Elisha Van Harte, MSW, RSW
In some instances, the best way to experience therapy is with the help of others, others who are experiencing similar issues and concerns that you are facing. In a world where mental health issues are often stigmatized, there is something to be said in knowing you are "not the only one". Group programs allow for individuals to draw support and validation for what they are experiencing from others similar to themselves; it allows them to learn not only from the knowledge and expertise of the group therapist, but also from one another; and it allows for individuals to develop a support network that can go beyond the duration of the group. Below are the evidenced based structured programs that are offered in a supportive, small group environment. For those who do not wish to participate in group therapy, these programs may also be delivered through individual therapy.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Group
Dialectical Behaviour therapy as designed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and adapted for adolescents by Dr. Alec Miller, has been successfully applied to individuals struggling with an inability to manage their emotions, tolerate stress in their lives without making situations worse, and develop and maintain healthy relationships. It utilizes cognitive-behavioural strategies combined with validation and mindfulness as practiced within Buddhism, to help individuals replace problem behaviours with skilful ones.
The DBT Multifamily Skills Group recognizes that family members also struggle when they are living with and supporting a loved one with challenges. This group helps parents, guardians, or siblings to understand and effectively help their loved one become more adaptive in managing day to day emotions and behaviours, while also learning some adaptive coping skills for their own self.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Emotion Regulation and Substance Use
Cognitive Therapy has been effectively used to address the factors that relate to the development and maintenance of substance use disorders. It focuses on changing the dysfunctional thoughts, impulsivity and unmanageable emotional roller coasters that often accompany substance misuse. Cognitive Therapy believes that substance abuse is learned, and, therefore, it can be "unlearned" and stopped through the use of cognitive-behavioural techniques. Understandably, a person with a substance misuse faces many challenges, and often substance misuse is not the only issue the individual is facing. By engaging in this program an individual can take part in an effective, flexible, and evidence based therapy within a respectful and collaborative therapeutic relationship, which can facilitate the change within themselves they are seeking.
Life Process Transformation™
Developed by Viola Fodor, Life Process Transformation ™ is a 16 week program of self-exploration that is designed to help individuals find their true self and uncover their inner wisdom. The program is an alternative to the cognitive models of treatment; rather it focuses on developing the practice of inner silence and true reflection. Often, individuals find themselves in Life Process Transformation™ when all other attempts at accessing help have not provided the relief and sustainable change they are looking for. In Life Process Transformation™ it is believed that healing is possible, even from significant mental health struggles, and that this change occurs on the deepest level, through increased awareness and a re-unification with their true self.