The Grouport Journal

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

Chronic Illness & CBT For Mental Health: An Introductory Guide

Chronic Illness

April 28, 2022

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. 

Read More

Using Therapy To Manage Life With Chronic Illness or Disability

Chronic Illness

April 28, 2022

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. 

Read More

The Mental Tolls of Chronic Illness & 13 Tips To Beat Them

Chronic Illness

The Mental Tolls of Chronic Illness & 13 Tips To Beat Them

What is chronic illness?


Chronic illness is any condition or set of conditions that lasts over one year, interferes with the daily activities in a person’s life, or requires medical attention. Some chronic disease symptoms may include neck and back pain, neverending fatigue, nausea, mood disorders, and dizziness. 


Heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, and cancer are the leading chronic illnesses in the U.S. According to Rand Review, 60% of American adults now live with at least one chronic condition and 42% have more than one.


Mental consequences of chronic illness


Chronic illness and depression, along with other mental health conditions, are commonly linked because a chronic disease can be extremely challenging to cope with day in and day out. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can result in intense feelings of shame, resentment, fear, sadness, and frustration over long periods of time. Adjusting to a different life can be quite difficult. 


Below are the mental health consequences that can arise from chronic disease symptoms:


  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alienation
  • Isolation
  • Social fear
  • Increased stress
  • Sense of hopelessness 


Chronic depression


Is depression a chronic illness? It can be, if left untreated. Treating chronic depression can be done with medication and talk therapy. Studies show that over time, this combination may normalize the brain changes associated with depression.


One third of people with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. 


Effects of depression on chronic illnesses


The effects of chronic illness depression (depression caused by a chronic disease) are very damaging to an already fragile situation. Pain associated with a chronic illness often prevents an individual from going places or seeing friends and loved ones. This leads to isolation and depression. Physical consequences can occur too, like increased fatigue. 


Tips to overcome the mental burdens of chronic illness


  1. Educate yourself on all of your choices for care both at home and at the hospital or clinic. 
  2. Choose a medical provider you really love. You’ll need to be able to express yourself honestly and openly at all times. 
  3. Don’t be shy about your emotional and mental health. Your provider can help you explore positive ways to overcome negative feelings about your chronic illness or chronic illness depression. 
  4. Create a supportive circle of friends and family in your life who are there for you every step of the way. Cut out anyone who makes you feel worse or makes you feel like your chronic illness is a burden for them. 
  5. Join a forum or community of people with a similar condition. This will help you build friendships and solid relationships with others who know exactly what you’re going through. Plug grouport here
  6. Learn as much as you can about your chronic illness. The more information you have, the more successful you’ll be in staying as healthy as possible. Learn more about your chronic illness here. 
  7. Make necessary lifestyle changes to improve your condition where you can. This could be as simple as going for a short, easy walk or maintaining a healthy diet packed with protein, fruits, and vegetables. Quit bad habits like drinking or smoking for an even more comfortable, sustainable way of living. 
  8. Seek other opinions from experts. This can be outside of your doctor or other medical health professionals. You can speak to a scientist, therapist, psychologist, or anyone else who can give you another perspective of your chronic illness when you’re curious to know more. 
  9. Properly manage your medications. Have an organized pill holder and schedule that you adhere to so that you’re taking the right amount of medication each day. Put your pill holder in the same spot in your bedroom or bathroom so you can access it at the same time every morning or night. 
  10. Look out for the warning signs of chronic illness depression. If you start to notice negative, intrusive thoughts becoming more and more overpowering, talk to a therapist, a close friend, or family member about your feelings. Depression and illness can cause backsliding and prevent you from pursuing healthy habits and choices. 
  11. Share your plans for the end of your life. It may sound daunting, but telling your loved ones what kind of days, months, or years you’d like to live out before you go may bring you peace and comfort. It also will save your family from confusion later on as to what you would’ve wanted, whether that’s hospice and do-not-resuscitate or “fight for me until the very end.” 
  12. Keep in touch with family and friends as much as you need to. Living with a chronic disease can easily lead to chronic illness depression, so it’s best to be proactive and try to prioritize socialization and time spent with loved ones to counteract any negative feelings or lonliness.
  13. Speak up. Reach out to your doctor, nurse, or physician if something doesn’t feel right physically. They can reassure you in times of uncertainty or pain. 


Read More

What Are Therapies For OCD?

OCD

May 24, 2022

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!

All Journals

Read More

What is group therapy?

Grouport Info

May 18, 2022

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!

All Journals

Read More

Social Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Anxiety

May 12, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

Depression Or Clinical Depression? How To Spot the Difference

Depression

May 12, 2022

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. 

All Journals

Read More

How to Manage Life With OCD

OCD

May 12, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

5 Things You Need To Know About Group Therapy

Grouport Info

May 12, 2022

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!

All Journals

Read More

Understanding And Treating OCD

OCD

May 11, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

How To Know The Difference Between Boredom And BPD

BPD

May 11, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

Anger Management with DBT

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

3 Ways Your Self Image Impacts Moods, Decisions And Priorities

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

How To Navigate "Stormy" Relationships By Practicing Mindfulness & Setting Boundaries

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

Overcoming Fear Of Abandonment And Rejection

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

DBT And What It’s Good For

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

New York & Distress Tolerance...Navigating A Tough City with Mindfulness & DBT

All Articles

May 4, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

What Happens In DBT Therapy: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

All Articles

May 3, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

What is DBT Therapy Good For?

All Articles

May 3, 2022

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!

All Journals

Read More

What is DBT Treatment?

All Articles

May 3, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

Chronic Illness & CBT For Mental Health: An Introductory Guide

Chronic Illness

April 28, 2022

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. 

All Journals

Read More

Using Therapy To Manage Life With Chronic Illness or Disability

Chronic Illness

April 28, 2022

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. 

All Journals

Read More

The Four Key Points of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT

April 27, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

How To Decide Between CBT And DBT For Mental Health Therapy

DBT

April 27, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

Four Common Misunderstandings About DBT

DBT

April 27, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

Six Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

April 27, 2022

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 

All Journals

Read More

Here’s What You Need To Know About Healing From Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

April 27, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

5 Common Relationship Issues Group Therapy Can Help

Relationship Issues

April 27, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

When To Get Help For Relationship Issues

Relationship Issues

April 27, 2022

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! 

All Journals

Read More

A Survival Guide To Living With BPD

BPD

April 27, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

Why You Should Try Group Therapy for BPD

BPD

April 27, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

How To Manage Stress For Better Mental Health

Anxiety

April 27, 2022

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!

All Journals

Read More

Coping With Climate Anxiety

Anxiety

April 20, 2022

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

All Journals

Read More

Grouport Therapy Session Guidelines

Grouport Info

April 11, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

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

Anxiety

February 11, 2022

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. 






All Journals

Read More

The Psychology of Change & How To Get Started

Personal Growth

February 11, 2022

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


All Journals

Read More

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

Anxiety

January 8, 2022

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.


All Journals

Read More

10 ways to Improve Mindfulness in a Busy New York Lifestyle

Personal Growth

January 6, 2022

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.

All Journals

Read More

Do You Experience Seasonal Depression?

Depression

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

The Cost of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

PTSD Therapy: What to Expect

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Online Therapy for Depression

Depression

December 13, 2021

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

All Journals

Read More

Goals of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

December 13, 2021

Goals of PTSD Therapy

When someone endures a traumatic incident or experience, they may experience post traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath. The Mayo Clinic says that most individuals will initially have a difficult time readjusting to life and coping with their experience in the aftermath of undergoing something traumatic, but will be able to see improvement in their wellbeing if they invest time into self care and allow enough time to pass. If, however, you have survived something traumatic and notice that your wellbeing is consistently worsening--potentially to the point that it interferes with your daily life--you could be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.

Over time, the intensity of your various PTSD symptoms may fluctuate; experts say that you could experience heightened symptoms if you come across any reminders of the traumatic event, or if you have been generally feeling more stressed than usual. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you seek professional help for PTSD if you:

  • Are having a hard time regaining control in your life in the aftermath of a traumatic event
  • Experience severe, disturbing feelings and thoughts surrounding the traumatic event
  • Experience these disturbing feelings and thoughts for more than a month after the event occurred


The American Psychological Association strongly recommends four major types of interventions for individuals living with PTSD; all of these are variations of a therapeutic approach known as cognitive behavioral therapy. The goal is to improve the quality of life for individuals living with PTSD, hopefully lessening their trauma symptoms and making life more livable. 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. Prolonged exposure: 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.
  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. 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.

If you would like to seek help for PTSD symptoms, you may do so by enrolling in a group therapy program; therapy groups have been proven to be effective in treating PTSD and other mental illnesses. We here at Grouport are thrilled to offer online group therapy for PTSD and much more; our offerings, which are totally online, offer a viable way to safely seek out therapeutic intervention from the safety of your own home in today’s post COVID-19 world. You can find a series of FAQs here.

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Methods

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

How Many Types of Therapy Are There?

Grouport Info

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Group Therapy for Depression

Depression

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Tools

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Objectives of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Goals

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Near Me

Depression

December 13, 2021

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

All Journals

Read More

The Process of PTSD Therapy

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Magnetic Treatment for Depression

Depression

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Groups Near Me

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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

All Journals

Read More

What Can I Learn From Group Therapy?

Grouport Info

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

How to Steer Clear of Holiday Triggers

Personal Growth

December 13, 2021

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!

All Journals

Read More

Everything You Need to Know About ADHD for Adults

Personal Growth

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Mindfulness Therapy Online

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

EMDR as PTSD Therapy

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Group Therapy During COVID-19

Grouport Info

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Online Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Therapy for Depression in NYC

Depression

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

PTSD and How Grouport Treats It

PTSD

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Activities

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

How to Support Someone Grieving

Grief & Loss

December 13, 2021

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!

All Journals

Read More

Social Media & Your Mental Health

Personal Growth

December 13, 2021

Social Media & Your Mental Health

It’s been a whirlwind of two years due to the pandemic - leaving us all more susceptible to loneliness and isolation from having to stay in quarantine or transitioning to working from home full-time. Dealing with the loss of family members or friends due to the virus can add to this despair even more.

Feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed can create health problems that we may have never had to experience before. We can develop high blood pressure or even become diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Because there became a huge hole for social interaction, our society began tuning into social media more to feed these needs. In short, this solution made the pandemic a little more bearable.

We could watch hilarious TikTok videos, challenge each other to workouts or dances we saw online, or Facebook Messenger chat our loved ones. But as we increased the time spent on our phones, looking at and comparing other people’s lives to ours, the time we spent doing things we used to enjoy decreased. Activities like reading, painting, or going to the gym started being replaced with more screen time.

So what is the toll of too much social media on our mental health, really?

Here are the negative health effects of pursuing this habit without boundaries:

  • Increased loneliness - social media is only a substitute for real interactions and connection, so if a person only spends time and energy nurturing online relationships, they may still end up feeling empty at the end of the day
  • Anxiety and depression - turning to a feed and scrolling through images and videos offers a comforting sense of short-term relief from anxiety, creating increased anxiety in the long-term because the underlying anxious feelings are never dealt with
  • Low self-esteem and body image issues - there are many apps and photo editing tools nowadays that can completely change how someone looks in a photo (but most people believe the photo is real as is!) so this results in unrealistic standards, unhealthy comparison, and low self-confidence
  • Sleep problems - exposing yourself to excessive amounts of blue light is not good for your health, and can cause insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns, and disproportional melatonin production

Because social media can get addicting quite easily, here are a few simple tips from Grouport that you can use to manage your social media use and protect your mental health.

Rearrange your content preferences

Sick of seeing stick-thin supermodels? Political propaganda? People easily forget that they control the content they see. You can simply click the unfollow button immediately after feeling that sense of dread, envy, or anger from seeing a piece of unfavorable content. Take it one step further by seeking out positive accounts for meditation, therapy, inspiration, and motivation. Follow those accounts - and soon you’ll be getting high-quality information that’s uplifting, versus triggering content that can make you feel depressed.

Set a time limit

If you need to step away from your desk for a little break, consider setting a timer on your phone for how long you can sit on the couch, scrolling through Instagram. Two 15-minute breaks a day can give you that social media fix without distracting you from getting things done.

You can even try making it a rule to not go on social media until the workday is over. Give yourself the freedom to scroll, laugh, and comment only within the time window of 6-8 pm and then put your phone away again and prepare for bed. Try reading before lights out, or taking a long, hot shower to unwind from the day.

Try finding a group of supportive peers

Let’s say time limits and curated feeds aren’t helping, and you’ve admittedly noticed that you are experiencing anxiety and depression on a daily basis with little to no relief. It might be time to seek out counseling or treatment for improved mental health.

But because in-person, individual therapy can be expensive and demanding on your schedule, online group therapy sessions have become widely available during the pandemic. Grouport, for example, hosts weekly sessions online for 60 minutes - where an individual is matched with a group of people who are experiencing the same issues (OCD, Depression, PTSD, and more).

It can be cathartic and eye opening to meet regularly with a group of your peers to discuss similar struggles and learn from each other. Grouport makes it easy for you to find the right place for you.

Click here to browse our full list of groups!

All Journals

Read More

Commonly Asked Questions about Grouport

Grouport Info

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Mindfulness Group Therapy Activities

Anxiety

December 13, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

CBT for PTSD Therapy

PTSD

November 30, 2021

CBT for PTSD Therapy

Looking for a therapy solution to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? The American Psychological Association highly recommends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as an approach to PTSD treatment. 

What Is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that hones in on the relationship between your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. For example, changing your “unhelpful thinking” can potentially help you to form healthier behavioral habits, leading to an improvement in the way you regulate your emotions. Trauma-focused CBT usually involves specific exercises given by your therapist that can help you change small things to make a big impact on your life. 

How Does CBT Help? 

Trauma-based CBT focuses on your current issues and any symptoms you’re facing that are diminishing your quality of life, including any issues and any symptoms you’re presenting (anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc).  CBT is generally administered over a period of twelve to sixteen sessions and can be done either in individual or group therapy settings. Here at Grouport we offer online group therapy for PTSD and trauma; if you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, we can help match you with a suitable therapy group to get you started on your CBT journey.

What Does CBT Entail?

There are various different ways a CBT therapist or mental health professional may work with their patients to improve their functioning and lower their PTSD symptoms. Some techniques might include:

  • Planning for potential crisis and stress management; this can help the client deal with triggering or otherwise unsettling situations.
  • Exposure to the trauma narrative and other reminders of the trauma in question; this can help the client reduce avoidant behaviors and other maladaptive associations they have with their trauma.
  • Motivating clients to re-evaluate their assumptions and patterns of thinking; this can help identify maladaptive thought patterns.

 

Why Does CBT Work?

There are a variety of trauma-specific theories that explain the ways in which CBT can aid individuals who are suffering from symptoms related to PTSD. Some such theories include:

Social Cognitive Theory (Benight & Bandura, 2004)

This theory suggests that individuals who attempt to reframe their traumatic experiences within existing beliefs regarding themselves and the world around them tend to have maladaptive understanding regarding their perceptions of control (of themselves or the environment) and the traumatic experience itself. For example, if an individual who believes that negative things happen to “bad” people gets violated by another person, they will believe that they were violated because they themselves are a “bad” person. Their cognitive behavioral therapist, in turn, will be able to understand their thought process, which will allow them to use CBT strategies to abate these thoughts in the most effective way possible.

Emotional Processing Theory (Rauch & Foa, 2006)

This theory speculates that individuals who have undergone a traumatic experience may make associations among “objectively safe” reminders of said experience (such as situations, people, or news stories), meaning (such as the world is “unsafe,”), and responses (such as feeling fearful or numb). For example, an individual suffering from PTSD may encounter a news story from the time period in which they were traumatized; this can, in turn, cause them to feel that the world is unsafe and lead them to feel irrationally afraid. Using cognitive behavioral therapy to change these associations that often cause unhealthy functioning is, in fact, the essence of emotional processing.

Grouport offers online group therapy for a variety of mental health struggles, including but not limited to PTSD through trauma focused CBT. Enroll today to receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained intake coordinator and be matched with the perfect group to help you on your journey. You can find answers to more FAQs here.

All Journals

Read More

The 4 Basic Types of OCD

OCD

November 30, 2021

The 4 Basic Types of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by illogical thoughts and fears that lead to compulsive behaviors.

The symptoms of OCD can begin mildly and then worsen throughout time, if left untreated. The treatment for different types of OCD includes group therapy, ERP exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, and potentially the use of medication.

When someone suffers from OCD, they’re consumed with intrusive thoughts that can interfere with their life and simple daily functions become exhausting and disruptive.

If you, your loved one, or a friend or family member is the one struggling with OCD, it’s crucial to understand the aspects of the condition - what can possibly improve the condition and what can make it worse. It will also help you understand which treatment or therapy might be best.


What causes OCD?

There is no one cause. It is often the byproduct of numerous factors including one’s genetics and environment. Genetics may predispose someone to develop OCD, while being in a stressful environment for a prolonged period of time can trigger symptoms.

It is thought that people with OCD have an overactive or malfunctioning amygdala that stimulates a fight or flight response and results in the distressing signal that triggers a person’s obsessions.

4 Types of OCD

Though there is a wide variation in how OCD affects individuals, there are four basic types that seem to be the most common.


Hoarding OCD

Ever seen the TV show, "Hoarders"?

Each episode takes you inside the lives of two different people who are unable to part with useless, tiny possessions, leading to a mountain of junk that takes over their home.

When someone struggles with hoarding OCD, they collect items that don’t have much value. Empty water bottles, old magazines, and worthless trinkets begin to clutter their home and eventually become a huge problem because the individual cannot detach with them.

There is a deep-rooted fear of potentially not having something they might need one day. Beneath hoarding OCD is usually a form of co-existing anxiety or depression.


Cleaning OCD

Cleaning or contamination OCD occurs when an individual focuses on excessively washing their hands, bodies, or surfaces around them in fear that there are germs everywhere, contaminating them.

Cleansing and washing becomes a relief from the distress of thinking they are dirty or that they are possibly contaminating other people or surfaces.


Harm OCD

Many individuals who experience harm OCD often participate in rituals to prevent them from being swallowed up by their negative thoughts of hurting themselves or others.

For example, if you suffer from harm OCD, you might have an all-consuming fear that you are going to accidentally get run over by a car one day, or even hit someone with your car. This fear may cause you to drive back and forth to a place where you think it might happen, just to reassure yourself nothing really happened there.


Order OCD

Order OCD can also be called symmetry or counting compulsions OCD, and it creates intense urges to rearrange items and objects repeatedly. It can also manifest in negative, fearful thoughts that if something isn’t counted right, spoken right, or arranged right, something awful will happen.

There is a never ending constant need to count, order, or repeat a behavior or set of behaviors. If this isn’t done, the individual may feel a sense of impending doom, danger, or bad luck.


How to Treat Different OCD Types

Treatment for OCD can be a little complicated since there is no one-size-fits-all method to the different symptoms. Because of this, a combination of different types of therapy and medication are usually recommended.


Therapy

The gold standard treatment is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). In doing ERP therapy, a person learns to gradually expose themselves to their obsessions and tolerate increasing levels of anxiety, while not engaging in their compulsions.

Learning to abstain from performing compulsions decreases the frequency and intensity of the emotional distress caused by obsessions, thereby helping one to break free from their OCD cycle.

Additionally, practicing mindfulness-based techniques and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can ease the severity of the symptoms.


Medication

In the beginning of treatment, medication might be suggested as a supplement when learning additional coping techniques in individual or online group therapy.

A few of the prescription medications that have proven effective in treating OCD include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anti-psychotics, and antidepressants.


How Grouport Can Help

Grouport online group therapy sessions treat people who suffer from the following OCD obsessions:

  • Blasphemous thoughts
  • Disturbing sexual thoughts
  • Sexual Identity
  • Pedophilia
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Violence
  • Self-Harm
  • Causing harm to others
  • Responsibility
  • Relationships
  • Contamination
  • Being hyper aware of bodily functions (Somatic OCD)
  • Existential OCD

When you attend a Grouport therapy session, you’re matched with a small group of people going through the exact same thing as you.

Our OCD group connects each week in an online session - to laugh, share, listen, and grow together. Members learn that they can model the successful behaviors of other individuals in the group who have gone through similar experiences with their OCD. The group reinforces ERP, so members can habituate to their obsessions over time and refrain from engaging in obsessions.

By this time next week, you could be sitting amongst a group of people just like you.

Click here to sign up for our OCD group!

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Techniques

Anxiety

November 30, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Unpacking and Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety

November 30, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

Music Therapy for Depression

Depression

November 30, 2021

Music Therapy for Depression

Music therapy is a therapeutic approach that provides an alternative to other methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling. This therapeutic approach can potentially improve a client’s:

  • Independence
  • Confidence
  • Self awareness
  • Attention skills
  • Communication skills
  • concentration
  • Awareness of others


An important aspect of music therapy is the incorporation of live, musical interaction between the therapist and their client. During a music therapy session, one might listen to music or perhaps even create their own music with a variety of different types of instruments; it may also involve movement, singing, and even improvisation. Overall, music therapists utilize their client’s connections and responses to music in order to foster positive changes in their mood and overall mental state.

It is widely acknowledged that music has a major effect on the brain, and differing musical styles can have a powerful, rapid effect on an individual’s mood. Music has the ability to aid individuals as they process and experience various emotions, from thoughtfulness to excitement to calmness and everything in between. In addition to listening to music, making music can be equally beneficial to individuals; music therapy strongly encourages those involved to actively make music that helps them.

Music therapy harnesses the human body’s profound physical reactions to music in order to aid those suffering from mental illnesses. The ways in which music affects our brains is quite complicated: every aspect, such as melody, pitch, and tempo, are processed by separate parts of our brains. When we hear powerful music, our brain’s reward center--the nucleus accumbens--may even produce significant physical signs of pleasure, like goosebumps.

Historically speaking, music has been a major aspect of humanity for several thousands of years. Researchers have discovered instruments that date back to over 40,000 years ago, which hints that we humans have a deep rooted inclination to express ourselves using music. The first use of music as a form of therapy can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Then, in the 1800s, medical research into the efficacy of music therapy began to take off. And by the 1940s, many universities contained their own programs dedicated to music therapy. Music as therapy in the way we know it today started after World War II ended.


There are many potential benefits to music therapy, such as:

  • Music therapy can be brought directly to individuals who are unable to get out of bed or leave their homes.
  • It can encourage individuals to learn instruments as a hobby, that can further their mental health improvement gleaned from music therapy itself.
  • It does not rely on verbal communication, so it can be well suited for individuals who have a hard time communicating verbally.

Another form of therapy that can potentially confer similar positive results is group therapy. In group therapy settings, individuals might also find themselves improving their verbal communication by speaking with a therapist and other individuals who are experiencing similar struggles. Furthermore, in today’s world, group therapy can also be completed from the comfort of your own home. Here at Grouport, we offer totally online group therapy. All 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.

All Journals

Read More

The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD

November 30, 2021

The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

What is borderline personality disorder?

Can I have both at the same time? How are they different, and how are they alike?

Let’s dive in, shall we? Understanding both of these mental health disorders will help you on your journey to recognizing if you have one, seeking the appropriate treatment, or properly caring for a loved one who is also suffering.


Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD, or borderline personality disorder, involves self-image issues, drastic and unpredictable mood swings and behaviors, and impulsive decision making. Someone struggling with BPD may find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships or keep a steady job.

It’s important to note that not everyone diagnosed with BPD will have the same symptoms or behaviors. And though many symptoms of BPD are similar to those of bipolar disorder, there are a few unique only to BPD.

The range of potential symptoms include…

  • An “all or nothing” type of attitude
  • Self-image issues
  • Lack of confidence, security, or self-worth
  • Constant change in moral belief systems
  • Self-harm and/or suicide attempt
  • Trust and abandonment issues
  • Unsafe activities that are often viewed as dangerous
  • Distorted sense of reality
  • Unstable relationships
  • Fear of loneliness or spending time alone
  • Episodes of anger
  • Shift of attention from interest to interest very quickly
  • Emotional problems
  • Inconsistent opinions and points of view
  • Experiencing anxiety and/or depression


Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for borderline personality disorder, so other forms of treatment like therapy must be sought out. If desired, an individual could try a combination of anxiety or depression medication with therapy.

Group therapy is extremely effective in treating BPD because group therapy typically favors both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)  and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in treatment.

These methods can also be used in one-on-one therapy, but in group therapy, individuals have the opportunity to learn from each other and interact with each other, which only helps with the process.

DBT is one of those treatments unique to borderline personality disorder. It focuses heavily on self-acceptance and being aware of one’s emotions and surroundings. An individual learns tools to self-soothe and ground themselves. If practiced regularly, DBT significantly lowers the risk of self-harm.

CBT is a technique in which an individual takes a closer look at their behaviors and beliefs about the world. They are encouraged to challenge any beliefs that don’t serve them, or are causing them to suffer, which leads to positive life changes. CBT is also known to lower anxiety and balance mood swings.

Grouport’s borderline personality disorder online group meets once a week, every week! Check out the ways in which Grouport’s therapists tackle BPD here.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is commonly described as a condition which makes an individual experience periods of extreme highs and extreme lows.

A bipolar diagnosis can be either I or II, with bipolar I patients experiencing manic episodes and bipolar II patients experiencing depressive episodes.

The range of potential symptoms can usually be categorized by either depressive or manic episodes…


Depressive Episode

  • Low energy levels
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Deep sadness that seems to never end
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Fatigue and lack of sleep
  • A constant sense of despair and hopelessness
  • Lack of interest in hobbies
  • Issues with appetite
  • Phases of restlessness
  • Guilty feelings

Manic Episode

  • Impulsive and reckless
  • Stream of racing thoughts
  • Very talkative and fast-talking
  • Heightened levels of energy and activity
  • Extreme sadness and/or happiness
  • Grandiose plans and ideas
  • Lack of judgement
  • Inflated self-confidence

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, you have many options for treatment like therapy, changes to your habits and lifestyle, and medication.

There are antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and mood stabilizers available to those diagnosed.

CBT, as used in borderline personality disorder, is a common practice for managing bipolar episodes because it can reduce depression and anxiety.

Self-awareness and check-ins are also techniques used - like recording a calming phone message to yourself that you can play during a future episode to instruct yourself to calm yourself down.


The Main Differences

Now that we’ve seen some of the symptoms of both borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder overlap, let’s explore the differences between the two.

Mood swings that a bipolar patient may experience are brought on randomly and without explanation. There is “no rhyme or reason” with bipolar disorder. This differs from the mood changes of a BPD patient because those are usually correlated with relationships and real issues the individual is experiencing and struggling to deal with.

And while episodes of a BPD person can last minutes or several hours, the episodes of a bipolar person can last weeks or even months. This individual’s entire life is turned upside down for as long as they are in a manic or depressive state and it can be very self-destructive.


If you or a loved one suffers from either disorder, there are so many accessible and affordable ways to get supportive, professional treatment. Here at Grouport, we want you to be able to live the fullest life possible, no matter what obstacles stand in the way.

Click here to contact us if you’re still not sure which disorder you’re struggling with, or reach out to us anyways if you have any questions or concerns regarding group therapy.

We would love to hear from you.

Stay well!

All Journals

Read More

How to Achieve a Sense of Belonging

Personal Growth

November 30, 2021

How to Achieve a Sense of Belonging

The core parts of who we are as individuals is crafted and molded by the experiences we had as a child, how our parents raised us, the environment in which we spent most of our time, and the friends we choose to surround ourselves with.

In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “We are so well trained that we are our own domesticator. We are an autodomesticated animal.”

He makes an excellent point. We are all predisposed and programmed to believe certain things about ourselves and to go through life making certain decisions. So much so, that we often forget we can change all of that whenever we want.

For example, if you grow up in an unsafe household, you may become a controlling, anxiety-ridden adult because you always felt a lack of stability in your environment. Your adult self works hard to counteract the way you felt as a child, and you become so used to being in this survival mode that it shapes who you are to the core.

But what if we had the power (and we do) to challenge those beliefs about ourselves? What if we had the awareness to realize we are safe now, and that we don’t have to keep playing this role?

These assumptions about who we are distort our reality and take us farther away from our authentic self. Because of this, we may feel really lonely around people or find it difficult to fit in and relate to others.

This isn’t because we are strange and different, it’s because we have been lying to ourselves for so long that we have no idea who we actually are.

Below are a few ways to wake yourself up from this haze, start working towards finding your authentic self, and achieve a greater sense of belonging:


Take a Time-Out to Heal Yourself

Therapy is a great resource to articulate the roots of why you feel you are struggling in life. Investigating your past experiences and influencers is a form of deep inner work that requires open mindedness and vulnerability. Group therapy, PTSD therapy, and trauma therapy are all options for your healing journey.

If you don’t take the time to heal yourself, you will likely keep making the same choices and become a passive bystander of your life. Patterns are sure to repeat themselves. Group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to take back that power and stop playing the victim.

We need to allow others to give their input so that our ego is detached from this new level of growth. After all, we can’t change stubborn behaviors, relationships, or mindsets that we aren’t even aware need changing.


Reevaluate the Narrative You Tell Yourself

People who struggle with a poor sense of belonging have likely struggled with it for most of their life. They become so comfortable with their narrative that it’s the lens in which they view the world.

For example, if a romantic partner in your past was unfaithful to you, you may enter a new relationship with trepidation and apprehension. This can manifest in trust issues, anxiety, clinginess, or even cold, distant indifference. Is this your new partner’s fault? No, but you may end up pushing them away because of the narrative you walked into the relationship with.

Just because a situation occurred once in your life, doesn’t mean it will happen again. It also doesn’t give you the permission to paint every future situation in the same light. That is called self-sabotage, and it’s destructive to all of the relationships we have.

If you hold onto a narrative, you are blocking yourself from truly being free. Life is meant to be experienced freely, with love and abundance constantly flowing through us.


Upgrade Your Self-Worth

Let’s take it back a step and discover how a narrative is born in the first place.

A narrative is created by an experience or set of experiences in our life, which is a direct result of a choice or choices we made.

These choices are made based on our self-worth, self-respect, and self-trust. If you choose to let someone mistreat you, you may go on thinking you are a victim and that people are cruel.

However, this person mistreating you actually starts with your self-worth. Someone who walks away when they aren’t being treated respectfully, isn’t even going to allow the window for mistreatment, and so, they won’t experience mistreatment. It only goes as far as we let it.

Unconditional self-acceptance and self-love keeps us on the right track in choosing partners, jobs, and friends that are worthy of us. If we don’t feel a high sense of worth, we may rely on external forces for validation.

But if we can love ourselves all on our own, we won’t experience that desperate feeling of unwantedness or not belonging. Group therapy is known to be a powerful resource for relearning self-love in a supportive, safe environment.

As Don Miguel Ruiz wrote, “Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

All Journals

Read More

PTSD Therapy in NYC

PTSD

November 30, 2021

PTSD Therapy in NYC

According to the Mayo Clinic, post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition brought about by an individual witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Most individuals who experience a traumatic event will have a hard time coping with what they experienced as well as adjusting to life thereafter, but will generally get better with time and an adequate amount of self care. If, however, one experiences the worsening of trauma symptoms, or the extension of these symptoms over periods of months or years, and see an interference with their daily functioning, they may be suffering from PTSD. Undergoing the right treatment after the development of PTSD symptoms may be critical in improving daily function and reducing symptoms.

While PTSD symptoms may appear within a month of the traumatic event, some may not appear until years after the event occurred. In general, PTSD symptoms are grouped into four types: avoidance, intrusive memories, changes in physical and emotional reactions, and negative changes in thinking and mood.


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


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
  • Experiencing flashbacks in which the traumatic event is re-experienced
  • Undergoing severe physical reactions or emotional distress in response to something that is reminiscent of the traumatic event


Signs of changes in physical and emotional reactions could include:

  • Constantly being on guard
  • Irritability
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as the overconsumption of alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing overwhelming shame or guilt
  • Being easily frightened or startled


Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood might include:

  • A lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
  • Having a hard time experiencing positive emotions
  • Experiencing negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world at large
  • Difficulty keeping close relationships with others
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Feeling detached from loved ones
  • Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting essential aspects of the traumatic event


Over time, the intensity of PTSD symptoms one experience can fluctuate. For example, you might experience heightened symptoms when they encounter reminders of their experience, or when they are feeling more stressed than usual.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you seek out a doctor’s assistance if you:

  • Experience severe disturbing feelings and thoughts surrounding a traumatic event
  • If you experience these disturbing feelings and thoughts for more than a month after the event
  • If you are having a difficult time regaining control of your life in the wake of a distressing event

While the various symptoms of PTSD can indeed prove to be debilitating, it is important to remember that PTSD symptoms can be effectively treated through various forms of therapy and medication. Here in New York City, there are various resources at your disposal, such as the NYU Langone clinic. Additionally, we at Grouport offer group therapy for individuals suffering from various types of mental illnesses, including PTSD. You can find a list of FAQs here.

All Journals

Read More

10 Simple Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

Personal Growth

November 30, 2021

10 Simple Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep troubles are one of the most universal struggles we deal with on a daily basis, and we’re constantly searching for ways to improve the quality of our sleep.

It feels like those blissful nights when we fall asleep quickly, sleep deeply, and wake up feeling refreshed are becoming more and more rare the older we get.

Our careers have taken off, we’re working longer hours and feeling more stressed, and we have spouses and children to care for. Winding down, meditating, indulging in a hot bath, and reading a great book seem like the stuff of fairy tales the busier we get.

Not catching the right amount of Zs can leave us in a foggy, unmotivated, and unfocused state.

We can experience forgetfulness, anxiousness, and a lack of productivity throughout the day. Crankiness, mood swings, drowsiness, sugar cravings, and irritability are common side effects of poor quality sleep as well.

Like everything in life, there isn’t one simple answer to a better night’s sleep. There is no magic wand or quick remedy - instead there are several basic steps you can build into your nighttime routine that can help ease you into a restful state before lights out.

The more you practice these easy tips, the more they will become second nature to you, mindless even. And once you start feeling the rewards of deep rest - and wake up feeling like a million bucks - you’ll want to make them a top priority.


Here are 10 simple tips for a good night’s sleep:

  1. Declutter your bedroom. Studies have shown that people who have more clutter in their bedrooms take longer to fall asleep than those with neat and tidy rooms. So quickly hanging up your clothes instead of throwing them on the floor makes more of a difference than you think.
  2. Don’t answer work emails past 8:00 pm. This will only reignite the anxiety and stress that you tried to leave behind when you left the office. Every message requires your brain to make yet another decision. Instead of checking your phone, grab a book instead. Reading is one of the most relaxing ways to destress before bed.
  3. Create a quiet, peaceful environment. If you can’t fall asleep to absolute silence, try a noise machine or even a guided meditation with headphones on. You can choose noise sounds like crickets, rainforest, fire crackling, or ocean waves - all remarkably relaxing to listen to. The blaring noise from a violent background movie, not to mention the blinding light from the screen, can be disturbing to your eyes and ears.
  4. Splurge on the best pillow for you. Some people prefer soft, fluffy, down pillows while others want a firm, supportive, tempurpedic pillow. You’re going to be using it every night, so go ahead and spend a few extra bucks to get one you really love. This is especially important if you suffer from neck or back pain from sitting at a desk all day!
  5. Keep your room cool and dark. Most experts agree that the sweet spot for temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Invest in some curtains to block out bright street lights.
  6. The lights should be low after dinnertime. Swap the fluorescent bathroom light for the closet light instead, when you’re changing into your pajamas or brushing your teeth. Turn off all main living room lights and instead turn on the microwave light or dim foyer light. Low light is less disruptive to the body’s natural circadian rhythms, so your body is signaled it’s time to start winding down.
  7. Consider limiting caffeine and alcohol. The winding down process actually begins during the day. Exercise early, and try to have your last cup of coffee by 3:00 pm. Though alcohol seems to relax you in the short-term, in reality it pumps your body full of sugar in the evening and therefore yields low-quality sleep.
  8. Meditate to relieve stress, forget the day, practice mindfulness, and set yourself up for tomorrow. Many people have trouble meditating on their own and just sitting or laying in the silence with their thoughts. So if that’s you, try a guided meditation on YouTube or use a meditation app.
  9. Get clean. Take a shower or a bath before bed, even if you’re going to exercise first thing in the morning anyways. The heat from the water relaxes your tense, tired muscles, and slows down your mind’s racing thoughts.
  10. Listen to classical music like piano. There are even film score playlists that showcase tunes from your favorite movies. Film scores are a great go-to because they are instrumental only.


And there you have it!

Start by just introducing two or three of these tips into your nightly routine. Check in and see how you feel after a few weeks of being consistent. Then, sprinkle in a few more…

Pretty soon you’ll be a professional sleeper.

Enjoy reaping the benefits of a great night’s sleep!

All Journals

Read More

Electric Shock Therapy for Depression

Depression

November 30, 2021

Electric Shock Therapy for Depression

The Mayo Clinic says that electroconvulsive therapy (colloquially known as electric shock therapy) is a procedure conducted under general anesthesia during which a physician passes tiny electric currents through the brain, purposefully triggering a brief seizure in the patient. According to studies, electroconvulsive therapy appears to lead to alterations in brain chemistry that have the potential to rapidly reverse the symptoms of particular mental health issues. While electroconvulsive therapy may not work for everyone, it is most often turned to once other treatments have been found to be unsuccessful.

And while no one knows how exactly electroconvulsive therapy helps treat mental illness, it is known that the brain sees chemical changes in its function during and after seizure activity. It is speculated that these chemical changes may interact and reduce symptoms of the mental illnesses in question; this is why electroconvulsive therapy seems to be most effective in individuals who receive a full course of several treatments.


Today, electroconvulsive therapy may be used to treat individuals suffering from:

  • Severe mania: individuals living with bipolar disorder sometimes experience periods of severe mania that are characterized by hyperactivity, intense euphoria, and agitation. Other symptoms of mania may include psychosis (detachment from reality), risky or impulsive behaviors, substance abuse, or impaired decision making.
  • Severe depression: symptoms of severe depression may include psychosis, the refusal to eat, or suicidal behaviors.
  • Treatment resistant depression: in this case, a patient has severe depression that did not see improvement with various treatments or medications.
  • Agitation and aggression from dementia: individuals with dementia may suffer from aggression and agitation; these symptoms are often hard to treat and compromise one’s quality of life.
  • Catatonia: associated with schizophrenia and some other psychiatric disorders, catatonia is characterized by lack of speech, quick or strange movements, or lack of movement altogether. Other medical illnesses can also potentially lead to catatonia.


Additionally, electroconvulsive therapy can be a viable option in individuals who have a difficult time tolerating medication or in situations where other therapeutic approaches have not helped. Some such situations may arise:

  • In older individuals who are unable to tolerate the side effect of medications
  • In pregnant individuals who cannot take certain medications because they may harm the developing child
  • In individuals who prefer not to take medications but rather opt for electroconvulsive therapy first
  • In people who have previously seen success after receiving electroconvulsive therapy


While there is still somewhat of a stigma attached to electroconvulsive therapy, this is due to its early days, in which treatments used high doses of electricity without the assistance of anesthesia. This led to fractured bones and memory loss, among other severe side effects. Today, however, electroconvulsive therapy is significantly safer: it involves the administration of electric currents within a controlled setting utilized to gain the largest amount of benefit with the lowest number of risks. Side effects, today, tend to be far more mild. People generally see improvement in their symptoms after they have received about six treatments of electroconvulsive therapy.

Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy for depression as well as various other mental illnesses. All of our incoming members receive a 20-minute initial consultation as a part of their onboarding process that is led by a trained mental health professional. They are then placed into a therapy group, which meets for an hour once a week. You can find more FAQs here.

All Journals

Read More

PTSD Therapy for Veterans

PTSD

November 30, 2021

PTSD Therapy for Veterans

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, no matter how long ago one returned from deployment, it is never too late to seek help for post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This is because, no matter how long it has been, seeking treatment or other forms of counseling can help better manage one’s symptoms while also preventing them from worsening.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has about 200 different PTSD treatment programs around the country that offer various services, including:

  • One on one family therapy
  • One on one talk therapy (also known as psychotherapy) that employs proven methods such as cognitive processing therapy
  • Access to medications proven to work in the treatment of PTSD
  • Group therapy geared towards Veterans who experienced similar forms of trauma or served in specific combat zones
  • Group therapy for special needs such as stress management, combat support, or anger issues
  • One on one mental health assessment to discern whether or not someone is suffering from PTSD in the first place


Other services that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers include:

  • Special inpatient or residential care programs located in each region of the United States; these programs seek to aid Veterans living with severe symptoms of PTSD that make it difficult to engage in daily activities, such as attending work
  • Large, community based outpatient clinics that employ PTSD specialists to provide Veterans with regular care
  • If a Veteran does not live close to a Veterans Affairs clinic or medical center, they can also receive telehealth counseling


Grouport offers online group therapy for PTSD and various other mental health issues. Once you enroll in our services, you will have a twenty minute one on one initial consultation with a trained professional. After this initial meeting, you will be matched with a group best tailored to your needs that will meet at the same time each week. Each session lasts about an hour, and you will receive reminder emails containing a link to join your session 24 hours prior to your weekly meeting.

Here at Grouport, our therapy groups are no bigger than twelve people. New clients will join your group until it reaches its maximum capacity, and each group is led by a licensed therapist with specialization tailored to your group’s specific needs. And participation, although strongly encouraged, is not required: if you would prefer to do so, you may simply listen and observe during your group meetings; this can, indeed, lead to benefits in your mental health journey.

Furthermore, your privacy is of utmost importance. All of the video technology and information software we use is HIPAA compliant and includes end to end encryption. We only share your name with your therapist, which will give you the option of whether or not you would like to use a nickname with the rest of your therapy group. If you would like to stay anonymous, you may set your nickname in your settings during your initial consultation meeting. Rest assured that each group meeting begins with your assigned therapist establishing rules regarding strict confidentiality.

You can find more FAQs about Grouport here.

All Journals

Read More

Online PTSD Therapy

PTSD

November 30, 2021

Online PTSD Therapy

According to the Mayo Clinic, most individuals who undergo a traumatic event will initially have a difficult time coping with their experience and adjusting to life afterwards, but will see their mental state improve if they take the time to take care of themselves and allow an appropriate amount of time to pass. However, if someone who has experienced something traumatic notices that their condition is worsening, perhaps to the point that it interferes with their day to day life, they may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by the aftermath of an individual experiencing or witnessing a deeply traumatizing event. 

For some individuals suffering from PTSD, they may see symptoms within a month of the event that traumatized them. While for other individuals, they may not present with PTSD symptoms until years afterwards. 

Broad Symptoms of PTSD

  1. Changes in physical and emotional reactions
  2. Intrusive memories
  3. Negative changes in thinking and mood
  4. Avoidance

Within these broad categories of trauma reactions, there are several potential symptoms linked with each. Possible signs of changes in physical and emotional reactions could include the following:

  • Constantly being on guard
  • Being easily frightened or startled
  • Experiencing overwhelming shame or guilt
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as the overconsumption of alcohol
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Symptoms of intrusive memories could involve:
  • Experiencing flashbacks in which the traumatic event is re-experienced
  • 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
  • Possible symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood might include:
  • Having a hard time experiencing positive emotions
  • Emotional numbness
  • Experiencing negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world at large
  • Difficulty keeping close relationships with others
  • Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting essential aspects of the traumatic event
  • A lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Feeling detached from loved ones
  • Symptoms possibly 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

Getting PTSD Treatment 

It is important to remember that if someone is suffering from PTSD, it is critical that they seek treatment in order to reduce their symptoms and improve their day to day life and ability to function. While it may be intimidating to know that long-term trauma can sometimes present with debilitating symptoms, there are ways to effectively address PTSD through trauma therapy.

One such way to seek help for PTSD symptoms is through enrolling in online group therapy for PTSD. At Grouport we are happy to offer online group therapy for PTSD and other conditions. You can find a full list of the conditions we treat HERE.

If you’re pursuing therapy for trauma, it’s important to know that over time, the intensity of PTSD related symptoms may ebb and flow. For example, you could see a heightening of your symptoms in the wake of any reminders of the traumatic experience, or you may see an uptick when you are simply more stressed out than usual. 

When To Seek Clinical Help: 

The Mayo Clinic suggests that individuals contact their physicians if they:

  • Experience disturbing feelings and thoughts for more than a month after the traumatic event
  • Experience severe, disturbing feelings and thoughts surrounding a traumatic event
  • Are having a difficult time regaining control of their lives in the wake of a distressing event 

If any of these symptoms, reactions, or experiences sound familiar to you, you could benefit from trauma therapy. 

All Journals

Read More

Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Depression

November 30, 2021

Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the treatment of any illness--whether it be mental or physical--should be focused around a particular diagnosis that is reached by a trained professional. For individuals who are diagnosed with both depression and anxiety, it is important that their treatment plan is designed to not only aid them in managing their symptoms, but also in reducing their symptoms. This may be accomplished for both their anxiety and depression simultaneously, as in many cases, both disorders can be treated in similar ways. For example, an individual’s therapist can employ particular methods that address and reduce symptoms from both disorders at once.

However, some individuals may find that either their depression or anxiety is causing more distress and discomfort than the other. In this case, it would make sense to address the more symptomatic disorder first. For example, treatment for anxiety disorders tends to demand high levels of energy and motivation, and if someone who is looking to treat their anxiety is also severely depressed, they may not be able to seek said treatment until they have first addressed their depression. In most cases, unfortunately, even trained mental healthcare professionals may have a hard time discerning whether it is symptoms related to depression or anxiety taking the front seat. In cases such as this, treatment for both disorders would likely begin simultaneously.

In terms of the treatment of depression and anxiety, there are several different types of psychotherapy that have proven to be very effective in a wide range of individuals. One such form of therapy is known as cognitive behavioral therapy. In this type of therapeutic approach, a therapist will help their client replace their thought patterns that may be maladaptive and negative with ones that are more useful and rooted in reality. Another therapeutic route, that can even be used as a supplement to psychotherapy, may be starting medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Here in America, antidepressants are the most popular medication taken by individuals between 18 and 24. This means that more than 10% of Americans take these medications regularly.

Another highly effective form of therapy is group therapy. Here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy. All of our incoming clients will receive a 20-minute initial consultation that is conducted by a licensed mental healthcare professional. And each of our weekly group sessions are an hour long. Indeed, cognitive behavioral therapy can also be conducted in group settings, which will allow individuals to work with others who are living through similar struggles and situations. Therapy groups reassure individuals that they are not alone in what they are going through, and provide them with the unique opportunity to connect with others dealing with similar issues. Furthermore, people in therapy groups have the chance to talk through their problems with people who come from various different backgrounds; this means that they can offer unique perspectives regarding the problems at hand. You may find answers to more Grouport related FAQs here.

All Journals

Read More

The Proven Effectiveness of Group Therapy

Grouport Info

November 30, 2021

The Proven Effectiveness of Group Therapy

At first, the idea of participating in online group therapy might seem intimidating. You might be thinking, “who wants to share their story with strangers”?

But in reality, online group therapy can be very beneficial, and group therapy members are often surprised by how rewarding their experience is. Sharing can in fact be a remarkably healing process.

We have plenty of online therapy groups to choose from, so it’s important you’re in the right one for you. If you’re open-minded and ready for deep inner work and reflection, online group therapy is one of the best ways for you to accomplish that.

Remember, it takes time to notice significant changes in yourself. Below are some of the amazing benefits of online group therapy for you to get excited about!

7 Benefits of Group Therapy

1. Consistent support: Hearing from others with similar issues helps you see that you’re not completely on your own. This brings you a deep sense of relief and community.

2. Community bonding: Group therapy is meant for long-term mental healthcare. The community bond that is created by online group therapy sessions reinforces everyone’s commitment to the process and holds members accountable even when they may “not feel like it” that day.

3. Renewed perspective: Your online therapy group members will be able to listen to your situation with a fresh perspective, and weigh in. A wider range of perspectives exists in group therapy than is available in individual therapy.

4. Success stories: Hearing how other members successfully overcame their fear or obstacle can be inspiring and motivating. People are prone to push themselves harder when they see success around them.

5. Socialization skills: Group therapy can ease a sense of isolation and give you the opportunity to practice re-engaging with people in a safe environment who really understand what you’re going through.

“Group therapy sessions can help provide a sense of comfort, safety, and familiarity,” said Les Greene, editor of the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy.

6. Affordable care: A common misconception is that since group therapy costs less, it must mean it’s not as good, but that's not the case at al!! In fact, it is more powerful in many ways. You can get the treatment you need and deserve, at a much lower price point, and with a number of additional benefits.

Gary Burlingame, a professor of psychiatry at Brigham Young University, said, “If you have equal treatment that costs less than individual treatment, why are people not using it more frequently, especially in these economically challenging times. It’s a puzzle.”

7. Self-awareness: The members of your group become your mirror. Group discussion is a way for you to uncover those blind spots that are blocking your ability to overcome life issues and destructive habits.

Maximize your success by taking a pledge to try group therapy, participating every week (even on those days you don’t “feel like it”), and sharing your meaningful experiences in order to help others and yourself!

When you picture online group therapy, think of a fun, social, interactive setting where a group of peers open up to each other about a common battle with mental health. Whether you suffer from anxiety, OCD, substance abuse, or something else - we have a safe and supportive group curated to meet your needs and goals. 


How does Grouport work?

Grouport is a new mental health service that brings people together who are struggling with similar conditions.

✔️ Small groups of 12 people maximum meet 1x a week

✔️ Every session led by an experienced mental health professional

✔️ 60-minute online video sessions

✔️ Proven to help members contextualize their challenges, learn coping techniques, and reaffirm a commitment to therapy.


Who is Grouport for?

Grouport is for everyone. With an affordable cost and simple, consistent schedule, Grouport is a realistic solution for regular people who are looking to improve their mental health without splurging or rearranging their entire life. New members are known to adjust quickly to the group therapy setting, because people who are struggling mutually benefit from receiving and giving support. The group dynamic reinforces the space for bonding, growth, and learning from others that is lacking in one-on-one therapy.

However, Grouport can also be a supplemental treatment for anyone already attending individual therapy. It can be a complementary place to practice new skills in action and learn from the shared experiences of others. A crucial part of the healing process and improving ourselves is staying committed and being fully present and engaged with our Grouport meetups.

Just like when we exercise and get a good night's sleep, we must include our mental health in that “Do It Daily” mantra in order to create and solidify healthy habits and consistency. So make sure you check out our full list of groups to find the one that’s right for you!

All Journals

Read More

Anxiety Therapy Groups

Anxiety

November 30, 2021

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.

All Journals

Read More

How to Stop Your Negative Self Talk

Personal Growth

November 30, 2021

How to Stop Your Negative Self Talk

Self-talk is that seemingly never-ending stream of thoughts running through our minds all day (and sometimes all night) long.

A memory from years past may pop up, making us feel guilty or silly. A harsh comment spoken by someone we admire or care about can resurface for no reason.

When we get older and wiser, we tend to ruminate over our mistakes and overanalyze the cringe-worthy moments of our past.

This inner dialogue, or mental chatter, is soaked in negativity, because we naturally lean into negative thinking. It’s normal that this happens, but we may start to experience both short-term and long-term negative effects if we give this chatter too much influence. The power of it can impact our productivity, confidence, and self-esteem.

The happiest and most successful people in the world aren’t exempt from experiencing this constant stream of negative self-talk.

The only difference in people is that some choose to cultivate and control the weight they give these thoughts, while others stand as passersby, letting the negative emotions and words swallow them whole. We can even begin to invent entire histories, memories, and narratives around these thoughts, which can impact what we do and don’t take action on in our present and future.

No easy “off” switch exists. However, through treatment, therapy, and meditation, we can retrain our minds to calm and silence the inner monologue when our logical side signals us that it isn’t serving us in a positive manner.

After a few months of daily practice, you may be surprised at how much more confident and at ease you feel, having all of this control right at your fingertips (of course, it was there all along, unaccessed.)

At Grouport, we use an array of techniques to battle negative self-talk, primarily CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In CBT, an individual learns unique coping strategies and techniques to better respond to negative thinking patterns and feelings that consistently affect their mood.

Knowing the impact of negative self-talk, learning to accept thoughts without always believing them, and practicing mindfulness and self-kindness are key elements to rewiring your brain and taking back control over your inner judge.

Know the Impact

What types of consequences can we experience if we let negative self-talk take the wheel too often?

Weight control issues, a lack of stress management, and a weakened output of mental and physical performance are just a few examples of the aspects of our lives that can take a tumble.

The Alzheimer's & Dementia journal published a study in June of 2020, linking negative thought patterns to brain changes. They found that older adults who engaged in repeated negative thinking were more likely to experience memory problems.

A couple common self-talk traps are the “all-or-nothing” thinking or the “jumping to conclusions” thinking. By identifying when we participate in negative thinking, we can decide whether our patterns and storylines are really helping us live our most fulfilling lives.


Accepting, But Not Believing, All Thoughts

A misconception we have about banishing negative thoughts is that we just need to replace them with positive thoughts.

This is like a fad diet to lose weight. Sure, it might work as a quick fix for a day or even a few months, but true, lasting change happens when we decide to alter the relationship we have with the negative thoughts.

A huge sense of freedom comes from knowing we are the ones adding meaning and labels to every thought we have, and we don’t have to. In fact, it’s destructive to our mental health!

A thought doesn’t have to be good or bad, black or white. It’s funny how we can remind ourselves a dream is just a dream and not to take it seriously or look too much into it, but we don’t automatically give ourselves that same advice about our thoughts.

The Stoics believed in “Amor Fati”, which means to not only accept one’s fate, but to love one’s fate. In other words, welcome everything that happens to you with grace.

Instead of trying to run away from negative thoughts or drown them out with positive ones, we should observe our thoughts objectively, and then wave them goodbye as they go.


Being Kind to Yourself

A great way to combat negative thoughts is to reaffirm your self-respect by being kind to yourself.

Without compassion for your own individual mind and body, you will go through life in defensive mode, protecting yourself not only from others, but from yourself most of all.

As important as it is for us to push ourselves to be better, to set goals, and to keep our promises to ourselves, it’s just as important for us to be flexible, forgive ourselves, and let go of self-judgement.

We are all going to make mistakes. After all, suffering is a part of the human experience. That is why group therapy is so beneficial - we are in it together. The suffering and the growth. By practicing mindfulness and self-compassion we can avoid the sabotage that comes from letting our inner critic become too powerful.

At Grouport, we believe practicing positive thinking through mindful group therapy is a lot easier with people who all want to work on themselves, together.

Click here to sign up if you’re not a member of our community yet!

All Journals

Read More

The Most Affordable Therapy in Today's Society

Grouport Info

November 30, 2021

The Most Affordable Therapy in Today's Society

Everyone struggling who has sought out therapy knows this much: Therapy is expensive. Even with insurance, the cost of one-on-one therapy with a licensed professional can be reason enough to keep people from going back more than once or twice. 

At Grouport, mental health care is something we consider a necessity for a balanced life. In our opinion, therapy shouldn’t carry a stigma of luxury when everyone can benefit from it and everyone should be able to access it.

Group Therapy Accessibility 

Fortunately, individual therapy isn’t the only option. Group therapy has gained popularity in recent years due to its accessibility. Numerous studies prove its effectiveness as an alternative or supplement to one-on-one therapy.

Our mission is to make online group therapy accessible to everyone, so that no matter who you are, you can receive highly specialized care and improve your overall wellbeing. 

Group Therapy Cost

Group therapy costs less than one fourth of traditional therapy. While individual sessions can cost upwards of $150 a visit, Grouport costs only $35 a week ($35 a session).

Group Therapy Benefits

Working with a trained professional and a group of your peers offers a symbiotic, therapeutic relationship that gives you an opportunity to explore your thoughts and patterns of behavior.

You’ll get the chance to explore new techniques to better manage the daily stressors and symptoms associated with your diagnosis. This covers anxiety therapy, PTSD therapy, mindful therapy, therapy for depression, and many others.

Online Group Therapy Reviews

Our members get the most value out of their investment in Grouport. They are consistently showing up for themselves and the group every week.

Check out what a few of our members are saying:

“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.”

- Kelly, 34

“Grouport has truly shown me that I am not the only one struggling.”

- Maxwell, 30

“I was feeling very down at the end of 2020 and I was ready to do something drastic that I know I'd likely regret. The group definitely helped show me that there are people who feel the same way as I do.”

- Sheldon, 36

Our members understand and appreciate that no great thing is created suddenly. It must blossom, bear fruit, and ripen. It takes constant work and practice, forcing you to dive deeper into yourself, which may be overwhelming. You will come face to face with difficult truths about yourself that you don’t want to accept, but in these times, we want you to know that it’s important to stick with it, no matter how hard things get.

Keep it up. You’ll soon begin experiencing some of these long-term benefits:

1. Being more productive. 

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor explains how positive emotions lead to greater productivity: “Happiness gives us a real chemical edge…How? Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels.”

2. Improving how you interact with people in your life. 

Online group therapy can help balance the way you communicate with friends, family, and other loved ones to improve your relationships. Life is all about having fulfilling relationships with the people who bring joy to your life, and successfully navigating relationships with people who don’t.

3. Learning life-long coping skills. 

Psychologist Rob Winkler said that “better coping leads to better responses and better responses lead to better experiences, which create more opportunity and prosperity in all aspects of our lives.”

4. Feeling happier. 

Talking over your past, present, and future with your therapist and peers can lead to greater self-understanding. Group therapy emphasizes self-acceptance and self-understanding, which can lead to more health-promoting behaviors and an overall happier well being.

5. Experiencing less chronic stress. 

Online group therapy will introduce you to new methods for calming your mind and body that may include guided visualization, radical acceptance, and deep breathing. Stress relief in the short-term provides those necessary building blocks for long-term patterns of stress management.

Click this special link to see even more benefits of group therapy!

All Journals

Read More

PTSD Therapy Groups Near Me

PTSD

November 30, 2021

PTSD Therapy Groups Near Me

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, the American Psychological Association states that group therapy can help you make major improvements in your behaviors and experiences. Wondering what to expect? Group therapy usually has between 5-15 patients led by an experienced mental health professional every week. Your online therapy group will focus on tackling specific issues such as substance abuse, social anxiety, chronic pain, OCD, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), among others.

Getting Started With Trauma Therapy

When it comes to trauma therapy, feeling supported with a solution that works for you is critical to getting back on track toward a happier, healthier future. Grouport offers online therapy for trauma to individuals 18+ at only $35 a week, which is much lower than the rates for traditional individual therapy (which ranges from $100-$300 plus!). While we currently don’t accept insurance, we can always provide you with your billing cycle invoices so you can send them to your insurance provider for potential out of network reimbursement (please note that the amount you are reimbursed may vary depending on your insurance company’s policies).

How To Enroll in Trauma Therapy Near You 

If you’re looking for trauma-based therapy near you, Grouport can help. After you sign up, you’ll have an initial consultation with a trained intake coordinator by video chat who will help you find the perfect trauma therapy group for you. The goal of your intake session is to really dive deep into what you need from PTSD therapy or trauma therapy so we can find you the ideal solution for your goals. 

What To Expect in Online Trauma Therapy Groups

Every trauma therapy group at Grouport is no bigger than twelve people, and your group will meet at the same day and time every week for an hour. You’ll receive reminder emails with a private Zoom link 24 hours before your online group therapy session, which is led by a licensed therapist who specializes in trauma therapy and other important mental health conditions. You are not required to actively participate in your online trauma therapy group, although we strongly encourage that you do. If you, however, prefer to observe and listen, that is totally acceptable and will likely still lead to positive outcomes from your experience in online group therapy.

Nervous about online therapy? Don’t worry! We take your privacy very seriously here at Grouport. All of our information software and video technology is end to end encrypted and HIPAA compliant. Each group session begins with your therapist establishing firm boundaries of confidentiality. You can even use a nickname during your group meetings if you prefer, as we only share your government name with your licensed group therapist.

Have another question for Grouport?

Find the answers HERE.

Remember that group therapy for trauma is just one of many different approaches to psychotherapy, and not every type of therapy works for every person’s trauma. But rest assured, studies conducted on online therapy groups show overwhelmingly positive outcomes from those who enroll. Are you ready to feel better?

All Journals

Read More

Group Therapy: What Kinds of Groups Are Available?

Grouport Info

November 30, 2021

Group Therapy: What Kinds of Groups Are Available?

Group psychotherapy is a form of therapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of people together. The benefits of group therapy include its notable cost-effectiveness, but also encompass a greater support system and virtual accessibility to high-quality mental health care.

At Grouport, we have licensed therapists for each online group therapy category, and each group has a maximum of 12 members. The impact of online group therapy versus an individual therapy session is a huge plus; the dynamic itself is used as a tool for developing, exploring, and examining the different experiences we suffer from through different perspectives in a safe and supportive environment.

So what online therapy group do you think would suit your needs the most?

Take 10 seconds to scroll through Grouport’s list of different diagnoses and groups below until you find the one that fits your needs and experiences:

Group Therapy For Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized by uncontrollable worry that interferes with a person’s daily life. People with anxiety become unnecessarily anxious about things that don’t warrant a high anxiety response. Even small triggers can elicit strong emotions for someone dealing with anxiety.

How is it treated at Grouport?

The most common form of therapy to treat anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In CBT, a therapist will help an individual identify what triggers their symptoms, challenge and replace negative thinking patterns, and adopt more constructive behaviors.

Depression Group Therapy

Someone dealing with depression has persistent and intense feelings of sadness, low mood, and helplessness that can significantly disrupt daily functioning. Not only does depression affect your feelings, it can also affect your personality and behavior.

How is it treated at Grouport?

Depression is primarily treated with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In some cases, IPT (Interpersonal Therapy) can be used as well. IPT focuses on an individual’s interpersonal relationships, which can often be a major contributor to the level of distress someone feels.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Group Therapy

A condition that causes unwanted intrusive thoughts - obsessions - that in turn elicit a high degree of uncertainty and emotional distress. These obsessions consistently recur in your mind, resulting in extensive rumination.

How is it treated at Grouport?

The gold standard treatment for OCD is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). In doing ERP, a person learns to gradually expose themselves to their obsessions and tolerate increasing levels of anxiety, while not engaging in their compulsions.

Borderline Personality Disorder Group Therapy

Borderline personality disorder is marked by a continuing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior, which result in unstable relationships, distorted sense of self, and strong emotional reactions.

How is it treated at Grouport?

Psychotherapy, whether one-on-one or in a group, is the ideal treatment for people with borderline personality disorder. An example of psychotherapy used to treat borderline personality disorder is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance or being aware of and attentive to the current situation and emotional state.

Loss/Grief Group Therapy

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness.

How is it treated at Grouport?

Grouport professionals will introduce a few healthy ways for a person to cope with their pain, such as supporting themselves emotionally by taking care of themselves physically, seeking out face-to-face support from people who care about them, and recognizing the difference between grief and depression.

Chronic Illness Group Therapy

A chronic illness is any condition or range of symptoms that last for an extended period of time and frequently cannot be cured completely; although, some illnesses can be alleviated through lifestyle changes and medication.

How is it treated at Grouport?

Our therapists guide people suffering from a chronic illness to learn as much as they can about their condition, maintain a healthy sense of independence, stay connected within their community, and keep doing the things that bring pleasure to their lives.

Trauma and PTSD Group Therapy

PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that’s triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Symptoms don’t just go away after experiencing the initial shock; they can last months or even years.

How is it treated at Grouport?

PTSD coping techniques usually fall under the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) umbrella and include Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Stress Inoculation Training (SIT). 

Group Therapy for Relationship Issues

The story of a human being is a story of the quality of his or her relationships; they are a foundational element to what makes us who we are. They also can be incredibly complicated to establish and nurture, without help.

How is it treated at Grouport?

At Grouport, we support individuals by helping them identify any stressors in their relationships and the degree of their intensity. Practicing mindfulness of the sensations that arise during interactions is a resourceful method to reach a deeper understanding of each partner. Grouport encourages individuals to be curious about the assumptions we have about ourselves and others. Productive negotiation, fair compromise, and positive communication are a few other topics covered.

Want more information on our groups? Read more HERE

Have a question? Click on over to our FAQs!

All Journals

Read More

Meet Our Therapists!

Grouport Info

November 30, 2021

Meet Our Therapists!

Living with anxiety and depression can often make you feel like a complete outsider. You’re constantly interacting with people who don’t share similar mental or social issues.

And let’s keep it real, as kind as they may be - they just don’t get it.

Do you ever wish you had someone to talk to who has walked in your shoes?

That’s why we started Grouport Therapy.

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 therapy 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.

Our 25+ licensed therapists are professional, experienced experts - ready to help you jumpstart your journey to a happier, healthier you.

It’s important to find a smart, kind therapist who is going to make you feel comfortable and safe, whether you’re seeing anxiety therapy, PTSD therapy, or therapy for depression.

If you don’t particularly like your therapist, feel they are judging you, or feel they are just watching the clock, you’re likely not going to open up about your unflattering behaviors or innermost feelings.

This will lead to bigger problems - you won’t get to the root of your struggles and issues, therefore not gaining the information you need to create positive change, making therapy almost completely useless to you.

You are going to need to discuss some pretty complex and intimate topics to experience true growth, even things you’ve never shared with anyone else before. So the therapist who will be guiding and supporting you on your journey needs to be a great listener and a trusted expert.

Since it can be extremely overwhelming to find and choose the right therapist, Grouport does all of the heavy lifting for you. First, you're matched with the group that best suits your needs (Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Bipolar Disorder). Then, your group is placed with a therapist who specializes in that particular area.

They won’t be a generalized match, meaning a relationship expert is not going to be matched with a group who suffers from chronic illness. So you can join your sessions each week with confidence that your matched therapist knows exactly what you’re going through and has many years of experience with your needs.

Check out our lineup of the amazing therapists we have on our team…

Dr. Matthew Mandelbaum - Dialectical Behavior Therapist

Specialties: Adults, Personal, Family, Social, Professional, Borderline Personality Disorder

Malissa Allen - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Specialties: CBT, DBT, Family, Marriage

Colleen Kalman - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Grief, Chronic Illness

Dr. Naomi Bernstein - Psychologist

Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Marriage, Relationships, CBT, Mindfulness

Nathaniel Smith - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Adults, Clinical Settings, Family, Relationships

Neena Lall - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Psychodynamic, Behavioral, Postmodern Therapeutic Techniques

Mary Rzeszut - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Relationships, Chronic Illness, Professional

Carmelo Hernandez - Licensed Master Social Worker

Specialties: Adolescents, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Relationships

Adam Abraham - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Relationships

Maya Kaye - Licensed Master Social Worker

Specialties: Psychodynamic & Mindbody Techniques, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Relationships, CFT, CBT, Mindfulness, MBT

Rana Ryan - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Trauma, Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Alexa Marnalse - Licensed Master Social Worker

Specialties: Relationships, Families, Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Anxiety, Stress, OCD, Depression, Professional, ASD

Martin Godek - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Specialties: Anxiety, Depression, Professional, Relationships, Trauma, PTSD, Grief

Cynthia Aronson - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties: Grief, Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Relationships. CBT, Motivational Coaching, ACT

Heather Yassick - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Specialties: Anxiety, Mindfulness, Depression, Trauma, Relationships

Chava Bashary - Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Specialties: DBT, CBT, Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder

Dr. Stephen Danyko - PhD

Specialties: OCD, Depression, Trauma, CBT, ERP, DBT, EMDR

Michele Glaser - Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Master Social Worker

Specialties: Motivational Interviewing, DBT

Our top-notch therapists cannot wait to meet you!

Get the mental health support you need by working with a licensed therapist and group of individuals who fall right under the exact category of your specific struggles in life. You’ll finally feel at home. Now that’s the kind of treatment that’s hard to find!

Click here to sign up for your first Grouport session.

All Journals

Read More

5 Ways To Reset Your Mind During A Panic Attack

Anxiety

November 16, 2021

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]

All Journals

Read More

How to Maximize the Benefits of Group Therapy

Grouport Info

October 22, 2021

How to Maximize the Benefits of Group Therapy

It can be hard to grasp the idea of online group therapy at first, especially since it involves meeting with strangers. However, research has shown that online group therapy has many benefits. According to psychologists, attending one of these group sessions with 5 to 15 people can leave you with a rewarding experience that will last a lifetime. 

Online therapy groups typically meet one to two times a week for 1 hour or 2 hours. In those meetings, people get to share their stories to get help and also to encourage others. The good thing about online therapy groups is that members can decide how much information they wish to share, and everyone is bound by confidentiality agreements. That way, you are assured that whatever is discussed in the group stays in the group, giving you a sense of community without sacrificing a sense of peace or privacy.

Even though the benefits of online group therapy are clear, you’ll have to put work in to really see the results! 

There’s a number of ways you can get the most from your online group therapy. But first, let’s review the benefits of online therapy groups.

5 Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy where one or more therapists work with between 5 to 15 people simultaneously. The method is usually used alone or in combination with other treatment plans. Usually, the treatment is available in community centers, hospitals, mental health clinics, etc. When used as a treatment method, the following are some of the significant benefits of group therapy.

1. Online Therapy Groups Offer a Perspective Check

As a member of an online therapy group, you can get clearer perspectives on any issue you’re facing by hearing from others in the same boat. For instance, if you are dealing with anger issues, you can easily share your experiences with the group and see how others relate to your experiences and choices. You can learn from their perspective and any time and work they’ve already put in on similar issues. 

2. Online Therapy Groups Offer a Sense of Support

Every human being craves support and community. We are social by nature, and we want to know we are not alone. Hearing from others in your online therapy group who are grappling with the same mental health issues can bolster your sense of confidence and encourage you to work hard to move forward toward a happier, healthier future.

3. Online Therapy Groups Bring Renewed Hope

Hearing other people in online group therapy talk about their success stories is always encouraging. Psychologists say that when people listen to such success stories, they are usually driven to action, and they tend to push to become better versions of themselves.

4. Online Therapy Groups Offer Socialization

One of the significant benefits of group therapy is that it removes the feeling of isolation and loneliness that can come with mental health diagnoses and struggles. Groups can also enhance your social skills as it allows you to reconnect with others in a safe environment who truly understand what you’re going through. 

5. Online Therapy Groups Are Affordable

Group therapy is an effective alternative to one-on-one therapy that is usually much less costly, but without sacrificing the care you need and deserve. In fact, in many cases, people often find that they get even more benefits in online group therapy than with individual therapy sessions!

8 Tips to Help You Maximize Your Online Group Therapy Experience

Now that you know the benefits of group therapy, what can you do to get the best out of all of them? If you are considering online group therapy for yourself or a loved one, the following tips will help you make the most of your experience.

1. Find the right group

There are many support groups out there, but not all of them have what you need. Take the time to filter out all your options before you jump in with just any therapy group or service. First, you need to consider your needs. After that, the next step is to find a group that is the best match for your mental health diagnosis or struggle. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things!

Aside from being a place of counseling and healing, a group can also be a safe zone where you can try out new and healthy ways of social interaction. As you learn from others, don’t be afraid to say and do things outside of your comfort zone to establish new behaviors, boundaries, and habits. The amount of help you will get from the group will depend on how much you are willing to try.

3. Keep Things Confidential

Everything that is said in your online therapy groups remains confidential. Therefore, you make sure not to divulge any information disclosed during the meetings to anyone. By adhering to this rule, you are upholding the trust foundation established within the group. 

4. Go At Your Own Pace

All therapy groups involve people coming together to talk about their problems. In some cases, people have to go through social exercises like intense personal discussions or even role-playing. At the start, things can feel new, or a little uncomfortable for you. However, with time, things will get better as you continue to attend meetings and get used to different activities for group therapy. No matter what, you will benefit more from the whole process when you take things at your own pace.

5. Take a Pledge

To ensure you get the best from your group therapy sessions, ensure you take your pledge - and take it seriously, too! This means setting the goals that you want from the group in your mind and trying your best to achieve them with the support of your therapist and other group members. It might take some time, but you will see the results. On those days when you are down and you don’t feel like putting the work in, your pledge can be helpful in pushing you to attend your session!

6. Learn to give and receive feedback

Feedback is critical in online group therapy sessions. Learning to give and receive feedback in a constructive, healthy way is one skill you’ll need to learn as you grow - and one you will take out into real-life situations as well. 

The following are some tips to help you give insightful feedback:

·      Be specific in your responses, gestures, and remarks.

·      Try to be honest and direct when giving feedback. If you can, support your feedback with examples where necessary.

·      Ensure to provide feedback as soon as you feel it is needed.

·      Do not hold back your feedback even if it seems negative. Give both positive and negative feedback, but be careful to be respectful when sharing negative feedback.

Similarly, these tips will be helpful when receiving feedback:

·      Always acknowledge people when they give you feedback. For instance, “thank you, Sam. I'll work on how I say that next time.”

·      If you are not sure about a piece of feedback, ask for clarification from the person or guidance from your therapist. 

·      Be true to yourself and ensure you receive all feedback in good spirit. If you feel you are becoming defensive, try to speak out and share with others the way you are feeling.

·      If feedback is not forthcoming, request it! That is, ask others in the group what they think. Let them share their thoughts with you.

7. Share Advice Under Supervision

Always remember you are in the online therapy group to share your views with others, but not to impose your opinions on them. You should totally feel free to share advice and tips with others that you have found helpful. Just make sure to defer to the therapist if you are unsure if the advice you gave is accurate, or if the consensus of the group suggests that they feel differently. 

8. Focus and Participate

Ensure that you attend all your online group therapy sessions and that you are involved in the activities in group therapy. There would be days when you might not feel like talking to them, but do your best to be there. Keep in mind that the more you can contribute, the better you will be.  As you go on, try to share with others what is going on in your mind. Try to let them understand how you feel about the group and yourself. Be true to yourself and stay in the moment.

Conclusion

Online group therapy might be a good match for you! If you’re considering this solution, try a group out. Whatever you choose, remember that taking the first step toward therapy is something to be proud of.

All Journals

Read More

Is Group Therapy Right for You?

Grouport Info

October 21, 2021

Is Group Therapy Right for You?

If you are considering therapy, you probably have a lot of questions. How do I find the right therapist? What type of therapy is right for me? What can I expect when starting therapy? The first thing to know when beginning therapy is that getting started can be the hardest part. If you’re ready to take the first step toward seeking help, you have already made great strides in your journey towards healing.

When you’re looking into therapy, you should first decide what type of therapy environment is the best fit for you and your individual needs. While some people do well with one-on-one therapy, many others thrive best in an online group therapy setting. Some may do better with in-person sessions, and others will prefer and thrive in an online group therapy setting. If you’re wondering what the benefits of group therapy might be, and if this environment is the right choice for you, it’s important to first understand exactly what can be expected from working with an online therapy group, as well as what some of the many benefits of group therapy are.

What exactly is group therapy?

Group therapy is exactly what it sounds like: a form of psychotherapy that typically involves a small number of people meeting together in sessions led by professionally licensed therapists. These sessions are designed so that individuals in a group therapy session can benefit from supporting one another emotionally, often due to shared experiences such as trauma, behavioral health issues, personality disorders, or grief and loss. Activities for group therapy are generally aimed at developing behaviors which diminish the impact of your diagnosis in day-to-day situations. 

Group therapy differs from support groups in a number of ways, including that they can be led by a number of different types of licensed individuals ranging from psychologists and social workers to psychiatrists, marriage and family counselors, or other licensed professionals. Sessions for group therapy are typically about an hour in length, and can have a maximum of around a dozen participants. 

Both in-person and online group therapy are also designed with an emphasis on confidentiality, just as any other therapy session would be. So, if you’re concerned about discussing vulnerable topics in a group, know that it’s a safe space. You can even participate under a nickname if you prefer.

What can group therapy help treat?

Just like with any form of psychotherapy, group therapy does not only treat one specific mental health issue or trauma response. The services offered through both in-person and online group therapy cover a wide range of concerns and conditions. Regardless of what your needs are or what you are seeking support for, there’s a good chance that you will be able to find a therapy group that offers the help you need.

Group therapy can help to treat a variety of mental and behavioral health issues, personality disorders, trauma, and more. Some of the most common things that can be worked through in activities for group therapy include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, stress, relationship issues, borderline personality disorder (BPD), grief and loss, chronic illness, substance abuse and addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with one of these issues, know that help is available to you, and you may benefit greatly from seeking out online group therapy as a form of treatment.

What are the benefits of group therapy?

If you are still wondering whether group therapy is right for you, consider these many benefits that come along with seeking treatment. While therapy of any kind is beneficial to those struggling with their mental health, addiction, grief, and more, there are a multitude of benefits that can only be found through therapy in a group setting.

Benefits of group therapy include the following:

It Creates Accountability

Group therapy creates accountability. If you are the type of person that may struggle with showing up for yourself, adding in another layer of accountability to your group may help you to overcome that hurdle a bit more easily. Not only will you benefit from attending therapy, but your group members will benefit from your continued support and encouragement as well.

It Fosters a Sense of Belonging

In-person or online group therapy creates a sense of community right off the bat. Through group therapy, many participants find that it’s easier to be vulnerable with the support of others struggling with the same emotions, trauma, or experiences. Through shared experiences and an understanding of what emotions you are going through, group therapy forges a bond between participants, helping you to feel less alone, more understood, and more motivated to continue returning to future therapy sessions.

You Can Receive Guidance from Those with Similar Experiences

While those in a particular therapy group are typically working through similar issues - whether it be depression, substance abuse, grief, or something else - that doesn’t mean each participant is at the same place in their journey toward healing or recovery. Instead, group therapy typically includes individuals from many different walks of life, at many different points in their therapy journey. Each can offer a unique perspective, individual anecdotes, and meaningful advice. This may help you to see your own life differently or normalize what you are feeling and experiencing. This connection is invaluable, and something that can only be found in an in-person or online group therapy setting.

You Can See Your Experience Through a Different Lens

A powerful reality of group therapy is that by sitting alongside others in the same metaphorical boat as you and listening to their experiences closely, you may recognize certain things about your experience or certain patterns in your own behavior that you did not see before. While a therapist telling you that you have anxiety or depression may or may not resonate with you directly, hearing your peers’ firsthand experiences with living with depression or coping with anxiety may provide clarity about which behaviors in your own life can be attributed to your own mental health struggles. Seeing what coping methods work best for others may also help you to identify what can work to improve your mental health in your own day-to-day life.

It’s Accessible, Even with a Limited Budget

It’s no secret that most therapy can be cost-prohibitive. One of the many benefits of in-person or online group therapy is the fact that it can be available at a more accessible price point than individual, in-person therapy. And, while group therapy may cost less than a one-on-one session, you’re still receiving the same expert guidance from a licensed professional that you can expect from any other kind of therapy. Essentially, you get the same level of care and professional oversight, at a much lower cost per session.

How do I get started with group therapy?

So, you’ve weighed your options, considered all the benefits, and have decided you’re ready to explore group therapy. But where do you start? If you think group therapy is right for you, consider Grouport Therapy. Grouport has an expert team of licensed therapists ready to help you get started on your journey toward healing and recovery, no matter what struggles you may be facing. With online group therapy available to treat anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, substance abuse, relationship issues, and more, you’ll be able to find the right fit for you, and experience all the many benefits of online group therapy in a convenient and cost-efficient format.

With Grouport’s Online Group Therapy, getting started is easy. First, you’ll be able to choose your desired group and sign up for an affordable weekly plan. Next, you’ll schedule a 20-minute consultation with an intake counselor to ensure you’re receiving the best care for you and your specific needs and goals. After that, you are ready to begin online group therapy, meeting weekly with your group over video chat at the same time each week. You’re ready to get the help you need through a supportive, online group therapy environment.

Learn more and get started today!

All Journals

Read More

7 Ways to Foster Community in a Digital Age

Relationship Issues

October 21, 2021

7 Ways to Foster Community in a Digital Age

If there’s one thing the last year and a half has shown us is, it’s that we are living in an increasingly digital world. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us were already settling ourselves into a steady and even comfortable relationship with online shopping, food delivery and rideshare apps, and workplace software systems designed to maximize efficiency and minimize margins of error. Everyone seems to have Facebook and Instagram accounts now, and even people we haven’t seen in years can find us, add us, and comment on all of our family and vacation photos.

So what does this digital future really mean for the future of personal connection and community?

Human beings have always been social by nature. We are communicators, searchers and innovators who have historically been ever-curious about discovering new things, exploring uncharted places, and learning from one another. We feel strength and safety in numbers, and we can often feel lost or left out when we’re alone. We build fires to tell our stories around, and impressive structures in which to discuss our thoughts, opinions and beliefs. We’ve seen first-hand that “many hands make light work,” and we believe that great things can be achieved whenever we work together.

Even today, in many parts of the world, the communities we were born into are still the ones that we feel best define who we are. Other communities we find or build along the course of our lives have helped give us a sense of purpose, confidence, or healing as well. However, with the rise of social media in particular, so many of our communities have moved away from an in-person model to an online one, and while our younger generations have never known a time without handheld and immediate access to an endless universe of technology, the rest of us may find ourselves wondering why plugging in and signing on can often leave us feeling less connected.

The most common definition of “community” is a group of people living in the same place or having certain characteristics in common. That may sound pretty broad by today’s standards however, since many of us do not live in the same cities or even the same state as our family members, and while we often see the same neighbors at the local grocery store or on our drives to work, we may not feel we have much, if anything else in common with them. These days, we turn to social media and online news outlets to find and engage with others we feel are “like” us, and yet the lack of responsibility these digital relationships carry can leave us feeling eager to please, or anxious that we might miss out on something.

How can we strike a balanced chord in our lives? How can we have the best of the old and the new? Is it possible to foster and maintain authentic, resilient and responsible communities in an age where face-to-face, one-to-one time is limited, and inviting everyone over for a barn dance is a much less likely, albeit no less lovely, option?

To start, here are 7 practices you can incorporate into your everyday life in order to grow and maintain a healthy sense of community along your modern journey:

1. Have Gratitude

Gratitude journals have been a familiar concept for a while now, and there’s a good reason for that. Studies have shown that simply writing down three things you feel grateful for before bed can improve your quality of sleep and give you a better chance of waking up feeling positive in the morning. When your outlook on the day ahead is brighter, you’re more likely to seek out positive relationships as well as contribute to them in a more fulfilling way.

2. Remember Purpose

In our fast-paced world,  it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the tasks of our daily responsibilities. Sometimes we even forget the reason we decided to do the things we do in the first place! Try taking a moment or two as you go about your routine, and remind yourself of the ways each action is helping a greater goal. For example, washing the dishes, as mundane as it may seem, is serving the greater goal of having a clean, organized kitchen in which to prepare your next meal. It may also give you a sense of pride in your home space which boosts confidence and encourages productivity. When we take a moment to remember the larger purpose behind the little things we do, we’re more likely to appreciate the help and generosity of others as well.

3. Offer Belonging

Community is not always something you find, but something you can build yourself and invite others to join. Try writing a letter or making a phone call to someone you love, and thank them for being a valuable part of your community. Perhaps give them an example of a quality they have or a kindness they’ve shown you that makes you grateful to include them in your inner circle. Taking the time to offer belonging to someone else will not only make their day, but it will also give you a renewed understanding of your power to create and nurture valued relationships that last.

4. Be of Service

Offering your time to volunteer for a local cause you believe in is a great way to foster some in-person community close to home. Not only will you be offering valuable assistance for good, but you will also have the opportunity to meet and work side-by-side with other people in your area who care about similar things. (Fun fact: this one checks both boxes of the “community” definition!)

5. Share Yourself

Some of the most notable inventions, discoveries and memorable works of art were made possible when many minds came together to collaborate. By making it a habit to share your ideas, personal goals, and even your big-picture dreams, you simultaneously invite others to do the same; you never know what wonderful new things you might learn in the process! Even a small act of opening up and encouraging conversation and creative collaboration can add a deeper sense of authenticity and vulnerability to your relationships and most trusted communities.

6. Practice Self-Care

Health studies show that a sense of belonging can strengthen the immune system, lower your risk of heart disease, and even improve your “bounce-back” in difficult or painful times. Many of us spend so much of our time in front of screens, however, that we don’t always make extra time for things like a good night’s rest, a long bath, a meal with an old friend, or a walk in nature with the family. By adding at least one self-care activity to your week, you make the commitment to recharge your batteries which will only make you a much more beneficial contributor to your communities both at home and online.

7. Embrace Adversity

In our current political climate of polarized opinions, information and emotions, it’s no surprise that discord is often considered the enemy of community. However, when we work through our differences together, discuss things we might see differently, and listen with thoughtful attention to one another even when we disagree, those initial feelings of adversity actually serve to strengthen our communities, deepen our bonds, and develop lasting trust and respect that can buoy us through future times of hardship as well. How might you support brave communication and respect in your everyday interactions, and thereby inspire others to follow your example?

As we continue to move deeper into the digital age, and watch as our relationship with technology becomes even more far-reaching, it’s important to remember the many useful advantages this new landscape offers our sense of community as well. Enhancements in health, safety, and education capabilities, a greater awareness for lives and cultures across the continents, and the increasing possibility for more flexible work schedules through remote options are all examples of silver linings to focus on.

To quote that all-too-familiar and perhaps overused phrase of the past year and a half, “We’re all in this together,” and from our community to yours, may we always seek out, develop and nurture valuable support systems and modes of meaningful connection wherever we go.

All Journals

Read More

The Top 10 Benefits of Group Therapy

Grouport Info

October 19, 2021

The Top 10 Benefits of Group Therapy

No matter where you’re at on the road to positive mental health, your treatment needs are unique and your online group therapy experience should be, too. Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with a specific mental health disorder like OCD, anxiety, depression, or PTSD, or you’re currently struggling through symptoms of grief, loss, substance abuse, or trauma - we’re here to help. 

While one-on-one therapy works for some, online therapy groups can be an ideal option if you’re looking for a healthier perspective alongside a group of people who provide a sense of belonging. The common identity and understanding provided in online group therapy (led by experienced therapists) offer an incredible sense of purpose and accountability that can help you recover faster and stick with your goals long-term.

The benefits of group therapy you can expect to experience include the following:

1. Groups provide solid support.

Struggles and challenges are inevitable for everyone, but a solid support system can help. Online group therapy is the perfect option if you’re looking to grow your support system while helping others to develop theirs. The support you receive in online therapy groups is provided without judgment, negativity, or distraction. Instead, the support is based on each individual’s own experiences with a similar diagnosis or situation… people who can truly understand you! 

2. Groups provide unwavering accountability.

Taking care of ourselves can sometimes feel like an endless series of ups and downs. Some days feel great, while others are nearly unbearable. Sharing your story with others in online therapy groups and working together to create healthy coping mechanisms allows you to stay accountable to your goals for the long term. When you have a strong and trusted group of people who care about your success, it becomes harder for you to give up on your plans. Accountability matters, and that’s something that online group therapy provides.

3. Groups dive into self-discovery.

When’s the last time you decided to dig at the layers of your experiences and choices to understand who you are on a deeper level? If it’s been a while, you’re not alone, but online group therapy can help you get there. By diving into guided conversations and effective exercises in your online therapy groups, you’re more equipped to navigate the road to self-discovery and better mental health.

4. Groups are an easy first step on your healing journey.

Now that you understand a little more about your mental health diagnosis or struggles and are ready to get started on your journey, we know you want to get to a place of healing. Online group therapy is a powerful place to take the first step. Remember that your group is a great place to express yourself openly to people who understand all the stages of emotions you may be experiencing. This is an easy segue into the level of self-care and healing you deserve!

5. Group sessions cost less than individual sessions.

One of the best benefits of online group therapy is that the costs are shared between all in attendance, which lowers the total individual cost without reducing the effectiveness of support and healing. On average, an individual treatment session costs around $150-$200 an hour, while online group therapy runs about $50-$100 an hour per participant. For Grouport, this cost is even lower!

6. Group therapy helps improve your social skills.

Many people who are diagnosed with mental health disorders struggle with a constant fear of social interaction and judgment. Online therapy groups help reduce or eliminate that fear by encouraging you to interact with your peers in a safe and supportive way. In addition, regularly attending online group therapy can help reduce feelings of isolation and stigmatization while building a genuine sense of connection..

7. Group therapy provides you with a personalized experience.

Because online therapy groups are tailored to your specific diagnosis, your group experience will feel personal and meaningful, since you’ll be surrounded by peers who understand your feelings and validate your emotions. In a sense, your online group therapy sessions will act as a personal sounding board to share your feelings and experiences with others and receive constructive feedback and healthy coping strategies to help you thrive.

8. Group sessions provide you with a common identity.

Another benefit of online group therapy sessions is that they provide a sense of community by connecting you with people you can deeply relate with. Common identity fosters a feeling of belonging and inclusion, which creates a space that feels open and engaging for you to share your deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

9. Group therapy gives you a healthier perspective.

Whether you’re dealing with short-term mental health struggles, long-term trauma, or a life-long diagnosis, a healthy perspective is critical to navigating the ups and downs of this journey you’re on. Online group therapy provides you with clinically backed perspectives that help you keep moving yourself forward. In addition, hearing others’ stories in online therapy groups helps you contextualize your challenges, and realize you’re not alone.

10. Group therapy keeps you motivated.

One of the final benefits of group therapy is the feeling of being continually supported. Leaning into a community every week that wants the best for you and understands what you are going through helps keep you motivated to do what’s best for you and to learn to cope in new, positive ways that can be life-changing in the long run. 

Whether you’ve been on the fence about joining online therapy groups, or are hoping to find a new outlet to express yourself while finding the support you need, online group therapy with Grouport can help you take the next step toward a healthier, happier future. Whether you realize it or not, you are capable of learning to share your experiences with others, explore healthy coping techniques and gain valuable perspective to help you on your healing journey. Learn more about our online group therapy sessions now.

Learn more about our group therapy sessions now.

All Journals

Read More

Have Eating Disorder, Will Travel

Personal Growth

August 11, 2020

Have Eating Disorder, Will Travel

I just got home from Vegas. My husband and I trekked through the chilly Pittsburgh airport, triumphantly remembered where we parked our car, hit the road for home, and now I’m nestled comfortably on the couch in between two snoring dogs sans bra. I’ve only just posted “I’m happy to be in you, Pgh” on Facebook and people have messaged me about where we’re going next. Everybody loves to travel, right?

dr+rachel+kw+sequin.jpg

Except me. Well, that is until recently. For most of my life I’ve harbored the very unpopular opinion that traveling is The Worst. A fact that always felt embarrassing to admit, like it was some kind of character flaw. Here’s the thing, talking about traveling is like talking about the weather, most people agree that sun is better than rain and traveling is better than staying at home.

“I would love to travel more.”

“I’ve been to XYZ and I want to go to Q.”

“We’re saving money for a month long trip to Who Knows Where.”

These are commonly uttered phrases. Most people love to travel almost as much as they love to talk about traveling. But honestly, I always felt that “loving traveling” was a super canned response. Just like saying you’re “fine” even when you just ran over your cat. It’s easier to say you enjoy gallivanting all over the globe than defend why you’re a homebody. That said, I think it’s fair to say that not liking travel is definitely the minority mindset. Most people love to submit to their wanderlust and snap Instagram photos of trips taken, friends met, and meals eaten all over the world.

I’ve always hated flying (still do) and for many years I would say that I love the destination, just hate the transportation, even though that was a bit of a lie. Yes, destinations are wonderful and most people do not like running around an airport, pinning their hopes and dreams on a shitty airline running its planes on time. Yes, most people agree that the to and fro is rarely the fun part, I’m not alone on that one. But up until somewhat recently I didn’t like traveling OR the destination and I have my reasons. Both 1) cause anxiety, 2) disrupt my routine, 3) mess with my sleep, and 4) most importantly, fuck with my meal planning. I guess I forgot to mention a critical detail — it’s not a character flaw but it’s something that heavily impacts how I experience life — I have a history of disordered eating. And living with an eating disorder not only makes everyday life a challenge, but can make traveling a nightmare. I’ve been all over the spectrum of disordered eating and while I don’t have many stamps in my passport, I do have a long rap sheet chronicling doctor’s visits, capturing the sights, smells, and sounds of hospitals, and documenting the copious amount of exotic medication I’ve consumed throughout my lifetime.

I was partly raised by my eating disorders. Anorexia slinked inside me during my early teen years. She started out harmless enough, encouraging me to eat healthy and exercise, but my knack for abiding by my unrelenting discipline combined with anorexia’s ruthlessness had grave consequences. For starters, it resulted in losing too much weight too quickly and everyone staring at my hip bones. And my clavicle. And my pinched shoulders. And my ribs. While at first I felt attractive and anorexia gave me this false sense of control, my eating disorder quickly gained momentum and set its sights on destroying me. It was the opposite of a feeding frenzy, it was a starving frenzy. I couldn’t eat anymore. I felt embarrassed of my bones, of fainting in German class, of scaring my friends and family. But eating seemed impossible.

You might not believe me, but my hand wouldn’t obey the command to lift a strawberry from my plate into my mouth. My mouth wouldn’t close. My teeth wouldn’t chew. And I definitely wouldn’t swallow. It pains me to remember the Great Strawberry Fight of 2002. My parents sitting with me at the dinner table begging me to eat a bowl of strawberries — my favorite — and their surprise that I could say I wanted them, cry because I wanted them, and yet not eat them. They didn’t understand. And neither did I, really. I just didn’t know how to eat. My junior year of high school I was supposed to go to Germany but my teachers didn’t want me to because I was a skeleton who couldn’t conjugate verbs. Even if they had agreed to take me my parents would’ve refused to send me since they were pretty sure that I’d restrict even more in a foreign country with foreign foods — I was already about to die on American soil as it was. I stayed stateside, waiting to die, but luckily my family and friends wouldn’t hand me over to my eating disorder without a fight. They gave me hope and after a lot of hard work and therapy I started eating strawberries again.

dr rachel kw vape.jpeg

Recovery is a bitch and for most people struggling with eating disorders it takes between three and seven years to drag yourself towards the light at the end of the tunnel (I blame it partially on low bone density #anorexiahumor) and then comes a lifetime of management (you have to pardon my gallows humor because eating disorders are incredibly serious, in fact they have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness). In my case after seven years (right on schedule!) of fighting this disease I started to get better, to eat and heal and go to therapy and take medication for my bipolar disorder (comorbidity is also a bitch). I managed to escape anorexia and evade her plan of starving me to death but I couldn’t completely get rid of her. To this day she’s still in ear shot, but I try my best not to listen, not to lose myself, and not give in to her demands. It’s not easy but over the years her voice has gotten quieter.

Unfortunately, I didn’t lose the looming presence of an eating disorder; it just took a different form. Introducing Binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder was like this terrible friend that tagged along everywhere, pestering me about my food choices and making judgmental comments about my weight, but I just couldn’t shake her because I worried that no one else would put up with me since I was getting fat. Even though I wasn’t anorexic I still didn’t know how to eat — if I wasn’t restricting, what was I supposed to do? — so I let my binge eating disorder take over. I went from extreme starving to extreme eating. Over the course of ten years I went from 98 pounds to 260 pounds and everywhere in between. Lots of ups and downs, lots of strain on my body, lots of agony and anxiety, and lots of disruption in my life. Eventually my brain and body caved to binge eating disorder’s peer pressure and my sense of self worth was completely non existent. My family took a trip to Spain but I told them I couldn’t go because I was afraid of eating abroad. Of not fitting in the airplane seat, of being a fat tourist. I was consumed by the fear that people who hailed from all over the world would watch me eat, shaking their heads with disgust, mumbling in different languages. I chose to stay home.

For years, traveling meant having to figure out a whole new system to eat without gaining weight, without fainting, and still feel in control. And it wasn’t exactly portable because different places had different types of food. When you travel there is no guarantee that you’ll have access to your “safe foods” — foods that you have categorized as being “ok to eat” based on your own, individualized criteria. Examples: foods that you feel comfortable eating since you know the exact number of calories; foods that are easy to puke up if you need to pull the trigger; foods that provide some form of comfort. You get the idea.

Personally, my eating disorders make me very brand loyal. I’ve had some terrifying experiences where I can’t find MY brand of peanut butter (Jif reduced fat, creamy) and it honestly feels like the end of the world (that’s mental illness for ya). The only bread I like is Arnold’s 12 Grain Wheat Bread and that isn’t available in every state. Actually, in Virginia it’s sold under the name Brownberry — same bread, different name. We crazies do our homework because most of us can’t eat food we don’t understand, that isn’t familiar, because that food may contain the secret ingredient to make us blow up like a balloon, to make us lose control. We pack a carry-on suitcase with safe foods because ultimately, food is dangerous, and you want to keep your enemy as close as possible, like a jar of Jif you keep in the center console of your car.

Traveling is a challenge because there are a lot of unexpected, exciting twists and turns — the things most people like about a vacation — but for people living with eating disorders it can feel more like a stint on a battlefield. For so long even the idea of a vacation just put me on high alert. Vacations were exhausting, anxiety provoking, only semi rewarding, and in many ways not really worth it. My mindset for years was — I’ll stay home with my dogs, my peanut butter, and my bread, thanks. It’s a societal expectation to say you love to travel and even more so to follow through, but for a long while I was just like, “fuck it.” Sanity meant a staycation.

But I just got home from Vegas. This past October I went to Seattle. Last summer I went to the Outer Banks. Two years ago I went to Zurich and Paris. I’ve learned how to manage my eating disorder (and my bipolar disorder — they’re all related in this incestuous fuck fest called being mentally ill) and subsequently I’ve become braver and more willing to try new things — like travel. To go to different locations where I might have to eat at a restaurant for two meals on the same day (scary!) and I might have to try new foods. I have to go in blind of any caloric intel. I have to practice eating and enjoying it, which for me was a relatively successful “fake it til you make it” style approach. And I’m happy to say I’ve gotten so much better. I eat and work hard to make sure I don’t under eat. Or over eat. I make mistakes and remind myself to be kind afterwards. I’m buying airplane tickets and finding that I do fit in the seat (and even if I didn’t who cares!). I’ve made peace with my body and I know how to feed it. These days I care more about being brave and having enough energy to take on new adventures.

So here I am. My dogs are farting blissfully and doing that cute dog dreamy thing where they wiggle their paws as they run in their sleep and I’m writing this as I simultaneously post Vegas photos on my Instagram. Me vaping in front of Hermes at midnight, me trying In-N-Out Burger for the first time, me wearing a tight sequin dress and potentially catastrophic heels out to a club, me eating a chocolate cupcake from the Bellagio’s patisserie, the usual. And I feel accomplished. And content. I traveled and I enjoyed it — like everyone else seems to — and while I’m happy to be home I’m not resigned to stay still forever. “We should go to Vancouver,” my husband says as he closes his book and rests next to me on the couch. And I can’t help but smile because I know I will. Because I know I can do it. Because I want to.

Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman is an educator, advocate, and writer who has been shacking up with bipolar disorder since 2000. Her debut book, “Instability in Six Colors,” paints a vivid picture of what it is like living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and a complicated relationship with sanity, safety, and suicide. Rachel’s mission and passion is to create a safe community to empower individuals to look beyond their illness to find themselves. For more of her work please be sure to check out Rachel’s website seebrightness.com and visit her Medium page.

All Journals

Read More

Can Journaling Help My Mental Health?

Personal Growth

August 6, 2020

Can Journaling Help My Mental Health?

You might hear the words “personal journal” and immediately conjure an image of an angsty teen sitting in their room, scribbling away in a diary, lamenting about an unrequited crush or a failed test. However, if you're like me and you’ve carried on with the practice of journaling into adulthood, you know that sitting down to write in your journal can provide a much needed moment of clarity. Journaling allows me to organize my thoughts in the good times and can help me release some anxiety in the bad times.  I know that no matter what's going on, nothing helps me more than a few minutes spent laying my thoughts and feelings down on paper. During my own experiences with depression and anxiety, journaling has played a big role in managing my symptoms and helping me stay focused on my goals. That said, my personal positive experience with journaling has always been mixed with uncertainty.  I’ve always questioned if what I'm writing down is worthwhile or if it’s having an impact on my life.

Recently I decided to seek out some answers to my questions. I wanted to answer if journaling is a proven method for managing mental health, and if it can benefit people other than writing nerds like myself? More importantly, what’s the proper way to journal, if there is such a thing? As it turns out, there are answers to these questions, and a lot of research exists showing the efficacy and benefits of journaling.

Over the past several decades, psychologists and researchers have found that journaling can help improve mood, boost cognition, and generally improve both physical and psychological health. For example, a 2004 research study from the University of Cambridge looked at a study the effects of expressive writing that asked participants to write expressively for just 15-20 minutes a day for 3-5 days. That may seem like a rather short time spent writing, after all that's not even 2 hours a week. Yet the researchers found that expressive writing, that is writing about your emotions and thoughts, resulted in both objectively assessed and self reported benefits to physical and mental health. They found that immediate and long-term effects of expressive writing range from reducing stress-related health issues like blood pressure, to improved memory, and even improved GPA.

How Journaling Affects the Brain?

So, journaling can help improve our mental health and even our physical health, but how exactly is that effect achieved? The answer lies in our brains, and in the amygdala to be specific. For those like me who aren’t exactly neuroscientists, the amygdala can best be described as the “fear-processing center” of the brain. It plays an important role in the intensity of our emotions and our behavior. It’s the part of our brain that is the first to process feelings of fear and will then subsequently send “fight or flight” signals to other parts of our brain. Think of how our heart rate and respiration increase when we feel anxiety or fear. The amygdala plays a part in that reaction. Scientists have even found that the amygdala can be activated by fear-stimuli before conscious recognition, meaning the amygdala starts working before we even realize it.

So where does journaling come in? Well, in 2009 psychologists investigated how writing affects the brain and discovered that putting feelings down on paper reduced neural activity in the amygdala, thus reducing feelings of stress or fear, which are often the main contributors to feelings of depression or anxiety. One of the psychologists who conducted the study, Dr. Matthew Leiberman of UCLA, told The Guardian, “Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally”. According to him, doing something as simple as writing down a song lyric that relates to your current feelings or penning a few lines of bad poetry can have a real positive effect on your emotional state.  That’s good news for all of us living in this fast paced world. In the study cited above, participants only wrote for about 20 minutes a day, over only 4 days, which means that keeping a journal doesn't mean you have to set aside another hour out of your schedule. Simply jot down some of your thoughts and feelings, or write down that line from the song you're playing on repeat.

Tips for Effective Journaling

If you’ve never owned a diary or journal before and this article has piqued your interest, check out these three research-backed tips that can help guide your journaling experience. Remember though, everyone will have a style or method all their own, so if these tips don't do the trick for you, fear not. As long as you're taking the time to put your thoughts into words, you're doing something worthwhile.

Tip 1 - Go Oldschool!

As someone who has kept both physical and digital journals I can’t stress this point enough. Find yourself a physical journal, whether it be a fancier moleskin or a simple composition notebook, and write in it by hand. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well can’t I write more and faster on the computer?”. While you may be correct that writing digitally can be faster and more efficient, if you're looking to effectively journal, writing by hand is the way to go. The physical act of writing increases neural activity in the parts of your brain responsible for memory, learning, and critical thinking. It’s also integral to reducing activity in the amygdala and thus reducing feelings of anxiety or fear, so it's key to a beneficial journaling experience.

Tip 2 - Keep it Simple

If you’ve always dreaded writing essays or academic writing of any kind, don't worry, because that's not what journaling is supposed to be. You can forget the format, the grammar, and the proper syntax that your high school English teacher cared about so much. Just start writing and try to let your thoughts flow freely. Don’t let your poor grammar or illegible handwriting discourage you from writing. At the end of the day, your personal journal is for your eyes only and while you may want to share some things with others, as long as you can read it, it’s an A+.

Tip 3 - Make it a Routine

As is the case with any self-care practice, consistency is key. Journaling is no different, and research suggests that journaling is most beneficial to our mental and physical health when we do it consistently. That research also suggests that you only need to journal a few minutes a day to benefit, so starting a journaling routine can be as simple as setting aside 15-20 minutes to write before bed. Keeping it simple and short is the best way to get in the journaling habit. Don’t make it a burdensome chore, but rather look to it as a daily opportunity to let out your feelings and clear out your thoughts.

All Journals

Read More

Dealing with Depression in Isolated Times

Depression

July 21, 2020

Dealing with Depression in Isolated Times

Depression in the Time of Corona

The last several months have thrown our country and our world into unprecedented times. Seemingly everyone, everywhere, has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our lives have been disrupted and the new normal is far from normal. In times of social crisis, human instinct is to come together and lean on friends and family for mutual support. However, Covid-19 has forced us apart and with social distancing mandates serving as our best way to beat the virus, isolation has become the norm for people around the world.

Social distancing and self-isolation are indeed necessities for staying healthy and preventing the spread of the virus, but if you are one of the nearly 17 million American adults who suffer from depression, you know that Covid-19 is not the only illness to worry about during quarantine.


Cost of Social Isolation

Experiencing an infectious disease outbreak is unique in that it often creates feelings of stress and fear, especially when people are forced to quarantine or isolate themselves. When these feelings are sustained for long periods of time, they can seriously affect the state of your mental health.

This is due largely to the fact that social distancing during a time of crisis goes against human nature. In times of large-scale disaster, humans instinctively seek out support in large groups of friends, family, or even coworkers. With all aspects of social and work life disrupted, we lose out on many of those human moments and connections which allow us to process and overcome the feelings of stress

and fear brought on by a pandemic. Being separated from our social network directly impacts our ability to cope with stressful, saddening, or fear-inducing situations.  

On top of that, the constantly changing rules and regulations in every community are having a major impact on people’s ability to get the resources they need. For those who rely on therapy to help manage their depression, not being able to leave the house or attend in-person therapy has a real impact on their ability to handle their depression.

As a result, social distancing is presenting a major challenge for mental health professionals and patients alike. If you find yourself struggling to cope during these stressful times, know that it’s possible to maintain your mental health while also protecting your physical health.

social distance sign.jpg

Managing Feelings of Depression during Social-Distancing

The first thing to keep in mind when navigating this new world of social distancing is that your isolation is not unique and you're not doing anything wrong by staying home. The Covid-19 pandemic is a serious matter and practicing social distancing is the most effective way to protect yourself and others. However, if you're finding your depression worsening or are experiencing the onset of depressive feelings, you’re not alone. The current situation can seem overwhelming to even the most well-adjusted of us, but there are ways to mitigate the effects and take care of our mental health despite all the uncertainty.

1. Safely Maintain Social Connections

Staying in contact with your support network is an essential part of lessening the feelings of loneliness you are sure to experience while practicing self-isolation. Work to maintain your personal connections by scheduling times throughout the week to call and catch up with your friends and family. Even if you keep it as simple as catching up with one friend or family member a day, talking with another person is a simple way to reduce feelings of loneliness.

If you're missing your social life, try organizing virtual hangouts or Netflix parties with your friend group. If the idea of organizing or initiating virtual hangouts or scheduled chats stresses you out, try to remember that everyone is in the same boat. You're not the only one who is feeling disconnected from your social life so don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to your support network when you're feeling particularly lonely or isolated.

Facetime, Zoom, and Skype certainly don’t replace in-person socializing, but they allow you to see others and hear their voices. Not everyone is a fan of communicating via technology, but in times like these, keeping in touch is one of the most important things we can do.

2. Create a Schedule

Perhaps one of the biggest impacts of social-distancing regulations is the one it has had on our routines. With in-person socializing on hold and work gone remote, it's easy to fall out of our normal routines which often revolve around our work schedule and social obligations. An excess of free time isn't always a good thing and creating a routine can help mitigate many of the feelings of depression brought on by the situation. Scheduled meals can help regulate your weight and appetite. Scheduled exercise will provide you with a daily dose of serotonin that can be invaluable when dealing with depression. All in all, scheduling your day can have a huge impact on your mental health, even if you are just scheduling meals, exercise, or sleep. Creating a routine can reduce the feelings of uncertainty that come with being cooped up and isolated, and knowing what your day is going to look like can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

3. Get outside (Safely!)

walk image.jpg

Much of the outside world may be shut down, but that doesn't mean you can't go outside. Taking a walk, run, or bike ride are all perfectly within social-distancing guidelines, and they can provide a great deal of relief to the monotony of endless hours inside. On top of that, getting some sun and fresh air have been shown to directly improve mood, so a walk around the neighborhood could help you mitigate some of those negative feelings. Incorporating some sort of outside time into your day is proven to help manage feelings of depression, so making safe outside excursions a part of your routine is a must.

4. Consider Online Resources

Though your access to in-person therapy and other in-person mental health resources may be limited during the pandemic, that doesn't mean your therapy journey has to go on hold. There is a growing number of quality online therapy platforms that can help you get the therapy you need without even having to leave the house. Online therapy, whether you opt for one-on-one sessions or join a therapy group, can greatly help in managing your depression during times of isolation. Talking one-on-one with a counselor can greatly help you in developing the routines and practices you need to manage your mental health. Joining a therapy group can allow you to connect with others who have similar struggles, gain perspective on your own experiences, and to learn valuable practices and insights from counselors and peers. Online therapy cannot always replace in-person counseling, but it can be a valuable resource if you are struggling to manage your depression during self-isolation.

All Journals

Read More

The Mental Tolls of Chronic Illness & 13 Tips To Beat Them

Chronic Illness

The Mental Tolls of Chronic Illness & 13 Tips To Beat Them

What is chronic illness?


Chronic illness is any condition or set of conditions that lasts over one year, interferes with the daily activities in a person’s life, or requires medical attention. Some chronic disease symptoms may include neck and back pain, neverending fatigue, nausea, mood disorders, and dizziness. 


Heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, and cancer are the leading chronic illnesses in the U.S. According to Rand Review, 60% of American adults now live with at least one chronic condition and 42% have more than one.


Mental consequences of chronic illness


Chronic illness and depression, along with other mental health conditions, are commonly linked because a chronic disease can be extremely challenging to cope with day in and day out. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can result in intense feelings of shame, resentment, fear, sadness, and frustration over long periods of time. Adjusting to a different life can be quite difficult. 


Below are the mental health consequences that can arise from chronic disease symptoms:


  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alienation
  • Isolation
  • Social fear
  • Increased stress
  • Sense of hopelessness 


Chronic depression


Is depression a chronic illness? It can be, if left untreated. Treating chronic depression can be done with medication and talk therapy. Studies show that over time, this combination may normalize the brain changes associated with depression.


One third of people with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. 


Effects of depression on chronic illnesses


The effects of chronic illness depression (depression caused by a chronic disease) are very damaging to an already fragile situation. Pain associated with a chronic illness often prevents an individual from going places or seeing friends and loved ones. This leads to isolation and depression. Physical consequences can occur too, like increased fatigue. 


Tips to overcome the mental burdens of chronic illness


  1. Educate yourself on all of your choices for care both at home and at the hospital or clinic. 
  2. Choose a medical provider you really love. You’ll need to be able to express yourself honestly and openly at all times. 
  3. Don’t be shy about your emotional and mental health. Your provider can help you explore positive ways to overcome negative feelings about your chronic illness or chronic illness depression. 
  4. Create a supportive circle of friends and family in your life who are there for you every step of the way. Cut out anyone who makes you feel worse or makes you feel like your chronic illness is a burden for them. 
  5. Join a forum or community of people with a similar condition. This will help you build friendships and solid relationships with others who know exactly what you’re going through. Plug grouport here
  6. Learn as much as you can about your chronic illness. The more information you have, the more successful you’ll be in staying as healthy as possible. Learn more about your chronic illness here. 
  7. Make necessary lifestyle changes to improve your condition where you can. This could be as simple as going for a short, easy walk or maintaining a healthy diet packed with protein, fruits, and vegetables. Quit bad habits like drinking or smoking for an even more comfortable, sustainable way of living. 
  8. Seek other opinions from experts. This can be outside of your doctor or other medical health professionals. You can speak to a scientist, therapist, psychologist, or anyone else who can give you another perspective of your chronic illness when you’re curious to know more. 
  9. Properly manage your medications. Have an organized pill holder and schedule that you adhere to so that you’re taking the right amount of medication each day. Put your pill holder in the same spot in your bedroom or bathroom so you can access it at the same time every morning or night. 
  10. Look out for the warning signs of chronic illness depression. If you start to notice negative, intrusive thoughts becoming more and more overpowering, talk to a therapist, a close friend, or family member about your feelings. Depression and illness can cause backsliding and prevent you from pursuing healthy habits and choices. 
  11. Share your plans for the end of your life. It may sound daunting, but telling your loved ones what kind of days, months, or years you’d like to live out before you go may bring you peace and comfort. It also will save your family from confusion later on as to what you would’ve wanted, whether that’s hospice and do-not-resuscitate or “fight for me until the very end.” 
  12. Keep in touch with family and friends as much as you need to. Living with a chronic disease can easily lead to chronic illness depression, so it’s best to be proactive and try to prioritize socialization and time spent with loved ones to counteract any negative feelings or lonliness.
  13. Speak up. Reach out to your doctor, nurse, or physician if something doesn’t feel right physically. They can reassure you in times of uncertainty or pain. 


All Journals

Read More