the familiar and comfortable environment of your own home. This, in turn, may make it easier for you to speak openly and candidly about the issues you are struggling with. Most individuals struggling with anxiety find online therapy to be just as effective as enrolling in therapy in a traditional, in person setting.

When you enroll in our services, you will have a 20 minute initial consultation meeting with a trained professional after which you will be matched with a therapy group most suited to your needs. Your group will meet at the same day and time each week. You can find answers to more Grouport related FAQs here.

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Anxiety Therapy Methods

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Methods

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric issue found among the general population (Öst, 2008). Their lifetime prevalence rate is around 33.7% (Bandelow & Michaelis, 2015), and anxiety disorders are the foremost mental disorder found in women (Chambala, 2008). Anticipatory anxiety may be considered the quintessential form of anxiety--in other words, when people hear the word “anxiety,” it is likely what comes to mind are individuals who ruminate about the future, constantly worrying and fearing what is to come. It is important to remember, however, that anticipatory anxiety is just one type of anxiety; there are, in fact, several different types of anxiety disorder. It manifests in children and adults alike across the world, often escalating to severe levels.

Anxiety that has reached a clinical level means that the individual living with the disorder must experience interference in living their day to day lives; they will have a difficult time, in other words, their living lives to the fullest. And in severe cases, anxiety disorders could interfere with a person’s social life or job. There are several different subtypes of anxiety disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Specific phobias
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder might see severe negative cognitive, emotional, and physiological manifestations of their illness. One such way this can occur is through panic attacks, which often send individuals to the emergency room, convinced that they are about to die. And while anxiety disorders can be incredibly difficult to live with, there are, thankfully, several different therapeutic approaches that have been found to improve the quality of life for those suffering from anxiety.

Some of these therapeutic approaches include:

  • Hypnosis: akin to meditation, hypnosis generally involves clients entering various states of consciousness with their particular, individualized needs kept in mind. Clients never, however, lose control: they will always have awareness of what is happening.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: this type of therapy is rooted in the core belief that emotional disorders are caused by cognitive factors which can be changed through the employment of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, are focused on a client’s individual needs and can be tailored based on their cognitive progress.
  • Attention bias modification: an emerging form of therapy, attention bias modification therapy uses computer based attention training to aid clients suffering with anxiety in dealing with perceived threats in the environment around them that normally cause them to hyper fixate.
  • Cognitive therapy: the most commonly seen psychological treatment for those living with anxiety disorders, cognitive therapy is characterized by clients working with their therapists to zero in on the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that affect their ability to change their behaviors.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: during this specific approach, an anticonvulsant device electrically stimulates a client’s vagus nerve; this particular nerve is targeted because it has the unique ability to control one’s feelings of anxiety. Though this approach is generally utilized on individuals who are experiencing treatment resistant depression or epilepsy, some studies have also shown this method’s effectiveness in addressing treatment resistant anxiety disorders.

Another treatment route for anxiety is group therapy. This therapeutic approach can be incredibly useful in helping individuals process their anxiety, reframe disturbing thoughts they experience, and tolerate painful emotions over time.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted over Zoom. This makes seeking therapy during an ongoing global pandemic possible from the safety of your home. Each one of our incoming clients receives a twenty minute initial consultation conducted by a trained professional. Clients are then matched into a weekly therapy group best suited to their needs. Each therapy group meets for an hour every week. More FAQs about Grouport can be found here.

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Anxiety Therapy Groups Near Me

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Groups Near Me

The most common psychiatric issues found in the world are anxiety disorders. While the term anxiety might bring to mind an idea of people who live in constant fear and worry about the future, in fact, this type of anxiety (anticipatory) is only one of many kinds of anxiety disorder. 

Types of Anxiety 

Among the different types of anxiety disorders, some include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

The Impact of Anxiety

Anxiety can manifest in both children and adults, and has the potential to escalate to such severity that it interferes with people’s day to day lives. In severe cases, anxiety disorders can interfere with a person’s job or social life. 

If you are living with an anxiety disorder, it is possible that you will experience serious negative emotional, cognitive, and physiological symptoms associated with this condition. You may also experience panic attacks, which could send you to the hospital, convinced you are in grave danger. 

Therapy for Anxiety 

Although an anxiety disorder can be incredibly difficult to live with, there are many different therapeutic options out there that have been proven to help improve people’s quality of life. These therapeutic approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of anxiety therapy is rooted in the core belief that emotional disorders are caused by cognitive factors which can be changed through the employment of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, are focused on a client’s individual needs and can be tailored based on their cognitive progress.
  • Cognitive therapy: The most commonly seen psychological treatment for those living with anxiety disorders, cognitive therapy is characterized by clients working with their therapists to zero in on the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that affect their ability to change their behaviors.
  • Attention bias modification: An emerging form of therapy for anxiety, attention bias modification therapy uses computer based attention training to aid clients suffering with anxiety in dealing with perceived threats in the environment around them that normally cause them to hyper fixate.
  • Hypnosis: Akin to meditation, hypnosis generally involves clients entering various states of consciousness with their particular, individualized needs kept in mind. Clients never, however, lose control: they will always have awareness of what is happening.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: During this specific approach, an anticonvulsant device electrically stimulates a client’s vagus nerve; this particular nerve is targeted because it has the unique ability to control one’s feelings of anxiety. Though this approach is generally utilized on individuals who are experiencing treatment resistant depression or epilepsy, some studies have also shown this method’s effectiveness in addressing treatment resistant anxiety disorders.

Group Therapy for Anxiety 

Many of these forms of anxiety therapy can be administered in online group therapy. In fact, group therapy for anxiety can be very helpful, because it can help you reframe disturbing thoughts, tolerate painful emotions, and process your anxiety with a renewed perspective in a safe, secure setting from the comfort of your own home. 

Here at Grouport, we offer a variety of online therapy groups for anxiety. 

CHECK OUT OUR GROUPS

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Anxiety Therapy Tools

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Tools

According to the Mayo Clinic, occasionally experiencing anxiety is considered a normal part of being a human. However, some individuals will experience anxiety to the point that they are consistently experiencing worry and fear of average situations; if that is the case, they could be living with an anxiety disorder. In general, people who are living with anxiety disorders will have repeated panic attacks, and may steer clear of certain places or situations to avoid triggering their anxiety. And for people who are living with an anxiety disorder, the feelings of panic and anxiety they experience might:

  • Interfere with day to day activity
  • Be disproportionate to the objective danger present at the time
  • Be hard to control
  • Last for a long period of time


Some individuals may begin to experience anxiety as early as their childhood, while others may see anxiety appear as adults. Some common symptoms and signs of anxiety could include:

  • Feelings of weakness or exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Feeling tense, nervous, or overall restless
  • Having a hard time thinking about anything other than the thing one is currently worried about
  • Feeling a sense of impending doom, panic, or danger
  • Trembling
  • Hyperventilation, or breathing rapidly
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid situations, people, or things that trigger anxiety
  • Having a hard time controlling worry
  • Experiencing a heightened heart rate


One such way that an individual can be treated for anxiety is through mindfulness based cognitive therapy. This therapeutic approach mixes techniques lifted from cognitive therapy, meditation, and the creation of mindfulness, which is a non judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present moment. Some mindfulness tools that your therapist may teach you might include:

  • Body scanning exercises: clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Mindfulness practices: mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Yoga: clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Mindfulness stretching: this technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.
  • Meditation: therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.

Another practice you may be taught is known as a “three minute breathing space technique.” This incorporates practicing three steps lasting one minute each:

  1. Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  2. Focus on your breathing.
  3. Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

While anxiety can indeed interfere with your daily life, there is hope: many therapeutic avenues have been proven to be effective in combating anxiety. And here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy appropriate for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained mental health professional. We will then match you with the appropriate therapy group, which will meet every week for an hour. You can find more FAQs here.

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Anxiety Therapy Activities

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Activities

Anxiety disorders are a set of mental illnesses that can cause major adverse effects in individuals’ lives. There are many different potential symptoms of anxiety disorders. Some common signs are including but not limited to:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid potential anxiety triggers
  • A heightened heart rate
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilation, or rapid breathing
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Tenseness
  • Experience sensations of impending doom, danger, or panic
  • Having a hard time controlling feelings of worry
  • Difficulty concentrating

Healthline suggests a series of different activities that may abate feelings of anxiety:

  1. Muscle relaxation: anxiety can manifest in tension or strain in different muscles, which can, in turn, make the anxiety itself more difficult to manage. You can rapidly decrease muscle tension by sitting in a comfortable and quiet location and closing your eyes. Then, breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make a tight fist and squeeze it tightly, holding it for a few seconds and noticing the tension in your hand. Slowly open your fingers, while remaining aware of what you are feeling. Your hand will, with time, feel more relaxed and lighter overall. Continue tensing and releasing other muscles, such as your shoulders, feet and legs, but make sure to avoid any areas you are injured.
  2. Remaining present: mindfulness is a practice that hinges on staying present in the moment; it can encourage a reduction in anxious feelings, particularly when one’s thoughts are racing. To practice mindfulness, you should again sit quietly in a comfortable location and close your eyes. Pay attention to your body and breathing, then shift your focus on to your surroundings: what is happening around you? What do you hear, feel, or smell? Continue altering your focus until your anxiety begins to take the back seat.
  3. Breathing exercises: anxiety can lead to an increase in breathing and heart rates; this can escalate into feelings of dizziness. To conduct a breathing exercise, sit again in a comfortable and quiet location with one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Make sure that your stomach moves more than your chest as you take deep breaths. Through your nose, take in a regular and slow breath, focusing on your hands as you breathe in. The hand that is placed on your chest should stay still, and the hand on your stomach should move a little bit. Slowly breathe out through your mouth and repeat at least 10 times, or until you feel your anxiety easing up.
  4. Visualization exercises: Painting a mental picture that brings you joy and relaxation can lead to calmness in your body and mind, particularly when you are experiencing anxiety. Sit down in a comfortable, quiet place when you feel anxiety coming on, imagining your favorite or ideal place to relax. It can be anywhere as long as the image you conjure makes you feel safe, peaceful, and happy. Consider the fine details you would come across if you were physically there: the feels, sounds, and smells. Imagine yourself in that location. Once your “happy place” is visualized, take in slow, regular breaths through your nose and out through your mouth, staying alert to your breathing while focusing on your happy place. Revisit this location anytime you feel anxious.  
  5. Interrupt your anxious thinking: when you are experiencing anxiety, you may have a difficult time thinking clearly; you may even start to believe harmful, untrue thoughts that can build upon the anxiety you are already experiencing. You may be able to break your anxious thought cycle by reading a book, listening to music, focusing on a nice thought (such as something you are looking forward to), or singing a silly song to an upbeat tempo about your anxiety.

Another highly effective form of combating anxiety is group therapy. And here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy. You may find answers to Grouport related FAQs here.

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Unpacking and Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety

Unpacking and Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety can be one of the most frustrating, exhausting, and intense combinations of feelings we experience as humans.

And even though an estimated 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety, that doesn’t stop it from making us feel extremely lonely and isolated.

We’re here to reassure you that you’re not alone. Yes, it’s very uncomfortable to experience your heart racing, palms sweating, head spinning, or even a sick, upset stomach. But we all feel these symptoms from time to time - and it’s important to know, for your own sanity, the differences between the different kinds of anxiety.


Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

All anxiety disorders are characterized by a general feeling of exaggerated fear or worrying about a future threat. Below are diagnosable anxiety disorders:

  • Social anxiety - you fear other people are judging you or looking at you (usually negatively) in social settings
  • Generalized anxiety - you question, worry, and overanalyze almost everything day to day
  • Panic disorder - you experience panic attacks in certain situations and there is typically little to no warning or logical reasoning
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder - you repeat specific rituals or behaviors and find it difficult to stop
  • Separation anxiety - you are afraid of being apart from either a physical place like your home or a person, like a family member or romantic partner

How Often Are You Experiencing Anxiety?

When we compete in an athletic event, or give a speech in front of a lot of people, we feel our adrenal glands flare up because we’re nervous and anxious. This is general, occasional anxiety fueled by specific situations.

Chronic anxiety is when we have constant, unyielding fear or worry in most situations. This involves overthinking, overanalyzing, obsessing, ruminating, and even panicking about events that either happened or haven’t happened yet.

People who experience chronic anxiety are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disorder and may attend group therapy, individual therapy, take medication, meditate, or do a combination of all.  

Occasional anxiety is brought on by stress and participating in stressful situations or building unreal thoughts up in our head, whereas chronic anxiety is a condition that lasts for long periods of time, sometimes without any warning, any reason, or any patterns.

The Physical Effects of Anxiety

When we experience anxiety, our levels of stress hormones begin to spike, which increase our blood sugar levels and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

These stress hormones are epinephrine and cortisol, and too much of these hormones can be very harmful to our health. When they are released into the bloodstream, they cause the liver to produce more glucose, activating our fight-or-flight response - which increases our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart rate.

Because of these high levels of glucose production, our immune system is weakened, our energy levels are thrown out of whack, and our sleep is likely to be irregular and disrupted.


How the Brain Responds to Anxiety

The amygdala are two nuclei located within the brain’s limbic system that control our decisions and moods. They hold the reins on how we react to everything that happens to us. Think of the amygdala as our tiny emotional regulator.

Because the amygdala regulates all of our emotions, it is affected by forces like anxiousness, stress, and nervousness. The more often we undergo the feelings of anxiety and let ourselves get to an irrational state, the more the amygdala is thrown off its course. It becomes vulnerable to this constant up and down, and in a way, slowly unlearns how to regulate itself.

So, what is the long-term consequence of consistently letting ourselves sink into a state of anxiety?

The structure of the brain can actually be reshaped and reprogrammed by whatever feelings and experiences it’s subjected to repeatedly. The process is called neuroplasticity.

Now, we have even bigger problems. Our awareness is now entirely dependent on this reprogramming, and it can be difficult to reverse.


Meditation as a Form of Anxiety Therapy

As mentioned earlier, when we experience anxiety, our levels of stress hormones spike, which increases our heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption. In order to counteract these physical effects of anxiety, many people have turned to meditation as a form of treatment.

Why?

Meditation has the opposite effect on the brain that anxiety does.

MRI scans in an array of studies have shown that the amygdala shrinks in response to meditation practice. This causes the prefrontal cortex to become thicker, increasing our awareness and reteaching us the negative thoughts that trigger our anxiety.

The more we practice meditation as anxiety therapy, the more mentally tough we can become. Over time, regular meditation can cause our brain to experience a set of physiological changes, leading to a “relaxation response.”

The mind recognizes a triggering, negative thought, and can find a workaround through meditation. A new mental pattern is born, and we can avoid falling into the trap of anxiety a little easier. It’s about breaking down the anxiety to its core and understanding how it operates.

We have the power to choose our thoughts.

We have the power to not listen to them or be affected by them.

We have the power to dismiss them.

We have the power to decide they aren’t real.

Meditation is frequently used in group therapy for anxiety. Many of Grouport’s licensed therapists encourage and teach meditation for anxiety therapy.


The Long-Term Rewards of Meditation Practice

Research shows that routine meditation for anxiety therapy reprograms our brain’s neural pathways and improves our ability to regulate emotions, which is what anxiety steals from us (if we let it!)

Everyone suffers from overthinking certain storylines about themselves and their lives.

Anxiety takes those storylines and runs with them - keeping us up late at night, making us second guess our choices, never giving us peace.

Meditation takes those storylines, sits with them, and lets them go. We are reminded that we don’t have to accept the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Eventually, we learn that all of our thoughts can be chosen carefully, and to choose only the ones that serve us positively.

This is most commonly referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety. It is used widely in group therapy, especially at Grouport.  

During this anxiety therapy, we even develop the skills to check in with our physical body, as well as our mental body. A common practice in meditation is to do a full-body scan. This involves mentally thinking of each part of our body, inch by inch, and tuning into any sensations, temperature, calmness, and tingles.

Now, we are paying full attention to our five senses, teaching us to be mindful and hyper aware of our surroundings, while listening to our bodies.

People can choose to tap into this skill and perform a full-body scan whenever they are scared or unsure in their environment. It can even be used to heighten the pleasure of an enjoyable place - like a warm, white-sand beach on vacation. Truly taking in the moment and experiencing gratitude, both mentally and physically, for where you are leads to deep inner peace, higher self-awareness, and increased happiness.

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Anxiety Therapy Techniques

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Techniques

The lifetime prevalence rate for anxiety disorders is about 33.7% (Bandelow & Michaelis, 2015). And among the general population, anxiety disorders are the most commonly found psychiatric issue (Öst, 2008) and the number one mental disorder found among women (Chambala, 2008). When one thinks about anxiety, their mind may immediately veer towards fearing and worrying about the future, sometimes to the point of rumination. This type of anxiety--referred to as anticipatory anxiety--has the potential to make enjoying anything more difficult than it needs to be. However, anticipatory anxiety is just one of several different types of a mental disorder that is a severe and common issue for adults and children alike across the world.


For an anxiety disorder to reach a clinical level, the individual suffering from it must experience interference in their attempts to live life to its fullest. In some cases, anxiety disorders can even lead to major occupational and social impairments. Within the umbrella of anxiety disorders, there are various different sub territories:

  • Panic disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Specific phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder


Anxiety disorders can, indeed, be very terrifying for those who are attempting to live with them. Individuals can see major adverse emotional, physiological, and cognitive manifestations of their anxiety. And people who suffer from panic attacks often wind up in the emergency room, convinced that they are on their deathbed. While anxiety can be a debilitating disorder, there are several different therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be effective. Some of these therapeutic approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: this type of therapy is rooted in the core belief that emotional disorders are caused by cognitive factors which can be changed through the employment of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, are focused on a client’s individual needs and can be tailored based on their cognitive progress.
  • Hypnosis: akin to meditation, hypnosis generally involves clients entering various states of consciousness with their particular, individualized needs kept in mind. Clients never, however, lose control: they will always have awareness of what is happening.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: during this specific approach, an anticonvulsant device electrically stimulates a client’s vagus nerve; this particular nerve is targeted because it has the unique ability to control one’s feelings of anxiety. Though this approach is generally utilized on individuals who are experiencing treatment resistant depression or epilepsy, some studies have also shown this method’s effectiveness in addressing treatment resistant anxiety disorders.
  • Cognitive therapy: the most commonly seen psychological treatment for those living with anxiety disorders, cognitive therapy is characterized by clients working with their therapists to zero in on the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that affect their ability to change their behaviors.
  • Attention bias modification: an emerging form of therapy, attention bias modification therapy uses computer based attention training to aid clients suffering with anxiety in dealing with perceived threats in the environment around them that normally cause them to hyper fixate.

Grouport offers online group therapy. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation that is led by a trained mental health professional, and each weekly group session is an hour long. You can find more FAQs here. Group therapy can be incredibly helpful in helping people process their anxiety, reframe disturbing thoughts, and tolerate painful emotions over time.

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Anxiety Therapy Groups

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Groups

According to the Mayo Clinic, occasionally experiencing anxiety is a normal part of the human condition. On the other hand, individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders persistently find themselves in excessive fear of and worrying about day to day situations. Generally, people who suffer from anxiety disorders will experience repeated panic attacks, which can be described as episodes in which someone suddenly begins to feel intense terror or anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset. In an effort to avoid feelings of panic, individuals may steer clear of certain situations or places.


And for people living with an anxiety disorder, the feelings of panic and anxiety they experience might:

  • Last for a long period of time
  • Interfere with day to day activity
  • Are hard to control
  • Are disproportionate to the objective danger present at the time


Symptoms of anxiety may begin as early as childhood and continue into adulthood. For others, signs of anxiety may not appear until their teenage years or adulthood. Some common symptoms and signs of anxiety might include:

  • Feelings of weakness or exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Trembling
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hyperventilation, or breathing rapidly
  • Feeling a sense of impending doom, panic, or danger
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid situations, people, or things that trigger anxiety
  • Feeling tense, nervous, or overall restless
  • Having a hard time controlling worry
  • Experiencing a heightened heart rate
  • Having a hard time thinking about anything other than the thing one is currently worried about


There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders. These include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: in this type of anxiety disorder, individuals will experience excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about events and activities, even if they are routine or ordinary. The worry they feel is disproportionate in relation to the real life circumstances, and it will affect their physical state and be difficult to control. Generalized anxiety disorder often appears alongside depression or other anxiety disorders.
  • Agoraphobia: individuals who suffer from agoraphobia are afraid of situations or places that make them feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped; they will often avoid these situations and places.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: some children may experience a severe anxiety in relation to being separated from their parents or parental figures; this phenomenon is characterized as a disorder if the children’s worry is excessive for their current developmental level.
  • Selective mutism: also found in children, this disorder is characterized by a consistent failure of children to speak in specific situations--like school--even if they are able to speak in other ones, like when they are at home with loved ones.
  • Specific phobias: this disorder is characterized by individuals experiencing severe anxiety when exposed to a particular situation or object, as well as the desire to avoid said situations or objects. In some individuals, phobias may cause panic attacks.
  • Panic disorder: individuals who suffer from panic disorder experience repetitive episodes in which they feel sudden, intense fear, terror, and anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset, also known as a panic attack.
  • Social anxiety disorder: this disorder is characterized by individuals feeling extreme anxiety surrounding and avoiding social situations because they may feel excessively self conscious or embarrassed.
  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition: some individuals may develop an anxiety disorder in response to the onset of a physical health problem they are experiencing.


While there are many different forms of anxiety disorders, there is hope: treatment is available and proven to be highly effective in many cases. Here at Grouport, we offer completely online group therapy. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained mental health professional. We will then match you with the appropriate therapy group, which will meet every week for an hour. You can find more FAQs here.

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5 Ways To Reset Your Mind During A Panic Attack

Anxiety

5 Ways To Reset Your Mind During A Panic Attack

It’s easy to lose sight of reality during a panic attack. Raw, chaotic panic seems to impact our emotions, body, behavior and perspective, shifting an otherwise “normal” moment into one of survival. Suddenly, grocery store shopping or a short car drive becomes an act of war, fighting off the terror and warning signals flashing through our heads, telling us we ought to turn around, stop the car, or even call an ambulance.

When an onslaught of panic and stress comes our way, how do we respond? How do we successfully navigate panic attacks to where they don’t steal our peace or joy in a day? We’ve outlined five tools for you to explore, learn, and utilize the next time an anxiety attack heads your way. But first, what exactly is a panic attack and how can you tell if you might be experiencing one?

What Is A Panic Attack?

Panic attacks, also referred to as “anxiety attacks,” are sudden, intense episodes where sensations of fear trigger a physical response such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, and nausea. These can occur without any external threats. In fact, they often happen amidst seemingly ordinary situations like watching Netflix or taking a nap. The panic triggers a “fight or flight” mode, and these non-threatening moments are suddenly recognized as extremely dangerous by our bodies, which release stress hormones into the bloodstream.

Every year, 11% of the U.S. population experiences a panic attack, with up to 35% of the population experiencing a panic attack at some point in their lives. And while this random, unexpected anxiety is common, without being properly dealt with, it can lead to a more serious panic disorder. Oftentimes, people will associate an anxiety attack with a certain place or activity, which can become debilitating and prevent them from engaging in everyday situations that are “threatening.” Instead of facing their fears, they choose to isolate and avoid, which only caters to deeper fear.

Symptoms

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with panic attacks:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Hot flashes
  • Feelings of dread or a sense of foreboding
  • Feeling that you’re losing control
  • Feeling like you’re going to die
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling

Causes

While panic attacks can come out of left field and often have no external triggers, there are a few underlying causes that could make a person more susceptible to experiencing panic attacks. Here are a few:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Family history of panic disorder
  • Major life event, such as the death of a loved one or losing a job
  • Social situations
  • Stressful job or work environment
  • Sudden change in environment
  • Thyroid issues

Sometimes, anxiety attacks are warning signals that help point back to something in our lives that needs our attention. There could be deeper, underlying issues that are threatening our peace and survival. As we move onto five different methods that’ll help you during a panic attack, consider whether there’s something else that’s happened to trigger anxiety, and where you might need to restore balance to your mind and body, recentering yourself with peace. Note: If you need help uncovering some of the deeper, more hidden issues, check out Grouport for different therapy options that’ll help you step out of fear and into abundant living. [1]

5 Methods To Help With Panic Attacks

There are all sorts of methods and tips when it comes to navigating panic attacks. It’s easy to give into overwhelm, having zero clue as to where to start. Our five tips encompass a diverse range of methods for you to try. Perhaps the breathing techniques really do the trick. Or perhaps a little release of those endorphins is what you need to reset your mind. Check out the following tried-and-true methods for the next time you encounter a bout of anxiety.

1. Learn EFT, Or The Tapping Technique

The Tapping Technique, also called the “Emotional Frequency Technique,” is an alternative medicine practice that uses psychological acupuncture to restore balance to the body. The thought is that by tapping on specific meridian points on the face, you can access your body’s energy and send signals to the part of the brain that controls stress. There are eight specific acupoints to tap, and the technique is repeated until anxiety is reduced. In addition to tapping, the tapper is also to repeat self-affirmations and declarations over themselves. These affirmations are to help bring balance to any disrupted energy, recentering the thought space.

The EFT method has been studied extensively for anxiety and depression. One study included 5,000 patients seeking treatment for anxiety. Over the course of five and a half years, patients from 11 different clinics were treated with either cognitive behavior therapy or acupoint tapping. They found that 90% of patients who received the tapping therapy experienced improvement in comparison to an improvement of 63% of those who tried the cognitive behavior. In fact, only three tapping sessions were needed before anxiety levels were reduced, whereas behavioral therapy needed an average of 15 sessions.

If you want to try the tapping method, you’ll want to a) learn the different tapping points and b) create your affirmations and declarations in advance.

The Tapping Points

  1. Karate Chop (the outer edge of the hand, below the pinkie)
  2. Eyebrow (inner edge, close to the nose)
  3. Side of the eye (hard area between the eye and the temple)
  4. Under the eye (hard are beneath the pupil)
  5. Under the nose (skin between the nose and the upper lip)
  6. Chin (middle of chin)
  7. Collarbone (tap with four fingers)
  8. Under the arm (tap with four fingers, about four inches below armpit)

Use your index and middle fingers to tap these meridian points between five to seven times, repeating the sequence until you feel the anxiety starting to reduce.

Create Your Declaration Phrases

The next step is to come up with your phrases or short sayings that you’ll be repeating throughout the tapping process. This doesn’t have to fall into unrealistic, “positive thinking” (The Tapping Solution). You can be honest about your situation and the panic you’re experiencing, combining affirmation with truth. Whatever declaration you choose -- an uplifting quote, verse, or a short phrase of gratefulness -- will be repeated at each meridian point.

The great thing about tapping is you can do it pretty much anywhere -- traveling, at the office, in the bathroom. Anytime a panic attack hits you out of the blue, locate the eight spots, remember your declaration, and get to tapping!

2. Try Breathing Techniques

Slowing down a panic attack often starts with the breath, as learning to control your breathing will reduce cortisol levels that might be blocking your cognition. Deep breathing helps calm down the body, reducing adrenaline and lowering the heart rate. Plus, a rhythm of breathing stale air out, fresh air in, is a wonderful opportunity to help your mind follow a pattern and decompress.

One breathing technique is called the “4-7-8 breath.” First, you breathe in deeply through the nose for four seconds, then hold your breath for seven seconds, and finally release for eight seconds.

You can also try the Calm app, a sleep and meditation tool that offers breathing exercises to help your breath follow a pattern. You can select different styles like “relax” or “unwind” along with a time limit. They also offer different meditation exercises, a method used to lower anxiety levels, which we’ll talk about later.

3. Get Some Exercise

Exercise is an incredible way to reduce anxiety, releasing endorphins and pumping serotonin into the body. Getting active improves sleep quality and energy levels, while reducing stress and inflammation in the body. According to a study done by the American Academy of Family Physicians, exercising at 60% to 90% of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times a week actually reduces anxiety.

One great exercise to try is yoga, which blends physical movement with meditation. Yoga incorporates several different aspects of balancing and restoring the mind back to its natural state. It’s known to suppress neural activity and influence GABA levels, a neurotransmitter that slows stress, reduces anxiety, and improves sleep. Besides yoga, you can try cardio exercises like running, rowing, or dancing

4. Explore The Outdoors

Spending time outdoors is a great way to reduce stress levels, increase oxygen levels, and clear your head. In fact, many Japanese doctors prescribe “forest bathing” to anxious and depressed patients. On average, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors. Taking a short walk around the block or heading out for an afternoon of hiking are great ways to reduce panic, with nature sending signals to our bodies that help restore balance to our neurochemistry.

5. Practice Meditation

Meditation is great at reestablishing the mind-body connection, slowing down the chaos of a panic attack through intentional breath and focus. It helps reduce cortisol levels, improves sleep quality, and helps keep the mind from wandering. Meditation incorporates two other ways we’ve identified -- breath and exercise -- to help the brain stay in the moment, regrounding a person in truth.

You can connect your mind and body together through simple questions like, How do my toes feel? Are they warmer than the rest of the body? Does my back have any resistance? Does my hair feel light or heavy?

There are several different types of meditation that you can try: mindfulness meditation, focused meditation, movement motivation, and progressive relaxation, to name a few. Explore the different options, from self-guided to expert-guided, and see what type of meditation works best for you, particularly amidst the more stressful seasons.

Where Do I Find Support?

We hope these five methods will help you navigate a panic attack successfully. Some of these are methods that you can incorporate in your daily life (like establishing a workout routine), while others are great for those moments where you’re experiencing an attack full-throttle.

It’s always beneficial to have a support group there for both the ups and the downs. If you find yourself needing additional, professional help, check out the resources we have to offer here at Grouport. We’d love to partner with you along your journey towards healthy, balanced living. [2]

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5 Signs a DBT Skills Group is Exactly What You Need

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5 Signs a DBT Skills Group is Exactly What You Need

Do you feel like you can’t get ahead? Like life is just beating you down, or that challenges are overwhelming you to the point of chronic, debilitating anxiety, depression, PTSD, disordered eating, insomnia, or other mental health concerns? Do you feel like your emotions run your life, and you’re exhausted by the ups and downs? If these experiences are familiar to you, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, could be the solution you’re looking for. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this type of treatment, it’s important to know that DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). DBT was originally founded by suicide researcher Marsha Linehan in the late 1970s for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. 

Since that time DBT has been empirically validated for a wide variety of other issues such as suicidal ideation, PTSD, self-harm, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Today DBT is used across a number of populations and for a myriad of mental health conditions. It can be utilized in both a private (individual or 1:1) therapy session, or (more preferably) in group therapy. 

DBT has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency rate and length of hospitalizations for individuals with chronic mental health symptoms, and is used with both adults and adolescents. 

DBT has four specific modules: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment. 
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others. 
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you. 

If you’re wondering if DBT could be the right treatment for you, here are some important things to consider. Work through these statements honestly, asking yourself the hard questions in order to determine the severity of your experience. 

  1. Do you feel like you’re riding a never-ending roller coaster? It’s common for individuals dealing with ongoing emotional distress to seek out DBT. For instance, if you feel you’re constantly fighting with others, feeling overwhelmed, crying or escalating with an inability to control your emotions. DBT uses specific skills to manage emotional regulation in order to help you feel less vulnerable to your emotions, better handle interpersonal tension and conflict, and learn greater “distress tolerance” when dealing with situational challenges and emotional hurdles. 

  1. Are your relationships riddled with conflict? Do you feel like it’s hard to connect with others, notice you’re always in conflict, feel ongoing tension with people you care about at work and at home, find yourself unsatisfied in your relationships, or struggle to make new friends? It’s common for emotionally volatile individuals to struggle with interpersonal issues. DBT can help! DBT uses interpersonal effectiveness skills training to teach you how to have stronger, healthier, more fulfilling relationships with others so you can feel good about yourself, set boundaries, and learn both self-respect and respect for others. 

  1. Are you turning to destructive coping skills when emotions are heightened? For many individuals who benefit from DBT, they find that prior to enrolling in therapy they struggled with unhealthy coping mechanisms when emotions were high, such as self-harm, disordered eating, suicidal ideation, alcohol or drug use. If this is familiar to you, remember that you deserve to feel secure and confident and like life is worth living. DBT can help you manage impulsive urges to choose unhealthy coping strategies, and instead provide you with more long-term, positive and effective solutions that bring greater wellbeing to your life. 

  1. Does it seem like traditional talk therapy or psychotherapy doesn’t work for you? If you’ve tried therapy in the past, maybe even a few therapists, or medication use, or a combination of both and it seems like nothing is working, DBT might be the answer. With decades of research supporting the effectiveness of DBT treatment for symptoms that are usually treatment-resistant (such as depression, anxiety or PTSD), this form of therapy has a unique ability to teach you how to both accept your challenges and identify your emotions, but still create space in which you can manifest positive changes, cope, and thrive. 

If any of these questions and experiences resonate with you, you’re ready to try DBT!

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3 Keys to Choosing the Right Online Group Therapy Option

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3 Keys to Choosing the Right Online Group Therapy Option

The origins of group therapy in the U.S., or at least its rise in popularity, started after the second World War, when veterans returning from overseas tours were placed into group therapy where licensed mental health care specialists led them through sessions from which major progress was observed. 

If you’ve looked into online group therapy, you probably know a little bit about its benefits. Here’s a few: 

Online group therapy is much less expensive than individual therapy. 

Did you know that traditional one on one (individual) therapy can run anywhere from $100-$300 a session? This is one of the many reasons a lot of people are drawn to group therapy. Group therapy (both in person and online) usually costs around $30-$40 per session, but doesn’t require giving up the benefits of mental health counseling. Therapists are able to decrease the per-session cost since sessions are attended by more people, and there is no physical overhead (like paying for an office and driving to/from work) cost to consider.  

Every online group is led by a licensed mental health provider such as a psychologist, clinical social worker, or counselor, which is the same standard of care you can expect in individual therapy. In your online group you’ll still have the opportunity to discuss your challenges, have a treatment plan assessment, and be led through helpful skills training or different types of psychotherapy in order to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Having a less expensive per-session cost also often means you can attend therapy more regularly, and therefore progress faster. 

Learning from your peers can help you see things differently.

When participating in an online therapy group, one major benefit is that you’ll be exposed to the thoughts, experiences, and stories of others just like you who are struggling with similar issues in their own lives. In many cases just hearing other peoples’ stories can trigger “light bulb” revelations about your own experiences, behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes mental health struggles can leave us feeling isolated and alone, which can perpetuate challenges we’re already facing and increase the frequency and severity of our symptoms. With online group therapy, feeling accepted and understood by others who truly “get it” can lead to a greater sense of openness and an increased willingness to share, which in turn creates a healthier and more transparent environment in which to grow and learn. 

Group settings can help you practice the techniques you’re learning in safe, controlled environment.

When working with you to decrease your symptoms and mitigate the stress you feel every day as a result of your mental health condition or challenges, your therapist will likely ask you to practice new habits and communication to replace old, destructive ones. The great thing about online group therapy is that (from the safety and comfort of your own home) you can actually utilize your group therapy peers in order to practice some of these new behaviors, communication techniques and self-soothing tactics. This creates a powerful opportunity to simulate real-world encounters in a safe, controlled group environment under the supervision of your group’s therapist. 

These and many other benefits can make online group therapy an appealing choice when pursuing mental health support. 

Now that you understand some of the benefits, you might be wondering about how to choose the right online therapy group. With so many options out there today, there’s a few things you’ll want to consider before making a decision. 

Online Group Therapy Focus 

Some of the most successful online therapy groups utilize a core focus in order to bring together patients who can understand each other and all benefit from the same type of counseling and treatment plan. 

Imagine that you are struggling with anxiety, but you’re placed in a group with someone who has Bipolar Disorder, another person who is grieving the death of a child, and someone struggling with self-harm. It’s unlikely you’d all need the same treatment plan or therapy tools in order to improve, and it might be difficult to understand one another and what you’re going through. 

This is why it is really important to find a group that focuses on something you are struggling with. For instance, an online grief therapy group, online Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a disordered eating group, or a PTSD group. Choosing a group that “fits” the mental health condition or challenges you’re facing will undoubtedly make you more comfortable with the other group members and can fast-track your progress with a clear, specific roadmap that addresses your needs and concerns. 

Online Group Therapy Style 

While most online therapy groups follow a weekly session format (usually for about an hour), some may do this in an online chat room, through a secure phone call, or by HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform (such as Zoom). Depending on your level of comfort and what is most convenient for you, you’ll want to know exactly how the sessions are run every week, and then make an informed decision. Always choose the style that is MOST likely to help you show up every week. 

Online Group Therapy Scheduling

It might be a no-brainer, but the other really important factor to consider when exploring online group therapy options is the days/times your focus group is meeting and to ensure this lines up with your availability. The last thing you want to do is commit to taking the courageous first step in improving your mental health, only to find that you are unavailable Wednesdays, which is the only day your group meets every week. 

Most online group therapy will offer a variety of session times and days in order to meet scheduling needs. Keep in mind that one other major benefit of online group therapy sessions is that you don’t have to drive to and from an office, which diminishes the risk of making excuses when you just don’t feel like showing up! 

Are you looking for the perfect online therapy group for you? We’re confident you can find it here, at Grouport! 

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How DBT Skills Help With Economic Anxiety

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How DBT Skills Help With Economic Anxiety

Many people will argue that we are actively in a recession, while others say the worst of it is just around the corner. Rising gas and cost of goods cost, supply chain constraints, thousands of businesses going under, peak reports of bankruptcies and foreclosures… it's normal to feel stressed and anxious during these trying economic times. 

If you’re wondering if you’re dealing with economic anxiety, consider these important symptoms: 

  • Overspending: Oddly enough, for many people struggling with economic anxiety, shopping can provide a short-term feeling of relief, possibly perpetuating a sense of denial about the reality of financial concerns. 
  • Fear of spending: On the opposite side of the spectrum, a sudden and overly pessimistic view of spending habits (avoiding spending on critical things like health care or home repairs) leading to excessive hoarding is another symptom of economic anxiety. 
  • Depression: Obsessively reading financial news headline stories and dwelling on negative news in addition to classic depression symptoms is a good reason to take a step back. 
  • Insomnia: Lying awake at night worrying about your finances and obsessively checking your bank account or other assets is another symptom of economic anxiety. 

The good news is, while much of the economy and its trajectory are far out of your control, your reactions to financial anxiety are not. If you’re struggling with ongoing economic anxiety, you might want to consider a special form of treatment that can diminish your symptoms and help you reclaim your sense of peace and ability to enjoy the present, as well as your ability to respond to stress, conflict, bad news and other situational challenges in a way that doesn’t involve emotionally spinning out of control. This type of therapy is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. 

DBT helps many individuals to cope in crisis situations or time periods through the use of the skills and tools taught throughout its modules. Applying DBT skills training in your day to day life can help minimize stress and reduce emotional suffering. 

Here are a few DBT skills that can help you cope with economic anxiety.

Distress Tolerance 

One of the primary modules of DBT, Distress Tolerance incorporates a unique ability to non-judgmentally accept yourself and the world around you. Distress tolerance reminds us that stress and pain are a natural part of life, and recognizes that one of the first steps toward peace is acceptance. When you fight your reality you prolong your symptoms and emotional suffering. When you focus on tolerating the crisis rather than avoiding or denying it, you can move through emotional distress much faster. 

Self-soothing is an important tool to utilize when practicing distress tolerance. Learning to self-soothe and calm your emotions when anxiety is on the rise is a critical tool to avoid panic attacks and other crippling symptoms of anxiety. 

Here’s one self-soothing exercise that can help with your distress tolerance: 

  • Sit still, and quietly. Think about your physical body. 
  • Avoid letting your thoughts race, instead bringing them back to your five senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste. 
  • One at a time, work through each of the senses and think about them thoroughly, doing so with your feet firmly planted on the floor or lying flat somewhere you feel is comfortable. 
  • After working through your sense, try and close your eyes to visualize a favorite memory, place, or person that helps you feel safe. 

Shifting focus from crisis and our spinning emotions toward physical attributes can help to slow down worrisome thought patterns and head off panic attacks before it’s too late. This is extremely important when new bad financial news is looming, when your finances take a hit, or when you’re obsessing over future unknowns. 

Radical Acceptance

One major tenant of DBT is the concept of Radical Acceptance, which refers back to the distress tolerance module in its acknowledgment that denial of reality simply prolongs suffering. Acknowledging the pain of our situation and accepting it, by contrast, can decrease our vulnerability to negative emotions and thoughts. The core idea behind Radical Acceptance is that all suffering can be tied back to our “attachment” to the situation at hand, and our desire to fight against it rather than acknowledge and embrace it. 

Your willingness to work to accept the current state of economic affairs - if you have no control over them - can reduce your sense of suffering, and help you recognize when your emotions are reaching a reactive point. With Radical Acceptance you can focus instead on what you CAN control, take care of your basic needs, and use self-soothing to stay grounded. 

Next time you find yourself obsessing or stressing over the economy, take some time to step away, breathe, reset, and approach the situation aware that some things are out of your control, and that’s okay. 

Practice Mindfulness

Economic anxiety is often accompanied by excessive worrying, planning, problem solving, and dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions. In times like these it becomes critical to stay rooted in the present, rather than focusing on the unknowns of the future. This is where DBT’s core mindfulness comes in. 

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can bring you back to the present when you’re spending too much time ruminating or obsessing over things you can’t control. Mindfulness begins with choosing not to judge yourself, and instead focusing on the present moment. 

Mindfulness utilizes some of the components of self-soothing and radical acceptance through breathing. meditation, or other grounding techniques to help you relax your mind and body in order to better regulate stress. There are many types of mindfulness practice, including the self-soothing we reviewed under the Distress Tolerance module of DBT. 

In addition to these few concepts, DBT covers a variety of other skills trainings that fall into four specific “buckets”: 

  • Mindfulness: how to be aware of yourself and your emotions and stay present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: learning to cope with difficult or uncomfortable experiences and communication 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: being able to ask for what you want and need and learning to say no in healthy ways to establish boundaries and self-respect
  • Emotional Regulation: discovering how to manage highs and lows and adjust emotional experiences that don’t serve you

If you’re struggling with economic anxiety, DBT can help. 

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How DBT Skills Help With Climate Anxiety

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How DBT Skills Help With Climate Anxiety

As concerns rise for our climate and the future of our world, so does the anxiety that’s sweeping the planet. Increases in frequency of widespread wildfires and the length of wildfire season, along with rising temperatures and shifts in weather patterns leave many concerned and considering the long-term consequences for the Earth as well as the mental health of those who inhabit it. 

The sobering ramifications of climate change are real, and present. It’s normal to react to these with emotions like anxiety, despair, depression, or grief. Studies have shown for many, many years that the physical world around us can significantly impact our mental health and wellbeing, both positively and negatively. Nature can even help us recover quicker, reduce stress, and strengthen our immune systems. It’s therefore understandable that, with our deep physical ties to the earth - we find ourselves concerned and overwhelmed by the potential and looming destruction or death of our planet. 

With news feeds, social media, broadcasts, radio, and much more, it’s fairly impossible to escape the reality of the climate crisis, and consequently, the impact of these fears and anxieties on our stress levels and potential disregulation of our nervous system. 

Symptoms of climate anxiety include: 

  • Muscle tension 
  • Digestive changes 
  • Poor sleep 
  • Racing thoughts 
  • Obsessive rumination 
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Shifts in decision making (like not having children due to concerns for the future)

Unaddressed symptoms of anxiety can become chronic and lead to a significant, ongoing sense of fear along with restlessness, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches, nausea, body aches, stomach pain and more. Ongoing symptoms can be debilitating and seriously decrease your quality of life. 

When it comes to climate anxiety, one of the challenges is that the root cause of the anxiety is valid and rational. Therefore, treating these types of symptoms has to be done in a way that addresses the controllable factors around our experience, rather than removing the concern itself. 

While many types of therapy can help with anxiety, one type of therapy in particular may be significantly beneficial for those struggling with climate anxiety. This type of therapy is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which focuses on acknowledging and supporting the reality of our situation, while creating coping mechanisms that can help us live in the moment. Most anxiety, at its core, focuses on the future or situations, obstacles and challenges we can’t control. DBT helps us stay grounded and present in order to avoid focusing on those things. 

What is DBT?

DBT is founded upon the concept of dialectical thinking, which means our ability to embrace two opposite ideas or truths - in this case, the willingness to accept your reality and live in the moment, combined with a willingness to manifest positive change. 

DBT Modules 

There are four specific modules in DBT: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment. For those coping with climate anxiety, this module can help them stay grounded and focused in their present reality. Staying mindful and present can help minimize stress and anxiety around circumstances and future worries. Meditation is a critical component of the mindfulness module, and this practice can be a pivotal tool for those suffering from panic attacks and the physical symptoms of anxiety such as heart racing episodes, sleep disorders, headaches, rapid breathing, nausea and more. 
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it. This module includes skills like Radical Acceptance, which helps patients to tolerate panic-inducing thoughts and ruminations. Rather than fighting reality and aggravating anxiety by avoiding negative situations, thoughts and feelings, Radical Acceptance teaches the transformative effect of understanding and accepting situations before creating change. Self-soothing skills are a significant part of the distress tolerance module, and are very beneficial for those suffering from ongoing anxiety. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others. This module can help mitigate the impact of mild or paralyzing anxiety (which can cause patients to miss out on life events, act out impulsively, or feel out of control) by developing coping skills that can stop unwanted emotions from starting, regulate or change emotions in the moment, and create a level of comfort with unavoidable emotions that can be a part of everyday life. 
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you. This module helps anxious patients to diminish their worries and fears around relationships and social interaction. The goal of interpersonal effectiveness is to teach the skill of asking for what you want, saying no to what you don’t, and creating healthy boundaries out of self-respect. For many individuals with anxiety, initiating boundary setting or saying “no” can trigger intense worry, fear, and avoidance, so this module is critical to helping them improve.

In addition to utilizing DBT therapy to manage your climate anxiety, joining a peer-oriented online therapy group or support group can help you avoid isolation and create a common sense of understanding. In fact, there are online therapy groups that focus on DBT therapy which combines the best of both solutions. 

Looking to experience relief from climate anxiety? Grouport can help.

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DBT Skills for Coping With Job Loss

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DBT Skills for Coping With Job Loss

Careers fulfill a number of functions in our lives, including satisfying our need to achieve, bringing us income, creating a sense of belonging and stability, and helping us to feel empowered and accomplished. Therefore, when losing a job (which can often be so integrated with your identity), we can notice an immediate and significant decline in your mental health. According to a Gallup poll in 2013, unemployed Americans are more than 2x as likely to be treated for depression as those with full-time jobs.

Millions of Americans were laid off over the course of the COVID pandemic, which most likely directly correlated to a significant spike in mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. More people than ever are seeking mental health support as a result of job loss.

If you’re in the same boat, the first step you need to take is to avoid negative self-talk. In order to cope and move forward, you’ll need to choose to be around others who can help you see the best in yourself, along with any new opportunities, in order to stay positive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network for support, and to create some space and distance from your situation in order to find peace. 

The common feelings of depression and anxiety associated with job loss make it a great choice for many to seek out low-cost therapy. While finances may be tight as you seek out a new position, or you may have lost access to your health insurance, many online group therapy options offer a low-cost alternative to traditional one on one therapy that can help you survive the in-between without significant negative impact to your mental health or turning to poor coping mechanisms (like disordered eating or substance abuse). 

Using DBT Therapy to Cope With Job Loss

One specific type of online group therapy treatment that can help individuals struggling with the reality of job loss is Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. 

The reason DBT can be specifically helpful for coping with job loss is that it offers a form of therapy that combines two critical realities (that may appear opposite) - acceptance, and change. In order to avoid increasing emotional distress, you must first accept your present reality, and then pursue positive change. 

A few common symptoms following job loss are anxiety and depression, for which DBT has been seen to be very effective. This is because DBT follows 4 very specific modules and a series of skills trainings that can help mitigate emotional crisis and help you stay grounded in the moment. 

DBT modules include: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment. 
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others. 
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you. 

Here are just a couple oftools taught throughout DBT modules that can help you cope with the reality of job loss. 

 

Radical Acceptance

The foundational principle of radical acceptance is the belief that all emotional suffering can be traced back to your attachment to a situation or the pain you’re experiencing. According to radical acceptance, relief from our suffering begins with accepting our circumstances, rather than fighting them (which can prolong healing and increase distress). Starting on the road to radical acceptance means choosing to avoid judgment of yourself or your circumstances, and avoiding the temptation to fight against your situation. It is possible to both recognize your emotions, face the gravity of your challenges, and avoid becoming reactive or spinning out of control. 

When looking to utilize radical acceptance to reduce anxiety or mitigate depression, it becomes critically important to focus on what you can control, take care of your basic needs and physical health, and use other tools (such as mindfulness and self soothing, illustrated below) to remain present in the moment, rather than ruminating on the unknowns of the future. 

Mindfulness

Learning to decrease your vulnerability to emotional upheaval begins with learning to calm yourself when anxiety rises. This can help head off panic attacks and other crippling symptoms of anxiety, or the depression associated with the vulnerability we feel when our emotions spin out of control. Self-soothing through mindfulness can help you slow down escalating, worrisome thoughts in order to shift toward a sense of peace in the midst of difficult times.

DBT covers a wide variety of techniques for self-soothing, including core exercises like grounding and other components of mindfulness. There are many types of mindfulness, including breathing exercises, meditations and grounding sequences like the one below. Learning to leverage these skills through your DBT sessions can help bring you back to the present when you feel your concern over a recent perceived failure or future concern turning into crippling anxiety, isolation, or depression. 

Try these mindfulness exercise the next time you find yourself obsessing over the future: 

  • Take time to sit peacefully and quietly and notice each of the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, sound. Dwelling on each of these one by one, articulate to yourself in your mind what you perceive. 
  • Focus on breathing when emotions are heightened, taking time to slow your breath down. “Square” breathing is an easy breath technique that simply involves breathing in a “Square,” or breathing to a 4-6 count in, hold for 4-6 seconds, breathe for a 4-6 count out, hold for 4-6 seconds, and repeat. 
  • Body scanning is another mindfulness technique that involves lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides, and then focusing sequentially on each part of your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. 

These and many other core tenants of DBT can help you not only survive, but thrive the difficult period of grieving after job loss. 

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5 Types of Anxiety Disorders and How DBT Can Help

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5 Types of Anxiety Disorders and How DBT Can Help

According to the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, there are 5 major types of anxiety disorders. These include: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.

  • Panic Disorder
    Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.

  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
    Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation - such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others - or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.

No matter which anxiety disorder you or a loved one might be facing, it’s important to note that over 18% of U.S. adults today are living with an anxiety disorder of some kind. This can lead to ongoing, significant distress through emotions such as fear that can cause panic attacks, isolation, insomnia, and restlessness along with symptoms like headaches, body aches, stomach pain, nausea and more. Living with an anxiety disorder can significantly decrease your quality of life and even lead to other mental health conditions, like depression. 

For patients who struggle with their anxiety disorder on a chronic level, many may be referred by a therapist to a specialized kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). That’s because for many patients with unmanageable symptoms, classic CBT techniques focused on altering behavior and thought patterns won’t lead to a full breakthrough. Instead, an approach grounded in both acceptance and change is necessary in order to solve for ongoing fear and anxiety… which is exactly where DB comes in. 

DBT focuses on acknowledging and supporting the suffer’s reality, rather than negating it, and then on cultivating coping skills rooted in an ability to “stay mindful” (focus on the moment, rather than the future). For most people, their anxiety is fueled by a ruminating fixation on the future or situations out of their control, which is why staying grounded and present, in addition to accepting reality, are critical to decreasing symptoms and emotional suffering. 

DBT covers four specific modules, all of which can help in decreasing symptoms of chronic anxiety. These include: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you.

The reason DBT has been seen to be so successful with anxiety over the years is likely due to it’s relentless focus on embracing both acceptance and change - acceptance of your reality, and a willingness to manifest positive change without fighting against what you have no control over. Since emotional distress and anxiety are heightened by attempts to control things we cannot determine, it makes sense that DBT is so effective for anxiety disorders. 

Anxiety disorders often encompass irrational fears, like a fear of dying without any immediate, perceived threat. DBT helps those living with chronic anxiety to work through skills related to cognitive and emotional coping and awareness, in order to improve emotional regulation. DBT can offer desperately needed relief from intense, emotional highs and lows, help sufferers to reduce harmful behavior patterns, and decrease symptoms overall. 

Each of the DBT modules can help with anxiety disorders. Here’s how: 

Mindfulness:

This module can help those struggling with anxiety to stay grounded and focused in their present reality. Staying mindful and present can help minimize stress and anxiety around circumstances and future worries. Meditation is a critical component of the mindfulness module, and this practice can be a pivotal tool for those suffering from panic attacks and the physical symptoms of anxiety such as heart racing episodes, sleep disorders, headaches, rapid breathing, nausea and more. 

Distress Tolerance:

This module includes skills like Radical Acceptance, which helps patients to tolerate panic-inducing thoughts and ruminations. Rather than fighting reality and aggravating anxiety by avoiding negative situations, thoughts and feelings, Radical Acceptance teaches the transformative effect of understanding and accepting situations before creating change. Self-soothing skills are a significant part of the distress tolerance module, and are very beneficial for those suffering from ongoing anxiety. 

Emotional Regulation:

This module can help mitigate the impact of mild or paralyzing anxiety (which can cause patients to miss out on life events, act out impulsively, or feel out of control) by developing coping skills that can stop unwanted emotions from starting, regulate or change emotions in the moment, and create a level of comfort with unavoidable emotions that can be a part of everyday life. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness:

This module helps anxious patients to diminish their worries and fears around relationships and social interaction. The goal of interpersonal effectiveness is to teach the skill of asking for what you want, saying no to what you don’t, and creating healthy boundaries out of self-respect. For many individuals with anxiety, initiating boundary setting or saying “no” can trigger intense worry, fear, and avoidance, so this module is critical to helping them improve.

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DBT Skills for Developing Self-Compassion

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DBT Skills for Developing Self-Compassion

Although not frequently discussed when referring to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training, self-compassion is a beneficial and powerful side effect of this specialized type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). 

Part of the reason DBT can result in a greater sense of self-compassion is that throughout the DBT modules, students will learn to activate their “wise mind,” which is essentially a stronger and more powerful awareness of yourself, your emotions, your instincts, and your experiences. The goal is to tune deeper into who you are are your core, how you feel, and what you are capable of in order to increase your ability to weather distress, regulate emotions, increase your interpersonal effectiveness, and cultivate mindfulness. 

Most people have been continually conditioned to criticize themselves relentlessly, thereby cultivating a sense of shame or guilt or confusion about our own identity. Supposedly, this type of self-criticism results in motivation… but at what cost? There are better ways to stay motivated than a toxic shame cycle. 

Your instinct is probably to react defensively in challenging situations or relationships - born out of an attempt to protect yourself and control your environment.

DBT therapy includes specialized skills training that can help you increase your ability to accept yourself and your situation, and self-acceptance is the gateway to self-compassion. 

While many different modules and types of skills training taught throughout DBT are helpful in cultivating self-compassion, probably the most successful and targeted is the concept of Radical Acceptance. 

What is Radical Acceptance? 

Radical Acceptance concerns our ability to accept the situation we are in, even when circumstances are out of our control, based on the premise that our reaction TO a situation is what causes the most emotional suffering, not the situation itself. In order to practice this DBT skill, you have to get good at avoiding judgment toward your experiences. Instead, you detach from them in a way that acknowledges your emotion about the situation, without allowing the situation to control and amplify your suffering. 

Most of the time, our reactiveness to a negative situation results in an emotionally destructive spiral that can derail our day, our feelings, our relationships, and the opportunities we might be able to see if we weren’t so fixated on the negatives at hand. 

Practicing Radical Acceptance 

In order to use Radical Acceptance you must first recognize when you’re losing control of a situation (like when a loved one dies, someone breaks up with you or cheats on you, you lose a job, are in a major conflict, etc) and then accepting that any grief or fear or anger is normal, without playing into the resulting emotions. 

Radical acceptance reminds us that pain is an unavoidable part of life, but without the helplessness that can leave us judging ourselves or our situation, or frozen, or spiraling. Radical acceptance can move you toward calm and rational thoughts, even in crisis. 

The more you practice radical acceptance, the greater compassion you will have for yourself… and others! Remember, accepting a situation doesn’t mean you believe it is OK or are offering approval, but it does mean you can avoid emotions that spiral into anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health conditions. 

In order to put this concept to use, begin by working to focus on the things you can control when some things are out of your control. Here are some positive thoughts you can choose about yourself and your experiences that will help you embrace self-compassion through radical acceptance:

  • I can only control my reactions. 
  • When I fight my situation, I am enabling it to have a bigger negative impact. 
  • I can’t change what’s happening. 
  • I can accept my present moment. 
  • I can work through these difficult emotions. 
  • I will get through this. 
  • I know these feelings will fade, even if they’re painful in the moment. 
  • I can feel these feelings, but still find ways to stay calm and in control. 
  • I can choose a new path. 
  • When I remain grounded, I can make good choices to solve my problems. 
  • I release myself from judgment or blame. 
  • I choose to stay grounded in the moment.

Radical Acceptance dictates that you focus on thoughts like THAT, instead of like this: 

  • No one cares about me. 
  • Everyone is working against me. 
  • I have the worst luck. 
  • I never catch a break. 
  • I wish things were different. 
  • I can’t accept this. 
  • I’m never going to recover from this. 
  • I shouldn’t have to deal with this. 

No matter where you’re at on your mental health journey, we believe you deserve to feel greater compassion toward yourself and the healing you’re chasing. 

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How DBT Skills Help With Everyday Stressors

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How DBT Skills Help With Everyday Stressors

No matter who you are, the reality is that you will eventually deal with stress of some kind. This is a simple fact of human existence. Jobs, children, relationships, health, driving, you name it - everyone will experience stress.

Unmanaged stress can increase your risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimers’s, depression, GI problems, diabetes, and asthma, along with chronic physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, and insomnia. 

When looking to manage stress, it’s important to recognize that there is no way to live life stress-free, but rather there are better ways to mitigate the impact stress can have on your emotions, along with its duration. 

DBT for Stress Management

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a unique version of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was created by Marsha Linehan to target Borderline Personality Disorder. However, it has since been adapted successfully for the treatment of a wide variety of other conditions, including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, disordered eating, PTSD, and more. Many components of DBT make it extremely effective in managing stress. 

DBT has four specific modules: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment. 
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others. 
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you. 

Each of the DBT modules has specific, applicable skills to help you mitigate stress in your daily life. Here’s how.

Mindfulness for Stress Management

Mindfulness is a core skill that helps you be present in the moment, without judging your situation or yourself. This skill requires using each of your senses to improve your awareness of your feelings, your environment, and your situation. Greater awareness helps you to determine how to cope and can decrease your distress. Mindfulness exercises include various forms of meditation, body scanning, and other tools that help ground you in the present and decrease stress around future or uncontrollable events.

Distress Tolerance for Stress Management

This DBT skill helps you cope with stress by teaching you to recognize and respond to distressful situations and relationships without escalation. Similar to mindfulness, distress tolerance teaches first the ability to accept your current situation/distress, and then how to change it for the better. In most cases, our reactions to distress include being easily overwhelmed by our emotions, becoming reactive or sensitive, and finding it difficult to re-establish a sense of peace and calm. Distress Tolerance skills help you get through distress without falling prey to harmful urges, coping mechanisms, or escalation. 

Interpersonal Effectiveness for Stress Management

Conflict is a natural (but stressful) part of all relationships. The Interpersonal Effectiveness module of DBT helps you to hone skills that allow you to focus on relationships and assert your need for self-respect when necessary. This skill set helps you ask for what you need, clarify what you don’t, and overall set healthy boundaries that decrease the stress of conflict and interpersonal tension. 

Emotional Regulation for Stress Management

Learning to acknowledge and regulate your emotions can make a powerful difference in your ability to feel in control and safe, even in the midst of stressful situations.The emotional regulation module of DBT teaches you how to do just that, in order to decrease your overall stress and the vulnerability of being controlled by your emotions.

Stress can cause significant wear and tear on your physical and emotional wellbeing. You deserve to feel in control and to learn how to decrease stress, every day. DBT can help. 

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Working Professionals

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Working Professionals

For working professionals like entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, lawyers, authors, scientists, accountants, and so much more, the daily strain of rigorous scheduling, deadlines, project management, people management, and more can be overwhelming. The daily grind can put a significant strain on the mental health of working professionals, which in turn can aggravate or even kickstart conditions like chronic anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and more. 

With conflicting priorities often vying for your attention, it can be easy to put your mental health on the back-burner as a working professional. If you’re also struggling to find time to be with your family or hold an active social life, it becomes even more difficult to remember to take time for self-care and healing. If you’ve ever considered therapy, you probably dismissed the opportunity due to the added strain of booking a session and traveling to and from the therapist’s office.

In-person therapy sessions are time consuming and expensive, and can be difficult to work into your life as a working professional. But, therapy should be a priority for anyone juggling periods of high stress, because avoiding facing the need for support and mental health care can cause lasting damage to your wellbeing, your friendships, your coworking relationships, your family and your self-image. It is truly critical to find the time to prioritize the care you need to navigate the big wide world of professionalism without putting an increased strain on your mental health. 

This is where online therapy groups become a game-changer. For working professionals, online group therapy is much more convenient and affordable than traditional one-on-one therapy, and is an easy and flexible solution for those balancing a busy work life while still making an effort to care for their psychological wellness. 

Below are some of the benefits of online group therapy for working professionals.

Online Group Therapy is Flexible

If you’re juggling a daily workload laden with meetings, deadlines, objectives, travel, team huddles, networking and more, convenient solutions are something you can’t live without. Online group therapy provides a mobile, flexible solution that can fit perfectly into your busy scheduling needs. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can attend online therapy from just about anywhere. No more missing sessions or skipping them due to travel obligations, scheduling changes, and time restrictions. You can choose a time that works for you every week and log in remotely from anywhere around the world (even your car or office). 

Online Group Therapy is Effective

More and more research is illustrating the efficacy of online group therapy in comparison to in-person therapy. There is no “lesser” standard of care in online therapy, and in fact - many people report having a greater sense of ease in sharing information from the comfort of their home or office, rather than sitting in a foreign environment with a stranger. While it may feel like a default to vent to coworkers, friends, or your partner, you deserve qualified and professional guidance from a therapist and a community of individuals who understand the challenges you’re facing. In your online therapy group you can learn how to activate healthier coping strategies in your day to day life, better methods to managing stress and anxiety, and ways to mitigate impulsive decision making, depressive episodes and more. Online therapy attendance can significantly improve your ability to communicate with others around you, to set healthy boundaries, and to increase your resiliency during periods of high stress at work or at home. 

Online Group Therapy is Secure

Online group therapy platforms are required by law to follow the same HIPAA compliance practices that govern in-person therapy sessions. All attendees will be required to sign confidentiality agreements, and sessions are required to be held over HIPAA-compliant software in order to ensure your privacy. You’ll never be asked to share personal identifiers (like location, real name or last name, family information, etc) and every session is led by a licensed mental health counselor who understands the laws around group therapy. Your therapist wants to ensure you feel safe opening up with others in this environment so you can learn and grow effectively.

Online Group Therapy is Supportive

Working professionals often feel isolated on an emotional level, and don’t have the time, energy, or right types of friendships to share what they’re going through. Online group therapy is a surrogate family of sorts that provides a sense of support and community which can decrease that sense of isolation, and in turn minimize symptoms of anxiety, depression, and more. Online therapy is also a safe and comfortable place to practice the skills you’re learning each week before you take them out into the real world. 

Online Group Therapy is Affordable

Whether you’re a corporate executive raking in six figures or the CEO of a startup watching your cash flow and investments, online group therapy is a much more affordable solution. While in-person therapy traditionally runs between $100-$300 a session, most online group therapy averages closer to $30-$40. Keep in mind that online group therapy isn’t cheaper due to a lower standard of care, but because therapists can charge lower session rates for group counseling due to seeing multiple patients simultaneously, and a lower overhead (no office, utilities, travel, etc). 

How Online Group Therapy Works

If you choose to move forward with online group therapy, keep in mind that it is not a “support group.” In fact, all online therapy groups must be led by qualified, licensed mental health counselors such as therapists, psychologists, or clinical social workers, just like in-person therapy. 

Online therapy group sessions are usually held once a week for about an hour through a chat room, voice call, or online video chat platform (like Zoom). Your group will likely have a core focus such as BPD, PTSD, grief, anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition. This helps create a sense of understanding with those around you struggling with similar issues, and it allows the therapist to guide everyone through exercises and skills training that benefits them in real life.  

Take the first step toward a better you, today, with online group therapy!

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Students

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Students

Midterms, finals, challenging courses, dorm life, social events, sororities and fraternities, prom, PSATs, drama club, sports, college applications, friendships, social media… you name it, the life of a student is busy and there is always something vying for your attention! 

More and more young adults and college-aged students are understanding the value of professional therapy services, but where do you find the time to prioritize your mental health amidst your class schedule, homework, club sports, and so many other competing priorities? It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and business of life as a student, and to neglect your mental health and wellbeing. However, avoiding facing your need for support and self-care can do irreparable damage to your self-image, your wellbeing, your friendships and relationships and even your GPA. While it may be natural to put your mental health on the backburner of all things student life, it is really important to prioritize your wellbeing as you navigate your studies and prepare yourself for the next steps in your life. 

If you’ve tried to squeeze in individual therapy sessions, you know how easy it is to skip, cancel, or no-show (even by accident) to one on one therapy. Or maybe you’ve been sticker-shocked at the cost of individual therapy (no one wants to choose between ramen and their mental health), and just couldn’t make it work on a shoestring student budget. 

The good news? Online group therapy is more affordable and convenient than traditional therapy, and makes complete sense for those trying to balance student life while still taking care of their psychological well being. 

Here are a few things you need to know before getting started with online group therapy.

Online Group Therapy: How It Works

Online group therapy is NOT a support group. In fact, every online therapy group is led by a qualified and licensed therapist, counselor, psychologist or clinical social worker - the same individuals who would and can administer one-on-one therapy. When you join an online therapy group you’ll most likely attend your sessions once a week for about an hour through a video chat platform, or possibly in a chat room or on a voice call. Most groups specialize in a specific issue or condition like anxiety, depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, grief, eating disorders, and more. Your group will have a lot of the same members every week, in order to increase your level of comfort with attendance and help the group to offer support and familiarity to each other over time. You don’t have to appear on camera, although it’s usually encouraged. 

The therapist leading your group will often use a specific method of therapy (Such as CBT or DBT) to lead the group through skills training and applications that can improve your mental health outside of the session, in your everyday life. These methods are always evidence-based and science-backed, and are focused on helping you meet your goals. If you want, you can always supplement your online group sessions with individual therapy. Some group session leaders will even offer 1:1 support for crisis situations outside of your weekly meeting time. 

Online Group Therapy Is Convenient 

When juggling a busy class, study, exam, and social schedule, convenience becomes EVERYTHING. You need a solution that is available on the go, remotely. This is where online group therapy comes in, with a mobile, flexible solution that is convenient for your schedule and needs. You can attend online group therapy from anywhere you have a stable internet connection, which makes it much less likely for you to skip a session or miss due to unreliable transportation, schedule changes, or time constraints. Most online therapy groups offer several session times in order for you to choose the best option for you and your schedule as a student. 

Online Group Therapy Works

Research continues to prove that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy: Everyone can benefit from online group therapy, just like everyone can benefit from therapy in general. You know how easy it is to vent to your friends or family about your schedule, your teachers, your fellow students, or your school crush, and it's just as easy to open up to your therapist through online group therapy… but much more effective in the long run! Instead of gathering unqualified opinions and advice from peers, you can receive professional guidance from your therapist and the support of people just like you who know what you’re going through. In online therapy you’ll learn healthier coping strategies, how to manage things like emotional distress, highs and lows, impulsive behavior, depression, and more. Through online therapy you can improve your communication with your friends and family, increase your resiliency during stressful times, and much more. 

Online Group Therapy is Cheaper

Students often survive on shoestring budgets that don’t leave much room for mental health care. While traditional, in-person individual therapy often runs at more than $200 per session, the average online therapy group can cost between $30-$40 per session, which is much more reasonable for those looking to prioritize self-care without sacrificing basic necessities. Online group therapy isn’t cheaper because of the quality of care, but instead because therapists are able to lower the per session cost since they see multiple patients at the same time, and without the additional cost constraints of things like travel, office rental, or utilities. For some people, their health insurance will even cover their online group therapy sessions!

Online Group Therapy is Safe

The same HIPPA laws that govern all medical care in person are applicable for online therapy platforms. Each of your fellow group members will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement, and your sessions have to take place over HIPAA-compliant software to protect your privacy. Members are never asked to share personal identifying information or their location, and you can utilize your first name or a pseudonym for your sessions. Unlike support groups, your sessions are led by a licensed therapist who understands the laws around therapy and confidentiality. These groups are made to ensure you feel safe and comfortable so you can share openly and grow and evolve quickly for a healthier, happier you. 

Online Group Therapy Builds Community

It’s easy to feel like no one understands you or what you’re going through, especially during a heavy study and homework schedule or when juggling multiple classes and deadlines, along with the social dynamics that can cause strain in your self-image and friendships. Many students struggle with high levels of anxiety, depression, and a sense of isolation. Online group therapy can help with those feelings by creating an environment of your peers in which you feel supported and understood. These individuals will help you learn to apply the skills you’re guided through by your therapist, and can encourage accountability as you courageously pursue better mental health through group therapy. 

Getting Started with Online Group Therapy 

It’s easy and affordable to get started in an online therapy group! Take the first step today toward a better, happier version of yourself and get placed with the perfect group for you, your struggles, and your student schedule.

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Caregivers

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Caregivers

Caregivers know that caring for the elderly is often a job akin to parenting small children. For many caregivers, their days are filled with personal care (bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and exercise) along with food preparation (grocery shopping, meal prepping, housekeeping, laundry, and more. Most caregivers are responsible for the health and wellbeing of elderly patients as well, which can include overseeing medications and prescription pickup, doctors appointment reminders and travel, and the administration of medications. In some ways, caregiver jobs are more emotionally and practically demanding than parenting can be (your elderly patients are not going to school, sports, or playdates!), with very little breaks for self-care. 

The stress and strain of busy caregiver responsibilities can exacerbate mental health issues and leave you feeling run down, ragged and worn thin. It’s easy to put your own mental health on the backburner for the sake of accomplishing everything you have to do every day as a caregiver, but your stability is important, for both you and your patients. 

How Does Online Group Therapy Work? 

Online group therapy is a powerfully effective tool that offers a group dynamic in a virtual classroom, led by a licensed mental health provider. Most online therapy groups will meet every week at a set time for about an hour, and group members will attend together as they learn better skills and strategies for improving their health and wellbeing in everyday life. Video chat is the preferred method of attendance for online groups, although you’re not required to appear on camera. Some online groups utilize a chat room feature or a phone-in option as well, but no matter what, your privacy is protected at all costs. You’ll usually be in a group with individuals struggling with the same issues or mental health conditions as you, and the goal is to keep the same members in your group week to week so you can develop a sense of community and support each other on your journeys. 

Online Group Therapy Methods & Treatment Types 

Many types of mental health conditions and issues are treated through online group therapy, including but not limited to: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • PTSD
  • Grief
  • Eating Disorders
  • & More. 

Your group will be led by a licensed provider such as a clinical social worker, therapist, counselor, or psychologist. Depending on the therapist and the goal for treatment, they may use tools such as CBT, psychotherapy, DBT, or other evidence-based treatment methods designed for a professional counseling plan. 

Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Caregivers

While the last thing on your mind is likely therapy for yourself, adding in online group therapy sessions is easy, flexible, cost-effective, and can significantly improve your quality of life. There are many benefits of online therapy for caregivers, but here are just a few.

Accountability & Support

The busy life of a caregiver combined with the associated stress, anxiety, and fatigue can leave anyone feeling run down and isolated. Online group therapy can bring a sense of community and understanding that will help you find peace, fulfillment and better mental health in the midst of your everyday life. Your peers in therapy can help hold you accountable for attending your sessions, doing any journaling or skills application outside of therapy, and being kind to yourself.

Affordable & Efficient

While most one on one therapy costs upward of $100-$200 per session, group therapy is much more affordable because it allows the therapist to charge each group member a lower per session cost since they are seeing multiple members simultaneously. The overall cost of online group therapy is also lower because of the reduction in costs associated with office rental, etc. and offers patients a solution that minimizes travel expenses and time strain. Your insurance company may even cover your online group therapy sessions! 

Safe & Confidential 

Online group therapy is always facilitated by a mental health professional that is licensed to practice, and every member is required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to participate. Therapy sessions take place over HIPPA-compliant platforms, and members are never asked to reveal their names or locations. 

Convenient/Mobile 

Online group therapy is a mobile/remote solution for those seeking to improve their mental health & wellbeing, which is particularly critical for caregivers. You can attend your sessions from a phone or computer, in your car or office or your patients home in a quiet room, or in the comfort of your own home at your convenience. In fact, studies show that participating in online group therapy in places that are safe and familiar to you can increase your level of comfort with opening up to your peers and therapist. Having a virtual solution decreases your chance of missing sessions due to a sick patient, busy schedule, travel plans, and schedule changes. 

Clinically Proven 

Research continues to show that online therapy is just as effective as in-person treatment for anyone struggling with the mild to moderate symptoms of most mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD and more. If you can make time to vent to family and friends, you can definitely make time to open up to your therapist and peers in online group therapy! Every session can improve your coping skills, increase your ability to strategically approach emotional distress and other hurdles, and improve your relationships with others at work and at home. 

Starting Online Group Therapy 

As a busy caregiver it can be difficult to make time for yourself, but the good news is that getting started with online group therapy has never been easier! Click below to be matched with a group today. 

Remember that making time for mental wellness is important, especially amidst the hustle and bustle of your life as a caregiver. There is no better time than the present to get started! 

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Parents

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Benefits of Online Group Therapy for Parents

Parents know the business of life and caring for children takes priority over self-care, often to the detriment of mental health. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day rush of waking children for school, packing lunches, running errands, sports practices and games and other extracurricular activities. For a lot of parents, mental health winds up on the back-burner of the constant hustle and bustle of family life. Squeezing in your own therapy sessions can be a chore, and has to take a back seat to the needs of your kids. 

This is where online group therapy is a true game-changer. For busy parents and families, joining an online therapy group brings a number of benefits to the table and allows them to balance a busy social and family life with the prioritization of self-care. 

What is Online Group Therapy? 

Online group therapy is a mental wellness tool that brings a group dynamic and virtual convenience to the therapy world. In your online therapy group a set number of patients will meet every week with a mental health professional to participate in therapy together. Most groups will convene by video chat at a specific time each week, or potentially by chat room or voice call. Keep in mind, you’ll never be asked to disclose your location and will not be required to be on camera (although it is encouraged). Online groups have the same members each week in most cases, and usually focus on a group of patients struggling with the same issues or diagnoses (such as anxiety, depression, grief, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more). Online group therapy differs from support groups in that they are always facilitated by a qualified therapist, counselor, psychologist or clinical social worker. 

Online Group Therapy Methods

Your licensed mental health professional may utilize a specific type of therapy (such as CBT, DBT, or other psychotherapy formats), leverage talk therapy and other common therapy tools and types, or modify their approach based on the needs of the group. No matter which method is used, your online therapy group should follow evidence-based treatment methods and a professional format focused on improving your health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Online group therapy can be supplemented with individual therapy or in-person therapy, if desired. 

As a parent, you know that your children deserve you at your best, and you deserve to feel your best! Read below about some of the specific benefits of online group therapy for parents. 

Flexible & Convenient

For parents constantly on the go, being able to attend therapy remotely, from your phone, in a car or office or at home remotely is one of the primary benefits of online group therapy. Participating from spaces in which you feel safe and comfortable can also increase your willingness to open up and share with the group and your therapist. This also makes it less likely for you to miss a session if you have a child at home sick, are balancing a busy workday, are traveling/out of town, or need to make a last-minute adjustment to accommodate a schedule change. 

Cost-Effective

Traditional one-on-one therapy is extremely pricey and can put a strain on family budgeting. Group therapy/online group therapy is much more affordable for parents, because therapists can charge each group member a lower cost by seeing multiple patients at the same time. Online therapy groups are also more affordable because therapists can charge less due to fewer overhead costs (like travel and office rental and utilities). In many cases your own health insurance might cover your group sessions, so make sure to check with your insurance provider when looking into group options. 

Confidential

Online therapy is a safe and effective alternative to in-person therapy, and is facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. Every group member is required to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved. Therapy sessions will take place over HIPAA-compliant software.

Effective

No matter who you are, you can benefit from online therapy group dynamics. Rather than seek out unqualified opinions and guidance from family and friends, it's important to prioritize professional help in order to truly reap the benefits of therapy. You can learn new coping strategies, improve your communication with others, increase your resilience under stress, and so much more. Research continues to show that online therapy is just as effective as in-person treatment for those struggling with mild to moderate conditions. 

Community & Accountability 

Dealing with stress, anxiety, and many mental health conditions alone can increase your sense of isolation and often makes things worse. Joining an online community through group therapy can help you feel supported and understood, which is incredibly validating as you pursue better mental health. Your online group therapy peers will also help hold you accountable for attendance, homework, and real-life application of the skills you learn in your group. 

Finding an Online Therapy Group

We know it can be hard to make time for yourself as a busy parent, but this process is so much easier with Grouport! We want you to experience the compassion, support, encouragement, and guidance you deserve through online group therapy and to get the help you need to feel better every day. You shouldn’t have to struggle to make time for mental wellness, so get started today with the perfect group for you! 

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The Power of Group Therapy: How Shared Experiences Can Help You Heal

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The Power of Group Therapy: How Shared Experiences Can Help You Heal

For plenty of individuals around the world struggling to establish a sense of normalcy and better mental health, individual weekly sessions aren’t enough. Overcoming daily symptoms and improving your quality of life can require additional accountability and support - two major benefits of group therapy. 

Whether you’re managing mild to severe symptoms of mental health conditions on your own, were recently discharged from outpatient services, or just completed a mental health inpatient program, getting back to real life and trying to retain the new coping skills you’ve learned can be overwhelming. Group therapy can help by offering new skills and coping mechanisms to practice in a safe, engaging setting with peers who truly understand what you’re dealing with. 

Most people who’ve dealt with a mental health disorder are familiar with the sense of being an outsider or have difficulty connecting with others. The reality is, mental health challenges can be isolating, which can amplify their impact. Everyone needs and deserves the peace and sense of community support that human connection brings. 

Going to group therapy can bring a new perspective and offer a different viewpoint on your situation or circumstances when you compare them to others like you. Your group sessions can also help you stay accountable, allow you to practice your new social skills in a controlled environment led by a licensed therapist, and bring a sense of belonging that keeps you motivated. If you lack support in your own family and friends, group therapy can serve as a surrogate family to keep you on track. You’re not alone, and your group can remind you of that as they help you on the path to success and better quality of life. 

Here are a few specific ways that shared experiences in group therapy can help you grow, learn, and receive the support you deserve. 

Community 

Realizing that there are other people like you who suffer in similar ways can make a world of difference when your mental health symptoms often isolate you and make you feel no one understands what you’re going through. Removing the sense of isolation that often accompanies mental health struggles can keep you motivated on your path to seeking treatment, and offer a common understanding in a judgment-free zone. When you feel people understand you, you’re more likely to share about what you’re going through, which can offer relief from stress and emotional suffering. 

Perspective

Any time you're in group therapy you’ll receive a variety of input from many kinds of people with different walks of life, backgrounds, and struggles. When you incorporate other personalities and input into your own problem-solving, you may discover new strategies to help you cope on your own. 

Accountability

The positive peer pressure that group therapy brings can be super helpful to those on a mental health journey. Without judgment or shame, your fellow group members will ask you to hold them accountable while doing the same for you. Accountable to practice your new coping skills, accountable to complete any diaries or homework, and accountable to be honest about what you’re going through and where you’re at, or how you need help. 

Confidentiality 

In both group therapy and individual therapy, confidentiality is maintained so transparency can be offered by everyone in the group. Members of the group are usually required to sign a confidentiality agreement, no one uses last names or personal identifiers, and your group therapist will remind everyone to keep what is shared in the group, to the group. 

Confidence

The companionship, accountability, perspective, and so many other positives that group therapy can bring will help you build your daily confidence in expressing yourself in new and healthy ways. Practicing new skills in your group can increase your confidence in the real world, and you’ll know you always have their support to fall back on if you run into difficulties in your daily life. 

Looking to get started with group therapy? All it takes (beyond finding a good group therapy platform for you) is showing up, and participating, every session. Don’t miss the chance to engage with your fellow group members, or be too worried about opening up. Remember that every step you take is for YOU, and that everyone is there to help you succeed.

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Setting and Achieving Treatment Goals with Online Group Therapy

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Setting and Achieving Treatment Goals with Online Group Therapy

Effective therapy can shorten the distance between where you are now and where you want to be. Increasing your quality of life through group therapy can be a particularly effective solution, as group therapy (both online and in-person) increases the accountability and support around your mental health journey, which improves your chance of success. 

Good online group therapy is backed by science and years of studies, and good therapy will get you most of the way to where you want to be. Getting the rest of the way, however, is up to you. There are specific things you can do to improve your chances of success. The primary one? Setting realistic and measurable goals.

Even if you're not quite clear on your goals yet, following a few simple steps can help you outline the milestones you want to hit as you work through productive therapy sessions. 

STEP 1: Identify your reasons for attending online group therapy, your hopes for the outcome, and your dreams for the future. 

Oftentimes one of the first things your therapist will do in your online group is help every member figure out exactly what brought them there. Was there a single incident, a pattern, or an escalation in symptoms that served as a turning point for you? Is there something you really want (like a relationship or better communication with your boss) that you feel you can’t have without guidance and change? 

Next, ask yourself what a happy, successful relationship looks like to you, or what healthier communication with your boss could look like. What struggles are you having that keep you from your goal? Writing down all the reasons you started therapy can help you keep your goals in mind and progress faster. 

Here are a few questions that can prompt you to find answers that really resonate with you. 

  1. What’s one challenge you’re facing right now that’s exhausting you? 
  2. What’s a symptom (racing heart, isolation, etc.) of your mental health struggles that you experience daily? 
  3. What are some ways your mental health challenges hold you back? 
  4. What specific problem or incident led you to therapy? 

If you’ve been diagnosed with a specific mental health condition, that condition will guide your therapist’s topics and homework throughout online group therapy. But spending some time figuring out your own personal goals can help you feel more satisfied and successful on your journey. 

STEP 2: Choose a general topic to focus on throughout your online group therapy experience. 

Finding a common thread/topic/theme for your online group therapy goal setting can help you tie everything back to one place. For instance, if you’re regularly fighting with your boss at work, you might be able to see this type of behavior in other areas of your life. You might notice that snapping at your boss is a reflection of insecurity and anxiety tied to guilt about an experience you had. 

When you begin to recognize similar bubbling feelings arising outside of your workplace, you might start to see patterns and can unravel the thread back to whatever origin story has impacted your emotional development in this way. Your therapist will help you get there. 

STEP 3: Begin setting very specific goals for your online group therapy journey. 

Without specific goals, we can generalize, miss the details, and become unmotivated over the course of therapy. Setting specific goals gives you something to work for, and celebrate. Maybe you want to understand why you’re anxious in every intimate relationship, or maybe you want to figure out why you’re overwhelmed at work. Maybe you don’t understand why you struggle to make friends, or why certain situations send you into a panic when no real threat is perceived. Once you understand these general desires (such as “I want to figure out why I fight with my boss so much), you can set more specific goals, such as: 

  • I want to stop having the same fight with my boss over and over again. 
  • I want to develop healthier intimate relationships without fear of abandonment. 
  • I want to find ways to ground myself and have peace in situations that usually make me panic. 
  • I want to rediscover hope and energy back so mornings and evenings don’t leave me feeling so depressed. 
  • I want to conquer my bulimia and develop healthier eating habits when stressed. 

There are many, many types of personal goals you could set for therapy, but doing so can help you- and your therapist- take you in a clear direction over the course of your online group sessions. 

STEP 4: Set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals as a final step. 

Now that you’ve determined your general and specific goals for online group therapy, set SMART goals. 

SMART stands for: 

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable 
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For instance, maybe avoiding morning depression includes the specific goal of going to bed earlier. Maybe you can measure this goal by tracking the nights you stay up late, or setting an alarm to wind down earlier so you don’t sleep in late as a result of being up all night. You can set a time limit (time-bound) for the progress you want to see, so for instance: “I want to go to bed by 930 in order to get up by 630, and to practice meditation for the first 15 minutes of my day to get my head right. I want to have this habit nailed down on weekdays by 3 months from now.”

Once you have a few SMART goals in mind (or just one!) you can work with your therapist and your online group therapy members to establish the accountability and support you need to achieve your goals.

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3 Quick DBT Skills to Regulate Anxiety

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3 Quick DBT Skills to Regulate Anxiety

While Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally created by Marsha Linehan in the 1980’s for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), this treatment method has since been used extremely effectively for mental health conditions of all kinds, including depression, substance abuse disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. 

The reason it is most likely that DBT works well across different conditions is that the core principle of DBT addresses the root cause of many symptoms: emotional suffering. In order to become skilled in applying DBT principles, patients must learn “dialectical” thinking, which implies the ability to simultaneously accept your situation and pursue healthy change. These two seemingly dichotomous needs can coexist harmoniously to create a happier, healthier future for the majority of patients. 

DBT is backed by years of research and evidence through the studies of DBT group skills training paired with one on one therapy. This treatment protocol contains several important modules and skill sets, some of which can significantly reduce day to day anxiety for those suffering from chronic or habitual anxiety. 

Here are 3 DBT skills you can use every day to promote better mental health and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. 

1. RADICAL ACCEPTANCE 

The idea behind Radical Acceptance is that all suffering can be tied back to our attachment to the situation or pain at hand. In theory, relief from our suffering begins with accepting our experience instead of fighting against it. 

In DBT, Radical Acceptance implies our willingness to work to accept our current situation when we have no control over it, which can in turn help reduce our sense of suffering. Rather than enact judgment on ourselves and others, fight against a situation we have no control over, avoid our emotions or spiral out of control, Radical Acceptance promotes accepting our reality and recognizing our emotions without becoming reactive. 

In order to practice Radical Acceptance to reduce your anxiety, it is important to focus on what you can control, take care of your basic needs, and use mindfulness and resourcefulness to remain grounded. When working to embrace Radical Acceptance, take the time in the moment where your anxiety is increasing to step away, breathe, reset, and approach your situation based on facts rather than emotional reactions. 

2. SELF-SOOTHING 

While it may seem like an obvious statement, your ability to soothe yourself and to calm your emotions when anxiety is rising is critical to your mental health and avoiding panic attacks and other crippling symptoms. Focusing on specific grounding exercises as a way to self-soothe can help dramatically. For instance, take time to think about your physical self. Sit calmly, avoid letting your thoughts race. Focus on your five senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste. One at a time, work through them with your feet firmly planted on the floor in a seated position, or laying on your back somewhere safe and comfortable. 

You could also close your eyes and visualize your favorite place, person or memory; someone or something that makes you feel safe, comforted, and at peace. This is a great time to repeat a single mantra or word to yourself, in order to slow you down and ground you. Your ability to shift focus from your emotions toward your physical self can help slow down escalating worry or obsessive thought patterns. 

3. MINDFULNESS

You may have heard of mindfulness, because of the current popularity of meditation. Mindfulness is indeed a form of meditation that can bring you back to the immediate moment when you are ruminating or obsessing over a situation or potential failure or future concern that turns worry into crippling anxiety. Mindfulness begins with choosing not to judge yourself, instead focusing on being present. 

Even those of us without anxiety disorders often spend a lot of time worrying, planning, problem solving, and dwelling on negative thought patterns. This is when it is so important to come back to the present moment. Use breathing, meditation, guided imagery, and other grounding techniques to relax your mind and body. These exercises reduce stress which can help regulate your emotions. 

Here are two simple ways to practice mindful meditation when anxiety is rising: 

  • Focus on your breathing: When emotions begin to overwhelm you, try to find a seat, place both feet flat on the ground or cross your legs, and close your eyes. Focus simply and fully on your breath as it leaves and enters your body. 
  • Body scan: Lying on your back with your legs straight/flat and arms at your sides, close your eyes and focus on each part of your body from toes to head or head to toes. Move slowly through the awareness of every part of you. 

While simple in nature, these three DBT skills can have a powerful, positive impact on the lives of those living with daily anxiety. 

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How to Use DBT Skills to Cope in Crisis

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How to Use DBT Skills to Cope in Crisis

If you’ve ever felt your emotions are so completely overwhelming that you can’t restabilize yourself and may return to unhealthy or high risk behaviors, DBT can help. 

 Helping individuals to cope in crisis situations is one of the primary goals of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The skills and tools taught throughout DBT can be used in a variety of circumstances and throughout many daily experiences to minimize stress and reduce emotional suffering. If you’re dealing with a high-stress environment, relationship, PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, DBT skills may help diminish the severity of your symptoms and promote a better quality of life. 

Distress Tolerance 

The Distress Tolerance module of DBT incorporates both the ability to non-judgmentally accept yourself and your situation, and the ability to tolerate and survive that crisis point. Remembering that stress and pain are a part of life is one of the first steps to acceptance. It’s also important to recognize that most of our stress is heightened by fighting this reality - when we focus on tolerating the moment, rather than avoiding or negating it, we usually move through the emotional distress much faster.  

 

Distraction with ACCEPTS

Distracting yourself from crisis when the situation is out of your control can help you diminish the impact of negative thoughts and feelings. The acronym ACCEPTS in DBT stands for: 

  • ACTIVITY: Do something else (work out, clean, listen to music)
  • CONTRIBUTE: Do something for someone else (volunteer, write a note, help take out the trash or mow the lawn) 
  • COMPARISON: Recognize your situation and its differences and similarities to the situation of others (this helps shift your focus) 
  • EMOTION: Find a way to channel a different emotion through music, videos, conversation, etc. 
  • PUSH AWAY: Set a timer to keep yourself from obsessively fixating on the crisis situation - use that time to do something else before you go back to focus on the problem. 
  • THOUGHTS: Choose other thoughts to distract yourself such as saying the alphabet, counting to 100s in 3s, doing a puzzle, or challenging yourself in a mentally stimulating way that makes it difficult to fixate on the problem at hand. 
  • SENSATION: Focus on another physical sensation, such as petting your dog, eating food with strong flavor, smelling something potent, or squeezing a stress ball.

Acceptance

Refusing to accept reality does not make it any less painful. In fact, studies have shown that this type of denial can prolong our suffering. Acknowledging and enduring painful situations through acceptance, however, decreases the pain of the situation and can shorten the time we feel emotionally vulnerable or distraught. 

Basic DBT Acceptance skills include breathing exercises and awareness exercises where you can acknowledge and accept your emotions and your circumstances, breathe through them, and remind yourself to accept and tolerate your reality with purposeful willingness. 

TIPP

“TIPP” the scale with these strategies to help control intense emotions or impulsive urges in crisis: 

  • Temperature: Run cold water or an ice cube over your inner forearms or chew ice to physically cool down. 
  • Intense Exercise: Do short sprints or jumping jacks, pushups, mountain climbers, or run in place for a minute. 
  • Paced Breathing: Slow down, count each breath, and try counting to 5 as you inhale, then hold for 5 (or any number), then count to 5 as you exhale, hold for 5 and repeat. This is called Square Breathing. 
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: In a calm space, focus on squeezing and then releasing one muscle at a time throughout your entire body. 

Self Soothing

Use your 6 senses to ground yourself in the present moment. For instance: 

  • Hearing: listen to relaxing music or focus on specific sounds around you like the wind, cars, crickets, birds, etc. 
  • Vision: Look at soothing images or focus on trees, the skyline, or anything in nature. 
  • Smell: Choose a smell that relaxes you, such as peppermint or lavender. 
  • Taste: Eat or drink something you like that has a calming effect on the body (like herbal tea)
  • Touch: Use texture to relax your body (a soft blanket, your dog’s fur, etc)
  • Movement: Try moving your body through dance, a run, or any form of exercise. 

These and many other skills are taught in DBT to increase Distress Tolerance and can help you navigate crisis in a healthier way without resorting to impulsive or risky behavior or sending you into panic attacks, freeze mode and other common reactions to emotional distress. You have the power to improve your situation through purposeful application of DBT skills. 

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How DBT Helps with Bipolar Disorder

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How DBT Helps with Bipolar Disorder

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) techniques are being used in increasing measure in the treatment of various mood disorders and mental health conditions beyond their original intended use (for Borderline Personality Disorder), including for Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a highly recurrent and disabling condition marked by major depressive state and manic episodes. 

The reason DBT shows evidence of success in treatment of Bipolar Disorder is likely because there is growing reason to believe that those with this mental health condition have limited capacity for emotional regulation. Since DBT specifically targets Emotion Regulation as one of its primary modules, it makes sense that improvements in this area can minimize symptoms for those with Bipolar. Improvements in mood symptoms have been shown for those who undergo DBT treatment, with better overall psychological wellbeing and decreased emotional reactivity over time.

Historically, most Bipolar Disorder patients will undergo psychosocial group intervention along with cognitive therapy and medication to minimize their symptoms, but deficits in emotional regulation are not directly addressed through these methods. This is likely why one of the biggest challenges in treatment for Bipolar Disorder is that even after pharmacotherapy assisted treatment for a mood episode, most patients still fail to achieve a long-term, sustainable remission in symptoms and are at great risk for further episodes. 

DBT is backed by empirical evidence of success for those seeking to improve their emotion regulation and to decrease their emotional volatility in response to stimuli such as situational stressors and conflict. Core components of DBT skills training include mindfulness and distress tolerance, which can reduce an individual's vulnerability to negative emotions and decrease the likelihood of their turning to self-destructive behaviors. 

DBT Treatment Effectiveness for Bipolar Disorder

Over several clinical trials, researchers have found that individuals with Bipolar Disorder who underwent DBT treatment experienced significant improvement with decreases in suicidal ideation, self-harm episodes, substance abuse, emotional dysregulation, and depression. Most of the individuals who participated also reduced the frequency of their need for emergency services and mental health clinic admissions over time. 

DBT treatment includes skills training in four key areas: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Since all of these modules target the patients’ ability to regulate their emotions in one way or another, it makes sense that DBT is so effective in treating Bipolar Disorder (since the primary symptom of BD is instability of mood/emotions). 

With Mindfulness, for example, this skill teaches patients to be more grounded, present, and aware of their emotions, which can increase their ability to enact self control and create a more stable environment in which to manage and address their thoughts and emotions. 

 

Through Distress Tolerance skills training, BD patients can learn better ways to cope with impulsive urges (like suicide, self-harm and substance abuse). Since BD is most often associated with impulsivity and poor self-regulation, improving responses to distress can decrease the likelihood of a patient’s willingness to engage in these behaviors. 

 

Emotional Regulation DBT skills can help patients to accept, address, and manage or change their emotions in better ways through validation, self-soothing, and other techniques. For BD patients prone to episodes of mania/hypomania, this skill can be particularly helpful in heading off depressive symptoms before they escalate. 

 

For most BD patients, Interpersonal Effectiveness skills are critical to improving the health of their relationships. Since the mood swings, impulsivity, emotion dysregulation and self-harm behaviors often associated with BD are so commonly destructive to their relationships, Interpersonal Effectiveness skills can help a patient to repair relationships and to make better choices to minimize damage. In turn, they may experience healthier human connection, a greater sense of community, and less isolation, all of which can improve their mood stability and general quality of life. 

 

Are you struggling with Bipolar Disorder, and is it having a debilitating impact on your life?

 

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DBT Skills to Know - Non-Judgmental Stance

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DBT Skills to Know - Non-Judgmental Stance

Developing a non-judgmental way of thinking is a critical component of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training, and falls under the Mindfulness module. Mindfulness helps teach participants to observe their own behavior, thoughts and feelings, and to stay grounded and present in the moment. Learning how to do this is the first step in developing new behaviors and making healthy changes. 

The Mindfulness module of DBT focuses on our need to improve self-observation and awareness through an ability to stay grounded in the moment, but also detach from the present situation in order to observe and analyze it non-judgmentally. 

What Is A Non-Judgmental Stance? 

The Non-Judgmental stance described in DBT refers to the ability to judge circumstances, people, behaviors and experiences as neither good or bad, and to focus simply on the facts at hand. In fact, judgment of others, ourselves, and our experiences is a way of trying to enforce our preferences and wants, most often on situations we can’t control. Judgments are almost instinctual, and often reflect inaccurate or biased interpretations of our experience which in turn can lead to negative emotions driven by our judgmental thought patterns. 

Almost all judgments reflect preference, and its easy to forget that our judgments don’t reflect fact, but simply our own opinions and desires based on personal experience. The spontaneity of our judgments can make it difficult to step back and interrupt the process, but mindfully dissociating in order to create distance and avoid passing judgment is the first step in reducing our emotional reactivity when things don’t go the way we prefer. 

In times of intense stress, emotional distress, or crisis, we are more likely to follow a judgmental through process through key words and triggers such as “unfair, shouldn’t, stupid, bad, terrible, wrong,” etc. and being mindful of these words and patterns can help us to recognize the slippery judgmental slope we are on, and take a step back to analyze non-judgmentally instead. 

What Is A Judgmental Stance?

Judgments, while hard to recognize at first, become easier over time. The better you get at recognizing judgmental thinking, the better you’ll be at eliminating it. 

Example 1: 

  1. Observation: I notice that I am angry at something my partner did/said. 
  2. Observation/Description: I notice that my eyebrows are furrowed, I feel hot, my jaw muscles are tense. 
  3. Judgment: Anger is a bad emotion. Anger means I’m bad. Something is wrong with me because I feel angry. 
  4. Nonjudgmental Stance: Anger is a normal emotion. It is not good or bad. Being angry doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, and experiencing anger isn’t a good or bad thing. It is okay to be angry, and I have control over how I exhibit my anger. 
  5. Possible results: When I judge my anger, I am more likely to react in a negative way and to be destructive in my relationships. When I avoid judging my anger, I am more likely to experience it until it goes away, without harming people I love, or myself. 

 

Example 2: 

  1. Observation: I notice I am annoyed at this driver in front of me who is going too slow in the fast lane. 
  2. Observation/Description: I notice I am tense, and my neck and chest are tight. My eyes feel heavy, and I feel on edge. 
  3. Judgment: This stupid drive isn’t paying attention and doessn’t know how to drive. They are annoying me and shouldn’t be on the road. I hate that I’m annoyed and irritated, I don’t want to feel this way. 
  4. Nonjudgmental Stance: Being annoyed makes sense in this present situation. That person is driving slowly in the wrong lane, which makes me feel unsafe. The situation triggered annoyance and irritation, which is a normal reaction.
  5. Possible Results: When I fight my annoyance or irritation and deem it as bad, I’m more likely to react negatively or impulsively. When I avoid judging my annoyance, I’m more likely to remain annoyed for a short amount of time without driving recklessly or lashing out. 

One-Mindfully Skill Training

Learning to recognize judgments begins with a specific and helpful skill taught through DBT, which is called “One Mindfully.” This skill concerns our ability to do one thing at a time, which increases our focus in the moment and ability to stay grounded and self-aware. For instance, if you decide to read, read. If you want to work, work. Avoid doing multiple things simultaneously, so you can give your full attention to the moment and stay aware of any triggers. This practice will help you to cultivate mindfulness, and enhance your ability to stay undistracted, avoid worrying about the future, and recognize any negative mood or thought patterns in the present. 

Countering Common Self-Judgments

An important part of Non-Judgmental Stance thinking is the ability to identify our own self-judgments, such as “I am bad, weak, afraid, worthless, ugly,” etc. When we learn to turn these judgments into nonjudgmental, descriptive statements, they have less of an emotional hold over our wellbeing. For instance: 

  • Your boss yells at you, which makes you feel weak and afraid. Acknowledge these feelings with an “I” feeling statement, such as “When my boss yells at me, I feel weak and worthless.” 
  • Next, focus on your breathing to calm yourself down and slow your thinking. 
  • Notice your thinking by acknowledging and accepting your thoughts and feelings, rather than fighting them. 
  • Acknowledge the reality of your situation and the facts, rather than the judgments. For instance “I know I am good at my job, regardless of how I feel in this moment.” 

The idea of Non-Judgmental Stance processing is that when we feel a certain way, rather than passing judgment on that emotion and winding up in a broken wash cycle of feeling and fighting our feelings, learning to objectively describe our emotions and the situation at hand can help us to slow down, calm down, and take back control of our emotions. 

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DBT Skills to Know - Setting Goals

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DBT Skills to Know - Setting Goals

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally created for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan in the 1970’s. This structured variation on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy consists of what is often a year-long process of walking through the four main modules, and usually involves both group therapy, individual therapy, and even on-call phone consultations to mitigate crisis situations in the patient’s life as they may arise. 

While the initial phase of DBT involves treatment for high-risk behaviors and concerns (such as suicidality, self-harm, and substance abuse), once the patient moves beyond the initial period and then subsequently through the skills training, the final phase of DBT involves strategic goal-setting so the patient can not only stabilize and minimize symptoms through better coping skills, but additionally supplement their quality of life by purposefully chasing improvements. 

The Importance of Goal Setting

When patients avoid setting goals and objectives, their lives can become chaotic and unregulated. Setting goals purposefully is a healthy habit, and can help bring purpose and fulfillment to every individual. 

What is SMART Goal Setting?

The acronym most commonly used in the final period of DBT therapy is “SMART.” SMART goal setting means avoiding vague resolutions in favor of structured, trackable paths with key milestones and clear objectives. Goals of all kinds can be made “SMART” through a realistic path to achievement. 

The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Each of these words are broken down into concepts in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of goal setting. 

SPECIFIC 

When setting a goal, think about what you want to achieve, and be exact. Try writing it down. The more specific you can be in describing your goal, the more likely it is you’ll achieve it. SMART goal setting, for instance, helps make the difference clear between “I want to be financially stable” and “I want to make $4500 a month.”

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you set specific goals: 

  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How, When, Where, With whom? 
  • What conditions and limitations exist? 
  • Why am I chasing this goal? 
  • What other ways could I achieve it?

MEASURABLE

Measurable goals implies being able to clearly identify what you want to hear, feel, see, and experience when you reach that goal. For instance don’t just wish to be healthier… if your goal is getting healthier, make the qualifiers for healthier living clear. I.e. stopping smoking, eating more veggies, walking every morning, meditating before bed. 

ATTAINABLE

It can be easy to get swept up in idealism when we set goals, without considering if those goals are actually achievable. When setting a goal, consider the cost to get there, both from a money and time perspective. Are you aware of the sacrifices you may have to make? What priorities could get in the way of achieving your goal? Don’t give up easily, but don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. Plan with purpose so you can succeed. 

RELEVANT 

Be careful not to set goals that may be irrelevant to you and your lifestyle. Are you setting too many goals? Do your goals make sense for you? For instance, maybe you want to be a famous mountain biker, but the closest mountain bike park is 6 hours from you. When setting goals you’ll need to decide whether you have the time, personality, social circle, etc. for that goal. Just because someone else did it, doesn’t mean its relevant for you and your situation. 

TIMELY 

Goal setting includes a “workback schedule” of sorts, where you plan each milestone with purpose and timing in mind. Remember that time is money! Ensure your time is well-spent, and set healthy deadlines to keep you actively pursuing your goal. Stay realistic and flexible, but motivated. 

The majority of human life is geared toward setting and achieving goals, and the fulfillment and enrichment that comes from these actions is a critical part of happiness. Goal setting is a way of putting intention behind your day to day living, rather than drifting, which can often lead to detachment, listlessness, and even depression. Goals are an everyday part of life, and can be set in relationships, work environments, leisure activities and hobbies, health and so much more. As you consider setting goals, it’s important to take into account what achievements make you feel good, and how you’re utilizing your spare time. Think about which priorities matter most, and avoid slipping into aimless living. 

Last but not least, stay positive. What you focus on will grow. So ensure that you are focusing on opportunities and successes. 

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DBT Skills to Know - Self-Soothing

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DBT Skills to Know - Self-Soothing

The Distress Tolerance module of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) incorporates a number of types of Distress Tolerance skills designed to help distract us and get us through challenging emotions in situations where we feel a loss of control. 

Decreasing emotional distress as a symptom of situational challenges is one of the primary goals of DBT. There are a number of skills trainings that go into the Distress Tolerance module which can help with this, including: 

  • ACCEPTS
  • TIP 
  • IMPROVE
  • PROS/CONS
  • PROBLEM SOLVING
  • RADICAL ACCEPTANCE, and 
  • SELF-SOOTHING

In particular, the self-soothing skill is very easy for patients to take and apply in almost any situation. It’s a positive and easy way to distract yourself from emotional pain, to promote positive and pleasant, comforting experiences instead, and to offer a sense of relief. Self-soothing helps us to pass the time amidst a challenging circumstance without making things worse, and can help us avoid an escalation of symptoms like emotional distress, panic attacks, withdrawal, or even slipping into impulsive and unhealthy coping behaviors like self-harm or substance abuse. 

Self-soothing means using your 6 senses to ground yourself in the present. Doing this helps you to avoid spinning out of control, getting caught up in an emotional torrent and increasing your distress. 

The simplified version of Self-Soothing involves: 

  • Hearing: listen to soothing music or focus on sounds you like around you, such as wind, birds, etc. 
  • Vision: focus on soothing visuals such as the trees, skyline, nature
  • Smell: choose scents that relax you such as peppermint, lavender, fresh baked bread, etc. 
  • Taste: find a tea or food that has a calming effect on your body, like herbal tea, or fresh fruit.
  • Touch: use a texture like a soft blanket or your pet’s fur to help you relax.
  • Movement: use dance, running in place, or any form of exercise to move your body. 

The theory behind self-soothing exercises is that our five senses can be a healthy and effective way to relax and find peace amidst distress. When we engage in sense-focused activities, we distract ourselves from distressful situations and re-ground ourselves in the present. Each person is different, so some senses may offer more relief than others. You might feel better listening to sounds, where someone else may find greater peace in soothing visuals. 

Here are some additional ways you can engage your senses that you might find beneficial and enjoyable and centering. Achieving a sense of relaxation can positively impact your physical health and improve your situational awareness. 

Vision 

  • Find somewhere in nature or anywhere outside that offers a respite from your day-to-day life. Take time to observe trees, grass, sky, different colors and animals or people around you. 
  • Find soothing images to look at such as places you’ve been that offer nostalgia, beautiful sunsets, cities, nature or other images. 
  • Watch a movie well-known for cinematography, or find something with a story that won’t be difficult to watch. 
  • Collect images that you find pleasant in advance of any stressful situations, so you can look at them as needed.

Hearing

  • Listen to your favorite music or any sounds that make you feel relaxed, like ocean waves. 
  • Call someone whose voice makes you happy or you find soothing to talk to. 
  • Listen to live sounds at a nearby park or such as people talking, birds, wind, leaves rustling. 
  • Play a musical instrument or sing if you normally participate in these activities. 
  • Find an audio book or podcast that helps you relax and disconnect. 

Smell

  • Cook a delicious meal or make a snack that you can enjoy that smells delicious. 
  • Put on a perfume with a smell you enjoy. 
  • Take a bath with aromatic salts or lavender to relax. 
  • Buy yourself flowers with a strong, beautiful smell. 
  • Go somewhere with a scent you enjoy like a leather shop, restaurant, bakery or somewhere outdoors.

 

Taste

  • Cook a favorite meal and eat slowly to enjoy every bite. 
  • Get some healthy snacks or comfort food like chocolate, a smoothie or popcorn. 
  • Make yourself a cup of tea, cocoa, or anything else you enjoy sipping on (avoid alcoholic beverages).

Touch

  • Wrap yourself in your favorite blanket or sweater and think about how it feels on your skin. 
  • Pet your dog or cat slowly and enjoy the sensation. 
  • Take a hot shower or bubble bath and feel the water flowing over you. 
  • Put on your most comfortable clothes and relax somewhere peaceful. 

Every attempt to re-ground yourself through self-soothing exercises makes the next time a little easier. Don’t get discouraged! Learning to turn to this DBT practice can significantly improve your quality of life and diminish your symptoms over time.

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How DBT Helps Minimize Symptoms of PTSD

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How DBT Helps Minimize Symptoms of PTSD

What Is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is triggered by the experience of enduring or witnessing a terrifying event (abuse, natural disaster, terrorism, war, violence, assault, etc) that kicks our fight or flight instincts into overdrive. In the case of Complex PTSD (CPTSD), a number of ongoing traumatic events can cause trauma over time. Some symptoms of PTSD include avoidance, anxiety, changes in physical and emotional reactions, intrusive memories, and dramatic shifts in mood and cognitive processing. For some people, symptoms of PTSD will start right away, but with others, they may appear many years later. While PTSD is treatable, the symptoms can be debilitating and significantly decrease the sufferer’s quality of life. 

Who Gets PTSD? 

PTSD is common and can affect individuals of all ages and walks of life. Symptoms can last anywhere from months to years, and the severity varies by individual. 

Why DBT Works For PTSD

The reason Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can work so well in minimizing the symptoms of PTSD is that some of the modules and skills (such as Mindfulness) focus on staying grounded and present in the moment. Since much of PTSD is rooted in reliving past traumatic experiences, the ability to stay present is a key part of mitigating symptoms. In addition, the Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance modules of DBT can help those with PTSD to avoid susceptibility to intrusive thoughts and memories, and minimize emotional volatility. This is because when individuals with PTSD are in distress, their brain turns toward survival mode. Traumatic memories are reopened in the moment in reaction to activated distress, which can trigger automated biological responses such as panic attacks, shut downs, and other destructive, negative emotional experiences. Learning to tolerate, regulate and survive these triggers is part of DBT skills training. 

Some DBT methods have actually been adapted specifically to treat PTSD, such as Informed dbt, which integrates other cognitive behavioral interventions into DBT to create a multifaceted treatment plan for those with PTSD. 

 

DBT Concepts Used For PTSD

The core philosophy of DBT is skills-based training, which involves the introduction of new tools and coping mechanisms for those seeking to manage their symptoms. DBT focuses on both acceptance and positive change. 

All four DBT modules are in fact relevant to PTSD. These are: 

  1. Mindfulness: Learning to stay present and grounded helps you to stay focused on the situation at hand and to avoid ruminating and obsessive thoughts about past experiences or future uncertainties. Mindfulness skills help ground you in your own body and increase your mental stability through staying present in the moment. 
  1. Emotion Regulation: Learning to accept, manage and change different emotions helps, as emotional dysregulation is a common outcome of PTSD symptoms. When distress arises, emotional upheaval can cause extreme mood swings and intense emotional suffering. Emotion Regulation teaches skills to head off negative emotions before they arise, regulate or change them after they start, and accept the unavoidable negative emotions when they do arise as a natural part of life. 
  1. Distress Tolerance: Learning to tolerate painful emotions and situations is important, as intrusive, obsessive thoughts increase our distress experiences and can rapidly worsen without intervention. Distress Tolerance teaches specific, applicable skills to replace ineffective behaviors and reactions to distress (such as self-soothing techniques). 
  1. Interpersonal Effectiveness: Learning to communicate with others with respect while maintaining healthy boundaries is critical, as a common practical impact of PTSD is difficulty with trusting or interacting with others. DBT helps to bridge the gap between past trauma and present relationships, working to bring self-respect and respect for others to every human connection. Interpersonal Effectiveness also helps us to avoid and resolve conflict, which in turn reduces the frequency of distressing interactions. 

DBT Techniques That Minimize PTSD Symptoms 

An ongoing challenge of PTSD is that stress and conflict are natural parts of life, and truly unavoidable. These two things often trigger a fight, freeze, fawn, or flight response in those with PTSD, so the main goal of DBT for PTSD is to manage reactions to stress and conflict, rather than total avoidance. 

Beyond the general module training described above, here two other common techniques leveraged in DBT therapy for those with PTSD: 

  • Self-acceptance: It’s important to stress that self-acceptance does NOT mean justifying or approving of hurt, abuse, and trauma; rather, self-acceptance means understanding that pain does not always mean we need to suffer long-term, and that we are fully capable of overcoming our experiences and taking back control of our emotions. Self-acceptance encourages us to both feel our emotions, accept them, and then move on toward healing. 
  • Validation: Many individuals with PTSD question their own experiences and reality because the resulting stress and pain from their trauma can feel like too much to bear. Validation encourages us to avoid self-doubt, to validate our experiences and what happened to us or what we witnessed, and then to move on toward healing. Fighting the reality of our experiences and trauma does nothing but delay our healing process.

DBT For PTSD In Relationships

Relationships are arguably the most frequent way those with PTSD may encounter triggers. This is because for those with PTSD, interpersonal tension can produce a heightened biological reaction and intense emotional upheaval. Feeling safe is the most important part of a relationship for those with PTSD. When their trauma is untreated, they may feel unsafe even in safe relationships, which means most of their romantic relationships will suffer long-term. 

For those with a history of abuse in particular (sexual, emotional, psychological) or abandonment, it takes a significant amount of work over time to decrease their automated response to conflict or perceived threats (where none may actually exist). Hypervigilance and a fear of the unknown are common symptoms of those with PTSD in romantic relationships, which can increase pressure on their partner and decrease their overall quality of life. 

DBT can help a lot in relationships by keeping the PTSD survivor from drawing conclusions based on emotional trauma vs. reality through grounding in Mindfulness, Acceptance of reality (present situation vs past experience), Distress Tolerance and Emotional Regulation when conflict does arise, and better Interpersonal Effectiveness through healthy boundary setting and mutual respect. 

If you’re looking to get started on your healing journey with DBT for PTSD treatment, START TODAY.

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DBT Skills to Know - Emotional Regulation

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DBT Skills to Know - Emotional Regulation

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches critical skills relative to Emotional Regulation, which is arguably relevant for people of all backgrounds, behavior types, and with or without mental health conditions. We can all benefit from greater emotional regulation. 

While emotions are important and feelings are relative in our relationships and day to day life and processing (they help us communicate and understand our experiences), they can also create a great deal of emotional suffering if left unchecked. Many people pursuing DBT do so out of a desire to decrease emotional impulsivity and find relief from the intense highs and lows they experience every day. 

The goal of the Emotional Regulation module in DBT is to help us learn to name and understand our emotions, decrease the frequency and severity of unpleasant feelings, and diminish the sense of vulnerability we may feel which can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other types of suffering. 

Included below are a series of DBT skills that can help you in your quest for greater Emotional Regulation. 

STOP

The STOP acronym is a succinct way of reminding ourselves to stop when we feel our emotions are out of control. Rather than reacting and increasing the intensity of our movement, actions, etc, the goal is to FREEZE (even physically, and especially muscles in our face and mouth). This freeze action keeps us from acting without thinking and helps us stay in control. 

Begin with S (stop). Then, (T)ake a Step Back. In this part of the STOP skill, the goal is to take time to calm down, think, and detach momentarily from the situation that is causing your emotions to spiral. Take some deep breaths, regain control of your body and mind. Don’t be afraid to take time to respond or react to a situation! 

Then, (O)bserve. In this stage, take some time to review what is happening around you, to you, within you. Think about who or what is involved, and review what others have done/are doing and saying. Avoid jumping into Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) and instead, try not to jump to conclusions. Gather as much relevant information as you can before proceeding with any decision making or communication. 

Finally, proceed (M)indfully. In this stage of STOP, you’ll want to ask yourself what you want as the best possible outcome, what your goals are for the situation, what choices may make things better or worse, and what decision can create the greatest impact in a positive way for your goals. Review the information you’ve gathered, and use your mindful ability to stay rooted in the present to maintain calm control. 

OPPOSITE ACTION

This Emotional Regulation skill recognizes that every emotion we feel drives us to respond based on how we are biologically wired. Rather than react on programmed impulse, the OpposIte Action Skill suggests we look toward the OPPOSITE response from our biological programming. 

For example, when fearful emotions rise, we may feel an urge to escape the situation causing us anxiety. When you feel sad, you may want to withdraw or become passive aggressive. Opposite Action suggest we work toward doing the opposite of what our negative emotions are driving us to do, for instance staying present in the moment even when anxiety rises, or communicating purposefully and directly when sad rather than resorting to passive aggressiveness. 

ABC PLEASE 

This skill helps us reduce a sense of vulnerability by focusing on critical elements of self-care. Unless we take care of ourselves first, we can’t take care of anyone else and can become susceptible to illness and emotional impulsivity. 

ABC PLEASE stands for: 

  1. Accumulate positive emotions by doing pleasant things. 
  2. Build mastery doing what you enjoy (cooking, riding your bike, building a puzzle, playing an instrument, etc.) 
  3. Cope ahead of potential crisis by reviewing a plan in order to be prepared for any negative emotions or experiences. 

Then, PLEASE: 

  • Treat illness with medication as prescribed
  • Balance your eating to avoid mood swings 
  • Avoid mood-altering drugs
  • Maintain healthy sleep patterns
  • Get exercise to improve positive emotions

BUILD MASTERY 

This Emotional Regulation skill suggests that doing the things you enjoy and are good at (such as cooking, riding your bike, building a puzzle, playing an instrument, etc as mentioned above) can create a sense of control, competency, and fulfillment. 

Start by trying something new, such as a new recipe, a speed or distance goal for biking, a complex puzzle or game, etc. Take the time to understand everything involved, and anticipate mistakes. If you need help, seek it out! 

Next, practice! Working through the practice required to master your skill can create a sense of accomplishment along the way, and can create unity with others as you build relationships around the skill you’re mastering. 

Finally, give yourself credit as you build mastery. Be proud of everything you’ve done, and when you’ve mastered something, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a new goal. 

COPE AHEAD 

This skill invites you to consider how to prepare appropriately for potentially stressful situations and circumstances. For instance, when preparing a presentation for school, you will have done your research, prepared notes, etc. in order to prepare to adequately execute that presentation. This is a practical way of coping ahead of time, because being unprepared in the moment of your presentation could potentially lead to negative emotions. 

The best way to Cope Ahead is to rehearse a plan thoroughly. Here are a few ways to get started: 

  1. Write down or consider the situation that could bring you anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings. Review the facts of the experience and be specific. Think about the exact emotions and choices that could interfere with your happiness or success. 
  2. Consider which problem-solving tools might help you best in the situation, and write out specifically how you might react and review your options if your emotions surge. 
  3. Take time to mindfully imagine the potential situation as vividly as you can. 
  4. Then, rehearse how you’ll cope effectively in that situation. Rehearse what you might specifically say and do as you imagine this experience. 
  5. Finally, take time to relax and reset after working through your Cope Ahead scenario. 

These DBT Emotional Regulation skills, and others, can dramatically increase your ability to cope and control your feelings in the moment, and to experience greater peace in your everyday life. 

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DBT Skills to Know - Radical Acceptance

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DBT Skills to Know - Radical Acceptance

The concept of Radical Acceptance is rooted in the idea that all suffering originated not in pain, but in our attachment to pain. In fact, Radical Acceptance has origins in Buddhism with the tenant that relief from suffering begins first and foremost with acceptance. 

As a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill, Radical Acceptance refers to the ability to accept our situation when the circumstances are out of our control, which can reduce the suffering we feel. Instead of being attached to our past pain, for instance, Radical Acceptance dictates a lack of judgment toward our experiences and a detachment from them. Detachment does not mean avoiding emotion, but rather observing our situation or experiences without letting them increase our sense of suffering. It’s easy to allow ourselves to feel worse than is necessary, or to get caught up in an emotionally destructive spiral. Radical Acceptance suggests we accept our reality without getting absorbed by emotional reactivity to that reality. 

Understanding Radical Acceptance 

DBT advocates will willingly admit that Radical Acceptance is not an easy skill to master. In fact, it can take a lifetime to practice in order to utilize it effectively. Using the skill of Radical Acceptance begins with recognizing when you are out of control in a situation or circumstance (such as job loss, death of a loved one, a breakup, etc), and both recognizing that your grief and disappointment are normal, while not prolonging or amplifying their impact by avoiding acceptance of your experience. 

Faking happiness is not what Radical Acceptance is about. Rather, the goal is to avoid fighting against your reality in order to find the peace of acceptance. It can be very difficult to do this in the moment when things are out of your control, but finding ways to keep your emotions from running wild will significantly decrease any emotional pain. 

Radical Acceptance in DBT 

Radical Acceptance originated within the practice of DBT, as developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan in the ‘90s. This type of therapy is particularly good for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and anyone who experiences intense emotional highs and lows. The word Dialectical in DBT refers to a healthy balance of two seemingly opposite extremes: acceptance and change. When we learn to embracing our logical mind while still experiencing emotions, we are able to take purposeful actions rather than letting our emotions dictate our state of mind. 

Throughout DBT therapy, patients learn how to practice “Distress Tolerance” which keeps them from amplifying painful situations long-term. Radical Acceptance is a key tenant of the Distress Tolerance module. 

Practicing Radical Acceptance 

Pain is an unavoidable part of our lives, but Radical Acceptance reminds us that we are in control of our reactions to pain and can avoid feeling helpless by moving toward calm, rational thoughts. We are in control of the way we view every experience, even the negative ones. 

A lack of acceptance is a normal human reaction to pain. Sometimes we can have trouble accepting challenges and frustrations because accepting them feels like agreement or approval. That’s not the case! Accepting a situation doesn’t mean you believe it is OK, but it does mean you can avoid emotions that spiral into anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health conditions. 

Practicing Radical Acceptance means learning to focus on what you can control in the middle of distressing situations, and practicing self care and resourcefulness to remain grounded. Here are some thoughts that can indicate you may need to take a step back to practice Radical Acceptance in the moment: 

  • This isn’t fair.
  • I can’t believe this is happening.
  • I don’t deserve this. 
  • Why is this happening to me?
  • I can’t survive this. 
  • Why did this happen now?
  • How do I deserve this? 
  • No one cares about me. 
  • Everyone is working against me. 
  • I have the worst luck. 
  • I never catch a break. 
  • I wish things were different. 
  • I can’t accept this. 
  • I’m never going to recover from this. 
  • I shouldn’t have to deal with this. 

These types of thoughts and others like them are a great indicator to step back and work to distance yourself from the situation in order to view it in new ways, and to keep your emotions from spiraling out of control. When you notice these types of emotions, take time to step back and do the following: 

  1. Focus on breathing deeply and examining your thoughts. Feel them, but let them pass. 
  2. Think about what you are feeling in your body. Sit with any tension (for instance, in your chest, neck, back) and practice mindfulness. 
  3. Remind yourself that your situation can’t be changed by your reaction to it.
  4. Consider what acceptance would look like, in your mind, body, and actions. 
  5. Remind yourself that life is worth living despite your present circumstances. 
  6. Remind yourself of the facts, and avoid judging the situation at hand. 
  7. Remind yourself we are all human and make mistakes. Try to avoid seeing everything as black and white. 
  8. Think about the specific things you are struggling to accept with your present situation. 
  9. Think about the cause of these things/your situation. 
  10. Make a specific, purposeful plan about how you want to feel and what you want to do next. 

Key Coping Statements 

These Radical Acceptance coping statements can help you in the moment as you learn to accept a situation and move on. 

  • I can only control my reactions. 
  • When I fight my situation, I am enabling it to have a bigger negative impact. 
  • I can’t change what’s happening. 
  • I can accept my present moment. 
  • I can work through these difficult emotions. 
  • I will get through this. 
  • I know these feelings will fade, even if they’re painful in the moment. 
  • I can feel these feelings, but still find ways to stay calm and in control. 
  • I can choose a new path. 
  • When I remain grounded, I can make good choices to solve my problems. 
  • I release myself from judgment or blame. 
  • I choose to stay grounded in the moment. 

˜

Some situations are not deserving of Radical Acceptance. In the following situations, it is likely that changing your situation is much better than accepting the way they are. 

  1. Abusive Relationships
  2. Dangerous Environments 
  3. Harassment or Stalking
  4. Repeated Disrespect
  5. Being Paid Unfairly
  6. When You CAN Make a Change to Improve Your Situation 
  7. When You Might Use Acceptance as Avoidance

No matter who you are, everyone can benefit from Radical Acceptance. Take the time to bring this new concept into your life in order to enjoy greater peace and move on in a healthier and faster way from negative situations. 

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DBT Skills to Know - How to Think and Act Dialectically

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DBT Skills to Know - How to Think and Act Dialectically

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is, at its core, founded upon principles of Dialectical thinking, which involves an integration of two foundational opposites: acceptance and change. 

Learning to think and act in a dialectical manner can open up your thought process and increase your awareness of the different nuances in the world around you, rather than allowing you to exist in extreme black and whites. Extreme highs and lows are what drive many of the mental health conditions DBT is used to treat, so the idea that embracing gray areas can help those suffering from certain conditions to create greater peace in their day to day reality simply makes sense. 

Letting our thoughts drive our emotions and actions can be a dangerous game. Oftentimes, this is where those with significant mental health struggles find themselves in trouble. It’s easy to get absorbed with a feeling of anxiety due to abandonment, to dwell on thoughts relative to the opinions of others, or to fixate on the idea you’re unwanted or unworthy of love. Thoughts can drive an excessive amount of fear and anxiety over our jobs, our relationships, our identity, and so much more. Our thoughts have a lot of power. 

When spiraling down a rabbit hole driven by escalating thought patterns, it’s easy to focus on the negatives or one potential outcome we are afraid of or concerned about, rather than considering all of the other variables involved. In most cases this type of spiraling is driven by trauma, or survival instinct (which keeps us from repeating choices and putting ourselves in situations that can hurt us). Because our brains are wired to protect us, a sense of fear, imminent doom, risk, or worry can build a sense of danger to an illogical level and cripple us from making decisions, trying new things, opening up and being vulnerable, etc. 

This wash cycle of thoughts and feelings is where dialectical thinking comes into play. Rather than let our thoughts play out toward catastrophic projection, dialectical thinking promotes the idea of viewing our situation from multiple perspectives, thereby bringing depth and dimension into our processing. Dialectical thinking focuses on the theory that in order to understand things to a greater degree, we have to first embrace their opposites. 

Taking the time to look at our situation in different ways allows us to move beyond hyper rigidity in our thought patterns which can drive negative emotions to come to a head. It brings perspective to our lives and relationships and can diminish the anxiety we feel over projected negative outcomes. 

When we learn to accept that every experience is comprised of a unique amount of both negative and positive parts, this can lead us to identify (even in the worst of life’s ups and downs) the potential positives in every situation. A great example would be the end of a relationship: while this may lead you to spiral into anxiety over being alone forever, concern about your value, etc. it can also be a time to reflect on what is most important to you, and to consider what you’ve learned from your partner during the relationship about yourself, the world, and what you will and will not accept in future relationships. 

Dialectical thinking can create freedom from intensely negative emotions such as resentment, bitterness, and anger. When you hone your ability to find new ways to view situations, it’s easier to detach from these types of feelings through the process of dialectical exploration. 

A prime example of dialectical thinking in action (continuing with the breakup analogy) would be that we may step back and consider that our counterpart is suffering, or acting in a way that is best for them rather than out of an intent to hurt us. We might recognize that our interpretation of their leaving is inclined to be damaging if we let our thoughts flow without considering other viewpoints, and that in reality they may be leaving for reasons far outside our control. We might develop a sense of compassion and loss, rather than fixating on anger, resentment, and fear of being alone. 

Dialectical thinking promotes a “flexibility” of thought processes that loosens the grip of negative emotions and choices in our lives and lightens our emotional burdens. 

Another great way dialectical thinking can impact your feelings and choices is that it re-introduces a sense of control into your life. When our emotions spiral, we feel out of control which can lead to fear and anxiety. When we explore instead the peace that comes with a flexible perspective or mindset, we are able to detach enough to recognize the things we can control (our thoughts, feelings, and reactions) and to let go of what we can’t (the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others). 

Dialectical thinking does not imply never recognizing or embracing difficult emotions, but instead the ability to see both sides of the coin. Honing the skill of recognizing negative emotions and purposefully exploring their opposites brings greater critical thinking skills, more peace, a sense of control, greater emotional regulation, and can result in less wasted time fixating on the negatives in our lives. Rather than living at the whim of impulse, we can instead approach every situation with purpose. 

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DBT Skills to Know - What is a “Wise Mind”?

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DBT Skills to Know - What is a “Wise Mind”?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is a specific type of psychotherapy under the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy umbrella that was curated for Borderline Personality Disorder. However, this type of therapy has been proven to be successful in the treatment of a myriad of other mental health conditions, including but not limited to anyone struggling with: 

  • Overwhelming emotions.
  • Impulsive behavior.
  • Self injury.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Eating disorders.
  • PTSD and other trauma disorders. 
  • Challenging, conflict-heavy relationships.

 

One of the critical components of DBT treatment is the activation and understanding of the “Wise Mind” which is a concept based on the acceptance of different mental states including the Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind. 

 

The Emotion Mind

Everyone in their lifetime will struggle with moments where they become driven by emotion, moodiness, or reactions, which is the manifestation of the Emotion Mind. This mental state is not driven by rational thought, but instead by feelings, mood, and impulses. 

 

This mental state occurs most often when we allow our emotions to control our thinking, which can create a distorted view of reality. Some examples of this include: 

  • Fighting every time you disagree with others
  • Impulsively spending or traveling without planning 
  • Doing things purely for fun without analyzing their consequences
  • Snapping at others for no logical reason 

 

The Rational Mind

The direct opposite of the Emotion Mind is the Rational Mind, which is a mental state in which the individual is driven by reason, logic, and fact. In this state, feelings are not a decision making factor. This is the most pragmatic state of mind.  

The Rational Mind is activated when you can work through problems based in logic, reason, and rational analysis of whatever problem you’re facing. In this state, you might:  

  • Measure ingredients 
  • Plan your expenses for the month 
  • Look up your flight schedule prior to travel 
  • Study for testing

 

While you might think that the Rational Mind is the end goal, the reality is that too much time in either Emotional or Rational Mind states can create frustration, interpersonal tension, and inner conflict. This is where the “Wise Mind” concept is born: the ideal overlap of the two other mental states, the Wise Mind is the delicate balance between reason and emotion that cultivates a middle path driven by both emotional sensitivity and rational thought. This is an intuitive, observational, mindful state of being rooted in balance: the core principle of DBT. 

 

Fighting Extremes

For most individuals, there is a natural proclivity to swing between pure reason and pure emotion. But when looking at our problems and values from the extremes of either lens, we neglect the big picture, which can isolate us and create a sense of emotional extremes that leaves us spinning. 

Chaotic, disorganized thoughts lead to choices made from an Emotion Mind, where pragmatic, logical thoughts can drive choices made from the Rational Mind state, in which we neglect our emotional needs and wellbeing. The integration of these two extremes is where we discover our “Wise Mind”. 

The Wise Mind is the key point of overlap between emotion and reason, which cultivates our intuition. The founder of DBT, Marsha Linehan, once explained the wise mind as “the part of [you] that can know and experience truth….. It is almost always quiet, it has a certain peace… it is like a deep well in the ground. ” 

 

You may see your Wise Mind at work if 

  • You focus on breathing in and out 
  • You step back to calmly analyze a situation 
  • You have an absolute sense of right and wrong with a decision you are making (no doubt or dread)
  • You feel you grasp the whole picture rather than fixating on certain parts
  • You have a deep sense of “the right choice” that isn’t influenced by pure emotion or pure logic. 

This “middle ground” called the Wise Mind relies deeply on our intuition, which is a sense that defies reason and goes beyond sense perception. The reality is that our intuition is driven by a subconscious integration of  “direct experience, immediate cognition, and the grasping of the meaning, significance, or truth of an event without relying on intellectual analysis” (Linehan, 1993, p. 214).

Some of us may experience our Wise Mind through a “gut feeling” or “small voice” that persists in our mind. We know that when we act from our Wise Mind, we are doing what is best for us, our mental and physical health, and our goals. 

The goal of DBT is to help us hone in on the Wise Mind, and to make following that intuition second nature - a natural, instinctive process. Practicing Mindfulness is a significant part of how we learn to tune into our Wise Mind over the course of DBT treatment. 

Get started today on your journey to the understanding and activation of your own Wise Mind with DBT therapy!

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How DBT Skills Help Manage Eating Disorders

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How DBT Skills Help Manage Eating Disorders

Over 28.8 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Eating disorders are generally classified as a type of mental illness characterized by harmful behaviors related to food. Those with eating disorders (such as bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, ad more) usually struggle with impulsivity, compulsive behaviors, negative body image, and even coexisting conditions like depression, anxiety, and more. 

Eating disorders are the second most deadly mental illness (the first is opioid overdose), and so are critical to treat proactively and effectively. One form of treatment for the management of eating disorders is Dialectical Behavior Therapy, more commonly known as DBT. 

While DBT was originally created for the management and treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), this therapy technique has grown in popularity over recent years for its success with both substance abuse and eating disorder conditions as both behavior patterns usually indicate underlying stressors and disregulated emotional states. Since the goal of DBT is to create both acceptance and change through management of stressors and emotions, it makes sense that this type of therapy has been helpful to those managing eating disorders. 

As awareness of DBT has grown, it’s been increasingly used to help individuals who struggle with all kinds of mental health conditions, including anxiety, personality disorders, PTSD, and more. The skills taught throughout DBT treatment are universally helpful, and can be broken down into four main categories of skill sets which are usually taught over the course of a year through both individual and group therapy sessions: 

  • Mindfulness: This skill set helps patients to be aware of their feelings and present in every moment. It can help them to notice their emotions and impulses without acting on them, which is particularly helpful for those struggling with eating disorders. 
  • Distress Tolerance: This skill module covers the ability to process and manage upsetting emotions. Difficult feelings often drive patients to find ways to “cope” or distract themselves from those feelings, which can lead to disordered eating habits. 
  • Emotional Regulation: This skill module is an easy one to relate to for those struggling with disordered eating. Since big emotions like sadness, anger, and fear often drive disordered eating habits, learning to recognize, accept, and manage these emotions is critical to creating healthier habits. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: In this portion of DBT skills training patients will learn how relationship stressors can create BIG, challenging emotions, and will discover how to communicate in healthier ways to reduce the stress caused by interpersonal conflict. Since tension and distress in relationships often drives those with eating disorders to binge, purge, etc., this module can be helpful in teaching them to manage heir reactions in positive ways instead. 

While there are many types of recognized therapies for the treatment of eating disorders, DBT’s evidence-based approach as a subset of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) makes it an enticing one. By learning to address the root causes/emotions/distress that drive impulsive behaviors like binging and purging, a significant amount of relief can be introduced into the lives of those struggling with eating disorders. 

One specific, specialized form of DBT has been incredibly successful in the treatment of eating disorders. This is called Radically-Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT). 

RO-DBT is a version of DBT created specifically for the treatment of bulimia, binge eating, and anorexia which targets the anxious-obsessive need to be excessively self-controlling for certain patients. RO-DBT seeks to build more openness, connectedness, and flexibility for patients struggling with this type of control factor.

The emergence of RO-DBT came about after nearly 20 years of research into those suffering from a need to exert excessive control, which is demonstrated most often through behaviors characteristic of chronic depression, OCD, and eating disorders like anorexia. According to the theory behind RO-DBT, differences in both temperament and experiences lead overcontrolling individuals to persistently engage in behaviors that isolate them from others and create feelings of loneliness and distress. 

RO-DBT treatment focuses on adjusting social signaling for these types of patients to that their emotional expression builds trust and community/connectedness instead, thereby diminishing their symptoms and breaking the cycle of control, isolation, and disordered eating. 

The process of RO-DBT therapy covers three specific components, in addition to traditional DBT modules: 

  1. Acknowledging distressing and unwanted emotions that patients would usually explain, defend, or deny in order to feel better. 
  2. Improving self-inquiry processes, i.e. the practice of asking yourself questions in order to understand your environment and emotions. 
  3. Increasing flexibility in the moment in order to account for your needs and the needs of others in an effective and respectful way. 

If you’re looking for a solution to manage the symptoms of an eating disorder that may be impacting your life in an ongoing and disruptive way, get started with DBT therapy today. 

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How DBT Helps with Managing Anxiety Disorders

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How DBT Helps with Managing Anxiety Disorders

These days over 18% of US adults are living with an anxiety disorder. For many people living with chronic anxiety, experiencing a daily, significant and ongoing sense of fear or anxiety can lead to restlessness, panic attacks, isolation, poor sleep, and physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, body aches, stomach pain, and more. These and a host of other symptoms can be debilitating and may significantly decrease the sufferer’s quality of life. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually the go-to solution for anxiety treatment. However, for some patients with persistent and unmanageable symptoms, the classic CBT focus on changing thoughts and behavioral patterns isn’t enough to establish significant breakthroughs. Part of the problem with utilizing CBT for anxiety disorders is that this type of therapy doesn’t offer an emphasis on acceptance - a key tenant of solving persistent anxiety and fear - and can instead become invalidating. 

This is where DBT has made a profound and notable difference in anxiety treatment. Dialectical Behavior Therapy focuses on acknowledging and supporting the patient’s reality, and on creating coping mechanisms rooted in mindfulness (living in the moment). Since most anxiety boils down to focusing on the future or on situations, obstacles, relationships, and factors outside of our control, DBT can make a significant difference through its use of acceptance-based behavior therapies (ABBTs).

 

How DBT Works 

DBT focuses on dialectical thinking - which essentially means the ability to embrace two ideas or truths that might seem contradictory to each other; in this case, the concept of acceptance and change. The ability to accept your reality and live in the moment, combined with the willingness to manifest change for the better, is the crux of DBT treatment. 

The DBT process covers a series of modules, including two that focus on acceptance, and two that focus on change: 

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: discovering how to tolerate emotional pain in difficult situations, rather than fight it
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: learning how to ask for what you want and establish boundaries while maintaining self-respect and healthy relationships with others
  • Emotion Regulation: discovering how to decrease susceptibility to painful emotions and purposefully change emotions that don’t serve you.

Individuals working through DBT treatment will spend time covering each module, and in some cases will re-work a module in its entirety, depending on the severity and specificity of their symptoms. 

Why DBT Helps with Anxiety 

More and more literature is coming out about the effectiveness of DBT for anxiety therapy. For many individuals with anxiety disorders, their anxiety can be linked directly to extreme fear along with escalated emotions that may or may not fit the seriousness of the situation. For instance, when there is no immediate threat to their life, but they live in fear of dying. DBT helps individuals work through skills related to emotional and cognitive coping, in order to improve emotional regulation and processing. For those struggling with anxiety, DBT can provide relief from intense feelings, help them to modify unhelpful behaviors, and reduce their overall symptoms. The end goal of DBT for anxiety is to help patients to manage the worries, ruminations, panic attacks, and other symptoms that can be crippling in everyday life. 

Treating anxiety symptoms through DBT is still processed within the traditional DBT modules of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

  • Mindfulness: This module can help those struggling with anxiety to stay grounded and focused in their present reality. Staying mindful and present can help minimize stress and anxiety around circumstances and future worries. Meditation is a critical component of the mindfulness module, and this practice can be a pivotal tool for those suffering from panic attacks and the physical symptoms of anxiety such as heart racing episodes, sleep disorders, headaches, rapid breathing, nausea and more. 
  • Distress Tolerance: This module includes skills like Radical Acceptance, which helps patients to tolerate panic-inducing thoughts and ruminations. Rather than fighting reality and aggravating anxiety by avoiding negative situations, thoughts and feelings, Radical Acceptance teaches the transformative effect of understanding and accepting situations before creating change. Self-soothing skills are a significant part of the distress tolerance module, and are very beneficial for those suffering from ongoing anxiety. 
  • Emotional Regulation: This module can help mitigate the impact of mild or paralyzing anxiety (which can cause patients to miss out on life events, act out impulsively, or feel out of control) by developing coping skills that can stop unwanted emotions from starting, regulate or change emotions in the moment, and create a level of comfort with unavoidable emotions that can be a part of everyday life. 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: This module helps anxious patients to diminish their worries and fears around relationships and social interaction. The goal of interpersonal effectiveness is to teach the skill of asking for what you want, saying no to what you don’t, and creating healthy boundaries out of self-respect. For many individuals with anxiety, initiating boundary setting or saying “no” can trigger intense worry, fear, and avoidance, so this module is critical to helping them improve.

In summary, DBT treatment is an understandably powerful tool for those working through anxiety disorders and the daily challenges of living with anxiety. If you’re interested in pursuing DBT treatment for anxiety, you can join an online anxiety therapy group today and get started on your journey to a healthier and happier future. 

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2 DBT Skills Everyone Should Know

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2 DBT Skills Everyone Should Know

Are you interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? This unique form of psychotherapy - a variation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be used for a wide variety of mental health issues and conditions. 

While DBT was specifically developed for treating individuals who have difficulty managing and regulating their own emotions, (such as with Borderline Personality Disorder), this treatment type has also been proven to be effective for a variety of other conditions, including: 

  1. Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  2. Self-harm
  3. Suicidal behavior
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  5. Substance use disorder.
  6. Eating disorders such as binge eating disorder and bulimia
  7. Depression
  8. Anxiety

The reason most psychologists and therapists hypothesize that DBT has been so effective in the treatment of these conditions is that each of them is theorized to be associated with a core concern around unhealthy or problematic attempts at controlling intense, negative thoughts and feelings. DBT manages these concerns by helping individuals to find better ways to cope with their emotional highs and lows, which in turn can diminish their symptoms and increase their quality of life. 

If you’re looking to improve your mental health & wellbeing through the use of DBT skills, it’s best to start with an understanding of how DBT works. 

How DBT Works

The goal of DBT is to help you find the balance between acceptance and change - essentially, learning to find peace with yourself and calm amidst challenges, but being willing to change emotions and behaviors that don’t serve you. 

There are four main DBT modules:

  • Mindfulness: Learning to be fully aware and focused in the present.
  • Distress tolerance: Learning to understand and manage your emotions in difficult or stressful situations without turning toward harmful behaviors.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Learning to ask for what you want and need and setting boundaries while maintaining respect for yourself and others.
  • Emotion regulation: Learning to understand, be aware of, and control your emotions. 

No matter who you are or what mental health condition you are struggling with, it’s likely you can benefit from an application of specific skills learned throughout these traditional DBT modules. Below are just a few skill elements of specific DBT modules that can make an impact in tangible ways as you learn to apply them. 

DBT Skills Category: Mindfulness 

Have you heard of mindfulness? Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you focus on being in the moment, and identifying what you are sensing/feeling in your own body and mind. Mindfulness also implies a lack of judgment toward yourself or your experience, focusing instead on the benefit of being present in your experience and utilizing breathing, meditation, guided imagery, and other techniques to relax your mind and body, which in turn reduces your stress and helps regulate your emotions.  

Most of us are used to spending a significant amount of time obsessing, planning, solving problems, and living in our own negative thoughts. Coasting through our own mind in this way can increase our stress, anxiety, or depression. When we lose touch with our immediate reality, we often drift into an emotionally vulnerable state - which is what mindfulness works to combat. 

Mindfulness (Skill #1): Meditation 

Most people think of meditation in conjunction with yoga or eastern medicine, rather than associating it with simple exercises that can diminish the impact of anyone’s daily stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and other mental and physical health conditions. 

At its core, meditation may help you create the balance and acceptance so sought after through DBT therapy, in addition to potentially improving your ability to avoid burnout, improve your sleep habits, focus your attention, and find peace in your day to day life - even amidst constant stressors. 

How to Practice Mindfulness 

The good news is that there are so many ways to incorporate simple meditation exercises into your daily life. Here are just a few:

  1. Slow down: It can be hard to pause in the business of life, but set a reminder or choose a consistent time of day to be still, think about each of your senses (taste, smell, touch, sound, etc) and simply be in the moment. 
  2. Focus on breathing: When emotions begin to overwhelm you, try to find a seat, place both feet flat on the ground or cross your legs, and close your eyes. Focus simply and fully on your breath as it leaves and enters your body. 
  3. Body scan: Lying on your back with your legs straight/flat and arms at your sides, close your eyes and focus on each part of your body from toes to head or head to toes. Move slowly through the awareness of every part of you. 
  4. Walking meditation: Choose a short route, about 20 feet long, and begin walking it slowly, back and forth. Focus on every step and think about the small movements of your hips, feet, toes, hands, and head. 

These and other simple meditation practices can be done just about anywhere, anytime. Outdoors can be the best place to practice mindfulness, but anywhere peaceful and comfortable to you will work. 

If you can, try to practice mindful meditation every day. Over time, this will become part of your daily reality and can be an effortless way to reconnect with yourself. 

DBT Skills Category: Distress Tolerance 

Crisis Survival Strategies 

Distress tolerance as a model of DBT involves a skilled ability to accept, tolerate, and learn from hardship and suffering. 

While some other treatments may focus on avoiding pain and difficulty, distress tolerance actually focuses on handling pain in a much more head-on way, since suffering is an unavoidable part of life. 

There are four main survival strategies involved in the distress tolerance skills solution: distracting, self-soothing, improving the moment, and thinking of pros/cons. 

Distress Tolerance (Skill #2): TIPP

TIPP is a critical distress tolerance skill that can be pivotal during moments where you feel you’re at a breaking point. This acronym - which stands for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, Paired Muscle Relaxation - can help you self talk off the metaphorical ledge. 

  • Temperature: Anxiety, distress, anger, and other intense emotions can make our bodies feel overheated. Counter this on a physical level by splashing cold water onto your face, eating a popsicle, holding a bag of ice, standing close to your freezer with the door open, or blasting the AC in your car. Cooling your physical body down can help regulate your emotions. 
  • Intense Exercise: Engaging in intense physical activity can match and de-escalate intense emotions. Sprinting a short distance, doing a few quick lengths in the pool, jumping up and down, or hitting some mountain climbers can increase your oxygen levels which helps to diminish stress. 
  • Paced Breathing : Similar to mindfulness, pacing your breathing can help positively impact you by reducing your emotional distress. Box breathing is a great example of paced breathing. In this exercise you’ll hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and breathe in for four seconds. Do this over and over to reduce your body’s fight/flight response and calm yourself back down. 
  • Paired Muscle Relaxation: Oddly enough, when you tighten your muscles voluntarily and then relax them, the muscle becomes more relaxed than it was before flexing it. This wild exercise can slow your heart rate and increase your oxygen supply. Start by focusing on one muscle group, like your triceps. Tighten them voluntarily and count to five, then let go. 

Learning to leverage these 2 critical sets of skills - mindful meditation and TIPP for distress tolerance - under the DBT module umbrella can help you improve your health and wellbeing as you diminish stress under pressure. 

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How DBT Helps You Cope with Depression

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How DBT Helps You Cope with Depression

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan following extensive use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for those living with BPD. While this type of therapy was specifically created to help manage crisis behaviors in individuals with BPD - such as suicidal ideation, self harm, and substance abuse, this treatment type has since been proven to be effective for a variety of other conditions, including: 

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder
  • Eating disorders such as binge eating disorder and bulimia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

It is generally hypothesized that DBT is effective in the treatment of these conditions due to the fact each condition is associated with unhealthy behavioral patterns and an inability to control impulsive, intense, negative thoughts and emotions. 

Since the core concern of DBT is to help those in treatment to improve their ability to cope with and regulate their emotions, successful DBT treatment can help individuals with these conditions to improve their quality of life and decrease their symptoms as they learn to apply new skills learned in DBT treatment. 

Causes of Depression 

The Mayo Clinic lists some core causes of depression as the following: 

  • Trauma: enduring abuse or witnessing traumatic events 
  • Stress buildup: due to illness or life events 
  • Substance abuse

Research also suggests that continuing challenges - such as long-term job loss, living in unhealthy relationships or environments, long-term isolation/loneliness, prolonged periods of stress in work or personal life - and other environmental factors are likely to cause depression. 

In each of these situations, it can be seen that life challenges, stress, substance abuse, environmental hurdles, relationships and more can contribute to the experience of depression in all types of individuals. And in fact, DBT treatment targets these types of experiences, behaviors, and patterns, which is why the treatment can be so effective at mitigating symptoms of depression (by focusing on its core causes).

How DBT Might Help Your Depression 

DBT can be effective in the treatment of depression particularly because it emphasizes validation and tolerance, both of which are usually limited in the lives of those struggling with depression. Many people living with depression often feel worthless, which can create an overwhelming feeling of sadness and an inability to remain present in their everyday lives. 

Throughout your DBT treatment, you’ll learn to develop new skills that can help you cope with depressive symptoms, specifically:

  • Interpersonal effectiveness: finding ways to ask for what you want and need and to establish healthy boundaries with others while maintaining self-respect
  • Emotional regulation: discovering the best ways to decrease your vulnerability to negative emotions and learning to change the ones that don’t serve you 
  • Distress tolerance: finding ways to tolerate painful emotions and difficult situations, rather than fighting them 
  • Developing mindfulness: learning to be fully self-aware and present in every moment. 

DBT treats many core causes of depression throughout skills training, such as identity and self-esteem problems. By teaching you to be more accepting of yourself and others, DBT can galvanize positive change in your life where you may have struggled to make changes in the past. 

One major tool used throughout DBT treatment may be particularly effective for depression mitigation: diary cards. These cards are used by every patient to track the invalidating thoughts and negative behaviors that impact them on a frequent basis, in addition to tracking the coping mechanisms and new skills that might be making a difference in their daily lives. 

For patients undergoing DBT treatment for depression, many may discover the following improvements as a result: 

  • Renewed interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Improved mood 
  • Better focus, concentration, and memory 
  • Decreased physical symptoms (like head and body aches)

In addition to mitigating these symptoms, DBT can help you manage emotional highs and lows and develop better skills to approach challenges. The main goal of DBT is to help you find a balance between acceptance and change, which can aid in the improvement of negative thought patterns that are more likely to intensify symptoms of your depression. 

Whether you’re used to bringing yourself down or you feel you exist in a toxic environment that regularly pushes you into a state of depression, DBT can bring you better skills and coping mechanisms to help you embrace all aspects of your life and to improve the ones you wish to change.

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Is Group Therapy Beneficial for Borderline Personality Disorder?

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Is Group Therapy Beneficial for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a difficult challenge for many. The struggle to control thoughts, actions, and reactions permeates their everyday lives and relationships. Their sense of self is highly dependent on their mood swings and often chaotic relationships with others, and they have difficulty managing stress, conflict, and the emotions of others. Living with BPD essentially means coping with a pattern of regular instability that spans mood, behaviors, identity, communication, and everyday functions. 

For many people living with BPD, the condition can be very misunderstood. Uncontrollable emotions often lead to suicidal ideation (such as responding to rejection with suicidal thoughts). In order to mitigate the immediate threat of suicide, most therapists will focus on managing the most difficult symptoms, first, through a type of cognitive behavioral therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This type of treatment was developed specifically for BPD, and helps to resolve impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, interpersonal conflict, self-harm and other suicidal behaviors and thoughts.  

The primary goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with certain behaviors and mental health conditions to better cope with stress, regulate their emotions, stay present in every moment, and consequently improve the health of their relationships with others. 

DBT is used in a variety of settings to help treat many types of conditions. Some of these include: 

  • Group Therapy: In this setting, members are taught DBT skills with a group of their peers and are able to practice DBT application in a safe, controlled environment led by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Individual Therapy: For one-on-one therapy, DBT can be leveraged by a trained mental health specialist to identify the patients destructive behaviors in order to replace them with healthy behavioral skills. 

For most individuals living with BPD, they’ll need a combination of group therapy and individual treatment in order to get the best possible help. One reason DBT is so effective in a group setting for BPD sufferers is that the focus of DBT (and other cognitive behavioral treatment regimens proven to impact BPD in a positive way) is on teaching participants behavioral skills that help them cope with their symptoms and bring positivity to their interactions with others. Working through practical application of therapeutic techniques in a group setting allows for real-world practice in a safe, healthy environment led by a licensed therapist. Some of these techniques (for DBT in particular) include: 

  • Mindfulness: how to be aware of yourself and your emotions and stay present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: learning to cope with difficult or uncomfortable experiences and communication 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: being able to ask for what you want and need and learning to say no in healthy ways to establish boundaries and self-respect
  • Emotional Regulation: discovering how to manage highs and lows and adjust emotional experiences that don’t serve you

For most individuals using DBT to treat their Borderline Personality Disorder, they’ll need to work through all four models in group therapy for about a year in order to see major improvements. Some individuals may even repeat specific modules in order to truly master the skill sets, depending on the severity of their symptoms. 

It takes a lot of time and energy to adapt the coping mechanisms required to master BPD and establish a better quality of life. Group therapy can help, as it provides a place for accountability, friendship, and a sense of community on your journey through DBT principles and applications. When new skills are introduced to your group, you’re able to practice them in the group with your counterparts and then create homework assignments to practice the skills in everyday life. 

Group therapy has a number of other benefits, including: 

  1. A safe and non-judgmental space to build confidence as you talk openly about your frustrations, challenges, and thoughts
  2. The ability to learn from others with similar struggles (which can help you feel much less alone)
  3. A sounding board for objective points of view from those who understand you, but aren’t close to your everyday life
  4. A cost-efficient solution (group counseling is more affordable than individual therapy)

Interested in group therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder? 

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Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Right for Me?

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Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Right for Me?

Do you have intense emotional highs and lows? Maybe regularly find yourself engaging in self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, and interpersonal conflict? Have you been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder? Or maybe you can identify with one of the following: 

  • ADHD
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Suicidal Behavior
  • OCD
  • PTSD

If so, Dialectical Behavior Therapy may be the right treatment to get you back on track and help you cope with stress, regulate your emotions, stay present with a strong sense of identity, and thereby improve your relationships with others. The primary goal of DBT is to bring peace and restorative communication and habits to those struggling with certain behaviors and mental health conditions. 

DBT was originally developed specifically to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but has been shown to be successful in treating a wide variety of other conditions. Wondering “is DBT therapy right for me”? Here’s a few things to consider before making that decision.

Ask The Hard Questions:

 

  1. Are intense emotions part of your everyday life? 

If your emotions are impacting your life in a consistent way where you feel out of control, overwhelmed, crippled, hopeless, or stuck, you can categorize yourself with the bulk of those suffering from emotional distress. When you go through these intense shifts in emotion you may find yourself participating in reckless or impulsive behaviors such as self-harm, binging or purging food, abusing alcohol or drugs, spending money, or engaging in risky sexual connection. Individuals who experience this type of emotional intensity are usually great candidates for DBT. 

  1. Do you struggle with self-confidence? 

Developing a sense of identity is a big part of DBT self-awareness goals. Many people begin DBT feeling lost, isolated, confused, or uncertain of who they are, and leave therapy with a greater sense of self-awareness, respect, confidence, and peace. 

  1. Is conflict a regular part of your relationships? 

If conflict with family members, friends, partners, and even coworkers is a constant part of your life, you may lose people quickly due to ongoing fallouts. Maybe many of your past relationships have been intense or damaging, ended badly, or left you feeling isolated, rejected, hurt, and abandoned. This experience with interpersonal connection creates an even greater sense of instability in your life, which can contribute to the emotional churn cycle of highs and lows. This problem is a great reason to seek out DBT treatment. 

  1. Do you participate in harmful and/or risky behavior patterns? 

When your emotions are overwhelming, do you struggle with solving your problems and getting back to a safe, calm place? This can lead you to make the same bad decisions over and over again, and to choose destructive habits that cause harm to your physical, mental, and emotional health as well as your relationships with others. The initial stage of DBT treatment protocol actually involves identifying and targeting the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for patience such as those described above, along with non-suicidal self-harm, suicidal ideation, and harm to others. 

Understand How DBT Works

DBT is usually performed through a combination of both group and individual therapy over the course of about a year. It begins with the perspective that all emotional dysregulation, instability and impulsivity is based in internal chaos, and that shifting your core thoughts and beliefs from negative self-doubt, impulse, and obsession can contribute to resolving chaos in your relationships, and offer protection from self-harm or suicidal ideation. 

DBT will teach you to learn to look at problems in new ways and to replace existing, toxic patterns and habits with healthier, more effective self-analysis and decision-making skills. 

The 4 main stages of DBT are: 

  • Stage 1: Therapists identify and target the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for the patient (such as suicidal ideations, self-harm, or harm to others).
  • Stage 2: Here the therapist will address quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Stage 3: Now the therapist will focus on building healthy relationships and addressing self-esteem problems. 
  • Stage 4: Final treatment sessions target broader end goals such as helping patients discover greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and the establishment and pursuit of goals and dreams. 

 

Consider The Commitment 

Before jumping headfirst into DBT treatment, make sure you understand that this treatment protocol takes about a year to work through. You’ll need to plan to work through all four of the stages of DBT  if you want to see major improvement, and it might even be necessary for you to go back and repeat certain stages for the sake of mastering those specific skill sets according to your unique symptoms. 

You’ll also want to do your research on any associated costs, for both individual and group therapy, and see what your insurance will/will not cover. 

Ready to get started on your DBT journey? START HERE 

 

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How is DBT Different from CBT?

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How is DBT Different from CBT?

Psychotherapy offers exclusive benefits as a treatment method which differs from traditional talk therapy. If you’re at all familiar with psychotherapy, you’ve probably heard the terms “DBT” and “CBT.” DBT stands for Dialectal Behavior Therapy, and CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you’re trying to decide which one is right for you, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

CBT is closer in concept to traditional talk therapy. This type of therapy focuses on talking through your problems and completing exercises to help you frame your thoughts in new ways that are more constructive and conducive to healthier relationships and habits. 

The goal of CBT is to help you utilize reason and logic to change the way you frame your thoughts and behaviors, allowing you to control these things instead of having them control you. CBT is founded upon the idea that our feelings are rooted in thoughts and behaviors, and so consequently changing the way you think can have a positive impact on your emotions. 

Another important thing to recognize about CBT is that it is often utilized as a catch-call phrase for a few therapies that share common characteristics, such as DBT, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). The therapists who utilize CBT in their practice for the most part will utilize talk therapy with a few consistent tactics: 

  1. Limited Time: Most CBT treatment only occurs over a limited period of time before patients can begin applying the strategies they learn on their own. 
  2. Relationship Building: Some of CBT will focus on the relationship and trust between therapist and patient. 
  3. Treating Responsiveness: CBT is based upon the idea that thoughts drive emotion, so changing the responsiveness of the individual undergoing treatment by altering their thinking can help them feel better. 
  4. Utilizing Reason & Logic: CBT promotes the use of cognitive rationale in order to respond to situations in a positive and constructive manner rather than letting your emotions do all the work.

CBT is incredibly effective as a treatment for depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder, sleep issues, and PTSD. CBT can be incredibly effective for certain people. However, it isn’t the suggested method of treatment for all mental illnesses. DBT, for instance, is the gold standard for treating Borderline Personality Disorder and is often extremely effective as a tool for treating other specific mental health conditions.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

While DBT is technically a type of CBT, it is particularly geared toward empowering individuals usually driven by emotion or impulse to choose actions, behaviors, thoughts and feelings that are less harmful to them or others. As a type of CBT, DBT is the most effective form of therapy for those with BPD, and those who struggle with self-harm behaviors like cutting and chronic suicidal ideation. 

The primary goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with certain behaviors and mental health conditions to better cope with stress, regulate their emotions, stay present in every moment, and consequently improve the health of their relationships with others. 

DBT techniques include a walk-through of 4 specific modules, usually over the course of a year: 

  • Mindfulness: how to be aware of yourself and your emotions and stay present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: learning to cope with difficult or uncomfortable experiences and communication 
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: being able to ask for what you want and need and learning to say no in healthy ways to establish boundaries and self-respect
  • Emotional Regulation: discovering how to manage highs and lows and adjust emotional experiences that don’t serve you

DBT is usually performed in the following settings:

  • Group Therapy: In this setting, members are taught DBT skills with a group of their peers and are able to practice DBT application in a safe, controlled environment led by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Individual Therapy: For one-on-one therapy, DBT can be leveraged by a trained mental health specialist to identify destructive behaviors in order to replace them with healthy behavioral skills. 

The Main Differences Between DBT and CBT

CBT focuses on altering a patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior with the understanding that all three are interconnected and influence each other. DBT on the other hand, focuses more on the regulation of emotion, mindfulness, and acceptance. 

CBT offers the ability to recognize when thoughts become troublesome before they begin to influence feelings, while DBT helps patients find ways to accept their identity, feel safe, and regulate intense emotions to avoid destructive behavior. 

CBT or DBT: Which One Is Right For Me? 

The best way to figure out which form of treatment is right for you is to speak with a qualified mental health professional about your options. Ready to get started? 

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What Everyone Should Know About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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What Everyone Should Know About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

If you’re considering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for you or a loved one, you probably already know the basics: DBT was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan specifically for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). DBT is a highly beneficial treatment for many individuals for various mental health disorders and conditions, and traditionally follows the same path or protocol of treatment through 4 key modules to achieve success. 

The 4 main stages of DBT are: 

  • Stage 1: This is where therapists identify and target the most self-destructive behavior types for the patient (such as suicidal ideations, self-harm, or harm to others) and target them accordingly to mitigate distress/risk of harm. 
  • Stage 2: Here the therapist will address quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the patient. 
  • Stage 3: In stage 3 the therapist will focus on building healthy relationships and addressing self-esteem problems to create a better sense of identity. 
  • Stage 4: Final DBT treatment sessions target big picture objectives such as helping patients discover greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and the purposeful establishment and pursuit of goals. 

DBT Uses

DBT starts with the perspective that all emotional dysregulation, instability and impulsivity is based in internal chaos, and that shifting your core thoughts and beliefs from negative self-doubt, impulse, and obsession can contribute to resolving chaos in relationships, and protect you from self-harm or suicidal ideation. DBT teaches patients to learn to look at problems in new ways and to replace existing patterns and habits that are toxic with healthier, more effective self-analysis and decisionmaking skills. 

While DBT was initially developed to treat a specific condition - Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - it’s also been successful in the treatment of other conditions such as substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, and even PTSD. 

Most DBT takes place in one or both of the following settings:

  • Group Therapy: In this setting, members are taught DBT skills with a group of their peers and are able to practice DBT application in a safe, controlled environment led by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Individual Therapy: For one-on-one therapy, DBT can be leveraged by a trained mental health specialist to identify the patient’s destructive behaviors in order to replace them with healthy behavioral skills. 

DBT Benefits 

The primary goal of DBT treatment is for the patient to work with their therapist synchronistically to bring them greater peace of mind and improve their emotional regulation through healthy self-acceptance and respect. They’ll learn to practice mindfulness, increase distress tolerance, and improve interpersonal effectiveness. 

Stepping through the techniques taught throughout all states of DBT can bring immense value and validation to a patient’s journey as they learn to acknowledge their experiences and emotions while balancing them with rational thought and “wise mind” activation. 

For those who pursue DBT treatment, they’ll discover new ways to accept, tolerate, and embrace their innermost thoughts and feelings, and their external challenges and circumstances. They’ll develop heightened self-awareness and greater self-love, and should adapt a specific set of skills that bring satisfaction and positivity to relationships and daily life. 

At the end of your DBT training journey you should be communicating better with other people, able to identify your emotions and calm their intensity on your own, and leverage your existing strengths for a more positive outcome of every interaction. 

DBT Concerns

Anyone going into or considering DBT treatment should know that this treatment protocol takes a significant amount of time. For most people, they’ll plan to work through all four of the stages of DBT in a combination of group and individual therapy for about a year in order to see the improvement they need. For some individuals it might even be necessary to go back and repeat certain modules for the sake of mastering those specific skill sets according to their symptom needs. 

The time and energy invested in DBT treatment over a long period of time can be taxing for some, and costly for others. Adapting to the coping mechanisms you’ll need to achieve mastery over your current symptoms can be a long road, but is highly likely to bring you a much better quality of life. 

The good news? You don’t have to do this journey alone!

Mental health experts across the world highly recommend joining group therapy as a way to begin your DBT journey and to practice the skills you’ll learn each week in a healthy, safe, controlled environment with your peers. 

START YOUR DBT JOURNEY

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How to Talk About Mental Health

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How to Talk About Mental Health

In today’s day and age, mental health is a HOT topic, and we’re excited about that! However, for many people entering a new, sometimes scary world of discussions about inner workings, mindset, worldviews, diagnoses, emotions, and more, it may be daunting to get pulled into a discussion about mental health. 

If you’re struggling to understand what kind of language to use to participate in discussions around mental health, or even to discuss your own, this guide will help you get started on the right track. Remember, words have power - it’s important to understand and use the right ones. 

AVOID INTRODUCING A SENSE OF SHAME

It can be easy when discussing mental health conditions to blame the sufferers, but in reality, most mental health disorders are an ailment, not a choice. It becomes very hard for those struggling with mental health issues to openly discuss and heal from their condition when we introduce a sense of shame into the conversation. What does this look like? When we use phrases like “She’s suicidal” or “He’s abusing drugs” we put the blame on the person suffering from the mental health condition. 

Instead, choose to eliminate the distance between you and others by acknowledging that we all have our mental health struggles, and choosing phrases like “She struggles with suicidal thoughts” and “He has a substance use disorder.” 

Creating an open, safe space for people to feel they can discuss their challenges without bringing shame and judgment into the conversation benefits everyone involved. 

BE SENSITIVE & THOUGHTFUL 

The majority of individuals with mental health conditions have a complicated history of childhood, environmental, experiential, and even genetic circumstances or conditions that contribute to their mental health struggles. In light of this, it’s super important to keep in mind that you can never truly understand someone else’s journey or all of the profound, personal, and traumatic factors that can go into their diagnosis. 

This is very similar in nature to the concept of avoiding shame or blame in our discussions. A great example of this would be saying someone’s sibling “committed” suicide versus “died by suicide.” 

Remember that everyone involved is very human, and that our conditions are complex and often difficult to understand. You’re probably not a therapist, so avoid diagnosing or labeling others and their choices as you create that safe place we referenced for them to discuss their challenges. 

CHOOSE TO EMPOWER OTHERS

ALWAYS acknowledge the individual before you discuss their mental health conditions. If you start by talking about their challenges and struggles, it can be easy for you, others, or even the subject of the conversation to forget that they are a real person with highs, lows, strengths, weaknesses, and beautiful potential. 

One example would be “she’s traumatized” instead of “she’s living with PTSD,” or “she’s thriving through her mental health challenges”... or “he suffers from mental health problems” instead of “he’s living with a mental health condition.” 

Also, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due! Just because you are not personally struggling with a mental health condition doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge the uphill battle others are facing. For instance “Julia is amazing, she’s living with Bipolar Disorder and working through that challenge every day.”

AVOID GENERALIZATIONS

While we’ve used the term a lot in this more generalized writeup, the reality is that “mental health condition” is vague and offers little insight into what that individual is going through or wrestling with. When/if possible, it’s better to mention their specific condition or disorder in order to reference an experience that is personal to them (rather than lumping them into a generalization). Specifying can help reduce the stigma around mental health! 

A great example could be calling someone “mentally ill” instead of “they were recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.”

SAY “NO” TO THESE WORDS & PHRASES

Everyone deserves a stigma-free world where they can openly express their thoughts and feelings, learn, grow, and find a healthier, happier reality with more freedom from their mental health challenges. For this reason, the following terms should NEVER be used to describe those living with mental health conditions: 

  1. Pyscho
  2. Retarded
  3. Lunatic
  4. Mental
  5. Crazy/Nuts
  6. Disturbed

Finally, if you’re new to discussions around mental health and someone brings up a diagnosis, condition or challenge with you, here are a few critical things to remember as you engage in conversation with them: 

  • Listen: Let them complete their thoughts without interruption and allow them space to describe their experiences. 
  • Relate: If you have any way to relate to their experience, do it! This will help them to feel less alone (just make sure you don’t make yourself the focus of the conversation as a result). 
  • Don’t Judge: As we discussed, don’t offer judgment, blame, shame, or labeling. This will just close the door to future conversations and can make their condition worse. 
  • Don’t Minimize: In your efforts to relate and understand, avoid minimizing their feelings or experiences with degrading language such as “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” 
  • Be Available: If someone feels safe talking to you and it doesn’t impact your own mental health in a negative way, make sure they know you’ll be available and open to talk again. If you need to set boundaries, let them know specifically when you’re available to discuss their concerns.
  • Keep Confidence: Remember, talking about mental health conditions is hard and can be scary and overwhelming for the person sharing. If they didn’t tell you to share with others, let them share on their own terms. 
  • Do Your Research: Not sure exactly what they’re experiencing or how to talk about it? There are tons of amazing resources online from reputable health, government, and mental health organizations. 
  • Stay Alert: Remember, if someone is confiding in you about suicidal thoughts, it’s important to take them seriously. For advice on how to manage this type of shared information, you can call the National Suicide Hotline yourself at 9-8-8. 

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 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is a modified version of another well-known type of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The primary goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with certain behaviors and mental health conditions to better cope with stress, regulate their emotions, stay present in every moment, and consequently improve the health of their relationships with others. 

While DBT was initially developed to treat a specific condition - Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - it has since been modified to treat other conditions such as self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, emotional dysregulation, and more. DBT is even used at times for PTSD.

If you’ve heard of DBT and are wondering if this type of treatment is right for you, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions before starting the DBT treatment protocol. 

QUESTION 1: Do intense emotions impact your day-to-day life? 

One of the main reasons an individual will seek out DBT is the impact of their emotions on their everyday reality. For many people living with borderline personality disorder (BPD), bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and more, the root cause of their distress is a lack of emotional control. 

If your emotions are impacting your life in a consistent way where you feel out of control, overwhelmed, crippled, hopeless, or stuck, you can categorize yourself with the bulk of those suffering from emotional distress. When you go through these intense shifts in emotion you may find yourself participating in reckless or impulsive behaviors such as self-harm, binging or purging food, abusing alcohol or drugs, spending money, or engaging in risky sexual connection. 

Another emotion that can be indicative of the need for specialized therapy such as DBT is anger. If you explode when you are angry, or tend to act out in various ways (such as verbal attacks, breaking objects, driving recklessly, doing drugs or participating in self-harm), DBT can help.

If you’re considering DBT, examine your emotional wellbeing overall; If you experience mood swings, intense highs and lows, unpredictable changes in emotion, are sensitive, impulsive, or might say you have “anger issues,” DBT may be right for you. Stage 2 of DBT treatment actually focuses on addressing quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and more. 

QUESTION 2: Do you struggle with your identity? 

Identity is a huge part of the goal for those establishing better self-awareness through DBT. For many people exploring DBT treatment as a solution, they often feel lost, isolated, confused, or unsure of who they are. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), describes Borderline Personality Disorder as “a chronic disorder that includes symptoms such as frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, unstable relationships, identity disturbance, impulsive and dangerous behaviors, recurrent suicidal threats or self-mutilating behaviors, affective instability, feelings of emptiness, difficulties controlling anger, and/or stress-related paranoid thoughts or dissociation.” 

Do you find yourself feeling numb, hopeless, helpless, or lost? It can be difficult to establish a sense of self when your emotions change so frequently or dramatically on an ongoing basis. This experience can often be part of “identity disturbance,” which is a sign of BPD. 

The good news is that DBT was created specifically for BPD and other mood and identity disorders, and may drastically improve your quality of life by helping you establish a true sense of self. 

QUESTION 3: Do you often find yourself in conflict in your relationships? 

Conflicted relationships are a hallmark of group members seeking DBT. For many people, they begin to notice the emotional instability and dysregulation the most over time when their highs and lows, anger issues, and lack of sense of self erode the fabric of their relationships with others. 

If conflict with family members, friends, partners, and even coworkers is a constant part of your life, you may lose people quickly due to ongoing fallouts. Maybe many of your past relationships have been intense or damaging, ended badly, or left you feeling isolated, rejected, hurt, and abandoned. This experience with interpersonal connection creates an even greater sense of instability in your life, which can contribute to the emotional churn cycle of highs and lows. 

Chaotic relationships cause stress to everyone involved. In Stage 3 of DBT, your therapist will focus on helping you build healthier relationships through addressing self-esteem and identity problems. 

Question 4: Do you find yourself engaging in harmful or risky behaviors?

Emotional highs and lows, dysfunctional relationships, and identity crisis can result in escapist behavior or impulsively engaging in self-harm, drug abuse, overspending, and more. When you’re upset, you might have difficulty getting back to a place of reason or being in your “right mind.” 

When your emotions are overwhelming, do you struggle with solving your problems and getting back to a safe, calm place? This can lead you to make the same bad decisions over and over again, and to choose destructive habits that cause harm to your physical, mental, and emotional health as well as your relationships with others.

 

The initial stage of DBT treatment protocol involves identifying and targeting the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for patience such as those described above, along with non-suicidal self-harm, suicidal ideation, and harm to others. 

If the questions above resonated with you or you can see yourself in many of the described situations, DBT may be the right choice for you.

Are you interested in trying out online DBT group therapy? Get started today.

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The Top 5 Benefits of Online DBT Group Therapy

DBT

The Top 5 Benefits of Online DBT Group Therapy

When approaching Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), many people are surprised to find that online group sessions actively work on the skill development required to succeed. While it’s often presumed that DBT is most effective in a one-on-one setting, in reality DBT skills are best adopted in a group setting where members can actively practice their new skills and participate in discussion around common mental health challenges. 

Benefit 1: Community & Accountability

For the majority of individuals struggling with mental health challenges, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone in the midst of overwhelming emotion, anxious thoughts, impulses, and behaviors. This sense of isolation can amplify feelings of shame or guilt and reinforce stigmas surrounding mental health conditions that keep individuals from improving. One major benefit of an online therapy group is that it brings a sense of community, accountability, and normalcy to your experiences. These groups keep you from feeling alone or isolated, and create a safe space to share and grow.

Benefit 2: Acceptance & Understanding

A foundational principle of DBT is the understanding that every emotion, behavior, and thought serves a particular purpose. Accepting your emotions and digging deep into your thoughts is part of the DBT process. Doing this in a group setting with your peers can help normalize the experiences you’re having and promote the acceptance and willingness to change required for DBT to succeed as a treatment protocol. 

Benefit 3: Practical Application 

An online DBT skills group offers a safe space for you to engage with your peers in discussion and the practical application of the skills you’re learning in order to learn how to apply them in the moment. This can be a very empowering experience for those anxious about exploring their perceived limitations in the real world. In a group setting, members can also feel comfortable exploring healthy conflict and using these interactions to create therapeutic teaching moments for everyone involved. With the support of a qualified mental health specialist as your group leader, online DBT therapy creates a supervised, non-judgmental environment that can compel you to progress faster than you might on your own. 

Benefit 4: Flexibility 

One major benefit of online DBT group therapy is that it offers flexible scheduling from the comfort of your own home. Online therapy is no less effective than in-person therapy, and brings the added accountability of attendance since you’ll be joining from your phone! The most important thing to remember when attending an online group is to minimize distractions so you can focus on your DBT skills training while participating in your session. Outside of this, you can just get cozy, relax, and improve your mental health and wellbeing in your own safe space. 

Benefit 5: New Perspective

At its core, group therapy involves the process of gathering input from people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, worldviews, and experiences. In online DBT group therapy you’ll get the benefit of many kinds of perspectives from different personalities, which can help you create a more rounded and comprehensive view of the struggles you’re facing. Learning how other people handle issues and challenges can shed light on ways you might bring new strategies in to address your own problems. Your fellow group members can also share insight into blind spots you may have about yourselves - blind spots which, when unaddressed, could be holding you back.

Don’t forget that online DBT group therapy is fully confidential. Members are required to keep information shared in the group private to the group, and no one is required to share their name or personal identifiers in an effort to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable sharing openly in a group setting. 

Interested in learning more about online DBT group therapy?

Reach out today and a qualified mental health coordinator can answer your questions to help you decide if group therapy is right for you.

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What Therapy is Best For Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD

What Therapy is Best For Borderline Personality Disorder?

When it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder, there is currently only one empirically-supported treatment protocol for this condition: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. 

A form of psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by Dr Marsha Linehan, this treatment protocol is based on cognitive behavioral principles applied in specific ways in order to target common symptoms of BPD such as chaotic relationships, emotional lability, instability, and impulsivity. Over the last few decades, randomized studies have shown DBT to be effective not only for BPD, but also a wide variety of other psychiatric disorders. 

Traditional DBT usually includes group skills training, individual psychotherapy, and even one-on-one telehealth consultations. Skill development addressed during DBT include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance. 

What is BPD? 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), describes Borderline Personality Disorder as “a chronic disorder that includes symptoms such as frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, unstable relationships, identity disturbance, impulsive and dangerous behaviors, recurrent suicidal threats or self-mutilating behaviors, affective instability, feelings of emptiness, difficulties controlling anger, and/or stress-related paranoid thoughts or dissociation.” 

While the psychological spotlight most often shines on clinical disorders such as major depressive disorder, PTSD and more, BPD actually accounts for much higher ongoing healthcare costs, a higher number of hospitalizations, frequent ER visits, and consistent use of outpatient services. 

What Does “Dialectical” Really Mean? 

The term “dialectical” refers to the “interaction of conflicting ideas.” Where BPD creates significant inner conflict, DBT seeks to integrate acceptance and change. 

How Effective is DBT for BPD? 

A number of randomized trials covering the success of DBT in treatment of BPD have been completed over time. Over and over these studies have proven the efficacy of DBT, as it far surpasses community-based treatment in its ability to reduce parasuicidal behavior, diminish rate of hospitalizations, and improve likelihood of adherence to treatment protocols. 

DBT is also effective in treating a wide variety of other psychiatric disorders, many of which tend to come along with BPD diagnosis due to crossovers in symptoms and diagnostic criteria (such as suicidal behavior, impulsivity, engaging in risky behavior, mood swings, and more).  

 

DBT Skills Training 

Mitigating the symptoms of BPD is a significant priority in DBT training, and is addressed through a specific set of psychosocial skill development that targets BPD deficits (unstable sense of self, chaotic relationships, emotional instability, impulsivity, and fear of abandonment). These skills include: 

  • Core mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Emotional regulation 
  • Distress tolerance. 

DBT therapy usually involves meeting at least once weekly for up to 2 hours, and patients can expect to spend approximately 6 months working through the different stages (or modules) of DBT treatment protocol. For patients who experience heightened symptoms of BPD, it’s usually suggested that they stay in DBT skills training groups for about a year. It can take time to work through significant trauma history (often the root cause of BPD) and some of the less concerning symptoms may take time to address because the priority will be placed on addressing any suicidal behaviors. 

Improving Your Quality of Life with DBT for BPD

One of the easiest and best ways to begin the DBT treatment process is to join an online therapy group, which offers easy, affordable weekly access from the comfort of your own home to all of the benefits DBT has to offer. 

START HERE

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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used For?

DBT

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Used For?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan following extensive use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). DBT was developed specifically because it became clear that CBT was not fully effective for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In order to improve treatment for BPD, Dr. Linehan and colleagues created and tested additional techniques in order to achieve greater success as they sought to improve the health and wellbeing of those living with BPD. 

However, DBT didn’t stop with BPD treatment. Over the last handful of decades DBT has been tested (and proven successful) on a wide variety of mental health conditions such as: 

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • ADHD
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Suicidal Behavior
  • Non-suicidal Self-harm 
  • OCD
  • PTSD

Is DBT Effective?

Research shows that DBT is extremely successful despite varying factors in age, gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Studies show that DBT appears to be effective in the treatment of PTSD, depression, and anxiety by shifting core beliefs and improving emotional regulation 
  • DBT has been proven to be consistently effective in treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) by more than 75%, and can reduce the risk of suicide in those living with BPD. 
  • Suicidal behavior is difficult to combat in therapy, as is non-suicidal self-harm. But, over the years, DBT has been shown to significantly improve the outcome of therapy for these types of thoughts and behaviors. 

How DBT Works

DBT is a highly beneficial treatment for many individuals, and traditionally follows the same path or protocol of treatment in 4 key stages to achieve success. 

The 4 main stages of DBT are: 

  • Stage 1: Therapists identify and target the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for the patient (such as suicidal ideations, self-harm, or harm to others).
  • Stage 2: Here the therapist will address quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Stage 3: Now the therapist will focus on building healthy relationships and addressing self-esteem problems. 
  • Stage 4: Final treatment sessions target broader end goals such as helping patients discover greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and the establishment and pursuit of goals and dreams.

DBT Stages of Treatment

There are four main stages of treatment for Dialectical Behavior Therapy: 

  • Stage 1: At the early stages of treatment, therapists will identify and target the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for the patient (such as suicidal ideations, self-harm, or harm to others).
  • Stage 2: The second stage of DBT begins to address quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Stage 3: In this stage of DBT the therapist will focus on building healthy relationships and addressing self-esteem problems. 
  • Stage 4: In the final stage of DBT, treatment targets broader end goals such as helping patients discover greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and the establishment and pursuit of goals and dreams.

Benefits of DBT

The main goal of DBT treatment is for the patient to work directly with their therapist to bring peace to their mind and improve emotional regulation through self-acceptance, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Working through these techniques and their application brings validation to the patient’s journey as well as an ability to “marry” their personal experiences and emotions with rational thought and the activation of their “wise mind.” 

When you choose to pursue DBT as a form of treatment, you’ll discover strategies that help you accept, tolerate, and even embrace your life’s emotions, challenges, and circumstances. You’ll create greater self-awareness and self-love, and improve specific skills that bring positive awareness to your behaviors and relationships. 

DBT starts by changing core thoughts and beliefs - the negative ones that contribute to ineffective, unhelpful behaviors and impulses. From there you’ll learn to look at problems and examine these patterns in new ways as you begin to replace them with healthier, more effective self-analysis and decision making.

By the end of your DBT skills training you should understand how to communicate effectively with others, identify your emotions, and enhance your strengths. 

Getting Started with DBT

One of the easiest and best ways to begin the DBT treatment process is to join an online therapy group, which offers easy, affordable weekly access from the comfort of your own home to all of the benefits DBT has to offer. 

START HERE

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What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

DBT

What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is a modified version of another well-known type of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The primary goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with certain behaviors and mental health conditions to better cope with stress, regulate their emotions, stay present in every moment, and consequently improve the health of their relationships with others. 

While DBT was initially developed to treat a specific condition - Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - it has since been modified to treat other conditions such as self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, emotional dysregulation, and more. DBT is even used at times for PTSD. 

DBT Treatment Settings

DBT is used in a variety of settings to help treat many types of conditions. Some of these include: 

Group Therapy: In this setting, members are taught DBT skills with a group of their peers and are able to practice DBT application in a safe, controlled environment led by a licensed mental health professional.

Individual Therapy: For one-on-one therapy, DBT can be leveraged by a trained mental health specialist to identify the patients destructive behaviors in order to replace them with healthy behavioral skills. 

DBT Strategies & Techniques

DBT follows the same key principles and techniques (for the most part), across various mental health conditions and behavioral treatment protocols. Some of these include: 

  1. Distress Tolerance
  • DBT uses a few specific techniques to help patients manage their reactions to crisis in order to empower them to cope with intense emotions in a better way, such as self-soothing, distraction, pro/con analysis 
  1. Mindfulness
  • One of the single most beneficial skills for every patient is the learned ability to focus on the present. Living in the moment helps those battling intense emotions, overwhelm, and anxiety to focus on what is happening in their own body in order to slow down, breathe, and reactivate better coping skills rather than engaging in negative behaviors and thought patterns. 
  1. Emotional Regulation
  • Developing better skills in order to regulate and navigate intense emotions is a critical part of DBT. Emotional regulation specifically teaches patients how to identify, label, and adjust their emotions in the midst of turmoil or distress. 
  1. Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • The application of DBT skills through interpersonal effectiveness implies the ability to openly express needs, boundaries, and emotions in your relationships with others in a constructive way. DBT can help you learn to communicate effectively, navigate challenging relationships, and respect yourself and the individuality of other people in a healthy way. 

DBT Stages of Treatment

There are four main stages of treatment for Dialectical Behavior Therapy: 

  • Stage 1: At the early stages of treatment, therapists will identify and target the most concerning or self-destructive behavior types for the patient (such as suicidal ideations, self-harm, or harm to others).
  • Stage 2: The second stage of DBT begins to address quality of life issues such as emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Stage 3: In this stage of DBT the therapist will focus on building healthy relationships and addressing self-esteem problems. 
  • Stage 4: In the final stage of DBT, treatment targets broader end goals such as helping patients discover greater happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and the establishment and pursuit of goals and dreams.

Getting Started with DBT

If you’re wondering if DBT is right for you, the best thing you can do is to contact a mental health professional trained in DBT so they can assess your symptoms, history, and goals to decide if DBT is the right treatment protocol for you. 

One of the easiest and best ways to begin the DBT treatment process is to join an online therapy group, which offers easy, affordable weekly access from the comfort of your own home to all of the benefits DBT has to offer. 

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted online through Zoom calls from the safety of your home. Online DBT group therapy is a viable option for treatment of BPD and other mental health disorders. Learn more about our DBT therapy groups HERE.

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What Are Therapies For OCD?

OCD

What Are Therapies For OCD?

The road to treatment for OCD can be a difficult one, and often requires significant courage and determination to succeed. Establishing a healthy level of support from a group can encourage you during the treatment process and is a healthy and beneficial step as you get started. 

ERP & SRIs

The majority of psychologists will agree that the best and most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in combination with medication such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). CBT includes the more OCD-specific psychotherapy process called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which is well-known to be the most successful method of OCD treatment. 

ERP is usually performed under the supervision of a licensed mental health worker (counselor, social worker, or psychologist) either in person or online. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your therapist may recommend practicing ERP several times a week, or only once a week for about an hour. 

Studies estimate that 70% of individuals with OCD benefit significantly from a combination of ERP and physician or psychiatrist-prescribed medication. When combined, these two treatment options provide a powerful preventative defense against OCD’s often crippling everyday symptoms. 

When ERP doesn’t work 

If ERP alone or ERP and a medication combination are unsuccessful, you or your loved one may need to begin exploring less traditional forms of therapy as recommended by the IOCDF. These include the following treatment types: 

  • Standard Outpatient OCD treatment: This treatment type includes ERP or other types of CBT and simply involves the patient attending individual or group therapy sessions once a week to continue to work on symptom mitigation over time. 
  • Intensive Outpatient OCD treatment: The individual can attend groups or individual sessions (or both) multiple days per week. 
  • Full Day Program OCD treatment: A patient will attend treatment (group or individual therapy) at a mental health treatment center all day for up to 5 days a week. 
  • Partial Hospitalization for OCD: Similar to the full-day program, patients will attend treatment all day, but at mental health hospitals. 
  • Residential OCD treatment: This type of treatment involves a voluntary live-in situation at an unlocked mental health hospital or treatment center on an ongoing basis.
  • Inpatient OCD treatment: The most intensive level of treatment for mental health conditions, inpatient involves treatment conducted on a locked unit at a mental health hospital on either a voluntary or involuntary basis. A patient will only be exposed to this level of care and concern if they are a danger to themselves or others, for the purpose of restabilizing them over a few days to a week in order to move them down to a less intensive level of treatment as described above. 

Other OCD treatment options

While less utilized, additional treatment options for OCD do exist. These are reserved for extremely severe cases of OCD where it proves to be resistant to traditional treatments, and are generally a last resort.

If you're struggling with the symptoms and lifestyle challenges associated with OCD, online group therapy with Grouport can help. Check out our OCD groups today!

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What is group therapy?

Grouport Info

What is group therapy?

If you’ve recently discovered the concept of group therapy, you might be wondering, “What is group therapy like?” When considering any type of talk therapy or psychotherapy, it’s important to be aware of your options and to understand the benefits and challenges associated with them. Once you have a basic understanding of what to expect, you can make an informed decision about whether or not group therapy is the best choice to address your mental health concerns and move forward with positive changes. 

What to expect from group therapy

In most cases a group therapy session will involve one (possibly more) psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or other therapist who will lead a group of approximately 5-15 patients in a group setting through therapeutic exercises and discussions on a weekly basis (either in person or online). These groups typically meet for an hour or two and can be attended as a supplemental benefit to individual therapy, or on their own. The majority of groups are specifically created for targeted problems such as anxiety, depression, chronic illness, OCD, BPD, and more. Some groups will focus instead on general mental health and personal growth, but hyper-targeted groups are generally the most successful. 

What are the benefits of group therapy

Group therapy benefits are unique and differentiated from individual therapy. In fact, many psychologists will say that your group functions as both a sounding board, an accountability group, and a support network. Your fellow group members can help you brainstorm ideas for coping with life’s challenges, and can relate directly to your experiences which helps you feel less alone. In addition, the practice of listening to and conversing with others in a constructive way helps to improve real-life relationships for people with specific conditions such as BPD, social anxiety, OCD and more. Group therapy can also help bring perspective to your life and experiences by offering a window into the diversity of personalities, worldviews, families, and backgrounds. In group therapy you will learn specific techniques and tactics to approach your mental health condition and improve your symptoms alongside the company of supportive peers and led by a licensed mental health professional. 

How to find the right group therapy

Once you’ve decided that you’re interested in pursuing group therapy, you can begin looking or the perfect group for you. Consider the following questions as you search: 

  1. How big is the group? While smaller groups offer more time to focus on each person, bigger groups bring more perspective and can help you blend in as you get comfortable with speaking up. 
  2. Is the group specific to your concerns? Finding a group that specializes in your area of mental health challenges is highly beneficial long-term and can teach you skills and coping mechanisms that will improve your day to day life. 
  3. Is the group closed or open? Closed groups start at the exact same time and run for a set length (such as 3 months), whereas open groups occur at the same time and on the same day each week but allow new members to join at any time. There are pros and cons to both open and closed groups, so ask your therapist or placement counselor about what makes the most sense for your specific needs. 
  4. Is the group confidential? ALWAYS seek out a group that promotes confidentiality as a basic ground rule for every session. If you’re going to volunteer personal information, this clause is critical to help you feel safe and comfortable in a group setting.

Thousands of people just like you are exploring and benefiting from the benefits of group therapy. Get started today!

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Social Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Anxiety

Social Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Do you struggle with social anxiety? Social anxiety is “an irrational fear of regular, daily social interactions that culminates in avoidant behaviors that can disrupt your life”. So what does this mean? It means that if you have social anxiety, you may experience disruption in your work life, education, and daily routine, as well as your relationships with the people around you. Social anxiety can bring a great degree of fear, worry, and missed opportunities to your life on a daily basis. 

While most people feel a certain degree of nervousness surrounding certain social situations, bull blown social anxiety can, unfortunately, spiral into a chronic health condition. But don’t worry! Getting ahead of your social anxiety with group therapy for anxiety can help you learn effective coping skills in order to proactively manage this condition and improve your health and wellbeing. 

Social Anxiety Origins

As is the case with many other mental health disorders, it’s likely that social anxiety is the result of a complicated mix of various environmental and biological factors, which include:

  • Environment: Experts speculate that there could be a link between the development of social anxiety and having parents who are controlling and overprotective, or who model anxious behavior during social situations themselves.
  • Inherited traits: It is often seen that anxiety disorders are common within families. It is not yet clear, however, how much of this phenomenon is due to learned behavior (environmental factors), or genetics.
  • Brain structure: The part of our brains called the amygdala might be involved in controlling our responses to fear. Because of this, people who have overactive amygdalae may have more intense responses to fears, leading to higher anxiety during social interactions.

Social Anxiety Risk Factors

There are also several risk factors that might increase the likelihood that you will develop social anxiety, such as:

  • Temperament: Children who are withdrawn, restrained, shy, or timid when they come across new situations
  • Having a condition or appearance that draws the attention of others: For example, having a stutter, tremors, or a physical disfigurement
  • Negative past experiences: Having experienced bullying, teasing, ridicule, rejection, family conflict, abuse, or trauma
  • Family history: Having biological parents or siblings who have anxiety disorders
  • New work or social demands: While social anxiety related symptoms tend to start when people are teenagers, you may see an onset of symptoms later in life when you meet new people or have to speak publicly for the first time.

Signs & Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Some signs and symptoms to look out for that might be related to social anxiety include:

  • Worrying that you will humiliate yourself in front of others
  • Experiencing an intense fear of interacting with people you don’t know
  • Analyzing your “performance” and focusing on any perceived flaws after a social interaction
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, blushing, rapid heartbeat, gastrointestinal issues, dizziness, and muscle tension
  • Being afraid of the aforementioned physical symptoms themselves
  • Being afraid that other people will notice that you seem anxious
  • Fearing situations in which you think you may be negatively judged by others
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences after a negative social interaction
  • Avoiding speaking to people or doing things because you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself
  • Avoiding situations in which you could end up being the center of attention

Managing Symptoms of Social Anxiety 

The Mayo Clinic suggests a few ways to help curb symptoms related to social anxiety:

  • Seek help early on: Make sure you seek professional help as soon as you realize you are suffering from a form of anxiety. This is because, as is the case with other mental health conditions, anxiety can become increasingly difficult to treat the longer you wait to address it.
  • Avoid substance abuse: If you overuse drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or even caffeine, you may unintentionally exacerbate symptoms related to your anxiety. However, suddenly quitting any of the aforementioned substances can increase your anxiety if you are addicted to them. If you have a difficult time quitting on your own, it’s important that you discuss your problem with your doctor and find a treatment program that suits you.
  • Set priorities: Taking care to effectively manage your time and energy might help reduce your anxiety. It’s important to ensure that you take the time to do things that you enjoy doing; this, in itself, can help manage your anxiety.
  • Keep a journal: Using a journal to record your personal life can help both you and your mental healthcare provider figure out what, in your life, is leading to distress as well as what activities help you feel more grounded and less anxious.

If you suffer from social anxiety, you should always remember that help is available. One way to handle social anxiety is to enroll in group therapy. In a therapy group geared towards helping people with social anxiety, you will have the opportunity to share your experience with not only a therapist, but also other people who have experienced similar things.This is also a great, safe setting to practice overcoming your fear of social interaction in a controlled environment led by a mental health specialist.

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Depression Or Clinical Depression? How To Spot the Difference

Depression

Depression Or Clinical Depression? How To Spot the Difference

The Mayo Clinic explains that depression is a type of mood disorder characterized by a loss of general interest and regular feelings of deep sadness. It is important to remember that depression is more than just a period in which you feel down: if it reaches a clinical level, it could interfere with your daily life, productivity, and relationships. 

WHAT IS CLINICAL DEPRESSION?

Clinical depression is more than just periodic episodes of feeling down or discouraged, it instead involves a pervasive feeling of sadness and disinterest that persists for long periods of time. Experts call this severe form of depression clinical depression, or major depressive disorder. 

When experts draw a distinction between depression and clinical depression, they will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ symptom criteria. Generally speaking, symptoms of clinical depression tend to be serious enough that they interfere with someone’s day to day life, activities, as well as their relationships with others.

SYMPTOMS OF CLINICAL DEPRESSION

Some symptoms of clinical depression might include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little (insomnia)
  • Fixating on failures from the past
  • Self blame
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Inexplicable physical issues, such as headaches or back pain
  • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, sadness, or tearfulness
  • Agitation, restlessness, or anxiety
  • Slowed speaking, thinking, or body movements
  • Lack of energy and general tiredness that causes minor tasks to require extra effort
  • Angry outbursts
  • Irritability and frustration, even over minor things
  • Frequent or recurring thoughts of death
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts
  • Losing interest and no longer finding pleasure in most (of not all) activities, including hobbies, sports, and sex
  • Having a hard time concentrating, remembering things, thinking, and making decisions
  • Increased food cravings and weight gain or weight loss and reduced appetite 

WHAT CAUSES CLINICAL DEPRESSION 

The causes of clinical depression are not entirely known. Experts speculate that the following can have an impact on whether or not you will develop clinical depression:

  • Inherited traits: Depression is more commonly diagnosed in individuals who have blood relatives that suffer from the disease as well.
  • Brain chemistry: Recently published research suggests that changes in certain neurotransmitters in the brain can have a major impact on someone’s mood stability and might have a major effect on depression and treating it.
  • Hormones: Fluctuations in our body’s hormonal balances could have a hand in triggering or causing depression.
  • Biological differences: The brains of people who are suffering from depression are different from those who do not, although experts do not yet understand the significance of these differences.

RISK FACTORS FOR CLINICAL DEPRESSION

There are a myriad of risk factors that might increase the likelihood that you will develop clinical depression or might even trigger its development. These include: 

  • Substance abuse
  • Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and growing up with an unsupportive background
  • Having personality traits such as being hyper self critical, pessimistic, or low self esteem
  • Suffering from chronic or serious illnesses, such as chronic pain, heart disease, or cancer
  • Having blood relatives with a history of suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, or substance abuse
  • Having experienced stressful or traumatic events
  • Having a history of suffering from other mental health issues, such as disordered eating, PTSD, or anxiety 

It is possible for clinical depression to affect anyone, regardless of their age or background. The good news is that severe symptoms of clinical depression tend to get better with the help of medications (known as antidepressants), psychological counseling, or a mixture of both. 

TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION 

If you’re wondering if you struggle with clinical depression, it’s important to seek professional help for a diagnosis and treatment. If you feel like you suffer from depression–no matter how major or minor–remember that you are not alone, and help is available. 

One very effective way to combat depression is by enrolling in online group therapy for depression, which we offer here at Grouport. Group therapy is a great way to remind yourself that you are not alone, no matter what you are struggling with. Your therapist and other group members can offer you a fresh perspective on issues you might be struggling with, and will help you get on the road to a better, happier, healthier future. 

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5 Things You Need To Know About Group Therapy

Grouport Info

5 Things You Need To Know About Group Therapy

The American Psychological Association says that we have been experiencing a continuous rise in the popularity of group therapy here in the United States since the aftermath of the second World War. During this time period, returning combat veterans were placed into therapy groups and the licensed mental healthcare providers leading them saw major benefits from these therapy sessions.

Some therapy groups can be organized around a similar experience, such as navigating the aftermath of losing a loved one, while others may be formed around struggling with similar issues, such as depression, substance abuse, or chronic pain. Other groups, still, might take a less specific focus, aiming to help people sharpen their social skills, manage their anger, or assuage loneliness. As you explore the ins and outs of this mental health solution, here are 5 Things You Need To Know About Group Therapy. 

What Does Group Therapy Treat?

Group therapy in its different iterations can potentially treat conditions including but not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Various phobias
  • Panic disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Chronic illness
  • Divorce
  • Chronic pain
  • Anger management
  • Weight management
  • Chronic stress

What Makes Group Therapy Different? 

Group therapy offers a different range of perks from individual therapy, such as:

  • Diversity - because individuals from all different walks of life and backgrounds join therapy groups, each group member has the potential to view situations in various ways. Because of this, people in therapy groups may be able to glean unique insights from fellow group members on how they can address their specific problems. This can lead to the discovery of an entire new set of avenues through which one can deal with their individual issues.
  • A sounding board - therapy groups may not only function as a support network, but also as a sounding board through which individuals can work through different ways to potentially handle a tough time in their life while being held accountable by other group members.
  • Perspective - being in a therapy group can help individuals keep their own issues in perspective. While experiencing mental health difficulties can seem incredibly alienating, being in a group therapy setting with others who are going through similar experiences can offer a sense of relief that one is not alone in their struggles.

What Are The Benefits Of Group Therapy? 

There are many significant benefits to exploring group therapy as a solution to your mental health concerns as you look to improve your quality of life. These include: 

  • A wide safety net for individuals who might normally feel uncomfortable opening up about their individual struggles.
  • Encouraging clients to learn how to accept criticism from other people while learning how to best express the problems they are experiencing.
  • Encouraging the development of socialization and communication skills.
  • In general, group therapy tends to be less expensive than individual therapy.
  • Making sure that group members remember that they are not alone in the issues they are experiencing.
  • Offering a broader therapeutic alliance than individual therapy, allowing clients to see a wider range of points of view.
  • The chance to offer support to other group members while simultaneously receiving support from others. This exchange can offer group members the opportunity to learn and grow while in session.
  • The process of discussing shared issues tends to be a therapeutic process in itself.
  • Individuals can model the tactics of other group members that have seen success in dealing with similar issues.
  • Fostering the development of self awareness through the process of listening to other group members who are experiencing similar problems.

What Types Of Group Therapy Are There?

There are many different types of group therapy; groups are categorized based on clinical methods employed within them as well as the issue the group is addressing. The most common kinds of group therapy are:

  • Skills development groups: these groups are generally geared towards individuals with mental disorders or developmental disabilities who would like to improve their social skills.
  • Support groups: made to benefit individuals and sometimes even their loved ones, support groups provide assistance for people who are suffering from specific mental or physical conditions, or are dealing with a certain issue, such as substance abuse or the loss of a loved one.
  • Cognitive behavioral groups: these groups are centered on identifying and altering maladaptive behaviors, thinking patterns, as well as emotional responses. 
  • Psychoeducational groups: often using cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducational groups work to teach their members about a disorder that they were diagnosed with, along with helpful strategies of coping.
  • Interpersonal groups: focusing on members’ interpersonal relationships and their social interactions with others, interpersonal groups also examine how much support their members have from their loved ones and how their interpersonal relationships affect their mental health. 

When Should I Consider Group Therapy?

If you are thinking about enrolling in a therapy group, there are many variables you may want to consider, such as:

  • How many people are in each group session? Smaller groups could mean members receive more individual support, while larger therapy groups may involve more perspectives and diversity.
  • Will group therapy be enough to address one’s problems? Some individuals may benefit most from enrolling in both group and individual psychotherapy.
  • Is the therapy group open or closed? While open therapy groups allow individuals to join the group whenever they’d like, closed ones ensure the same group members stay on for a several week-long session.
  • How alike or dissimilar are group members? Experts say that therapy groups tend to be the most effective when group members are going through similar issues and levels of functionality.
  • How much should one share in a session? Therapy groups are built on confidentiality and trust, and everyone is there for a similar reason. Group therapy functions at its best when it involves honest discussion between those involved.

Group therapy is a less expensive, but equally fulfilling alternative to seeking individualized therapy. The benefits of group therapy are becoming increasingly known as more and more people seek help for mental health concerns - many from the comfort of their home. A typical therapy group is made up of about fifteen members led by at least one trained mental health expert that will likely meet on the same day and time each week for about an hour.

No matter what you may or may not be struggling with, group therapy can help you change your life and experience of the world in positive, tangible ways. Get started today!

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How to Manage Life With OCD

OCD

How to Manage Life With OCD

Dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, can be incredibly difficult. People who suffer from OCD tend to be stuck in a destructive pattern of obsessions followed by compulsions. Obsessions are defined as unwanted fears and thoughts, while compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors meant to quell anxiety or prevent bad things from happening.

If you are trying to navigate dealing with OCD thoughts, you might try to ignore or even stop your obsessions, but in fact this will likely only increase your anxiety and distress, which can culminate in you performing even more ritualistic behaviors than you were previously. This OCD cycle can be vicious and even become dangerous.

If you suspect you are living with OCD, there are various different signs and symptoms you might want to look out for; these relate to both obsessions and compulsions related to the disorder. 

General OCD Symptoms 

  • Fear of dirt or contamination
  • Horrific or aggressive thoughts about self harm or harming others
  • Having a hard time tolerating uncertainty
  • Having the need for everything to be symmetrical and orderly
  • Unwanted thoughts about sexual or religious subjects

OCD Obsessions

Experts define OCD-related obsessions as unwanted, persistent, and repeated images, thoughts, or urges that are intrusive and cause significant anxiety or even distress.

Some examples of obsessive symptoms might include:

  • Fear of contamination after touching something other people have touched
  • Doubting that you have locked a door or turned the stove off 
  • Thoughts about acting inappropriately in public or shouting obscenities
  • Avoiding situations that can trigger obsessive behaviors, like shaking hands with people
  • Images of driving your car into a crowd of individuals

OCD Compulsions 

Additionally, OCD related compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors that individuals feel driven to perform in an attempt to abate anxiety related to their obsessions or in an effort to prevent something bad from occurring. Similar to with obsessions, compulsions tend to have themes, such as: 

  • Counting
  • Demanding reassurance
  • Following a strict routine
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Orderliness
  • Checking

Some signs related to compulsion might include:

  • Counting in specific patterns
  • Silently repeating a word, phrase, or prayer
  • Washing one’s hands until their skin is raw
  • Repeatedly checking doors to ensure they are locked
  • Arranging canned goods so that they are facing in one direction
  • Repeatedly checking the stove to ensure it’s off

Managing OCD Symptoms

  1. Try out mindfulness practices. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is useful in helping people with OCD, often looks to mindfulness principles to help people. Mindfulness involves keeping yourself grounded and rooted in the present moment.
  2. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important, because if you are well rested, you may be more likely to have the energy to handle hard experiences and feelings.
  3. Consider your diet. Making sure your blood sugar remains stable through regular eating can prove to have a major impact on your energy levels as well as your mood.
  4. Manage your stress. OCD can actually worsen if you are feeling anxious and stressed, so stress management is very important.
  5. Give physical activity a try. While many folks find it difficult to exercise, you may find that “lighter” activities such as walking, yoga, or swimming will have a positive effect on your mood. When it comes to physical activity, finding what works best for you is what is most important - whether that means doing chair-based exercises, dancing around your apartment, or going for a run.
  6. Try out a relaxation technique. When you’re suffering from high anxiety, stress, or are just generally busy, engaging in relaxation techniques can be a great and effective way to engage in self care.
  7. Look into group therapy. Interestingly, group therapy has been shown to be highly effective in many individuals suffering from OCD and various other mental illnesses. Therapy groups, which usually consist of 10-15 people led by one or more therapists, offer various benefits that individual therapy does not. One such benefit is being reminded that you are not alone in your struggles. Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy for OCD that is conducted totally online to help you manage your symptoms and improve your health and future. Grouport’s licensed therapists are trained to tackle OCD as well as a wide variety of other mental health issues.

Though it might initially seem like a challenge, overcoming OCD is possible. The International OCD Foundation says that for about 70% of people living with OCD, therapy, medication, or a combination of both will lead to a significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life.

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Understanding And Treating OCD

OCD

Understanding And Treating OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental health disorder marked by a pattern of escalating obsessions (unwanted fears and thoughts) that lead to compulsions (repetitive behaviors). This pattern of obsessions leading to compulsions can end up interfering with your daily activities, ultimately causing significant distress and a diminished quality of life.

Those suffering from OCD will often ignore or try to stop their obsessions, which can in turn escalate their levels of anxiety and distress. Ironically, this may then drive them to perform even more ritualistic behaviors in order to diminish this stress. This is the broken and painful cycle of OCD, which can be difficult to interrupt, and painful to endure. 

THE ORIGINS OF OCD

While experts have not yet ironed out one specific cause for OCD, they have three major theories about its origin:

  1. Learning: You might learn obsessive fears and compulsive behaviors gradually, or by watching your family members engage in them.
  2. Biology: You might develop OCD from a change in your brain function or body chemistry.
  3. Genetics: OCD could be rooted in genetics, although researchers have not yet singled out any particular genes that can cause it.

RISK FACTORS FOR OCD 

There are several known risk factors that experts speculate could increase your likelihood of developing OCD, or can trigger the disorder.

These could include:

  • Other mental health issues: It is thought that OCD could be related to other mental health issues, including depression, tic disorders, anxiety disorders, as well as substance abuse.
  • A family history of OCD: You are probably more likely to develop OCD if you have parents or other family members suffering from it as well.
  • Stressful events in your life: Your risk of developing OCD could increase if you have experienced trauma or other types of stressful life events. Your reaction to said events could trigger OCD’s characteristic emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, and rituals.

OCD OBSESSIONS DEFINITION

OCD obsessions usually manifest as unwanted, persistent, and repetitive images, thoughts, or urges that are intrusive and distressing, and often have themes such as:

  • Horrific or aggressive thoughts about self harm or harming others
  • Fear of dirt or contamination
  • Having the need for everything to be symmetrical and orderly
  • Unwanted thoughts about sexual or religious subjects
  • Having a hard time tolerating uncertainty

OCD OBSESSION SYMPTOMS

Some examples of obsessive symptoms might include:

  • Doubting that you have locked a door or turned the stove off 
  • Avoiding situations that can trigger obsessive behaviors, like shaking hands with people
  • Images of driving your car into a crowd of individuals
  • Fear of contamination after touching something other people have touched
  • Thoughts about acting inappropriately in public or shouting obscenities

OCD COMPULSIONS DEFINITION 

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that individuals feel driven to perform in an attempt to abate anxiety related to their obsessions or in an effort to prevent (what they feel is) something bad from occurring. As with OCD obsessions, OCD compulsions often have themes, including:

  • Counting
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Demanding reassurance
  • Following a strict routine
  • Orderliness
  • Checking

OCD COMPULSION SYMPTOMS

  • Counting in specific patterns
  • Repeatedly checking doors to ensure they are locked
  • Washing one’s hands until their skin is raw
  • Repeatedly checking the stove to ensure it’s off
  • Arranging canned goods so that they are facing in one direction
  • Silently repeating a word, phrase, or prayer

TREATMENT FOR OCD 

In considering how to treat OCD, there are many different approaches. What works for some might not work for others.

These could include:

  • Medications: Physicians tend to prescribe antidepressants, such as zoloft, prozac, paxil, or anafranil to help control the obsessions and compulsions associated with the disorder.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is among the most effective psychotherapeutic routes in treating individuals struggling with OCD. A component of CBT known as exposure and response prevention (ERP) has been particularly helpful in treating OCD. 
  • Exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP, is carried out by a licensed mental health professional in an outpatient setting. ERP can also be performed in group therapy settings, like with OCD therapy at Grouport

According to the International OCD Foundation, the ideal treatment for about 70% of OCD patients includes a combination of ERP and medication. 

If medications and psychotherapy do not produce the desired results, your physician may suggest you consider:

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation: Colloquially known as TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive procedure that involves harnessing magnetic fields in order to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells.
  • Intensive outpatient or residential treatment: You may find more success if you enroll in comprehensive treatment programs that focus on ERP’s therapeutic principles.
  • Deep brain stimulation: Also called DBS, deep brain stimulation is sometimes used in adults 18 and older with severe OCD. During this process, electrodes are implanted into your brain in the hopes that their electrical impulses will help curb any abnormal impulses you suffer from.

Learn more about managing OCD with online group therapy solutions.

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How To Know The Difference Between Boredom And BPD

BPD

How To Know The Difference Between Boredom And BPD

Boredom is defined by feeling uninterested and unsatisfied and is most evidenced through periods of high energy (where you feel you have nowhere to channel that energy), or when you are having a hard time staying focused on a particular task. Boredom is a pretty common issue found in adolescents as well as children. It is important to remember though, that young people may complain that they feel bored when they are actually having a difficult time handling their feelings or thoughts.

There are many potential causes of boredom, such as:

  • Poor time perception
  • Not having control over one’s daily activities
  • Inadequate nutritional intake
  • Inadequate amount of sleep
  • Not engaging in a wide range of extracurricular or recreational interests

While periodic boredom is an issue common to children, adolescents, and adults around the world, it is important to note that chronic boredom and a persistent feeling of emptiness can also be a sign that someone is dealing with depression or other mental illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). 

 A 2021 qualitative study conducted by Caitlin E. Miller, Michelle L. Townsend, and Brin F. S. Grenyer looked into chronic feelings of emptiness among individuals suffering from BPD. For the study, Miller and her fellow researchers interviewed 15 individuals with BPD in the hopes of better understanding the way these individuals experienced emotions linked to their BPD. 

For people with BPD, feelings of chronic emptiness have been correlated to various issues, such as:

  • Self harm
  • Impaired psychosocial function
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Impulsivity

Because of this link, Miller and her team sought to better grasp what individuals with BPD experience when they feel chronically empty. They sought to look into what behaviors, thought processes, and emotions might be linked to chronic emptiness, as well as to discern the difference between depression, hopelessness, loneliness, and chronic emptiness.

After conducting the study and analyzing the resulting data, Miller and her team found that chronic feelings of emptiness in BPD sufferers most often manifested in a sense of being disconnected not only from those around them, but also from themselves. The study’s subjects also experienced a reduced ability to function day-to-day as well as frequent feelings of “nothingness” and “numbness”.

Miller and the team also found that sensations of emptiness were closely related to feeling unfulfilled and purposeless, and that these feelings of emptiness were genuinely distressing to most of the study’s participants. Most of the participating BPD patients notably marked a difference between feelings of emptiness from feelings related to other issues, including dissociation, hopelessness, depression, as well as loneliness. 

What does this study teach us? Through Miller and her team’s research it becomes clear that for  BPD patients, feelings of chronic emptiness are a major issue that require clinical intervention in order to be addressed effectively. 

If you are experiencing chronic, pervasive feelings of boredom, restlessness, and emptiness, talk to your doctor about BPD. If you want to learn more about BPD or discover specific ways to battle these feelings in a proactive and healthy way, consider enrolling in online group therapy for BPD, which we provide here at Grouport

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DBT And What It’s Good For

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DBT And What It’s Good For

What is DBT?

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) under the psychotherapy umbrella that seeks to provide people with critical skills that can help them diminish conflict in their relationships as well as manage difficult emotions. DBT hones in on equipping individuals with skills in four major areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s. Linehan sought to treat individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) who were struggling to adjust to normal patterns of behavior. People who have borderline personality disorder tend to experience very intense, negative emotions that can be very difficult to manage. Such emotions, which may initially seem uncontrollable, often leak into an individual’s interactions with those around them, whether it be their family members, romantic partners, or friends. These intense, negative feelings can compromise the health of any of these relationships at any given moment.

Therapists who use DBT will consistently work with their clients as they search for ways to hold two perspectives simultaneously, promoting finding a balance instead of seeing the world in black and white. Overall, DBT encourages a both-and instead of an either-or approach to life and its complexities. It keeps individuals fueled by intense emotional surges from the dramatic entrance into one camp of thought or another which can create these surges.

DBT Can Help Treat Many Mental Health Issues

While DBT was originally developed to treat individuals suffering from BPD, it can also treat various other issues, such as:

  • Mood disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating

DBT Skills

In general, specialists acknowledge that DBT skills hold the potential to help individuals who want to better:

  • Tolerate negative emotions
  • Communicate and interact with others around them
  • Navigate distress
  • Be present in the current moment
  • Regulate their emotions day to day 

Generally, DBT treatment will incorporate a mixture of DBT skills groups and simultaneous individual therapy sessions. Individuals who are enrolled in DBT skills groups will learn and practice DBT-related skills alongside their group members. In group sessions, members are encouraged to not only provide mutual support for one another, but also share their own experiences.

A typical DBT skills group will be led by one trained therapist who teaches members new, helpful skills each session and leads regular, practical exercises. Each group session tends to last for about one to two hours, and DBT skills groups will likely meet weekly for at least six months. 

Concurrent individual therapy sessions consist of a client having a one on one therapy session with a trained therapist in order to make sure that all of a client’s particular therapeutic needs are being met. These one on one sessions will involve the therapist helping clients integrate and employ their DBT skills in their daily life, tackle obstacles they are encountering, and help them stay motivated.

Learn more about Grouport’s DBT groups and develop your interpersonal and emotional regulation skills HERE.

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3 Ways Your Self Image Impacts Moods, Decisions And Priorities

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3 Ways Your Self Image Impacts Moods, Decisions And Priorities

According to the Cleveland Clinic, self image is defined as “the mental picture we hold of ourselves.” This image we hold of ourselves defines what characterizes us and sets us apart from others. In other words, the different characteristics we use to describe ourselves come together to form a collective self representation that is the culmination of our strengths and weaknesses as seen from our own perspective.

Here are three major ways that our self image can impact our moods, decisions, and priorities:

1. Having a positive self image can increase our wellbeing on a mental, physical, social and emotional level.

2. Having a negative self image might lead us to constantly focus on our weaknesses and faults, making any imperfections or failures seem more significant than they actually are.

3. Having a positive self image might allow us to recognize and acknowledge our strong points and potential while maintaining a realistic attitude towards any limitations we might have.

Tips on Fostering Good Self Image:

Here are specific steps you can take to help foster a healthy self image:

  • Compile a list of your positive qualities and strengths
  • Practice loving yourself through acts of self-care
  • Remind yourself that you are a unique individual
  • Recall how far you have come in your life
  • Develop and foster any strengths you have
  • Offer yourself positive affirmations
  • Take an inventory of your self image
  • Confront any thinking distortions you have
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people
  • Iron out a collection of personal goals that feel measurable and reasonable to achieve
  • Ask your significant other to describe positive qualities they think you have
  • Identify how childhood labels can affect you, even in adulthood

It is important to remember that the image we hold of ourselves is the culmination of years of learning. For example, people who had an influence on you in your early childhood–such as caregivers or your parents–will have a major impact on your self image. This is because they can be seen as mirrors that reflect an image of us. 

Furthermore, our experiences as we navigate relationships and interactions with those around us will add to the image of ourselves we see in the “mirror,” because relationships tend to reinforce the way we see ourselves. Remember, however, that at least certain aspects of our self image will be dynamic and subject to change. 

If you struggle with an unhealthy self image, the good news is that you are completely in control of your own reality and fully capable of reinforcing a positive self image. Fostering a positive and healthy self image can help us make better decisions for ourselves and create healthier relationships with others in the world around us.

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a type of therapy that seeks to provide people with new skills that can help them decrease conflict in their interpersonal relationships as well as manage their emotions. This type of therapy can help you make significant strides in your self image for a better, healthier future with stronger relationships. DBT works to equip individuals with skills in four primary areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

You can learn to practice DBT skills in group therapy through the online services available at Grouport. Grouport Online Group Therapy offers therapy solutions from the comfort of your own home led by licensed mental health providers who really care about your present and future happiness. Find a list of FAQs about group therapy here.

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New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City with Mindfulness & DBT

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New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City with Mindfulness & DBT

New York City is one of the toughest cities to live in: if you want to live here for the long haul, it’s important that you develop strong levels of distress tolerance. There will always be external stimuli threatening to overwhelm you, whether it is a car honking, music blaring, or people rushing around you and often bumping into you. Are you familiar with experiencing all of these stimuli at the same time? Welcome to NYC!

There are many different approaches that can help you deal with this stress and a cacophony of stimuli, such as going on walks, working out, and participating in therapy to improve your calm under pressure. Two other helpful forms of stress management that can help you improve your mental health in the big city are Mindfulness and DBT therapy.

Mindfulness for Stress Management in NYC

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is another approach to psychotherapy that marries techniques drawn from cognitive therapy, meditation and the creation of mindfulness, which is a “non-judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present time.”

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works by encouraging you to interrupt your instinctual thought processes that may be exacerbating your mental struggles. Instead, those who practice mindfulness based cognitive therapy are encouraged to work through their feelings in healthier ways; this practice also urges you to observe and identify feelings that you are currently experiencing. 

10 ways that you can improve your mindfulness amidst a busy New York lifestyle include:

  1. Yoga: Practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  2. Meditation: Engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help you become more aware of your thoughts, breathing, and body.
  3. Body scanning exercises: Lie down and become aware of different parts of your body, typically starting at your toes and working upwards until you reach the apex of your head.
  4. Mindfulness stretching: This technique asks you to stretch mindfully, raising your awareness of both your mind and body.
  5. Eating mindfully: Eating meals without distractions, such as reading a book or watching TV, can help you better appreciate the mental and physical nourishment food provides.
  6. Spending time in nature: Being outdoors does wonders for your body and mind; it can also help ground you in the present.
  7. Keeping track of how much time you spend using electronics: It is easy to experience information overload from the amount of media available at our fingertips; setting limits on your screen time–especially around bedtime–can help you feel more rooted and at peace. 
  8. Focusing on one thing at a time: Tackling one task at a time and allowing yourself breaks in between is important.
  9. Slowing down: If you savor the process of the task you are completing, it will encourage you to provide it with thoughtful and deliberate attention; this, in turn, will promote healthy focus practices and may prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.
  10. Moving around: Any type of body movement can help, especially if you make sure you stay aware of your body’s sensations in doing so. 

DBT for Stress Management in NYC

Another way that you can seek help is by looking into dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is a modified version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The primary goals of DBT are to:

  • Improve individuals’ relationships with other people
  • Regulate emotions
  • Teach people how to live in the present moment
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms

While DBT was originally developed to help treat borderline personality disorder BPD in the ‘80s, it has since been adapted in order to help a broad spectrum of other mental health issues, including (but not limited to) substance abuse, disordered eating, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

DBT also works to help cultivate healthy distress tolerance skills that are geared to help individuals accept themselves and their current situation. These techniques can prepare individuals for intense emotional surges, as well as equip them to cope by using positive, long-term perspectives. 

Some DBT techniques for this type of “crisis management” include:

  • Self-soothing practices
  • Improving the moment
  • Distraction
  • Considering the pros and cons of not handling distress well

DBT can be taught via individual or group therapy settings, but is arguably more successful when practiced in a group context over time. One of the reasons group therapy can be the perfect place to practice your DBT skills is that this environment offers a safe, therapist-led community without judgment or fear of making mistakes. Instead, you can participate in role-play sessions led by your therapist to work on improving your emotional regulation and distress tolerance over time. Many NYC therapy groups (such as Grouport therapy) teach their clients DBT practices in order to help them navigate their day to day existence in this bustling city.

Here at Grouport, we offer DBT group therapy from the comfort of your own home, apartment or condo in NYC that is conducted completely online, through Zoom meetings. After you enroll in Grouport you’ll schedule a 20 minute onboarding session with one of our trained mental health professionals; they will get to know you a bit and, over the course of your session, discern which therapy group (such as a DBT group) is most suited to your needs. 

You can find answers to more FAQs about Grouport therapy in NYC here.

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Anger Management with DBT

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Anger Management with DBT

DBT, which stands for dialectical behavior therapy, is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over the past few decades, experts have found that DBT can also be effective in the treatment of various other issues, such as:

  • Substance abuse
  • Mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder

DBT therapy works to equip clients with useful skills in four major areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

Interestingly, DBT is also widely considered one of the best therapies for anger management. In fact, a 2014 review found that, even when DBT treatments were modified, specialists saw results that might be considered clinically significant in individuals seeking assistance in anger management. Overall, the review found reductions in aggressive and angry behaviors in its subjects as they learned DBT skills and how to apply them. 

If you’re struggling with anger management, here are some of the skills that are taught in DBT practices which can help you handle your anger:

  • Grounding techniques
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Willingness vs. willfulness
  • The art of radical acceptance

When practicing DBT, grounding techniques are used to help you root (or ground) yourself in the present moment. The skill set is particularly useful during times when you feel overwhelmed by your emotions, because grounding can help prevent you from ruminating on the past or future, as well as curb panic attacks. 

Within the context of DBT, performing a cost benefit analysis involves putting together a list of the potential costs (negatives) and benefits (positives) of a behavior that can be of potential harm to you and/or the people around you. This DBT exercise can help you change by allowing you to clearly see the ways in which your habits or behavioral patterns have negative effects on yourself and others.

Another important skill taught in DBT is comparing willingness vs. willfulness. DBT helps you learn to behave willingly instead of willfully by drawing a distinction between: 

  • Willingness: behaving effectively by responding to situations based on what is required, and
  • Willfulness: “being right” by responding to a given situation in ways that cater to your own needs.

Finally, recognizing emotional crisis as a key step of radical acceptance is another tenet of DBT. Radical acceptance is founded on the idea that we experience suffering due to our attachments to pain, as opposed to suffering from pain on its own. The way to overcome suffering, according to radical acceptance, is by practicing non-attachment. This involves keeping your thoughts in check and not allowing yourself to spiral out of control, even in a difficult situation.

Here at Grouport, we offer a safe, supportive solution that is available to you no matter what mental health condition you’re facing. Learn the power of DBT skills or address other struggles in the context of DBT group therapy led by licensed mental health providers from the comfort of your own home. LEARN MORE TODAY

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How To Navigate "Stormy" Relationships By Practicing Mindfulness & Setting Boundaries

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How To Navigate "Stormy" Relationships By Practicing Mindfulness & Setting Boundaries

We all know that relationships, no matter what kind, can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Whether you are having difficulties in your relationships with your peers, friends, or family, “stormy” ones–ones that are characterized by frequent ups and downs–can be tricky. Toxic relationship patterns can undermine your self-discipline, your work and home life, your sleep habits, physical health, and mental health if not managed successfully long-term. Are you feeling the strain of unhealthy relationships in your daily life?

One way that you can work to ensure happier, healthier relationships is by developing your interpersonal effectiveness skills. The phrase interpersonal effectiveness refers to an individual’s capacity to effectively interact with the people around them. Some skills that fall under this umbrella might include:

  • Balancing priorities versus demands in relationships
  • Balancing your “wants” and “shoulds”
  • Attending to your relationships with others
  • Fostering a sense of self respect and mastery

One specific way that you can seek an improvement in your own interpersonal relationships is by practicing mindfulness and fostering a strong sense of boundaries. 

Mindfulness For Healthy Relationships

Put simply, mindfulness is a core human ability to remain totally present in the current moment. Being present in the moment at hand means having an acute awareness of what you are doing in the present moment, and not allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed by the world around you or be overly reactive to what is going on at the time.

Learning key grounding skills in therapy can help bring a sense of mindfulness and control to your life, along with the ability to create peace amidst the storm of challenging relationships, arguments, and situations which have previously caused you stress, anxiety, and/or depression. 

Boundary Setting For Healthy Relationships 

Boundary-setting is another critical life skill that can improve the health of your relationships by creating a sense of deference for your own needs/goals as well as those of others.

Furthermore, cultivating a strong sense of boundaries will help ensure that you do not get overwhelmed by your interpersonal relationships. Practicing the ability to say “no” and draw lines where you feel uncomfortable can help you immensely, although it may feel challenging at first.

While relationship issues of all natures can be difficult to navigate, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that can help you develop the skill set of practicing mindfulness and being rooted in the present moment. Although it was originally developed to help individuals living with borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT therapy has been found to be effective in treating various other mental health concerns, including the navigation of stressful interpersonal relationships. 

Specialists acknowledge that learning DBT skills can better equip people as they:

  • Communicate and interact with others around them
  • Tolerate negative emotions
  • Regulate their emotions
  • Be present in the current moment
  • Navigate distress

Here at Grouport Online Group Therapy, we offer online group therapy for relationship issues and specialized DBT groups for DBT skills training. Not sure which is best for you? Sign up today for a 20 minute consultation with a licensed mental health professional who will get to know you and match you with a therapy group that is perfect for your needs and goals. Your therapy group will meet once a week, at the same time and day, for approximately one hour. Grouport costs just $35 per week and can be canceled at any time. You can find more FAQs here.

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Overcoming Fear Of Abandonment And Rejection

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Overcoming Fear Of Abandonment And Rejection

About 10% of people in the United States struggle with some type of phobia; this means that millions of individuals are currently coping with different types of fears. While fear of abandonment is not officially considered a phobia, it is widely considered to be among the most commonplace–and potentially damaging–fears. Individuals who suffer from a phobia of being abandoned might behave in ways and engage in thought patterns that not only negatively affect them, but also their relationships with others.

Abandonment anxiety is a complex issue; individuals who suffer from it may find that their fear is rooted in various other issues, such as trauma, loss, and other developmental experiences from their childhood or previous relationships. 

Some potential signs that someone is struggling with a fear of abandonment might include:

  • Aiming to please those around them
  • Engaging in unwanted sex
  • Forming rapid attachments to others, including those who are unavailable
  • Failing to fully commit to relationships
  • Having had very few long term relationships
  • Struggling with being nitpicky and difficult to please
  • Feeling unworthy of love and generally insecure
  • Moving on quickly in an attempt to make sure one does not get too attached to a partner
  • Having difficulty trusting others
  • Experiencing intense feelings surrounding separation anxiety
  • Having a hard time experiencing emotional intimacy with  others
  • Feeling jealous of everyone one encounters
  • Having control issues and repressed anger
  • Engaging in self blame often
  • Feeling hypersensitive to any sort of criticism
  • Having a tendency to overthink things and, by extension, searching for hidden meanings behind the words and actions of others
  • Experiencing general feelings of depression and anxiety

Another common fear that many people suffer from is a fear of rejection. Most individuals have some sense of anxiety when they find themselves in situations that could culminate in rejection; however, for some individuals, this fear can become cripping, causing a negative effect on their day to day life and relationships. Similarly to fear of abandonment, fear of rejection can stem from a variety of issues. Letting fear of abandonment or rejection go unaddressed may culminate in increasingly greater limitations on an individual’s life and relationships.

One way that people can address various phobias, including anxiety around abandonment and rejection, is through dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT. DBT therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s for individuals who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD), but has been proven to help a variety of other conditions as well. This is likely because individuals who suffer from BPD generally experience very intense negative emotions that they likely find extremely difficult to manage. These emotions can have a ripple effect, causing strain on an individual’s relationships with those around them.

Since DBT was originally created to help regulate these emotions, it’s become a viable solution for other emotional health and regulation-related concerns as well. Therapists who employ DBT meet with their clients often, helping them seek ways to establish a balance in their worldview, instead of just looking at things as if they are black and white. DBT helps its subjects learn and practice skills to help them better cope with their emotions and their environment, as well as navigate potentially difficult situations and relationships.

Here at Grouport Online Group Therapy, we offer online group therapy for relationship issues and specialized DBT groups for DBT skills training. Not sure which is best for you? Sign up today for a 20 minute consultation with a licensed mental health professional who will get to know you and match you with a therapy group that is perfect for your needs and goals. Your therapy group will  meet once a week, at the same time and day, for approximately one hour. Grouport costs just $35 per week and can be canceled at any time. You can find more FAQs here.

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What is DBT Therapy Good For?

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What is DBT Therapy Good For?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which is also known as DBT Therapy or just DBT, is a subtype of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s with the goal of treating people living with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.

A hallmark symptom of BPD is the presence of extremely intense, negative emotions that are difficult to manage. These tough emotions have a ripple effect in a person’s life, with the potential to strain their relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances. Without mitigation and treatment of these symptoms, the damage can be irreparable and long-term.

In the years since Linehan first saw success in treating BPD patients using DBT, mental health professionals have adapted DBT protocols to treat a variety of other mental ailments, including:

  • Disordered eating
  • Substance abuse
  • Mood disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression

Professionals who employ DBT will teach their clients how to sharpen their skills in four major areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

Experts have found that all of these DBT skill types can potentially help people better communicate with others, regulate their emotions, navigate distress, remain present in the current moment, and tolerate negative emotions. On the whole, DBT encourages clients to hold a both-and as opposed to an either-or approach to life and all of its complexities, which creates more balance and supports long-term mental health and wellbeing

If you are interested in DBT, you can join a DBT skills group as well as complementary one on one therapy sessions. Most DBT therapy groups are led by at least one trained therapist who teaches you and your other group members the various DBT skills and leads exercises related to practicing these skills.

A typical DBT skills group meeting lasts between one and two hours, and meets weekly for about six months. In your DBT group, you will work with your fellow group members to learn and practice DBT skills. Learning DBT in a group setting is encouraged as it allows members to provide mutual support for one another and practice DBT skills with each other.

The one on one, complementary therapy sessions you may opt to enroll in alongside your DBT skills group will involve you speaking with a therapist to make sure all of your therapeutic needs are being adequately met. Furthermore, your therapist can help you further integrate and utilize the DBT skills you are learning in your day to day life, and help you stay motivated.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy sessions that are conducted online, over Zoom calls. Our therapists specialize in a range of mental health issues and other common struggles. Many of our therapists are experts in DBT and can help you learn and utilize DBT skills in DBT group therapy. You can find answers to other online group therapy FAQs or check out our DBT groups today!

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What is DBT Treatment?

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What is DBT Treatment?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral treatment developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s which was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). People who are trying to cope with BPD often experience incredibly intense negative emotions that might be very difficult for them to manage. These emotions can negatively affect their mental health, sleep, eating, working, and interpersonal relationships, along with other facets of their lives. It’s important to treat and manage BPD symptoms in a holistic and specific way in order to improve the quality of life for those living with BPD.

Therapists who use DBT will work with their clients as they search for ways to hold two perspectives at once. This promotes a balanced view of life, instead of viewing the world in black and white, which helps patients regulate their emotions and decision making. The word“dialectic” in Dialectical Behavior Therapy implies the ability to learn principles of acceptance and change. 

In developing DBT, Linehan hoped to help individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder better have control over their emotions, resulting in better relationships with those around them and the world at large. Without treatment and the guidance of a qualified mental health counselor, BPD can cause major rifts in relationships, whether they are familial, romantic, or platonic.

Colloquially known as DBT therapy or just DBT, therapists who practice DBT hope to equip their clients with DBT skills in four main areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

In the years since its inception, DBT has also been found to be beneficial for other mental health related issues, such as:

  • Mood disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Disordered eating
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression

DBT techniques can also benefit people who hope to better: 

  • Navigate distress
  • Be present in the current moment
  • Tolerate negative emotions
  • Regulate their emotions
  • Communicate and interact with others around them

Generally speaking, pursuing DBT as a solution for any mental health condition involves enrolling in both group DBT skill sessions as well as individual therapy sessions. Your individual sessions will seek to complement the work you’ll do during group meetings. DBT skills groups aim to teach their clients specific DBT skills and how to apply them in practical ways.

A typical DBT skills group will last about one to two hours once a week, and will be led by a trained therapist. These meetings will likely continue for about six months.The individual therapy sessions you can enroll in to further support your DBT practice will involve private sessions with a trained therapist. The goal of these sessions is to help make sure all of the client’s therapeutic needs are met, as well as providing them with support as they integrate their new DBT skills in their daily life. 

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted online through Zoom calls from the safety of your home. Online DBT group therapy is a viable option for treatment of BPD and other mental health disorders. Learn more about our DBT therapy groups HERE.

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What Happens In DBT Therapy: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

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What Happens In DBT Therapy: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

Here at Grouport we offer a wide variety of therapy types conducted completely online, from the comfort of your home. These sessions often include various forms of psychotherapy and talk therapy, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Our therapists are well versed in treating a wide variety of mental health issues and other conditions, and are formally trained in many different therapeutic approaches, including DBT.

Typically, individuals who wish to receive DBT therapy will enroll in a DBT skills groups in order to practice what they’re learning in individual therapy. Combined, these two amazing resources can help you make significant progress in a short amount of time. 

Here are five things to keep in mind as you embark on your DBT journey:

1. DBT is not just for people who have BPD. While Marsha Linehan indeed founded DBT to treat patients suffering from borderline personality disorder back in the 1980s, DBT has since been expanded to successfully treat a wide variety of other issues, including (but not limited to) anxiety and depression. DBT can also be of help to you if you have issues with interpersonal relationships as well as managing your behaviors and/or emotions.

2. DBT skills groups function more like classes than therapy sessions. When you envision DBT groups, you might imagine more of a group therapy session. However, while DBT groups do provide the oversight of a licensed mental health provider, these groups are actually more like enrolling in a social interactions class as opposed to therapy. This is because every week, you and your group are taught a new skill by your group leader, and you are given homework related to practicing that skill. 

3. DBT skills groups are not the same as process groups. As stated previously, DBT skills groups are not like normal group therapy sessions, in which group members simply go around in a circle and share their feelings, personal stories, and/or emotions with one another. 

4. Seeing the benefits of DBT takes time. DBT is not a quick fix for your issues: its positive effects take time. It takes about 24 weeks to finish your DBT skills training, or approximately six months. Some individuals will even opt to take several DBT cycles (over the course of years) to better hone their skills. But don’t worry - while enrolling in DBT is, indeed, a major commitment, you will likely see major benefits to your quality of life long-term. 

5. DBT begins with mindfulness practices. One of the core skills you will learn in DBT is mindfulness. In fact, it is likely that your weekly DBT skills meetings will begin with a mindfulness practice, such as mindfully coloring, sitting with your eyes closed, or even eating. You will continue to learn mindfulness techniques as you soldier on through your DBT journey to improve your mental health, communication skills, and emotional regulation.

If you enroll in a DBT skills group, you should expect to develop skills in four chief areas:

1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.

2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives. 

3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.

4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).

Learn more about Grouport’s DBT therapy Groups.

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Chronic Illness & CBT For Mental Health: An Introductory Guide

Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness & CBT For Mental Health: An Introductory Guide

Whether you recently received a diagnosis of chronic illness, or are years into your journey, you’ve likely wrestled with the intense mental health challenges that can follow a diagnosis. It’s not surprising that the uncertainty, lifestyle changes, and costly or even painful treatments often come with emotions such as depression, grief, sadness, denial, and anxiety.

When working through living with chronic illness, it can be common for doctors and caregivers to focus primarily on your physical health, and to forget to lean into your wellness on a mental and emotional level. While there is a growing awareness of the clear connections between mental and physical health, a lot of chronic illness patients require more quality care and support as they navigate the ups and downs of their mental health every day. In fact, taking care of your emotional health is critical to improving longevity and quality of life, especially for chronic illness patients. 

Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Chronic Illness 

With 45% of our population now living with chronic illness, it’s more important than ever to seek out quality mental health care that works. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is fast becoming a helpful form of psychotherapy relied upon by those living with chronic illness to improve their stress management over time. This type of therapy focuses on adjusting the way an individual living with chronic illness thinks about their experience, limitations, and future. 

How CBT Can Help

CBT helps to significantly reduce the anxiety and depression that can accompany life with chronic illness, targeting changes in thoughts, feelings, and habits that can vastly improve the patient’s perception of their quality of life. For those experiencing chronic pain, for instance, James L. McAbee, Ph.D. states “The overarching goals of CBT [for chronic pain] are to promote … coping by increasing self-efficacy in the management of pain, reduce avoidant behaviors… reduce negative or unhelpful beliefs about their pain, reduce negative mood symptoms, increase physical activity, to shift the perspective.

If you’re struggling with your chronic illness diagnosis or know someone who is, CBT do just that: helping to provide an objective perspective and encourage problem-solving, mindfulness, stress mitigation, and other self-management skills. Working with a CBT therapist in online group therapy can be the first step toward a mental health management plan and the improvement of your emotional wellbeing over time. CBT can be the tool you need to regain a sense of emotional empowerment over your present day, and your future living with your diagnosis. 

Group Therapy for Chronic Illness

Grouport’s Chronic Illness online therapy groups provide a sense of understanding, belonging, support and community along with licensed therapist-led CBT. Members of our private Chronic Illness groups are guided by their therapists through a series of key steps which help to diminish both the negative mental and physical side effects of living with a Chronic Illness.

The primary therapy goals for those living with chronic illness are to:

  • Help them understand it
  • Maintain a healthy sense of independence
  • Connect to their community
  • Pursue things that bring pleasure back into their lives

If you’re ready to rediscover hope with group therapy for chronic illness, START HERE. 

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Using Therapy To Manage Life With Chronic Illness or Disability

Chronic Illness

Using Therapy To Manage Life With Chronic Illness or Disability

Recent statistics indicate that nearly 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, and over 25 million Americans are living with chronic pain. 51.8% of Americans have now been diagnosed with a chronic condition.

Chronic Illness Definitions and Types

The NCI Cancer dictionary defines chronic illness as a “a disease or condition that usually lasts for 3 months or longer and may get worse over time.” 

Common Chronic Illnesses

Some of the most widely-known chronic illnesses include: 

  • Chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis 
  • Disorders such as COPD and ALS
  • Metabolic disorders like type 1 and 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome 
  • Autoimmune conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mental health conditions including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression

One of the most challenging things about chronic illness is that the lasting effects of suffering and a limited lifestyle can wear the patient down over time. Most chronic illness lasts for years, if not decades. While some chronic illnesses are widely-recognized, others are relatively new to diagnostics such as fibromyalgia, brain fog, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many people spend their entire lives struggling with the weight of painful symptoms without a clear diagnosis. 

Disability Definitions and Types

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as “a physical or mental health condition that interferes with one or more major life activities.” Anyone living with a disability knows the barriers it creates in their daily life. 

Common Disabilities 

Some of the most well-known disabilities include: 

  • Alzheimers
  • Aphasia
  • Ehler-Danlos Syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis

Improving Life With Chronic Illness or Disability 

For most people living with a disability, they are used to the mental and physical strain their diagnosis puts on them, but often unsure of where to seek out help. If you are living life with chronic illness or disability, it can be difficult to navigate not only your symptoms, but the emotional challenges associated with your diagnosis. It’s important to lean into your support system and take consistent note of your overall wellbeing in order to improve your longevity and quality of life. 

Those who live with mental and physical health challenges often find solace in seeking out support from different types of talk therapy or psychotherapy. Therapy can help significantly to diminish mental health challenges around life with disability or chronic illness such as anxiety, depression, fear, numbness, and a sense of isolation. Various types of therapy can be used to improve your quality of life, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps to reduce anxiety and depression through targeting changes in thoughts, feelings, and habits that can vastly improve your perspective. 

Whether you’re struggling with a mental health condition, a disability, chronic pain, or any other disorder, Grouport is here to help. Our Chronic Illness Therapy Groups build a sense of community, friendship, and understanding with peers who truly understand what you’re going through. These groups are led by licensed mental health therapists committed to improving your daily life in tangible ways. 

Learn more today about group therapy for chronic illness and get started on the road to a better future. 

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How To Manage Stress For Better Mental Health

Anxiety

How To Manage Stress For Better Mental Health

We’re coming up on the end of Stress Awareness Month, along with the Grouport series on “Stress L.E.S.S.” The goal of this series has been to support our members and readers with critical tips, tricks, and workshops to help them mitigate stress and avoid burnout - taking them from chaos to calm with simple reflections and affirmations every week. No matter who you are, stress will impact you at some point in your life - and some of us much more than others! If you missed any of our Stress Awareness Month content or would simply like a recap, read on to learn more! 

Battling Stress With LOVE

The first letter in our Stress L.E.S.S. acronym, “L,” stands for LOVE. Heightened stress levels often indicate the fact that we have fallen out of touch with ourselves, and are not offering our minds, hearts, and emotions the attention and affection they deserve. If you’re experiencing high levels of stress or regular stressful periods during your day or week, try journaling the following reflections in order to build self-awareness and diffuse stress: 

  1. What does self-love mean to you? 
  2. What do you love about yourself? Don’t be shy… make a list!
  3. How can you show yourself love today? What is one thing you can do that makes YOU feel special? 
  4. What is one action (communication, service, or affection) from a friend, family member or partner that makes you feel loved? 

Take time to sit in a peaceful, quiet place and develop mindful reflection with the following affirmation: 

“I am worthy of love and affection. I am supported by people who will comfort me and bring hope to hard times.” 

Battling Stress With EXERCISE

Next up in the Stress L.E.S.S. series was our exercise focus. As you probably know, daily movement can be a game-changer for ongoing stress relief. The simple effort of physical movement boosts endorphins for more positive emotional experiences! Take some time this week to consider the following reflections in order to begin incorporating healthier exercise habits into your life to combat stress: 

  1. What type of daily movement is particularly stress-relieving for you? 
  2. What is one exercise goal you feel is achievable on a weekly basis? 
  3. How can you make more time this week for daily movement? Remember, every minute counts! 

Don’t forget, simple movements count and you can always start small before building bigger or longer or more ambitious exercise routines into your daily schedule. Finding something you truly love doing (whether that’s weight-lifting, walking, yoga, climbing, gardening, cycling, you name it!) can help build healthy habits that are easier to maintain long-term.

After exploring the answers to these reflections, take a moment this week to develop mindfulness through the following affirmation: 

“Moving my body through exercise is a powerful way to take charge of my health and relieve any stress or anxiety. Every day I am getting stronger and more resilient.” 

Battling Stress through SERENITY

The third letter in Stress L.E.S.S. represents the word “Serenity.” Serenity is defined as “the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.” This might seem like a significant reach from your frazzled state of mind when you’re under stress, but we promise - you can get there!

One critical tip for building feelings of Serenity to combat stress is to practice regular grounding exercises. Grounding is a form of mindfulness therapy that involves doing activities that “ground” you to the earth, helping you feel present in your own body and connected to your own mind and emotions. When we are under intense stress, we often feel disconnected from ourselves. Grounding helps bring us back to “center”. 

Here is a simple grounding exercise you can participate in to bring you back to a place of Serenity. 

  1. Sit calmly with both feet on the ground. If possible, do this exercise outside. Either way, begin by closing your eyes for a moment. Then, begin to notice things you can taste. 
  2. Now, slowly bring your attention to things you can smell. Give yourself a second to slowly breathe in, and out, as you notice these things. 
  3. Breathing slowly, turn your thoughts to things you can feel. What do you notice about how your feet feel on the ground? In your shoes, or barefoot? Your hands, touching your seat, or your lap. Work your way from your toes, all the way up to your head as you take inventory on how you feel, in every part of your body. 
  4. Now that you’ve worked your way through your physical body, begin to notice things you can hear. Let yourself listen to sounds, both small, and big, and even to the noise of your own steady breathing. 
  5. Finally, fully open your eyes. Look without moving dramatically. Take note of the world around you. It’s movement, it’s stillness. The colors and patterns of the earth, skies, trees, buildings, room, walls, or whatever surrounds you. 

This simple grounding exercise can bring a world of peace to you in stressful times. 

Now that you’ve mastered the art of grounding, move on to the following reflections:

  1. What helps you slow down and experience serenity? 
  2. What place makes you feel the most peaceful? 
  3. How can you incorporate moments of serenity into your daily routine? 

Finally, make space for this Serenity-focused affirmation this week: 

“I inhale peace. I exhale worry. I feel calm, grounded, and secure. I release the need to control my life, and I surrender to this present moment.” 

Battling Stress through SUSTENANCE

The final letter in our Stress L.E.S.S. series stands for Sustenance, or “food and drink regarded as a source of strength and nourishment.” 

Consider the following questions: 

  1. Do you eat less or more when you are stressed? 
  2. What types of foods do you turn to in stress that you know you can eliminate?
  3. What is one food you can try to eat every day that makes you feel healthy and strong? 

For your final affirmation, sit peacefully and speak these words aloud to yourself: 

“Food is a tool to nourish my body. I deserve to feel amazing when I eat what my body needs. I can sustain myself with choices that support my wellbeing. I savor every bite.” 

In summary, diminishing stress in your everyday life is not a massive uphill battle. It simply consists of small choices you can make each day. You can choose healthy habits around Self-love, Exercise, Serenity, and Sustenance. We hope this Stress Awareness Month series helps you to grow in your ability to feel empowered to overcome stress. You are capable, powerful, and courageous. 

Looking for extra support for anxiety & stress? Check out Grouport’s online group therapy for anxiety and get started today on the road to healing in a community of peers who understand what you’re going through!

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Six Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

Six Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Grief & Loss

One of the most challenging things we can go through in life is the loss of a loved one, and anyone who has experienced grief and loss knows that grief does not fit neatly into a straight path. All sorts of emotions and challenges can arise throughout the process of grieving which make it difficult to function, process, and progress in your daily life. 

Whether you’re feeling weighed down, overwhelmed, numb, exhausted, disconnected, angry or sad, here are Six Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Grief & Loss: 

1. Be patient with yourself. 

Grief is an exhausting, uphill battle that takes a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Make sure that you treat your grieving process like a time of intense stress. Take the time to get good sleep if you can (nap if you can’t), eat healthy food, hydrate, and move your body. Avoid alcohol and sugar in order to minimize depressive episodes and ensure you’re giving your body the care it needs to support your mind and heart. 

2. Expect the ups and downs. 

Shocked every time you feel good, then bad, then good, then bad again? This is completely normal for the grief process. This isn’t a sign you’re moving backward… it’s actually a sign you’re progressing. These ups and downs are important, and better than being stuck. 

3. Normalize your emotions. 

Fighting your emotions during grief & loss will only delay the healing process. It might be hard, but when emotions wash over you, take the time to feel them in their fullness - whether that means anger, resentment, sadness, or even peace. 

4. Remember, you can survive this. 

When grief has you feeling low, remember that many others have gone before you and are living fulfilling lives in the absence of a loved one. It may seem like you can’t get through these intense emotions, but you’ll learn more about your resiliency as you move through them. Create space to feel your feelings, and seek out support in places like group therapy for grief & loss to remind you that you’re not alone. Learning from others who are further ahead on their grief journey will help you put one foot in front of the other, every day. 

5. You won’t grieve deeply forever. 

Grief feels like an endless wash cycle of torment, and at times it may seem you’ll be struggling as deeply as you are now, forever. But this is simply not true. While you will always carry your grief with you, over time you will learn to ride the waves of grief better and better, and they will have less of a painful and heavy impact on your daily life. 

6. You’re not alone. 

Grief & loss can be isolating, and it can seem like no one understands what you’re going through. Well-meant comments often feel like harsh understatements, and can leave you feeling alone and hopeless. In reality, so many people are here to help support you who truly understand what you are going through. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and alone, online group therapy is the perfect place to discover the support and encouragement you need to get through this period of intense grieving. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT GROUP THERAPY FOR GRIEF & LOSS 

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When To Get Help For Relationship Issues

Relationship Issues

When To Get Help For Relationship Issues

Are you starting to wonder if your relationship is at the point of no return? Are you wondering if you need help? These doubts tend to creep in when constant conflict, emotional disconnect, or intimacy issues are becoming a regular part of your relationship’s daily reality. 

Are there patterns of lying in your relationship? Infidelity? Small bickering moments that escalate into all-out fights? Insults, outbursts, and mood swings? Less and less time together? Or, is it beyond the obvious? Is it more about how you feel around your partner - disconnected, ignored, disrespected, unloved, or abandoned. 

Whether you’re at the beginning of this relationship rollercoaster, or deep into the weeds of ongoing problems, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to seek out professional help. So how do you know when you’re experiencing normal relationship issues, rather than in need of some serious fixing? 

Normal vs. Critical 

The truth is, everyone’s relationship will involve arguments, disconnect, communication challenges, and emotional and intimacy hurdles over time. The more you get to know someone, the more comfortable you will likely be airing your opinions without much filter, or expressing your emotions in a more direct (and sometimes thoughtless) way. It’s okay to have conflict, and to understand that learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries and develop good communication in your relationship will take time and effort, on both sides. 

So how do you know when your relationship needs help? 

  • Constant Criticism: There is a distinct difference between offering constructive critique to your partner, and blaming all of your arguments on what you perceive as their shortcomings. If criticisms are being offered on one or both sides at a reckless and useless level, rather than as a form of constructive growth, it may be time to get help. 
  • Growing Contempt: When your arguments and disagreements become characterized by a sense of contemptuous superiority, or you or your partner are mocking, cruel, or mean, when you feel cornered or are trying to make a point, it is likely time to get help for your relationship issues.
  • Destructive Defensiveness: When you or your partner offer constructive criticism (the positive kind), or ask questions, is there a consistently defensive response? Defensiveness is characterized by a refusal to accept or listen to critique, and often by a counter-attack (such as insults or a flipped script) rather than a serious attempt to listen, absorb, understand, and grow. 
  • Shutting Down: Also known as “Stonewalling” in relationships, shutting down involves a refusal to engage or communicate with your partner when there is a concern or something to be resolved. If there is a growing pattern of withdrawing, use of the “silent treatment” as a weapon, and/or a refusal to engage in healthy dialogue about relationship problems, it’s probably time to get help for your relationship. 
  • Physical Escalation: If your relationship has reached the point of physical altercation, you definitely need to seek help. When relationships move past concerns like alienation, defensiveness, withdrawal, etc. and move into the realm of physical abuse, you must seek support to ensure the safety of you and your partner and to salvage things before it is too late. 

If you’re realizing it’s time to seek help for your relationship issues, Grouport can offer you that support today. Our online group therapy for relationship issues covers a myriad of problems and is led by licensed mental health professionals who truly care about your wellbeing and your future. Reach out today and one of our qualified intake coordinators will help you get started! 

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How To Decide Between CBT And DBT For Mental Health Therapy

DBT

How To Decide Between CBT And DBT For Mental Health Therapy

If you’re looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you might be wondering what the difference is, and which is best for you. Both types of psychotherapy have magnificent benefits, and are widely applied to a number of mental illnesses. In short, CBT primarily helps a patient frame thoughts differently in order to use logic to inform emotion. DBT, while derived in part from CBT, is a more specific type of talk therapy that focuses on helping those with intense emotional regulation issues to control their emotions in order to live a healthier, more peaceful life. 

While both CBT and DBT are beneficial forms of therapy, understanding their differences can help you figure out which one is best for you. 

CBT Treatment

CBT is utilized in all types of therapy, including both individual and online group therapy, and focuses primarily on the following: 

  • Emotional Response: CBT is founded on the idea that the way we think directly affects our feelings and reactions. Therefore, if we can change the way we think, we can learn to react in ways that help us feel better and more in control of our emotions. 
  • Short-Term Resolution: CBT is most often used for short-term patients looking to practice strategies that help improve their daily life. If CBT is not working when they branch out on their own, most patients will then pursue additional therapy types in order to process trauma or other concerns keeping them from better mental health. 
  • Logic-Based Processing: CBT helps the patient practice using logic to inform their reactions, instead of emotions. 

DBT Treatment

Even though DBT is a form of CBT, it is more focused on helping people who struggle to acknowledge the suffering they’re feeling, and to help them choose better behaviors rather than letting intense emotional drive them to impulsive, painful, or destructive choices. For this form of therapy, the emphasis is less on the internal dialogue and more on controlling outside triggers and how to respond to triggers with healthy coping skills. 

Which One Is Better? 

Neither CBT or DBT are better or worse forms of treatment. In reality, all types of mental health conditions respond differently to different types of treatment. Some techniques work better than others for specific patients, and some work great in conjunction with each other. However, there are some historical uses for these types of therapy and studies which show the following: 

  • CBT is most effective for: depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, stress, and insomnia. 
  • DBT is most often used for: BPD, suicidal ideation, and sexual trauma survivors.

How To Know If CBT or DBT Are Best For You

If you’re trying to decide between these two powerful types of therapy, the best thing you can do is talk to a licensed mental health professional to get their input! Reach out today to schedule a consultation with one of Grouport’s trained intake coordinators who will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and end goals in order to recommend the best type of therapy for you. 

START HERE

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Why You Should Try Group Therapy for BPD

BPD

Why You Should Try Group Therapy for BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects over 5 million Americans. This mental health condition comes with a myriad of challenging and often overwhelming symptoms, such as intense outbursts, suicidal ideations, legal troubles, self-harm habits, destructive interpersonal tendencies, and a host of emotions such as loneliness, hopelessness, numbness and anger. Different BPD symptoms require different types of treatment, because some symptoms are more challenging to treat than others. 

Because of the sheer weight of the challenges associated with BPD, a lot of people who receive this diagnosis may be left feeling desperate for resources, solutions and treatments to mitigate their symptoms. This anxiety or concern is normal. Luckily, decades of development surrounding treatment for BPD mean that there are a number of options available to those with this condition. Here are just a few. 

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is usually the first recourse for anyone struggling with BPD. This is the most well-known type of therapy, and simply constitutes weekly sessions with a licensed mental health provider to discuss symptoms, solutions, and ways to adjust perspective and patterns in order to move forward in healthy, constructive ways. If talk therapy is working well for the patient, it is unlikely they will need additional support or medication.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

The second most commonly used type of therapy for BPD is a form of psychotherapy known as DBT, which was actually developed in the 1980’s specifically for this disorder. This therapy style helps those living with BPD to develop mindfulness in order to decrease the intensity of emotions, reduce their likelihood of self-destructive choices, improve the health of their interpersonal relationships, and manage stress. It most often includes both individual and group therapy sessions in order to develop social skills and practice the techniques in real-time. 

Transference-focused Therapy (TFP)

This form of therapy targets a patient’s understanding of their emotions, helping them to dive deep into the foundation of their worldview and perspective in order to dissect the reasoning behind intense feeling. TFP is mostly practiced directly between patient and therapist in order to cultivate better behavioral choices in the outside world.

Mentalization-based Therapy (MBT)

Less well-known than other forms of therapy for BPD, MBT is still a viable option for those living with BPD symptoms. This is actually another form of talk therapy, but it focuses most on teaching the patient to understand the feelings, opinions, and thoughts of others. In developing a greater sense of empathy and understanding for other people, those with BPD can begin to demonstrate healthier emotional regulation and communication habits. 

Self-Care Habits

One way to support your BPD treatment protocol is with healthy self-care habits. Doing your best to maintain healthy eating, exercise, and sleep patterns can significantly reduce your symptoms and create a more positive, mindful experience as you navigate life with BPD.

Medication 

While it may be tempting to dive headfirst into medication for BPD, the reality is that therapy is usually the first best choice to explore once diagnosed with this condition. Medication can help treat coexisting conditions of BPD, such as anxiety, impulse control, and depression, but it is not a cure-all for BPD as a condition. Medication can also come with significant side effects, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns before adding medication to your BPD treatment protocol. 

Now that you’re aware of the wide variety of treatment options available for BPD, where do you start? There’s actually a powerful and viable option that encompasses all of these treatment options into one cohesive solution, called group therapy. This type of therapy can be experienced online or in-person, and provides added benefits specifically for those with BPD. 

Group Therapy for BPD

One of the greatest challenges for anyone living with BPD is building healthy relationships, both at work, in romantic partnerships, and with friends and family. The intense and often volatile nature of emotional symptoms associated with BPD make it difficult to maintain and nurture connection. For this reason it becomes super important for those working through BPD symptoms to practice their treatment techniques in a safe, supportive environment. 

In-person or online group therapy for BPD offers the benefits of mental health supervision from a licensed therapist, along with the community support, encouragement, and opportunity to practice better behaviors and communication techniques required for a healthier future. This is one of the best therapy options available for those navigating the challenges of life with BPD.  

Learn more about group therapy for BPD

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Here’s What You Need To Know About Healing From Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

Here’s What You Need To Know About Healing From Grief & Loss

Moving on after losing a loved one is never easy. Wherever there has been deep emotions, like love and affection, there will be emptiness and grief in its absence. Adjusting to the reality of life without your loved one is not easy, quick, or predictable in its process. Healing from grief & loss is unique to each person and their journey. 

Your Grieving Journey Is Unique To YOU

Some people describe moments in their healing process as dissociative, while others feel shattered, or even confused by an odd sense of peace. If you’re on your healing journey, one thing you’ll definitely find is that staying busy or avoiding facing your grief does nothing but delay and prolong your suffering. It might be the hardest thing you can dream of doing, but embracing the natural ebb and flow of the grief process will help you heal better, faster, and more wholly from your loss. As you navigate this process with its inevitable ups and downs, Here’s What You Need To Know About Healing From Grief & Loss: 

1. Understand the difference between loneliness and isolation

It’s normal to feel that no one understands exactly what you’re going through, but feeling completely cut off from healthy friendships and relationships with those who support you can lead to a downward spiral. 

2. Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards

Grief is an unpredictable cycle. Remember that you are completely normal for having highs and lows that may at times cripple your productivity or hit you out of nowhere. Cut yourself some slack, and embrace the emotions so you can work through them instead of fighting or avoiding them. 

3. Set small, healthy, achievable goals every day

Focus on the basics, like going to bed at a reasonable time; not drinking too much alcohol or turning to other substances for avoidance; taking time to move your body, and showing up for yourself where you can.

4. Make lists of critical tasks

Grief can numb you to the point of feeling “spaced out” and missing things that are important to stay on top of for everyday life. Don’t be surprised if your list of daily to-do’s while you’re grieving includes things you never thought you’d have to write down, such as brushing your teeth, making your bed, or eating breakfast.  Lists can really help keep you on track as you walk through the process of grieving. 

5. Be open with others, when comfortable

Learn to be honest with yourself. Maybe that birthday party you committed to attending feels too overwhelming today. Maybe the deadline you set for yourself is too aggressive. Maybe you need more time before you can reconnect in the dating world. Whatever makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, be honest with yourself and others about where you’re at, and what you need. 

6. Talk to a doctor or licensed mental health worker

You’re going to need support in this challenging time, and it is helpful to have others keeping track of your health during a time of bereavement. They can ensure your own physical and mental health don’t slip as you work through grief’s ups and downs. 

When To Get Help For Grief & Loss

While it’s easy to get the two confused, grief and depression are in fact very different. Grieving can move you toward depressive episodes, however, and these can escalate over time if you don’t seek out support. The grief process can leave you disconnected from others, struggling with insomnia, motivation, healthy choices (eating, exercise, avoidance of drugs or alcohol), and not feeling present in your own life. It’s important to get the support of a licensed mental health professional if you’re noticing that your grief is driving destructive patterns in your life to the point of feeling depressed. 

Grouport’s Grief & Loss Therapy Groups offer a welcoming, safe environment with others who truly understand your experience and can encourage you to keep moving forward. Learn more HERE

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A Survival Guide To Living With BPD

BPD

A Survival Guide To Living With BPD

If you’re struggling under the weight of your Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis, you’re not alone. For almost 2% of the American population, this mental health condition poses significant challenges. You may be overwhelmed by intense emotions, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, or even numbness. All of these feelings can make everyday life very challenging for those living with BPD. The good news? Thousands of people just like you have learned how to live rich and fulfilling lives, even while working through their BPD symptoms. 

Here are some ways that you may see BPD symptoms affecting your daily reality: 

- BPD Can Impact Your Physical Health 

One of the least discussed but most important side effects of BPD symptoms is the potential impact on your physical wellbeing. Many people living with BPD are also diagnosed with other conditions, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, obesity, diabetes, and other serious health problems. In part, this can be due to unhealthy coping mechanisms sought out by those struggling with BPD, such as heavy alcohol use, smoking, substance abuse, and a lack of physical exercise. BPD can make it very hard to stay on track, no matter how healthy you believe you want to be.

- BPD Can Impact Your Work Life 

Trying to focus on school, work, hobbies, or other pursuits? BPD can unfortunately interfere with all the above. Because of its regular impact on interpersonal relationships, those living with BPD may feel they are constantly getting in trouble or in conflict with teachers, bosses, coworkers, the law, or really anyone in authority. Emotional instability and hospitalizations can complicate your work and school schedule, and BPD can even impact your ability to concentrate on critical tasks, projects, or deadlines. 

- BPD Can Impact Your Relationships 

The intense emotional outbursts, mood swings and dramatic differences in day-to-day or even hourly feelings can put a significant strain on your relationships. This is actually one of the most well-known symptoms of BPD. Regular conflict, ongoing arguments, a state of constant tension, and difficulty getting along with or progressing through relationships with others may be part of life with BPD. 

In summary, BPD is a very serious disorder that can cause significant complications in your daily life. If any of the above symptoms and side effects of BPD resonated with you, you may be feeling discouraged. The good news is that many people with BPD have discovered specific ways to cope with their symptoms. You don’t have to resign yourself to an unfulfilling life full of challenges - there are powerful treatment options available for BPD and specific ways you can get help to mitigate your symptoms and rediscover a sense of hope and purpose. 

STEP 1: Get Mental Health Support

The most important first step you can take is to seek out a mental health professional who can guide you through the proper process for evaluating treatment options to see which choices make the most sense for you, your symptoms and goals. Grouport has online therapy groups for BPD available to you at an affordable rate from the comfort of your own home. TAKE THE FIRST STEP 

STEP 2: Create A Safety Plan

Your therapist or medical health provider can help you develop a safety plan. Because BPD comes with intense emotions and often leads to mental health emergencies (such as suicidal ideations or destructive outbursts), it is critical to have the support of a counselor to develop a safety plan in case of crisis. 

STEP 3: Pursue Self-Care

Developing a healthy lifestyle as much as possible can help reduce your emotional distress, increase endorphins for more positive feelings, and mitigate the intensity of your BPD symptoms. Doing your best to eat healthy, stay active, get consistent sleep, and practice good hygiene can significantly reduce the pain of living with BPD. Consider activities such as meditation, mindfulness exercises, and yoga as a way to bring awareness to your emotional state and to learn to calm yourself in the heat of a BPD episode. 

STEP 4: Seek Out Support

Most individuals with BPD will discover their need for accountability, community, and support. Not everyone has the luxury of people in their lives who understand this disorder or how to handle it, but do your best to educate friends, family, and anyone you interact with on a regular basis about your condition, symptoms, and how to help. One great resource for those living with BPD is group therapy, which can bring added value to your mental health care by offering up the experience of others just like you to normalize your emotional struggles and offer hope for the future. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT GROUP THERAPY FOR BPD

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The Four Key Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT

The Four Key Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is well-known in the therapy world as a type of talk therapy that can be performed in in-person individual therapy, group therapy, and virtual (online) therapy, or even over the phone. DBT is actually based on another type of psychotherapy - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but was adapted specifically to treat people who suffer from extreme emotions. This type of therapy was developed in the late 1980’s by psychologist Marsh M. Lineham, primarily to treat individuals with BPD and chronic suicidal ideations. The goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with negative mental health patterns to identify the root of those patterns, and to make positive changes to negative thinking for a better quality of life. 

If you’re enrolling in DBT group therapy, the purpose of your therapist-led sessions will be to lead you toward more positive, healthy ways to deal with stress and emotions in order to improve your emotional regulation over time. DBT can help you learn how to accept situations you cannot change, alter your thinking, increase your distress tolerance, and communicate better in your interpersonal relationships. While many people think DBT is comprised of 6 modules, DBT actually has 4 key points that work together toward an individual’s wellbeing: 

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps those enrolled in DBT therapy to practice being present and fully aware in every moment. It helps patients not to step back too far, as thinking too much about the future can bring uncertainty, anxiety, and distress. Developing into a mindful individual helps with tolerance of overwhelming emotions and is based on the principle of peaceful acceptance of reality. Mindfulness helps you slow down and focus on positive things, no matter how negative your circumstances may appear.

2. Distress Tolerance

The concept of distress tolerance revolves around the idea that certain situations escalate our emotions to the point of distress, which makes it very difficult to stay in control. Learning mindfulness (acceptance) is the first step in distress tolerance, but others include: 

  1. Purposeful situational improvement
  2. Self-soothing techniques
  3. Evaluation of positives/negatives
  4. Healthy distraction 

This module also often includes the concept of radical acceptance, which is the idea that you are capable of embracing both high highs and low lows throughout your life. 

3. Interpersonal Effectiveness

After you master mindfulness through DBT, you’ll begin to learn how to better interact with those around you, especially those people or situations that create stress on a regular basis. This module helps you discover healthier communication techniques, and how to create space for yourself to build self-respect and to process and honor your emotions. 

4. Emotional Regulation

The final key point of DBT is emotional regulation, which is the most important. Using DBT in group therapy to learn how to control your emotions (especially depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, or fear) will bring greater peace and acceptance to your everyday life. 

Think you might benefit from DBT Therapy?

Don’t hesitate to reach out today! Our online DBT group therapy is an easy, affordable solution to many mental health conditions and could make a powerful difference in your future wellbeing. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DBT GROUPS

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Four Common Misunderstandings About DBT

DBT

Four Common Misunderstandings About DBT

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a rising model of psychotherapy treatment that is becoming very popular in both individual and online group therapy for its powerful benefits. While this model of therapy has been around since the 1980s, an increased awareness in recent years around mental health and treatment options has shone the spotlight on DBT, bringing with it both truths and myths. 

For individuals wrestling with a variety of mental health conditions, including BPD, PTSD, suicidal tendencies, and more, DBT is often broached as a viable treatment option. If you’ve been encouraged to consider DBT therapy as a way of managing and treating your current struggles or mental health condition, read more about these Four Common Misunderstandings About DBT before you dive in. 

1. DBT Is Just For Suicide Prevention

FALSE. DBT helps improve everyday life, decision-making, relationships, and emotional regulation. While this form of therapy has definitely been useful for treatment of suicidal ideations, that is because at its core, suicide is based on the concept that life is no longer worth living, or is too full of suffering. DBT aims to improve quality of life and to build greater meaning and satisfaction for anyone who chooses this type of treatment. Working through DBT with your therapist can help you recognize, address, and minimize feelings that are often the root cause of a myriad of problems other than just suicidal ideations, including relationship issues, impulsive behavior, emotional regulation challenges, and more. 

2. DBT Takes Too Long 

FALSE. While this type of therapy can take longer than others, it is still an outpatient treatment. By comparison, the time you will spend in DBT therapy for anxiety, emotional problems, stress, interpersonal tension, or other mental health conditions is far less than the time you are spending immersed in these problems every day. 

3. DBT Only Works For BPD

FALSE. DBT has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health conditions, including but not limited to: 

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • BPD
  • PTSD
  • Substance Abuse
  • Disordered Eating 
  • Suicidal Tendencies & more. 

In reality, DBT is widely applicable to a variety of these conditions and disorders because of its process and goals. As a form of CBT, DBT helps anyone struggling to acknowledge suffering, or limited by behaviors which are ruled through intense, impulsive emotion. Essentially, the goal of DBT is to take destructive choices and patterns, dissect their root cause and triggers, and rebuild helpful coping mechanisms instead. 

4. DBT Is A Last Resort 

FALSE. A lot of patients turn to DBT when nothing else is working, but in many cases your therapist will suggest this type of therapy early on, depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, as well as your goals. DBT isn’t a bandaid solution, but a purposeful tool you can leverage on your mental health journey when guided by a licensed mental health provider.

If you’re considering DBT, online DBT group therapy may be right for you! Grouport DBT resources are available at your fingertips to help you improve your mental health & wellbeing. You deserve to feel better. Learn more HERE.

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5 Common Relationship Issues Group Therapy Can Help

Relationship Issues

5 Common Relationship Issues Group Therapy Can Help

No matter who you are, any long-standing interpersonal relationship in your life will at some point face challenges of some kind. These can be platonic, romantic, familial, or even work-related, but every relationship is prone to issues. These can often be communication based, or related to other problems like intimacy or infidelity. Whatever the nature of your relationship, if you find there is strain and stress that is beginning to impact your mental health, you may benefit from group therapy for relationship issues. 

Before you jump into therapy, it is helpful to analyze what type of core problems the relationship is facing. You can discuss this with your partner/the other person in the relationship, evaluate on your own, or reach out to a trained mental health professional to begin to understand what your needs and goals will be for therapy. 

Here are the 5 most common relationship issues people seek therapy for: 

1. Communication Problems

The most common core issue couples (and other relationship types) seek counseling for - whether they realize it or not - is communication. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences with our own trauma and understanding of how to communicate, express ourselves, and resolve conflict. It is no wonder these do not always align! Common communication problems often surface through regular arguments, blameshifting, defensiveness, withdrawal or avoidance. Oftentimes one person is much better at expressing their feelings than the other, or one feels steamrolled by the other. Different comm unication styles can lead to a perspective that you are not being heard, understood, or cared for which creates a rift in your relationship and can lead to a sense of hopelessness when you don’t see eye to eye. Group therapy for communication problems in relationships allows the therapist to function as an impartial third-party mediator to help you both see the other’s side and learn to communicate in healthier, more constructive ways to diminish likelihood of conflict. 

2. Intimacy Issues

Many romantic relationships begin with the honeymoon stage, where intimacy is thriving and everyone’s sexual needs are being met. Over time, this passion can wane, and can create a sense of distance from your partner. You may feel less bonded, less attracted, and less fulfilled on an emotional and sexual intimacy level. Do you feel a desire to be close, but sense the distance? This is a good sign that there may be intimacy issues in your relationship. Group therapy for intimacy issues in relationships can help you rediscover the spark and connection that drew you to your partner to begin with. 

3. Trauma & PTSD

If you or your partner have experienced any traumatic life events, they may be diagnosed with PTSD, and might struggle with anxiety, depression, fear, or all sorts of side effects of trauma. Whether you, your partner, or both are working through the long-term impact of trauma, it can be difficult to know what to say and how to offer support. For this reason a completely exterior circumstance can lead to a disconnect in your day to day relationship, manifesting as angry mood swings, avoidance, restlessness, insomnia, or fear. Group therapy for trauma in relationships can help you and/or your partner learn how to better communicate in a way that makes the other person feel safe and cultivates a sense of peace and respite in the relationship, rather than adding stress to it. 

4. Emotional Disassociation 

Most relationships will go through periods where one person or the other feels their emotional needs are not being met adequately by their partner. Meeting emotional needs is critical to the health of your relationship (on both sides), as this creates a sense of comfort and love which contribute to healthy attachment styles and communication. If you’re feeling distant or disconnected from your partner, you may be experiencing emotional disassociation. Group therapy for emotional distance in relationships can help bring you back together in order to meet each other’s needs in a healthy and fulfilling way. 

5. Infidelity 

Affairs (both emotional and physical) are one of the most difficult things to overcome for any relationship. The good news? People have done it. Couples who experience infidelity over the course of their relationship DO go on to repair their relationship afterwards, and can even experience a greater sense of closeness and companionship. Group therapy for infidelity issues in relationships will help guide the unfaithful partner to the cause of their infidelity and lead both people toward the healthier, more honest communication that is required to repair trust. 

Concerned about any of these relationship problems, or others? Group therapy for relationship issues can help!

Learn more about how group therapy can bring healing and joy back into your relationship.

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Coping With Climate Anxiety

Anxiety

Coping With Climate Anxiety

As Earth Day approaches, many of us are experiencing high levels of anxiety about the climate crisis. If you’re feeling worried about the future of our planet, you’re not alone: more than 60% of young adults say they’re struggling with “climate anxiety.”

Climate anxiety is a new term for those wrestling with the eco crisis. As we become more aware of the ramifications of climate change, it’s normal to deal with feelings of despair, grief, and anxiety. Nature can have a powerful impact on our physical and mental health  - from stress reduction to mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety to strengthening your immune system, nature helps us recover faster from the weight of life’s challenges and the burden of mental health conditions. Here are a few key facts about nature and how it relates to your mental health:

Why Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? 

For a long time, scientists and psychologists have studied the link between nature and human health. It’s fairly undisputed that spending time outside can help create better cognitive balance and restore emotional energy throughout the day. From sunshine to earth connection, the concept of “biophilia” actually implies that physical contact and awareness of the earth is essential to our daily recovery. 

The Benefits Of Nature Exposure

Reconnecting with your natural habitat can bring soothing peace and restoration to your mind, and can help open up your senses to the bigger world around you. You can do this by spending time practicing mindfulness or grounding exercises outside (for instance, with your feet in the sand or on the grass), or simply by taking a walk and focusing on what you hear, feel and see. 

The Curse Of The Indoors

In 2021, over half of the population reported that they have spent less time outside since the pandemic hit. With higher levels of social anxiety, greater effort to socially distance, and many communities becoming dense and overpopulated with limited access to real land, it’s harder than ever to be outside. Unfortunately, spending more time indoors is directly linked to greater rates of depression, sleep disturbance, and decreased libido.

With these powerful findings in mind, it is no wonder that many people around the globe are feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the climate crisis. A natural fear over the potential to experience traumatic climate events or breakdown has evolved from a concern for the state of our world.

Here are 3 Ways To Cope With Climate Anxiety:

Be Mindful 

As with most types of anxiety, you can benefit significantly from mindfulness techniques to soothe and calm your mental state. Use guided meditation tools, seek out support in online group therapy, or work with a psychotherapist to help you cope with climate anxiety. Bringing your mind to a place of peace is the first step. 

Be Positive 

With an ecological crisis swirling around us, the temptation can be to focus on all of the negatives, and to fall into a sense of disempowerment. When you feel yourself being caught up in a wash cycle of despairing news briefs, research or social media, take a break to redirect your attention toward positive information. Remind yourself you’re not alone and that millions of people just like you care about the bigger picture. 

Be Active 

Coping with climate anxiety ultimately requires taking action to rediscover a sense of empowerment and control. Try to build connections with like-minded people to pursue change in support of the climate movement as a whole. You can also use your imagination to find new ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, advocate within your local community for change, and spend more time connecting to nature. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the climate crisis, and need help coping with climate anxiety, Grouport’s online therapy groups for anxiety are a great tool available right now for you from the comfort of your own home (or favorite nature spot!). 

LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE GROUP THERAPY FOR ANXIETY

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Grouport Therapy Session Guidelines

Grouport Info

Grouport Therapy Session Guidelines

Excited to get started? So are we! Here are a few simple guidelines you’ll want to follow to ensure a seamless therapy experience for you and your group.

 

Be Prepared: 

Start by downloading zoom before your Grouport session so you can be ready for the video call with your therapist. Your private session link will be available as soon as you log into your member dashboard, and will also be sent by email 24 hours before each session! Every session is completely private, so we recommend joining with your video on to help build a sense of community.

Be Consistent: 

We know schedules can get busy, but consistent attendance is proven to make a huge difference in your growth & success over time. Make sure to set reminders so you can join your sessions promptly - we don’t want you to miss anything, and being on time shows respect to your therapist and other group members!

 

Be Present: 

In order to make the most out of your therapy session, we ask that every member silence their phone to avoid interruptions. Try to also stay seated or in one place to avoid distractions for you and other Grouport members. If you’re using your phone for the zoom call, disable text or call notifications in settings to avoid interruption.

 

Be Confidential: 

Everything shared in your Grouport therapy session is confidential and we ask that you and your group protect each other’s privacy by avoiding sharing any personal information, stories, or struggles outside of the group. We want everyone to feel comfortable sharing. 

 

Be Respectful: 

As you get used to the flow of group therapy, try to make sure you’re on mute when you aren’t speaking to diminish background noise. Make an effort to listen to others without interrupting, and offer respect to everyone in your group. 

 

Be Patient: 

The path to better mental health isn’t always a quick one - it’s important to prepare yourself for the ups and downs you may experience as you do the work! Just remember that sticking with your therapy pays off as you grow to experience life-changing results. Believe in yourself and be patient with the process. You can do it! 

 

Having any technical difficulties? Email info@grouporttherapy.com for support at any time.

 

Click here for more FAQs.

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Living With Anxiety & Depression In New York: The Struggle Is Real

Anxiety

Living With Anxiety & Depression In New York: The Struggle Is Real

Cars are honking, dogs are barking, and lights are flashing. Living in New York City can be incredibly stressful: there’s always some sort of drama going on around you, no matter where you are and what time of day or night it is. And if you’re living here while struggling with anxiety and depression, it’s no surprise that you may find it overstimulating, perhaps even to the point that it exacerbates your anxiety and depression.


While the struggle of living in New York and simultaneously navigating anxiety and depression is, indeed, real, there are also many resources available to seek help. Therapy in New York is easy to find, and because of our city’s diversity, there are many different options at your disposal.

       For starters, you could look into NYC therapy groups. The American Psychological Association says that group therapy can provide a secure way for people to address issues you may or may not be struggling with, including but not limited to anxiety and depression. A typical group therapy session will have a group of five to fifteen individuals led by at least one trained mental healthcare specialist.

       Therapy groups tend to meet at the same time and day each week for about an hour or two. Additionally, you may opt to enroll in individual therapy sessions that seek to complement the work you are doing in your therapy group. Furthermore, some therapy groups tackle more general issues, like low self esteem or loneliness, while others will focus on specific issues, such as social anxiety or substance abuse. Still, there are other therapy groups that may be hyper focused, such as ones that seek to help those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

       Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy that is completed from the comfort of your own home. This is a viable option given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the incredibly contagious Omicron variant. Furthermore, completing therapy from the safety and comfort of your own home may encourage you to open up more.

       Group therapy can be intimidating for those who are new to it. Rest assured that your privacy and comfort is of utmost importance to us at Grouport. No one is required to speak up during group sessions; if you prefer, you may instead listen and learn. Furthermore, we use end to end encrypted systems and all of our software is HIPAA compliant. You can also use a nickname instead of your real name if you wish.

       If you choose to enroll in our services, we will set you up with a private, initial consultation with one of our trained mental health professionals. This twenty minute call will allow your therapist to get to know more about you so that they can place you in a therapy group that is most well suited to your particular needs.

       Our therapy groups here at Grouport are capped at twelve people. We will continue to populate a given group until it reaches its maximum. Additionally, all of our groups meet for an hour at the same time and day each week. 






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The Psychology of Change & How To Get Started

Personal Growth

The Psychology of Change & How To Get Started

Have you ever felt restless and unhappy with your environment, occupation, diet, living situation, romantic partner, finances, hobbies, or even your own body? We all yearn for change - especially when our mental health is taking a hit.

No matter what you're struggling with right now, rest assured that you are capable of manifesting the change you need and deserve. But how do you get started? 

Believe it or not, psychologists and researchers agree there is an actual process for how change occurs. Resolving that restlessness and unhappiness you feel involves specific stages you'll need to go through in order to truly bring about lasting change.

Below you'll find a complete description of the three elements and six stages involved in the psychology of getting started.


Grouport will be used as an example to demonstrate a change (group therapy) someone wants to bring about in their life. 


Elements of Change: The Stages of Change Model


There are three key elements of change, and to succeed at manifesting any change, you'll want to know them! Make sure to ask yourself these key questions (we suggest writing them down) as you begin the process of pursuing positive change.


  1. Readiness to change: Do you have the knowledge and resources you need to start trying group therapy?
  2. Barriers to progress: Is there anything preventing you from starting group therapy and attending consistently?
  3. Awareness of pitfalls: What might trigger you to relapse back into old coping mechanisms and stop attending Grouport therapy?


Stage 1: Precontemplation

Summary

The earliest stage of change, precontemplation, is all about being in denial when it comes to realizing that a current behavior is posing problems in your life or the lives of others. Maybe you don't recognize that the behavior is harmful, or that it is having negative consequences. 

Example

You’re struggling with anxiety and have specific concerns that you feel like your friends and family just won’t understand, but you’re not open to trying group therapy or any other kind of therapy. So you turn to bad habits and unhelpful coping mechanisms to relieve yourself from the stress and anxiety that this is causing in your life (alcohol, overworking, drugs, or any other form of escapism). These bad habits lead to more anxiety and more issues, which compounds the underlying problem and makes it worse. 

Stage 1 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Ignorance of situation
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Denial that there is a problem

Strategies to Create Change

  • Self-reflect on your actions
  • Take an honest personal inventory
  • Assess the risks of your current behavior/coping mechanisms
  • Envision better habits and recognize your ability to choose change

Stage 2: Contemplation

Summary

The second stage of change is easy to recognize: This is where you admit to yourself the positive benefits of making a certain change (like group therapy)! This is also the time frame where it becomes clear that you will need to give up certain things in order to achieve change. As a result, this stage can bring with it a sense of inner conflict.

Example

You see Grouport mentioned in an article online and see all of the groups they offer. The one that resonates the most with you is the Anxiety Group, and you’re instantly curious to meet others who experience similar feelings of anxiety in their lives. You begin to imagine the freedom of life without anxiety. But, this also causes stress, because your brain starts to worry about where to find the time for your group therapy sessions or how to fit therapy into your budget.

Stage 2 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Having mixed feelings 
  • Creating reasons for resistance 
  • Making excuses 

Strategies to Create Change

  • Make a pro and con list
  • Identify any barriers in your way
  • Visualize how positive change (like freedom from anxiety) will impact your life in specific ways

Stage 3: Preparation

Summary

You're halfway there! During the preparation stage, you might start introducing small changes to your lifestyle and “trying on” what it feels like. For instance if you want to stop drinking alcohol, you might start by only drinking on the weekends or special occasions, before completely quitting cold turkey. This stage eases any resistance in your mind and prepares it for the next phase. 

Example

You start researching the different types of therapy online. You make a list of the pros and cons of individual vs. group therapy because you want to weigh your options. Some of your colleagues go to therapy, so you ask them questions about their therapists, what techniques they use, and if they find therapy beneficial. Then, you begin journaling your goals for therapy and what you are hoping to achieve from trying group therapy. 

Stage 3 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Starting to experiment in small doses
  • Learning more about the change
  • Collecting resources and seeking support

Strategies to Create Change

  • Journal goals for the change
  • Outline actionable items and next steps
  • Participate in affirmations

Stage 4: Action

Summary

Action is the fourth stage of change, which includes any direct action you take that leads you close toward your goal! This stage is one of the hardest to stick to if the other phases haven’t been mastered yet. It’s easy to relapse or give up if you haven't taken the time to make your goal (such as attending group therapy) and the purpose of this change (such as diminishing anxiety) clear to yourself.

Example

You decide to sign up for a consultation at Grouport. After your initial consultation with a licensed professional at Grouport, you are matched with the Anxiety Group because the counselor agrees this is where your needs will be best met. You receive a unique link in your email for the first meeting day and time. You add the session to your day planner and phone calendar. A few days later, you attend your first Grouport online group therapy session. It lasts one hour and you are billed only $35 (less than 1/4 of the individual therapy costs you saw in your earlier research).

Stage 4 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Taking direct action
  • Exploring replacement habits

Strategies to Create Change

  • Attend an event
  • Sign up for a class
  • Celebrate small victories
  • Seek social support and accountability

Stage 5: Maintenance

Summary

During the maintenance stage of change, you should become reassured that you will be able to continue your new habit long-term. A few setbacks or relapses are normal, but if the new change is applied most of the time, eventually you will become more confident in the change and learn to trust the process. It will become habit for you!

Example

Grouport becomes a place where you finally feel like you’re not alone. Surrounded by others with similar struggles, you feel like you’re learning a lot by giving and receiving feedback to these new peers. Your communication and socialization skills are improving, and you practice exercises for coping with anxiety that you can take home and apply to your day-to-day life. There is a strong sense of belonging that comes with being a Grouport member, and conquering your long-term anxiety begins to feel less intimidating with consistent group therapy.

Stage 5 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Staying committed to the new change
  • Avoiding the temptation of past behavior
  • Turning off excuses or negative thoughts

Strategies to Create Change

  • Reward yourself by celebrating milestones
  • Utilize the advantages of your new change
  • Spend time with people who have similar goals

Stage 6: The Possibility of Relapse

Summary

There is a cocktail of positive and negative feelings surrounding the level of commitment involved in a long-term lifestyle change. It’s normal to feel frustrated or disappointed sometimes with what may feel like slow progress, setbacks, or temptations. The key is to keep your confidence levels high and not let self-doubt and fear take over. You can do this! 

Example

Trying group therapy is going well! You feel at home in the Grouport space, and you’re starting to get to know the other members in your group on a more personal level. The sessions are relaxed, inviting, and helpful. You're getting into a rhythm. But one day, your work situation changes and you find yourself having one of the most stressful months you can remember. You skip your Grouport sessions for three weeks straight and turn to alcohol and junk food to escape from the surge in anxiety. But, you recognize the relapse, forgive yourself, and reaffirm your promise to stay focused on your new anxiety coping mechanism: group therapy. You set reminders in your phone calendar for the next month of Grouport sessions, ask a friend to hold you accountable to attend, and commit to yourself to follow through even during (and especially in) stressful times. 

Stage 6 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Self-doubt
  • Resentment or regret
  • Fear of missing out
  • Feelings of failure

Strategies to Create Change

  • Tune into the places, activities, or people that trigger relapse
  • Knock down and remove barriers wherever possible
  • Re-read affirmations or write new ones 
  • Seek out continuous social support
  • Track your progress and remember how far you've come

Understanding the psychology of change and all of its modules helps you become more equipped to recognize your need for change and take the steps required to manifest positive change in your life, long-term.


Is Grouport worth it?

Grouport’s innovative system ensures an individual can receive the benefits of group therapy in a way that is specifically tailored to their situation for optimal progress.


Expert-led group sessions are known to empower members to feel less alone, develop critical relational skills, and gain support and wisdom from others that they can apply to all areas of their lives.


Group therapy reaffirms the commitment to healthy replacement habits and permanent lifestyle changes and members receive lifelong support and love from one another. 

Grouport Reviews


“The therapy from Grouport is high quality and convenient. I am becoming much more self aware and am liking myself more. My relationships at work are better and I’m much happier.” - Janice, 56


“I highly recommend this to anyone who is struggling with anxiety or depression. The therapists are top notch and have made me feel really comfortable and my anxiety has improved tremendously in only a few sessions!” -Avi, 37


It's difficult for me to stay motivated to practice DBT and this group helps me. It helps me focus and practice DBT skills for an hour. I'm unable to do this on my own. And it's nice to be around a group of people for support.” - Liz, 34


“Grouport has truly shown me that I am not the only one struggling.” - Sean, 30


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New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City

Anxiety

New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City

       New York City is one of the toughest cities to live in: if you want to live here for the long haul, it’s important that you develop strong distress tolerance. There will always be external stimuli threatening to overwhelm you, whether it is a car honking, music blaring, or people causing a ruckus around you. All of the above can also frequently be happening at once. Fun!

There are many different approaches that can help you deal with this stress, such as going on walks, working out, and even looking into group or individual therapy options. Here in New York City, there are practically endless possible solutions at your disposal, so why not take advantage of the resources our city has to offer?

One way that you can seek help is by looking into dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is a modified version of cognitive behavioral therapy. The primary goals of DBT are:

  • Improve individuals’ relationships with other people
  • Regulate emotions
  • Teach people how to live in the present moment
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms

While DBT was originally developed to help treat borderline personality disorder, it has been adapted in order to help a broad spectrum of other mental health issues, including but not limited to substance abuse, disordered eating, and post traumatic stress disorder.

DBT also works to help cultivate healthy distress tolerance skills that are geared to help individuals accept themselves and the current situation they may be in. These techniques seek to help prepare individuals for intense emotions, as well as equip them to cope by using positive long term perspectives. Some DBT techniques for crisis management include:

  • Self-soothing practices
  • Improving the moment
  • Distraction
  • Considering the pros and cons of not handling distress well

DBT can be taught to people via individual or group therapy settings, or also through coaching over the phone. Many NY therapy groups do, indeed, teach their clients DBT practices in order to help them navigate their day to day existence here in New York. 

And in NYC, therapy is at the tip of your fingers: if you do a quick search on Google, you will find an endless amount of options and resources in the palm of your hand. It is important, however, to remember that there are many different approaches to therapy, and that it is not a one size fits all approach.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted totally online, over Zoom meetings. And engaging in therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home is likely to encourage you to open up more because you will be in a familiar place. Furthermore, online therapy is safer: as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the highly transmissible Omicron variant. 

Should you enroll in Grouport, you will receive a 20 minute onboarding session with one of our trained professionals; they will get to know you a bit and, over the course of your session, discern what therapy group is most suited to your needs. 

After the meeting is over, we will tell you what group you have been matched with. Our groups are capped at 12 people and are filled up until they hit capacity. Each group meets for one hour per week, at the same time and day. You can find more FAQs here.


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10 ways to Improve Mindfulness in a Busy New York Lifestyle

Personal Growth

10 ways to Improve Mindfulness in a Busy New York Lifestyle

It’s no surprise that living amidst the hustle and bustle of New York can take a toll on you mentally and physically. You can easily get lost in the hectic lifestyle, finding yourself suffering from acute anxiety or even chronic pain. 

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is just one of many different approaches to psychotherapy that marries techniques drawn from cognitive therapy, meditation and the creation of mindfulness, which is a non judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present time. According to research that has been conducted over several years, mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been proven to be effective in treating many different mental illnesses, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • General unhappiness
  • General low mood
  • Depression, including treatment resistant depression
  • Depression caused by medical illness

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy works by encouraging its practitioners to interrupt their instinctual thought processes that may be exacerbating their mental struggles. Instead, those who practice mindfulness based cognitive therapy are encouraged to work through their feelings in healthier ways; this practice also urges you to observe and identify feelings that you are currently experiencing. 

10 ways that you can improve your mindfulness amidst a busy New York lifestyle include:

  1. Yoga: clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  2. Meditation: therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.
  3. Body scanning exercises: clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  4. Mindfulness stretching: this technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.
  5. Eating mindfully: eating meals without distractions, such as reading a book or watching TV, can help you better appreciate the mental and physical nourishment food provides.
  6. Spending time in nature: being outdoors does wonders for your body and mind; it can also help ground you in the present.
  7. Keeping track of how much time you spend using electronics: it is easy to experience information overload from the amount of media available at our fingertips; setting limits on your screen time–especially around bedtime–can help you feel more rooted and at peace. 
  8. Focusing on one thing at a time: tackling one task at a time and allowing yourself breaks in between is important.
  9. Slowing down: if you savor the process of the task you are completing, it will encourage you to provide it with thoughtful and deliberate attention; this, in turn, will promote healthy focus practices and may prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.
  10. Moving around: any type of body movement can help, especially if you make sure you stay aware of your body’s sensations in doing so. 


Mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be performed in individual or group therapy settings. And it can be carried out online or in person. Grouport offers group therapy that is conducted totally online from the safety of your home, providing a safe alternative for everyone as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Should you enroll in Grouport, you will receive a brief 20 minute initial consultation with one of our trained therapists; they will then match you with a group they feel is best suited to your needs. Your group will meet once a week at the same day and time, and reminder emails with unique Zoom links will be sent to your inbox 24 hours prior to each session.

You may find the answer to FAQs you have here.

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Therapy for Depression in NYC

Depression

Therapy for Depression in NYC

According to the Mayo Clinic, major depressive disorder--also known as depression or clinical depression--is a mood disorder that leads to persistent loss of interest and feelings of sadness. Depression not only affects the way people behave, think, and feel: it may also potentially lead to a range of physical and emotional issues. It can even, in severe cases, lead to difficulty in completing daily activities, and escalate into feelings that life is not worth living. In some cases, depression may require long term forms of treatment in order to battle it effectively, but it is important to stay positive: most individuals struggling with depression see improvement with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.


While in some individuals depression may only manifest once in their lifetimes, others tend to experience several depressive episodes over the course of their lives. During such episodes, individuals may experience symptoms on a nearly daily basis. These symptoms could include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability, frustration, or angry outbursts over minor things
  • Inexplicable physical issues such as headaches or back pain
  • Recurrent or frequent thoughts regarding suicide or death
  • Suicide attempts
  • Weight loss or reduced appetite
  • Weight gain or increased appetite
  • Lack of energy, making minor tasks require extra effort
  • General tiredness or exhaustion
  • Disturbances in one’s sleep patterns, such as over sleeping or insomnia
  • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, tearfulness, or general sadness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Increased fixation on past failures
  • Self blame
  • Slowed body movements, speaking, or thinking
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Having a hard time remembering things
  • Loss of interest in most (or all) activities one normally performs, such as hobbies, sex, or sports


Many individuals who suffer with depression will experience symptoms that are serious enough to cause noticeable disturbances in their daily lives. Their depression could interfere with their:

  • Relationships with loved ones
  • Social life
  • Performance at work or in school

And many individuals suffering from depression will feel overall unhappy or miserable and not understand why. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you make an appointment with a mental health professional or doctor if you feel depressed. However, if you feel hesitant to seek treatment at this time, it might be helpful to speak with a loved one, friend, a faith leader, or another individual you trust.

Here in New York City, there are many different resources at your disposal. And here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy that can be conducted from the comfort and safety of your own home; this is a useful option for seeking therapy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Should you choose to enroll in our services, you will have a brief, 20 minute initial consultation with one of our trained mental health professionals. You will then be matched with a therapy group we feel is best suited to your needs. Your therapy group will meet at the same day and time each week for an hour, and you will receive a unique, one time Zoom code 24 hours prior to your weekly appointment. Group therapy has been proven to be effective in the treatment of depression and various other mental illnesses. You may find the answer to FAQs you have here.

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Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Near Me

Depression

Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Near Me

When it comes to anxiety and depression, it’s important that the treatment of both illnesses, mental and physical, are rooted in a particular diagnosis given by an adequately trained healthcare professional. For those who have been given a dual diagnosis, it is equally as important that they are given a unique treatment plan designed to help them manage and reduce their overall symptoms. 

Anxiety & Depression Treatment Theory

While in many cases depression and anxiety have similar treatment approaches, a licensed therapist will decide if both should be treated simultaneously. Your therapist could use specific methods that address and reduce not only symptoms of anxiety, but also symptoms of depression at the same time. Some individuals, however, may find that one or the other diagnosis is leading to more negative symptoms. Whichever issue has the most symptoms should be treated first, whether that’s through therapy for depression, or therapy for anxiety. 

Even qualified mental health professionals sometimes struggle to decide which set of symptoms - related to anxiety or depression - should be treated first. If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, it is most likely that you’ll receive treatment for both at the same time. 

Anxiety & Depression Treatment and Success Rates

These days there are many different types of medications and therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be highly effective in treating a wide range of individuals for both anxiety and depression. Here in America, more than 10% of our population takes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs: they are, in fact, the most popular medications taken by people between the ages of 18 and 24. 

These medications are often administered as complements to psychotherapy. A very common psychotherapeutic approach to treating depression and anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is for therapists to help their patients replace their potentially maladaptive and negative thought and behavioral patterns with ones that are more useful, positive, and better grounded in reality.

Online Group Therapy for Anxiety 

Another way to seek help for anxiety disorders is through virtual therapy groups. Grouport offers online group therapy that you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Group therapy assures its members that they are not alone in their experiences, and provides them with the unique opportunity to connect with other people who are experiencing similar situations and issues. Additionally, therapy groups tend to be quite diverse, and those enrolled in them will have the opportunity to discuss their issues and gain a fresh perspective from others.

Our online therapy for anxiety will help you learn to manage your anxiety using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to identify triggers, challenge negative thought patterns, and establish more constructive behaviors for improved mental health & wellbeing. 

Online Group Therapy for Depression 

Our online therapy groups for depression help you cope with symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain energy, optimism, and enjoyment so you can have confidence in the future and find the motivation to keep moving forward, today. 

READ MORE ABOUT GROUP THERAPY FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

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How Many Types of Therapy Are There?

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How Many Types of Therapy Are There?

CBT?

DBT?

EMDR?

These are types of therapy that may sound like absolute gibberish to you if you have never been before (or if you’ve only been to a few generalized sessions).

What are these specific therapies, what are they used to treat, and how do you know if they’re right for you?

Below you’ll see a breakdown of the most common types of psychotherapy used in group therapy, online therapy, in-person therapy, and individual therapy.

After learning what each means and gaining knowledge on what to expect, you’ll be able to better understand your needs and which therapy is right for you.

Keep in mind, at Grouport, you are matched with a group based on what you’re experiencing (anxiety, depression, and so on). The matching process involves a 20-minute consultation with a licensed mental health professional and an initial assessment.

Your group is then designed for its members to practice whatever methods and techniques fit that specific condition. For example, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR) is used in our PTSD group because it is specifically developed for reducing the power of traumatic memories. So all of the guesswork of which therapy goes with what is done for you!

Here are the most common types of therapy:

Internal family systems (IFS)

IFS is based on the view that the mind is made up of subpersonalities, each with its own unique viewpoint and qualities, like an inner critic dictating an individual’s thoughts and behavior.

Attachment-based therapy

This therapy explores attachment theory, which is about the different dynamics and bonds you establish through relationships while growing up and throughout your life.

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)

REBT is a type of therapy that helps an individual identify self-destructive thoughts and feelings and replace them with healthier, more fulfilling beliefs about the self.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT helps identify and change underlying thought patterns that may be preventing you from living a full, happy life.

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)

CPT is a specific kind of cognitive behavioral therapy that treats trauma. CPT helps someone who wants to overcome their PTSD learn how to challenge and change unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs related to the traumatic event. An individual is able to view and conceptualize their trauma in different, less negative ways.

Motivational interviewing

This type of therapy is designed to help people find the encouragement to make the positive life changes they’ve been thinking of implementing.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

EDMR is a form of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy in which a trained therapist guides an individual to purposefully think about their trauma while moving their eyes back and forth, left to right.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

This acronym implies a commitment for an individual to…

A - accept the reality of their situation

C - choose the direction that aligns with their purpose

T - take action with this direction

Gestalt therapy

Gestalt therapy is a holistic form of psychotherapy that is focused on a person's present life instead of past experiences. This approach stresses the importance of taking accountability for one’s actions and decisions.

Solution-focused therapy

Solution-focused therapy dives deep into the current problems and issues an individual is experiencing in their life, and creates actionable goals and positive changes to solve those problems.

Narrative therapy

Narrative therapy focuses on becoming the hero of your own story and the narrator of your own life projection. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves shape most of our decisions, and so this therapy stresses the importance of what those stories entail.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

The word “dialectical” means the ability to view topics and situations from different perspectives.

Polyvagal theory

Polyvagal theory, though unproven, is a theory pertaining to the role of the vagus nerve in emotion regulation, social connection and fear response. In simple terms, the health of the vagus nerve can control and strengthen the connection between body and mind.

Exposure therapy

This therapy allows a mental health professional to emotionally and physically face what they find traumatizing so they can learn to cope effectively. Virtual reality is a great introductory technique to the exposure of the triggering event.

Reality therapy

Reality therapy is based around the assumption that mental health issues don’t arise from psychological symptoms, but because people choose behaviors that don’t fulfill them.

Expressive therapies

Expressive therapies often include art therapy, dance movement therapy, and drama therapy. These techniques allow an individual to release and process their issues through positive, creative, constructive experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of therapy we implement at Grouport, you can contact us here.

Our innovative system ensures you receive the benefits of group therapy in a way that is specifically tailored to your situation, helping you optimize your progress.

Expert-led group sessions are known to empower members to feel less alone, develop critical relational skills, and gain support and wisdom from others that they can apply to all areas of their lives.

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Do You Experience Seasonal Depression?

Depression

Do You Experience Seasonal Depression?

Winter is coming.

We all feel that familiar dread creeping in - the dread of this year’s seasonal depression.

Because the winter consists of shorter days, it’s natural for us to feel a little out of whack. The sun goes down early, leaving us with hours and hours of life still yet to live, in the pitch black.

Though there is no scientific evidence proving seasonal depression is a disorder, experts believe that this feeling is most likely due to a change in the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour clock that regulates how we function during the day and night.

When it’s dark, we’re triggered to slow down the day, get sleepy, and tuck in. When it’s light, we’re triggered to get up and start the day. So when all of a sudden it starts to look like 10 pm at 5 pm, we may feel rushed, stressed, or defeated at the end of a long work day.

We may even feel inclined to cancel our evening hobbies or gym classes, because similar to the excuses we make during a rainy day, it’s dark, late, and we just don’t feel up for it.

This lack of commitment to those activities like walking outside or taking our dogs to the park may not seem like a big deal in the short term, but in the long term we start to realize those little tasks were what made our day so special. Our mental health can start to take a nosedive.

But it doesn’t have to!

Grouport wanted to offer you a few of our favorite hacks for how to conquer your seasonal depression this year - so read on and put some into action today!

1. Don’t skip out on your social life

Make it a point to stick to your usual schedule. If you go to Zumba every Tuesday, then continue to go. Throw in proactive activities as well. If you regularly check your town’s newsletter or Facebook events to see the local happenings, keep checking it. Keep surprising yourself to break up the week. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while and go get tacos together. Buy a canvas and some paint and enjoy a quiet night in. Mix it up!

2. Move around

Since seasonal depression [not so conveniently] hits during the same months as the holidays, you might see some unexpected weight gain. It can seem too cold or dark to go on an evening run, something you used to look forward to. Try moving your workout to the early morning hours, you can even catch a beautiful sunrise during your jog! The crucial part is to not skip your routine workouts.

3. Take advantage of the sunlight

Snowballing off the last tip, get the most sunlight as humanly possible! Save your indoor chores or emailing to the nighttime and go for a walk around the neighborhood. If you have to work during the sunlight hours, keep your blinds open or take your laptop on the balcony for an hour or two.

4. Book a “Staycation”

Envious of that arty hotel downtown? Book it for a night! Who cares if you live just 20 minutes away. Staying at a glamorous hotel with great dining and a fun atmosphere can really make you feel like you’re far away on vacation. Just what the doctor ordered for seasonal depression - get out of that rut!

5. Journal your gratitude

Studies have found that regularly giving thanks by recounting what we are grateful for can help people sleep better, lower their stress levels, and improve their relationships. For best results, journal all year round - but especially now, don’t forget to write down your blessings.

6. Avoid the booze

Alcohol is a depressant, so despite it’s short-term feelings of relaxation and mood lifting, it actually works against us long-term, making us feel worse. It can feel comforting to turn to alcohol in moments of boredom, restlessness, or sadness from seasonal depression, but it’s important to remind ourselves that this is just a habit and it doesn’t need to be leaned on or increased just because it gets darker earlier! Pay attention to how often you’re drinking and the reasons why.

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Magnetic Treatment for Depression

Depression

Magnetic Treatment for Depression

Depression is a type of mood disorder that has the potential to interfere in your life in major ways. It can affect your emotional and physical health, as well as the way you think, behave, and feel. Some symptoms of depression may include:

  • Weight gain and increased food cravings
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Disturbances in one’s sleep patterns, like sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Slowed speaking, body movements, or thinking
  • Having difficulty concentrating, thinking, remembering things, and making decisions
  • Unexplained physical issues, like headaches or back pain
  • Agitation
  • Lack of energy and exhaustion, leading to minor tasks taking a large amount of effort to complete
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts over minor things
  • Experiencing feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Experiencing self blame
  • Fixation on failures you have made in the past
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in most if not all normal activities like sports, sex, or hobbies
  • Recurrent or frequent thoughts regarding death
  • Suicide attempts
  • Suicidal thoughts


And while depression can, unfortunately, interrupt your day to day lifestyle, there is hope: there are a wide range of therapeutic approaches (such as psychotherapy and medications) that have been proven to significantly improve the lives of those living with depression. A type of therapy for depression often used in individuals who have resisted various other kinds of treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. Sometimes colloquially referred to as magnetic therapy or rTMS, TMS works by delivering repeated magnetic pulses to your brain.

During a TMS session, your clinician will put an electromagnetic coil near your forehead, just against your scalp. This electromagnet will then deliver a painless magnetic pulse that works to stimulate the nerve cells in the part of your brain that is in charge of depression and controlling your mood. Although scientists are not entirely sure how TMS works, they suspect that it does so because it activates the parts of your brain that have been less active, possibly causing you to feel depressed. It is important to note that there are different ways clinicians can perform TMS on a client, and their techniques are constantly evolving as specialists learn more effective ways to administer the treatment.


In general, side effects associated with TMS tend to be between mild and moderate; they often improve shortly after a TMS session and tend to decrease over time, as one goes through more sessions. These side effects could include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Twitching, tingling, or spasms in your facial muscles
  • Scalp discomfort where it was stimulated


If you experience discomfort during your TMS session, your doctor can always adjust the stimulation level to reduce your symptoms; they may even suggest you take over the counter pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, prior to your procedure. And unlike with electroconvulsive therapy, TMS does not run the risk of causing seizures. Furthermore, it does not require the use of anesthesia to sedate patients during the process.

Another form of therapy that has been proven to be effective in individuals suffering from depression is group therapy. And here at Grouport, we offer just that: group therapy that is conducted from the safety of your home. You can find the answers to FAQs here.

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Commonly Asked Questions about Grouport

Grouport Info

Commonly Asked Questions about Grouport

At Grouport, we believe specialized, high-quality therapy should be accessible and affordable to everyone.

And because licensed professionals charge $100 an hour minimum, we knew that millions of people were missing out on critical mental health care because of this limitation.

We wanted to be the ones to fill that gap.

Our group therapy sessions combine the guidance of a specialist with the empowerment of a small group of people who share the same situation.

This creates the ideal setting for contextualizing and relating to your challenges, learning necessary coping techniques, and reaffirming your commitment to therapy.

A healthier, happier you is right around the corner. Your personalized experience at Grouport is just a click away.

But of course, we know you’ll have questions about how it all works. So read on to see our most commonly asked questions answered:

How old do I need to be to sign up?

Over 18

What is the initial consultation?

This is the very first step after you sign up.

It is a 20-minute, one-on-one assessment led by a trained mental health professional. The purpose is to understand your unique situation so that we can match you with a group that best suits your needs.

How long are group sessions?

60 minutes

How frequent are group sessions?

Once a week, at the same time each week


How many people are in a group?

Maximum of 12 people and 1 licensed therapist

Are Grouport’s therapists licensed?

Absolutely! Our network consists of licensed psychologists and social workers, all of whom practice proven, evidence-based methods.

What do Grouport’s therapists treat?

Anxiety, Depression, Trauma & PTSD, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Relationships, Grief and Loss, Chronic Illness, Substance Abuse, Borderline Personality Disorder, and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

How much does Grouport cost?

Grouport costs only $35 a week and you can cancel at the end of any billing cycle if you’re not satisfied with what you’re getting out of it.

That’s right, we don’t hold a contract over your head or charge ridiculous cancellation fees. If group therapy isn’t for you, we respect that.

Do I need to use my real name during group sessions?

No. Grouport only shares your name with your therapist. You can remain anonymous with your fellow group members by choosing to go by a nickname.

Do I have to talk during the group?

You do not need to talk during the group if you don’t feel 100% comfortable. If you want, you can just listen and observe.

What if I’m not comfortable sharing my thoughts in a group setting?

You certainly don’t have to, but the initial consultation ensures that your group members are people who share your exact same condition or mental health challenge.

Additionally, each therapist establishes confidentiality at the start of the session to help everyone feel safe in the group.

How do I access my sessions?

When you book your initial consultation, you will receive a confirmation email with a unique meeting link for your one-on-one assessment with a trained professional.

Shortly after your consultation, you’ll receive a welcome email that lets you know which group you will be part of.

Then, a reminder email will go out 24-hours before each weekly session with a unique meeting link for your group.

Remember…

It’s tough to be vulnerable about the burdens we carry, and it’s scary to admit we need help outside of ourselves. But the strength and bravery to reach out to others when we’re hurting is the first and most powerful step in recovery.

It’s our duty at Grouport to make your burdens a little lighter.

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Group Therapy for Depression

Depression

Group Therapy for Depression

The American Psychological Association says that group therapy can be an effective way for individuals to address issues they are struggling with, ultimately leading to positive life changes. A typical group session is led by one or more trained professionals, and will feature a group of between five and fifteen patients. Therapy groups tend to meet for one to two hours each week, and some individuals may choose to enroll in individual therapy sessions to complement the work their therapy group does. The topics covered in group therapy vary: while some groups will have a more generalized focus (like helping improve self esteem issues or social skills), others will take a more specific one (like substance abuse or depression).

In terms of treating depression, studies have strongly suggested that group therapy is an effective treatment route. A 2019 study looked into how effective a web and mobile based group program was in treating individuals struggling with depression. Over the study’s course, its participants reported that they experienced significant improvements in their overall health and symptoms of depression. Furthermore, a three month follow up period was conducted in the study’s participants, who reported stable improvements over its course. A 2014 study reported that group treatment for depression is likely to cause significant improvements in individuals at both individual and group levels.

Some benefits of group therapy include but are not limited to:

  • Diversity - because individuals from all different walks of life and backgrounds join therapy groups, each group member has the potential to view situations in various ways. Because of this, people in therapy groups may be able to glean unique insights from fellow group members on how they can address their specific problems. This can lead to the discovery of an entire new set of avenues through which one can deal with their individual issues.
  • A sounding board - therapy groups may not only function as a support network, but also as a sounding board through which individuals can work through different ways to potentially handle a tough time in their life while being held accountable by other group members.
  • Perspective - being in a therapy group can help individuals keep their own issues in perspective. While experiencing mental health difficulties can seem incredibly alienating, being in a group therapy setting with others who are going through similar experiences can offer a sense of relief that one is not alone in their struggles.

In terms of choosing the right group therapy setting, there are various factors you may want to consider, such as:

  • Is the therapy group open or closed? While open therapy groups allow individuals to join the group whenever they’d like, closed ones ensure the same group members stay on for a several week-long session.
  • How many people are in each group session? Smaller groups could mean members receive more individual support, while larger therapy groups may involve more perspectives and diversity.
  • How much should one share in a session? Therapy groups are built on confidentiality and trust, and everyone is there for a similar reason. Group therapy functions at its best when it involves honest discussion between those involved.
  • How alike or dissimilar are group members? Experts say that therapy groups tend to be the most effective when group members are going through similar issues and levels of functionality.

Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy for a wide range of topics, including but not limited to depression. Upon enrolling in our services, each of our new clients will receive a 20-minute consultation from a trained mental healthcare professional. They will then be matched with a group best suited to their needs; this group will meet at the same day and time each week for an hour. You can find more FAQs here.

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Group Therapy During COVID-19

Grouport Info

Group Therapy During COVID-19

According to the American Psychological Association, group therapy has the potential to help individuals deal with struggles they are facing in their daily lives, ultimately culminating in positive lifestyle changes. Generally speaking, a group therapy session will involve a group of five to fifteen individuals who are led by at least one trained mental health specialist. Therapy groups usually meet at the same time and on the same day every week, and some people may opt to enroll in individual therapy sessions with a therapist to supplement the progress they are making in their group sessions. The topics covered by therapy groups can be general, such as helping people address anger issues or deal with self esteem issues. Or, therapy groups can deal with more specific issues, such as the loss of a loved one or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Grouport offers online group therapy that functions well within the constraints and risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Each of our incoming clients will have an initial onboarding Zoom call with a trained professional. Over the course of your twenty minute meeting, the therapist will get to know you and then match you with a therapy group that they feel is best suited to your needs. Each of our therapy groups meets once a week at the same time, and each session is approximately one hour long.

24 hours prior to your scheduled one on one consultation, you will receive a reminder email containing a unique Zoom link for your call; you will also receive new, unique Zoom links each week, also 24 hours prior to your weekly group meetings. Please be aware that you must be 18 years of age or older in order to use our services.

Enrolling in Grouport costs only $35 per week and can be canceled at any time. At the beginning of each four week billing cycle, we charge your card $140 and are able to provide you with monthly bills that you can submit to your insurance provider for out-of-network reimbursement. Our therapy groups are capped at twelve people, and new members will be added to a group until it reaches its maximum capacity. Each of our groups is led by a licensed therapist who is certified in addressing your therapy group’s specific needs.

Here at Grouport, your privacy is of utmost importance to us. At the beginning of each weekly meeting, your therapist will make sure to reiterate our strict rules regarding confidentiality that must be upheld during all of our meetings: what is said during your group therapy sessions, stays there. Furthermore, we only share your government name with your therapist. This gives you the option to go by a nickname during your group meetings; this can be set via Zoom during your initial consultation meeting. Additionally, participation is strongly encouraged but not required: you do not have to speak during your group meetings if you do not feel comfortable doing so. However, even if you choose to listen and observe during your group meetings, it is likely you will still gain major benefits from our therapy groups. We also use information software and video technology that is HIPAA compliant; it employs end to end encryption to ensure your information is protected.

You can find other Grouport related FAQs answered at the following link.

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Online Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety

Online Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety disorders come in many different forms and can look different for each person who is living with one. And according to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety disorders and panic attacks that may accompany them can escalate, causing major disruption in your daily life. There are several different symptoms that may be associated with anxiety disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Having a hard time controlling feelings of worry
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid anxiety triggers
  • Feelings of restlessness, nervousness, and tenseness
  • A heightened heart rate
  • Hyperventilation, or rapid breathing
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Experiencing a sense of impending doom, danger, or panic
  • Having a hard time thinking about anything else aside from the present worry

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Panic disorder: individuals who suffer from panic disorder experience repetitive episodes in which they feel sudden, intense fear, terror, and anxiety that peaks within a few minutes of onset, also known as a panic attack.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: in this type of anxiety disorder, individuals will experience excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about events and activities, even if they are routine or ordinary. The worry they feel is disproportionate in relation to the real life circumstances, and it will affect their physical state and be difficult to control. Generalized anxiety disorder often appears alongside depression or other anxiety disorders.
  • Agoraphobia: individuals who suffer from agoraphobia are afraid of situations or places that make them feel helpless, embarrassed, or trapped; they will often avoid these situations and places.
  • Selective mutism: also found in children, this disorder is characterized by a consistent failure of children to speak in specific situations--like school--even if they are able to speak in other ones, like when they are at home with loved ones.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: some children may experience a severe anxiety in relation to being separated from their parents or parental figures; this phenomenon is characterized as a disorder if the children’s worry is excessive for their current developmental level.
  • Specific phobias: this disorder is characterized by individuals experiencing severe anxiety when exposed to a particular situation or object, as well as the desire to avoid said situations or objects. In some individuals, phobias may cause panic attacks.
  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition: some individuals may develop an anxiety disorder in response to the onset of a physical health problem they are experiencing.
  • Social anxiety disorder: this disorder is characterized by individuals feeling extreme anxiety surrounding and avoiding social situations because they may feel excessively self conscious or embarrassed.


However, it is important to remember that there are many different therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be effective in helping individuals living with anxiety disorders. One such avenue to seek professional help is through enrolling in a group therapy program. And given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the risks associated with being exposed to individuals who may not necessarily be in your “COVID pod,” enrolling in therapy online is a great resource and option that is available at your disposal.

And here at Grouport, we offer just that: online group therapy. Enrolling in group therapy online has the additional benefit that, because you are in the comfort of your home, it is likely you may feel comfortable opening up more than if you were in an unfamiliar therapist’s office. If you enroll in our services, you will receive a 20 minute initial onboarding call during which you will have a private conversation with one of our licensed healthcare professionals. After this conversation, you will be matched with a therapy group we feel is best suited to your unique situation; your therapy group will meet for an hour once a week at the same day and time. You can find the answers to more FAQs here.

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Mindfulness Group Therapy Activities

Anxiety

Mindfulness Group Therapy Activities

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is just one of many different approaches to psychotherapy that combines techniques drawn from cognitive therapy, meditation, and the cultivation of mindfulness, which is a non judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is grounded in the belief that individuals who have a history of struggling with mental illnesses like anxiety or depression will find themselves falling back into old patterns (or cognitive processes) when they experience feelings of distress. This, in turn, runs the risk of the individual dipping back into anxious behaviors or depression.

Experts speculate that mindfulness based cognitive therapy is so effective in treating individuals because it combines mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy, the latter of which encourages people to interrupt their instinctual thought process in favor of working through their feelings in healthy, well adapted ways. Mindfulness encourages people to observe and identify what feelings they are experiencing in the present moment.

If you enroll in mindfulness based cognitive therapy, there are a variety of activities that can be performed whether you decide to enroll in individual or group therapy programs. One such technique you may be taught is known as a “three minute breathing space technique,” which is made up of three steps lasting one minute each:

  • Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

Other mindfulness techniques your therapist teaches you might include:

  • General mindfulness practices: mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Meditation: therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.
  • Body scanning exercises: clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Yoga: clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Mindfulness stretching: this technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.


According to research conducted over several years, mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been proven to be effective in treating various mental illnesses in addition to anxiety, such as:

  • General low mood or unhappiness
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression caused by medical illness
  • Depression, including treatment resistant depression

As previously stated, mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be performed in individual or group therapy settings, and in person or online. Grouport offers group therapy that is conducted totally online from the safety of your home, which makes our service a great option for all as we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Once you enroll in our services here at Grouport, you will receive a brief, 20 minute onboarding consultation with a trained mental health professional. Afterwards, you will be matched with a therapy group we feel is best suited to your particular needs. The therapy group you are matched with will meet on the same day and time each week for about an hour per session. 24 hours prior to each appointment, you will receive a unique Zoom code via email. You may find the answer to FAQs you have here.

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Objectives of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

Objectives of PTSD Therapy

The Mayo Clinic says that in the wake of an accident or otherwise traumatic event, most individuals will see improvement with time and self care, although it is likely they will initially have a difficult time adjusting. However, other people may experience a worsening of symptoms related to that trauma, sometimes to the point that your symptoms interfere with your day to day life. If this happened to you, it is likely you are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In many individuals, the intensity of their PTSD symptoms may ebb and flow. And according to experts, you may experience a worsening of your PTSD related symptoms if you have been feeling more stressed than usual or if you encounter any reminders of your traumatic experience.

The goal of treating PTSD is to not only ease your symptoms, but to also improve the quality of your life, making it more livable. The American Psychological Association firmly recommends four major types of interventions for individuals living with PTSD. These therapies are:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy: rooted in the relationship among your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy zeros in on current symptoms and issues. Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change your behavioral patterns, as well as other feelings and thoughts that could make it difficult for you to function.
  2. Cognitive therapy: born from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy seeks to help you change the memories surrounding your trauma and the pessimistic evaluations you may associate with it. The underlying goal of cognitive therapy is to interrupt thought patterns and/or behaviors that disturb your ability to live your day to day life.
  3. Prolonged exposure: another type of cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure seeks to help you gradually approach your feelings, memories, and specific situations related to your trauma. The goal of prolonged exposure is to help you face things you have been avoiding in the hopes that you will learn that your associations with those situations, feelings, and memories are not dangerous; there is no need to avoid them.
  4. Cognitive processing therapy: also derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy’s goal is to help you learn how to challenge and change maladaptive beliefs you may hold related to your trauma.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you seek professional help for PTSD if you:

  • Experience severe, disturbing feelings and thoughts surrounding the traumatic event
  • Are having a hard time regaining control in your life in the aftermath of a traumatic event
  • Experience disturbing feelings and thoughts for more than a month after the event occurred

One such way to seek help if you are living with PTSD is by enrolling in group therapy. Indeed, group therapy has been proven to be effective in treating PTSD, as well as a wide range of other mental illnesses. At Grouport, we are thrilled to offer online group therapy for PTSD and much more. Our therapy groups, which are all online, offer a way to seek therapy from the comfort and safety of your own home. This is ideal not only because we are continuing to navigate the complex and often unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic, but also because individuals may be more keen to open up if they are receiving therapy from a familiar place. You can find the answers to various FAQs here.

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Mindfulness Therapy Online

Anxiety

Mindfulness Therapy Online

Mindfulness is a word that describes a type of cognitive therapy associated with psychotherapy. This technique draws from meditation practices, cognitive therapy, and a non-judgmental attitude rooted in the present/reality. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is incredibly effective because of the way it marries cognitive therapy and mindfulness practices. Cognitive therapy encourages individuals to interrupt their instinctual thought processes and instead work through their feelings in more healthy ways, while mindfulness urges individuals to observe and identify the feelings they are experiencing.

According to research, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or “mindfulness therapy” can be extremely effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, such as: 

  • Bipolar disorder
  • General unhappiness
  • Depression, including treatment resistant depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression caused by medical illness
  • General low mood

Mindfulness therapy can also be helpful in preventing relapses in depressive episodes. This is because, similar to cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is rooted in the belief that individuals who have a history of struggling with depression will fall back into old patterns (aka cognitive processes) when they experience distress, leading them to a dip back into depression. 

Mindful Therapy Group Techniques 

There are various different techniques that therapists leading mindful therapy groups may teach its members. These could include:

  • Body scanning exercises: Clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Mindfulness stretching: This technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.
  • Yoga: Clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Meditation: Therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.
  • Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Three Minute Breathing Space Technique:  This additional mindful therapy tool incorporates practicing three, one minute steps:
  1. Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  2. Focus on your breathing.
  3. Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be performed in individual or group therapy settings, as well as via in person or online therapy sessions. Grouport offers group therapy that is conducted virtually, from the safety of your home.

Wondering if mindfulness based cognitive therapy is for you? If you enroll in Grouport, you will receive a brief, 20 minute virtual onboarding consultation with a trained intake coordinator who will then match you with a therapy group they feel is best suited to your particular needs.

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The Process of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

The Process of PTSD Therapy

The Mayo Clinic explains that post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can arise in anyone who is having a difficult time adjusting back to daily life in the aftermath of a traumatic situation or incident. Symptoms of PTSD could appear within a month following a traumatic event, or may not appear until years afterwards. Generally speaking, experts group symptoms related to PTSD into four major types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.

Symptoms of intrusive memories might be:

  • Disturbing nightmares or dreams about the traumatic event
  • Experiencing recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event that lead to feelings of distress
  • Undergoing severe physical reactions or emotional distress in response to something that is reminiscent of the traumatic event
  • Experiencing flashbacks in which the traumatic event is re-experienced

Symptoms associated with avoidance might involve:

  • An individual avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the traumatic event
  • Attempting to avoid discussing or even thinking about the traumatic event

Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood might include:

  • Experiencing negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world at large
  • Difficulty keeping close relationships with others
  • Feeling detached from loved ones
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • A lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
  • Having a hard time experiencing positive emotions
  • Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting essential aspects of the traumatic event

Signs of changes in physical and emotional reactions could include:

  • Constantly being on guard
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as the overconsumption of alcohol
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing overwhelming shame or guilt

And when it comes to the treatment of PTSD, the American Psychological Association strongly recommends four major types of interventions, with a goal of improving the quality of life for people living with symptoms of PTSD.  The four recommended therapeutic interventions are:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy: rooted in the relationship among your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy zeros in on current symptoms and issues. Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change your behavioral patterns, as well as other feelings and thoughts that could make it difficult for you to function.
  2. Cognitive therapy: born from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy seeks to help you change the memories surrounding your trauma and the pessimistic evaluations you may associate with it. The underlying goal of cognitive therapy is to interrupt thought patterns and/or behaviors that disturb your ability to live your day to day life.
  3. Prolonged exposure: another type of cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure seeks to help you gradually approach your feelings, memories, and specific situations related to your trauma. The goal of prolonged exposure is to help you face things you have been avoiding in the hopes that you will learn that your associations with those situations, feelings, and memories are not dangerous; there is no need to avoid them.
  4. Cognitive processing therapy: also derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy’s goal is to help you learn how to challenge and change maladaptive beliefs you may hold related to your trauma.

One way to seek assistance in dealing with PTSD symptoms is by enrolling in a therapy group; these have been proven to be very effective in helping individuals living with PTSD. Grouport offers online group therapy for PTSD and many other mental illnesses. Our online therapy program offers a safe way to seek therapy amidst the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Once you enroll in our program, you will receive an initial consultation with a trained professional and will then be matched with the appropriate therapy group. You can find a series of FAQs here.

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PTSD Therapy: What to Expect

PTSD

PTSD Therapy: What to Expect

The Mayo Clinic says that anyone who has experienced something traumatic has the potential to develop post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in the aftermath. While most people tend to see improvement in symptoms with time and self care after a traumatic event, some may see a decline in function, which could mean that they have PTSD. The Mayo Clinic explains that getting the proper care may be essential to improving your lived experience and reduce your symptoms if you develop PTSD.


Experts tend to split symptoms related to PTSD into four distinct groups. These are:

  • Signs of changes in physical and emotional reactions
  • Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood
  • Intrusive memories
  • Avoidance


Symptoms associated with changes in physical and emotional reactions could include:

  • Constantly being on guard
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as the overconsumption of alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Experiencing overwhelming shame or guilt

Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood might include:

  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting essential aspects of the traumatic event
  • Feeling detached from loved ones
  • A lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
  • Experiencing negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world at large
  • Difficulty keeping close relationships with others
  • Having a hard time experiencing positive emotions

Symptoms of intrusive memories could be:

  • Disturbing nightmares or dreams about the traumatic event
  • Undergoing severe physical reactions or emotional distress in response to something that is reminiscent of the traumatic event
  • Experiencing recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event that lead to feelings of distress
  • Experiencing flashbacks in which the traumatic event is re-experienced

Symptoms associated with avoidance might involve:

  • An individual avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the traumatic event
  • Attempting to avoid discussing or even thinking about the traumatic event

And while PTSD can indeed disrupt your day to day life, it is important to remember that there are many different types of therapy that have been proven to be effective in a wide range of individuals. In the treatment of PTSD, the American Psychological Association lists four main types of therapeutic intervention that they recommend:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy: rooted in the relationship among your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy zeros in on current symptoms and issues. Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change your behavioral patterns, as well as other feelings and thoughts that could make it difficult for you to function.
  2. Cognitive processing therapy: derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy’s goal is to help you learn how to challenge and change maladaptive beliefs you may hold related to your trauma.
  3. Cognitive therapy: born from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy seeks to help you change the memories surrounding your trauma and the pessimistic evaluations you may associate with it. The underlying goal of cognitive therapy is to interrupt thought patterns and/or behaviors that disturb your ability to live your day to day life.
  4. Prolonged exposure: also a particular type of cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure seeks to help you gradually approach your feelings, memories, and specific situations related to your trauma. The goal of prolonged exposure is to help you face things you have been avoiding in the hopes that you will learn that your associations with those situations, feelings, and memories are not dangerous; there is no need to avoid them.

These types of therapies can be performed in individual or group settings. Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted completely online. You can find the answers to FAQs here.

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Anxiety Therapy Goals

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Goals

Anxiety disorders can manifest in a number of ways: you may experience unrelenting worries, obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, or a phobia that leaves you incapacitated. However, you must remember that there are various treatments proven to be effective available; this means that you don’t have to live with the deep fear and anxiety that might be affecting your day to day life in profoundly negative ways. For many individuals living with anxiety disorders, therapy will be the most effective way to alter your lived experience and lessen your symptoms. This is because, unlike when taking medication for anxiety, therapy seeks to treat the underlying origins of your anxiety--not just the symptoms you experience.

Not only is the goal of therapy for anxiety to find and address the causes of your anxiety, but it also seeks to help you:

  • Develop more effective and healthy problem solving skills and coping methods
  • View situations in fresh ways that may make them less frightening
  • Learn how to relax

What therapy does that medication does not is entrust you with the tools necessary to overcome feelings of anxiety and then teach you how to use the tools effectively, changing your lived experience for the better.

The American Psychological Association reports that many individuals who seek therapy for an anxiety disorder will see significant improvement within eight to ten therapy sessions. It is important, however, to remember that there are many different types of anxiety disorders, and the treatment plan that will work best for you will be tailored to your diagnosis and the specific symptoms you experience. For example, someone who seeks treatment for anxiety attacks will have a different treatment plan than someone who is living with obsessive compulsive disorder. And while many therapies for anxiety tend to be relatively short term, the length of your treatment plan will differ depending on which anxiety disorder you have.

Among the many different approaches used in treating anxiety disorders, exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are considered the two leading approaches. Furthermore, different types of anxiety therapies can be conducted alone or in tandem with one another, and therapy for anxiety could take place in either group or individual settings. A typical therapy group for anxiety will place individuals struggling with similar forms of anxiety together. No matter what therapy route you may choose to take, it will have the same main goals:

  • To calm your mind
  • To help you overcome your fears
  • To lessen your anxiety levels

Group therapy has been proven to be highly effective in individuals suffering from anxiety. And here at Grouport, we offer just that - but totally online, which is a safe way to access mental healthcare in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from the comfort and safety of your own home. Furthermore, enrolling in online therapy can help you circumvent the inconvenience and expense of traveling to meet a therapist or therapy group in person; furthermore, you will be joining your therapy group from the familiar and comfortable environment of your own home. This, in turn, may make it easier for you to speak openly and candidly about the issues you are struggling with. Most individuals struggling with anxiety find online therapy to be just as effective as enrolling in therapy in a traditional, in person setting.

When you enroll in our services, you will have a 20 minute initial consultation meeting with a trained professional after which you will be matched with a therapy group most suited to your needs. Your group will meet at the same day and time each week. You can find answers to more Grouport related FAQs here.

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Anxiety Therapy Methods

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Methods

Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric issue found among the general population (Öst, 2008). Their lifetime prevalence rate is around 33.7% (Bandelow & Michaelis, 2015), and anxiety disorders are the foremost mental disorder found in women (Chambala, 2008). Anticipatory anxiety may be considered the quintessential form of anxiety--in other words, when people hear the word “anxiety,” it is likely what comes to mind are individuals who ruminate about the future, constantly worrying and fearing what is to come. It is important to remember, however, that anticipatory anxiety is just one type of anxiety; there are, in fact, several different types of anxiety disorder. It manifests in children and adults alike across the world, often escalating to severe levels.

Anxiety that has reached a clinical level means that the individual living with the disorder must experience interference in living their day to day lives; they will have a difficult time, in other words, their living lives to the fullest. And in severe cases, anxiety disorders could interfere with a person’s social life or job. There are several different subtypes of anxiety disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Specific phobias
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder might see severe negative cognitive, emotional, and physiological manifestations of their illness. One such way this can occur is through panic attacks, which often send individuals to the emergency room, convinced that they are about to die. And while anxiety disorders can be incredibly difficult to live with, there are, thankfully, several different therapeutic approaches that have been found to improve the quality of life for those suffering from anxiety.

Some of these therapeutic approaches include:

  • Hypnosis: akin to meditation, hypnosis generally involves clients entering various states of consciousness with their particular, individualized needs kept in mind. Clients never, however, lose control: they will always have awareness of what is happening.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: this type of therapy is rooted in the core belief that emotional disorders are caused by cognitive factors which can be changed through the employment of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, are focused on a client’s individual needs and can be tailored based on their cognitive progress.
  • Attention bias modification: an emerging form of therapy, attention bias modification therapy uses computer based attention training to aid clients suffering with anxiety in dealing with perceived threats in the environment around them that normally cause them to hyper fixate.
  • Cognitive therapy: the most commonly seen psychological treatment for those living with anxiety disorders, cognitive therapy is characterized by clients working with their therapists to zero in on the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that affect their ability to change their behaviors.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: during this specific approach, an anticonvulsant device electrically stimulates a client’s vagus nerve; this particular nerve is targeted because it has the unique ability to control one’s feelings of anxiety. Though this approach is generally utilized on individuals who are experiencing treatment resistant depression or epilepsy, some studies have also shown this method’s effectiveness in addressing treatment resistant anxiety disorders.

Another treatment route for anxiety is group therapy. This therapeutic approach can be incredibly useful in helping individuals process their anxiety, reframe disturbing thoughts they experience, and tolerate painful emotions over time.

Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted over Zoom. This makes seeking therapy during an ongoing global pandemic possible from the safety of your home. Each one of our incoming clients receives a twenty minute initial consultation conducted by a trained professional. Clients are then matched into a weekly therapy group best suited to their needs. Each therapy group meets for an hour every week. More FAQs about Grouport can be found here.

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Anxiety Therapy Groups Near Me

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Groups Near Me

The most common psychiatric issues found in the world are anxiety disorders. While the term anxiety might bring to mind an idea of people who live in constant fear and worry about the future, in fact, this type of anxiety (anticipatory) is only one of many kinds of anxiety disorder. 

Types of Anxiety 

Among the different types of anxiety disorders, some include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

The Impact of Anxiety

Anxiety can manifest in both children and adults, and has the potential to escalate to such severity that it interferes with people’s day to day lives. In severe cases, anxiety disorders can interfere with a person’s job or social life. 

If you are living with an anxiety disorder, it is possible that you will experience serious negative emotional, cognitive, and physiological symptoms associated with this condition. You may also experience panic attacks, which could send you to the hospital, convinced you are in grave danger. 

Therapy for Anxiety 

Although an anxiety disorder can be incredibly difficult to live with, there are many different therapeutic options out there that have been proven to help improve people’s quality of life. These therapeutic approaches include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of anxiety therapy is rooted in the core belief that emotional disorders are caused by cognitive factors which can be changed through the employment of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, are focused on a client’s individual needs and can be tailored based on their cognitive progress.
  • Cognitive therapy: The most commonly seen psychological treatment for those living with anxiety disorders, cognitive therapy is characterized by clients working with their therapists to zero in on the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that affect their ability to change their behaviors.
  • Attention bias modification: An emerging form of therapy for anxiety, attention bias modification therapy uses computer based attention training to aid clients suffering with anxiety in dealing with perceived threats in the environment around them that normally cause them to hyper fixate.
  • Hypnosis: Akin to meditation, hypnosis generally involves clients entering various states of consciousness with their particular, individualized needs kept in mind. Clients never, however, lose control: they will always have awareness of what is happening.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: During this specific approach, an anticonvulsant device electrically stimulates a client’s vagus nerve; this particular nerve is targeted because it has the unique ability to control one’s feelings of anxiety. Though this approach is generally utilized on individuals who are experiencing treatment resistant depression or epilepsy, some studies have also shown this method’s effectiveness in addressing treatment resistant anxiety disorders.

Group Therapy for Anxiety 

Many of these forms of anxiety therapy can be administered in online group therapy. In fact, group therapy for anxiety can be very helpful, because it can help you reframe disturbing thoughts, tolerate painful emotions, and process your anxiety with a renewed perspective in a safe, secure setting from the comfort of your own home. 

Here at Grouport, we offer a variety of online therapy groups for anxiety. 

CHECK OUT OUR GROUPS

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How to Support Someone Grieving

Grief & Loss

How to Support Someone Grieving

It’s incredibly heartbreaking to deal with the loss of a loved one, but what about when a close friend or family member loses someone they care about? You may be wondering how to support them without showing too much or too little attention and worry.

Usually, we feel like we don’t know what to say, or that we are saying the “wrong thing.”

At Grouport online therapy, we have a Grief and Loss group that meets once a week, every week. This group is perfect for those experiencing a recent or not so recent loss, or those who may not know how to support someone grieving.

Here are a few tips that we suggest:

Become a great listener

Most of the time, people experiencing pain from a loss just want someone to talk to. They aren’t necessarily seeking advice or want to be “cheered up.” They may be quiet, angry, bitter, sad, impatient, irritable, or unfair. It’s important to know that their demeanor isn’t personal. Just listen and be their shoulder to lean on.


Don’t expect a certain time

Someone grieving feels intense pain at first and numbing pain over time, but this doesn’t mean there will ever be an “aha moment” where they get over it. The pain will become a part of them, and instead of feeling it less, the person you know who is grieving will just learn to get comfortable with the pain and move towards a more accepting state. It’s best not to get impatient when someone is taking longer than you think you would to get over a loss.


Be there for simple tasks

It’s textbook during a time of grief to offer to bring over a casserole. When was the last time a casserole ever really made things better? The main intent here is to make your friend’s life easier and give them one less task to do (like preparing a meal). Other options can be offering to dog sit or spend time with the kids, grabbing some groceries, hiring a maid, literally anything to help out.

Don’t exert toxic positivity

There are times when being too positive can be a negative. It’s not going to help the situation if you’re reminding your friend to be grateful for the wonderful memories they had with their loved one. Or making them feel guilty, or rushing them to get over it. Emotions need to be felt, for as long as they need to be felt. Save the spiritual and self-help chatter for a more appropriate scenario.


Sit with the uncomfortable

We all deal with grief differently, and supporting someone grieving may just not be your thing. It could be a trigger for your own grief and loss, or you could be going through your own struggles and find it hard to be strong for someone else. Whatever the reason, know that this isn’t supposed to be comfortable. This is painful, and we have to accept that and sit with it for what it is. It’s not meant to be easy, even if you’re not the one grieving. Be there as best you can.

When you join Grouport, you’re matched with a small group of people going through the exact same thing as you. Maybe it’s not the Grief and Loss group, but the OCD or Anxiety group.

Whatever needs you may have, Grouport therapy is there for you, to strengthen your emotional and mental health in a safe community of supportive peers.

Reach out to us here anytime if we can support you in any way along your self-care journey.

All the best!

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EMDR as PTSD Therapy

PTSD

EMDR as PTSD Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which is colloquially known as EMDR, is a form of psychotherapy that encourages patients to heal from the emotional distress and other various symptoms that they may be experiencing due to post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Several, repeated studies have suggested that through EMDR therapy, individuals can gain the various benefits associated with psychotherapy that previously took several years to have an effect on them. What EMDR therapy shows is that our minds have the potential to heal from intense psychological trauma in ways similar to our bodies recovering from physical injuries.

For example, your body will use platelets to heal a cut. However, if you experience repeated injuries in the same spot or a foreign object of some sort enters the cut, you will not be able to heal properly or efficiently from your cut. But once whatever it was that was interrupting your healing process is removed, your body will be able to start healing once more. In this same vein, EMDR therapy has shown that there may be a similar series of events that occur in our brains as we try to heal from psychological injuries, or traumas.

EMDR therapy is generally performed over eight phases. During a session, your clinician will work with you to decide which traumatic memory you would like to target. They will then ask you to focus on different aspects of that thought or event as you use your eyes to follow your therapist’s hand, which will be moving back and forth, crossing your visual field. It has been speculated by a Harvard researcher that as this occurs, you may experience something similar to Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which will encourage internal associations to rise to the forefront and you will begin to effectively process the traumatic event and painful feelings associated with it.

To date, there have been over 30 positive controlled outcome studies performed to assess the efficacy of EMDR therapy. Some of these aforementioned studies have shown a 84-90% success rate in single trauma survivors; these individuals no longer suffer from PTSD after just three EMDR therapy sessions that last only 90 minutes apiece.

When EMDR therapy has been administered successfully, the meaning you associate with traumatic events will be transformed down to an emotional level. For example, someone who has survived sexual assault may initially feel shame, self disgust, and terror when they think back upon their experience. However, after undergoing EMDR therapy, the survivor may be able to instead say to themselves “I survived that experience and I am strong” instead of ruminating on triggering feelings and experiences.

It is important to remember, however, that EMDR therapy may not be best suited for everyone who is suffering from PTSD. Another form of therapy, which has been shown to be very effective in many individuals, is group therapy. In group therapy, individuals may be placed with others who are struggling with similar lived experiences or mental illnesses and led through various conversations and exercises by one or more licensed therapists or clinicians. A major benefit of group therapy is that it helps ensure its clients that they are not alone in the struggles they are living with.

Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy. You can find a list of our FAQs at this link.

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PTSD and How Grouport Treats It

PTSD

PTSD and How Grouport Treats It

Have you ever seen someone get seriously injured?

Have you witnessed a violent crime or been a victim to one yourself?

These events, among many others, contribute significantly to trauma reactions in your mind and body and can, in some cases, lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition in which an individual has difficulty going back to normal living after they witness or experience a traumatic event. For many people, this diagnosis will come with a need for trauma therapy.

The aftermath of a terrifying event may last weeks, months, or years, with constant memory triggers bringing on intense emotional pain and physical reactions. Signs of trauma and PTSD include avoidance, nightmares, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and lack of sleep.

For instance, the pandemic and the resulting consequences were restrictive and annoying for some, but a horrific nightmare for others. Many people lost their husbands, daughters, grandparents, coworkers, friends, and colleagues abruptly due to the virus. 

The natural grief that follows is a normal response to loss. Experiencing grief and sadness after a loss is a normal, healthy reaction, but it’s when that grief cannot be healed over time, interferes with daily life, or worsens over time that it becomes linked to PTSD and the need for therapy for trauma comes into question.

How can PTSD be treated?

Therapy is one of the best resources for trauma healing and people with PTSD. In group therapy, an individual can share their thoughts and struggles with a few peers who have also experienced a loss or a traumatic event. Therapeutic bonding, reassurance of safety, and a heightened sense of awareness are all benefits of choosing group treatment for PTSD therapy.

Grouport’s techniques, for example, fall under the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) umbrella. Our methods include Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Stress Inoculation Training (SIT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD therapy.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

For many people, PTSD symptoms begin almost immediately after the traumatic event. For others, the trauma can stay dormant and repressed for months or even years.

Flashbacks and nightmares are examples of ways that the trauma can work its way back to the front of a person’s mind, even if they don’t want it to. While flashbacks and nightmares are mental and emotional, stomach pain and headaches are physical reactions to the stress of holding onto trauma and not seeking proper treatment.

This is why some people find avoidance to be a short-term solution to their trauma and pain. If someone avoids all reminders of the experience, they feel as if it will help them move on faster.

Symptoms of PTSD can be characterized as follows:

1. Cognition and mood - shame, guilt, hopelessness about the future, low self-image, memory lapses

2. Avoidance - of certain people, places, or objects that remind a person of the event

3. Reactivity - Jumpy or easily startled, constantly alert or on guard with a fear of impending danger

4. Intrusion - unmanageable, repetitive thoughts of the trauma like in nightmares or flashbacks

Grouport can treat PTSD with cognitive behavioral interventions during online group therapy sessions. You can even participate from the comfort of your own home!

Click our PTSD page to learn more about our trauma therapy treatment options.

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The Cost of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

The Cost of PTSD Therapy

Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can potentially develop post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. And sadly, symptoms of PTSD can indeed escalate until they begin interfering with your day to day life. According to the Mayo Clinic, seeking clinical intervention after you begin expressing symptoms of PTSD could be essential in order to alleviate your symptoms and improve your daily functioning. The events most commonly associated with the development of PTSD include but are not limited to:

  • Physical assault
  • Sexual violence
  • An accident
  • Combat exposure
  • Being threatened by someone brandishing a weapon
  • Childhood sexual abuse

Furthermore, living with PTSD could also increase your risk of developing other mental health issues, such as:

  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Disordered eating


However, it is important to remember that there is help available if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, and there are several different therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be quite effective across a wide variety of individuals. The cost of therapy for PTSD can vary widely based on several factors, such as:

  • Where you are located
  • If you would like to seek therapy in person or online
  • Your insurance plan
  • What type of therapy you are looking into
  • Whether it is group or individual therapy

One affordable option to combat the negative, potentially life altering effects of PTSD is group therapy. And here at Grouport, we offer affordable, totally online group therapy that is a great option for individuals who are at a high risk of experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19 and would prefer to seek therapy from the comfort of their own home. Furthermore, engaging in therapy from a familiar location--in this case, your home--may encourage you to open up more than you would if you were in an unfamiliar location, such as a therapist’s office.

Grouport’s services only cost $35 per week, and can be canceled at any time you please. Your card on file will be billed $140 at the beginning of each four week billing cycle, and we will indeed be able to provide you with itemized bills that you can submit to your insurance provider if you would like to seek out-of-network reimbursement. Please keep in mind, however, that the amount you will be reimbursed will depend upon what insurance company and plan you are enrolled in.

Should you choose to enroll in our services, you will first receive a twenty minute one on one consultation with a licensed therapist; during this session, the therapist will get to know you so that they can best match you with one of our therapy groups. This meeting will also be conducted over Zoom, and you will receive a private Zoom link 24 hours prior to the call. You will then be matched with a therapy group that will meet for an hour on the same day and time each week.

Our therapy groups are capped at twelve individuals, and we will continue to populate a therapy group until it reaches its maximum. Furthermore, your privacy is of the utmost importance to us here at Grouport: you may choose to engage with your therapy group using a nickname if you like, and all of our software is HIPAA compliant. If you choose to use a nickname, you can set this via your Zoom settings; only your therapist will know your government name. Rest assured, however, that your group leader will make sure to begin each therapy session by establishing firm rules of confidentiality.

You may find answers to other Grouport related FAQs here.

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Anxiety Therapy Tools

Anxiety

Anxiety Therapy Tools

According to the Mayo Clinic, occasionally experiencing anxiety is considered a normal part of being a human. However, some individuals will experience anxiety to the point that they are consistently experiencing worry and fear of average situations; if that is the case, they could be living with an anxiety disorder. In general, people who are living with anxiety disorders will have repeated panic attacks, and may steer clear of certain places or situations to avoid triggering their anxiety. And for people who are living with an anxiety disorder, the feelings of panic and anxiety they experience might:

  • Interfere with day to day activity
  • Be disproportionate to the objective danger present at the time
  • Be hard to control
  • Last for a long period of time


Some individuals may begin to experience anxiety as early as their childhood, while others may see anxiety appear as adults. Some common symptoms and signs of anxiety could include:

  • Feelings of weakness or exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Feeling tense, nervous, or overall restless
  • Having a hard time thinking about anything other than the thing one is currently worried about
  • Feeling a sense of impending doom, panic, or danger
  • Trembling
  • Hyperventilation, or breathing rapidly
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing the urge to avoid situations, people, or things that trigger anxiety
  • Having a hard time controlling worry
  • Experiencing a heightened heart rate


One such way that an individual can be treated for anxiety is through mindfulness based cognitive therapy. This therapeutic approach mixes techniques lifted from cognitive therapy, meditation, and the creation of mindfulness, which is a non judgmental attitude that is rooted in the present moment. Some mindfulness tools that your therapist may teach you might include:

  • Body scanning exercises: clients may be asked to lie down and become aware of different parts of their bodies, typically starting at their toes and working upwards until they reach the apex of their head.
  • Mindfulness practices: mindfulness heavily relies on becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment. And while mindfulness can indeed be practiced during activities such as meditation, individuals can learn to incorporate mindfulness into other day to day activities they engage in.
  • Yoga: clients could be encouraged to practice various yoga poses that help orchestrate mindful stretching.
  • Mindfulness stretching: this technique asks clients to stretch mindfully, raising their awareness of both their minds and bodies.
  • Meditation: therapists may ask clients to engage in self directed or guided meditation exercises, which can help clients become more aware of their thoughts, breathing, and body.

Another practice you may be taught is known as a “three minute breathing space technique.” This incorporates practicing three steps lasting one minute each:

  1. Observe your current experience and evaluate how you are doing in the present.
  2. Focus on your breathing.
  3. Focus on your physical and bodily sensations.

While anxiety can indeed interfere with your daily life, there is hope: many therapeutic avenues have been proven to be effective in combating anxiety. And here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy appropriate for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained mental health professional. We will then match you with the appropriate therapy group, which will meet every week for an hour. You can find more FAQs here.

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How to Steer Clear of Holiday Triggers

Personal Growth

How to Steer Clear of Holiday Triggers

In an ideal world, the holidays would mean spending time around a candlelit dinner of honey ham, roasted chicken, mulled wine, and sweet desserts, while the laughter and chatter of our loved ones fills the air.

A time for families and friends to look back on the past year and speak fondly of memories, open special handpicked gifts, and play light, not-too-competitive games.

Unfortunately, this usually isn’t exactly how it goes. There are pestering questions, political debates, judgements about how we live our lives, relationship pressures, overdrinking, heightened emotions, and other hidden, triggering landmines.

This causes the holidays to be especially challenging for those of us trying hard to improve our mental health and stay on the right track.

Below are some useful tips for managing stress during the holidays and avoiding triggers successfully:

Practice mindful eating

If you’ve dealt with an eating disorder in the past, watching everyone gorge on delicious food may bring up some difficult emotions. You might be uncomfortable watching everyone overdo it on the meals and alcohol, or maybe your aunt is commenting on your eating habits and doesn’t know how to take a hint. Choose to eat only the foods you want to and stop eating when you’re full. Tell anyone who bugs you to mind their own business and politely excuse yourself from the table when you’re done eating.

Have a plan

Be proactive by identifying one safe person in your family who you can go to for an escape. Maybe have a wink, a look, or even a code word when one or both of you need to slip out to the back porch for a breather. It can help to take a step back when you’re feeling emotions rising, or just to get away from an intense game of Monopoly.

Declare an exit

Plant the seeds earlier in the evening that you have an important task to do the next day. This will give you a great excuse to bow out early when you’ve had enough. And if you feel like staying longer and you’re enjoying yourself, that’s fine too! No one will even notice or remember you had fictional plans just in case.

Pencil in time for yourself

Hosting relatives in your small apartment? Feeling a little suffocated? Make sure you take the time for self-care in between your charcuterie preparation and cocktail making. Dive into the back bedroom and draw yourself a quick, 30-minute bath. Decompress. Blame the dogs and get out of the house for an afternoon walk by yourself. These little “me” moments will go a long way after a week of hosting and entertaining.

Let go of the personal

When your uncle seems judgmental about the fact that you’re still unmarried, try being present, politely listening, and nodding. It may be tempting to get offended or take his opinion personally, but when you remind yourself that this is not about you at all, it can be easier to swallow. Say you happen to know that his own marriage is in a rocky place, so you figure his unresolved feelings about marriage are his own projections. We never know what someone else who is judging us is going through in their own life. The best thing we can do in situations like this is to let the other person talk, because it’s clearly what they want and need to do.

From all of us here at Grouport, we hope these tips and strategies helped!

Have a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!

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Online Therapy for Depression

Depression

Online Therapy for Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a potentially life threatening mood disorder characterized by individuals feeling persistent sadness as well as a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed. 

Symptoms of Depression

Depression, which is also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, can have an effect on your:

  • Physical health
  • Emotional health
  • Feelings
  • Ways of thought
  • Behavior

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you seek out the help of a professional once you notice you have been feeling depressed. Some symptoms of depression may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Disturbances in one’s sleep patterns, like sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Lack of energy and exhaustion, leading to minor tasks taking a large amount of effort to complete
  • Slowed speaking, body movements, or thinking
  • Having difficulty concentrating, thinking, remembering things, and making decisions
  • Unexplained physical issues, like headaches or back pain
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Angry outbursts over minor things
  • Experiencing feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Fixation on failures you have made in the past
  • Experiencing self blame
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in most if not all normal activities like sports, sex, or hobbies
  • Recurrent or frequent thoughts regarding death
  • Suicide attempts
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Weight gain and increased food cravings
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite

Treatment for Depression 

Although depression may require long term forms of treatment, it is essential to remember that most individuals suffering from this disorder could see major improvements once they seek out psychotherapy, medication, or even a mixture of the two.

One of the various types of treatments you may seek out is online group therapy, which has been proven to be effective in a wide range of individuals suffering from various mental ailments. 

Group Therapy for Depression

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned about the impact of depression on your life, online therapy for depression could be the perfect solution for you. Here at Grouport we provide group therapy for depression in a safe, secure virtual format from the comfort of your own home. 

Should you enroll in Grouport, we will set you up with an initial one on one virtual consultation with one of our trained intake coordinators. Over the course of this twenty minute call, your coordinator will get to know a bit about you so that they can place you in a depression therapy group that is best suited to your unique situation and needs. 

We here at Grouport take your privacy very seriously. At the beginning of each session, your group leader will make sure to establish strict standards of confidentiality, and all of the video technology and information software we use is HIPAA compliant. In the interest of protecting your information, all the systems we use employ end to end encryption. If you would like, you can even use a nickname when interacting with your therapy group. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT GROUP THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION

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What Can I Learn From Group Therapy?

Grouport Info

What Can I Learn From Group Therapy?

Remember that sinking feeling when your grade school teacher posed a question to the class and waited patiently for hands to shoot up?

Maybe you didn’t know the answer, so you kept your head down and avoided eye contact.

It’s a moment we’re all familiar with. Hoping we don’t get called on, because we don’t know the answer.

Now imagine if every single other student in the room also didn’t know the answer. Imagine if you all raised your hands together, and simply said the truth - “I don’t know.”

That’s what it’s like to attend group therapy when you’re struggling with a specific problem.

When you join Grouport, you’re matched with a small group of people going through the exact same thing as you. And guess what? No one expects you to have all of the answers!

You and your fellow group members will connect each week in an online session - to laugh, share, listen, and grow together.

You’ll get to experience what it’s like to mutually benefit from receiving and giving support. You’ll further develop your communication and socialization skills through the incorporation of many different points of view. And finally, you can model the successful behaviors of other individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

Human beings - social in nature- thrive when they’re surrounded by other people, and group therapy provides a true sense of belonging.

This sense of belonging is the missing puzzle piece to deep learning, self-love, and inner growth. That’s why millions of people today are choosing group over individual therapy.

At Grouport Therapy, we can provide you with…

A Common Identity

Our members feel a sense of belonging, surrounded by people they can relate to.

One member said, “Grouport has truly shown me that I am not the only one struggling.”

Openness

Our groups provide a safe space where you can express yourself freely without fear of judgment.

One member said, “I like the connection you can make with total strangers and the confidentiality it comes with.”

A Healthier Perspective

Hearing other people’s stories helps you weigh in on how you view your own battle with mental health.

One member said, “I love getting another perspective on an issue from another participant. It changes my whole thought process and really helps me see things clearly.” - Rosemary, 22, struggles with anxiety.”

Self-Awareness

Listening to group members explain similar struggles gives you insight and clarity to your own situation.

One member said, “I am becoming much more self aware and am liking myself more. My relationships at work are better and I’m much happier.

Motivation

The power and momentum of group learning will inspire you to make your own changes.

One member said, “The group gives me something to work towards, and provides other outlooks you normally wouldn't consider.

Accountability

As you grow together, you will feel a sense of accountability to yourself and your group to practice and maintain the skills you’ve learned.

One member said, “I look forward to seeing the same group of people every week and helping each other out.”

So no matter how busy you are running around with your children, jobs, and other responsibilities, just know that your mental health doesn’t have to go on the back burner.

Our online group sessions are only once a week, for 60 minutes. Keeping this commitment is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

We offer groups across 10 categories: Anxiety, Depression, Trauma & PTSD, OCD, Relationships, Grief and Loss, Chronic Illness, Substance Abuse, Borderline Personality Disorder, and DBT

What group speaks to you the most?

Check out full group details here.

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Everything You Need to Know About ADHD for Adults

Personal Growth

Everything You Need to Know About ADHD for Adults

Surprisingly, ADHD is one of the most under-treated mental health diagnoses in adults, despite the fact that it affects almost 4% of the U.S. population. Impacting the brain, ADHD is most commonly diagnosed to children, not adults.

Do you often wonder if you have ADHD? Are you prone to forgetfulness, poor planning, and difficulty focusing? Do you think this goes beyond what you consider normal disorganization?

Then you may have adult ADHD, and it might be beneficial to talk to a doctor or licensed therapist about your concerns.

Keep reading to learn more.

ADHD is a neurological disorder which affects executive brain functions like memory and judgement. You may experience symptoms like mood swings or outbursts, restlessness, difficulty dealing with stress, difficulty making decisions, or general impulsiveness.  

There can be many factors that contribute to you developing ADHD, like birth problems, genetics, lead exposure, or substance abuse exposure. It’s best to talk to your doctor about your concerns and day-to-day battles before you can know for sure if you have ADHD, and what the best treatment is for you.

Medication is a popular treatment for ADHD because it can increase the amounts of two chemicals in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine, which can lower hyperactivity, manage impulsive behavior, and increase one’s attention span and focus.

The three types of medication used to treat this disorder are stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants.

  1. Stimulant medications work for about 80% of the population who suffer from ADHD. They are known to increase focus and help you tune out distractions, whether that’s at work, school, or during an activity.
  2. Non-stimulants are a great plan B for anyone experiencing negative side effects from stimulants, or who found it just wasn’t the right fit for them. Non-stimulants help curb impulsives and also decrease distractions.
  3. Antidepressants: Some who struggle with ADHD also may be dealing with depression or bipolar disorder. Antidepressants are a good choice for an individual who is suffering from more than one of these mental illnesses.

Other treatments for adults with ADHD include psychotherapy, education, individual therapy, group therapy, or a combination of treatment and medication.

At Grouport, we believe practicing positive mental health is a lot easier with an intimate group of people who share the same troubles.

You’re not the only one who is stuck. And you don’t have to go through this alone.

Grouport’s 100% online collaborative model is affordable and convenient, with custom treatment plans that can work for you.

Contact us today and we’ll provide you with more information about our online therapy sessions.

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