Group Therapy Michelle Bogdan Leesbur VA

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Do You Wonder if Group Therapy Is Right for You?

Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Is one of your children exhibiting challenging behaviors? Does your teen daughter seem a bit lost and you wish you could find her the best possible help? Have you considered group therapy before, but feel really scared to actually do it? Do you fear that you may know someone in the group? Are you worried about what others will think of you or what they may say about you outside of group? Do you wonder if it can help you as much or more than individual or family therapy?

Finding the best group for you and your situation is key. Each group I offer is unique to my practice. After listening to many clients’ needs, fears and treatment goals in teen counseling, family counseling and adult counseling, I used my experience to guide me in developing these respective groups that I offer now. I offer four (4) groups at this time. Each is described below.

“Feeling Stuck? Anxiety/Depression Support Group”

Are you feeling stuck in your head or unable to reach the goals you have set for yourself and live the life you want? This group is based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy, which helps those who feel “stuck” (I also incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques). It’s a non-threatening approach that helps people be mindful of their internal experience while moving forward towards their values. We will use metaphors and mindfulness exercises to help you look toward your bigger picture. Each week, participants will support each other through sharing their own personal experiences as well as offering support and suggestions to others as they practice a new approach in life. By the end of the group session, all members will gain skills to create opportunities to make big changes!

“What’s NOT to Worry About?”

Ever worry about your teen who excessively worries? Not sure how to help him/her? Many therapy groups treat only the child, which is great, except it offers little to no support for you, as parents! This group addresses the needs of both, although separately. Every other week members alternate, meaning the odd weeks are for parents, while even groups are your tween/teen.

There will be some overlap in the content, however most is specific to each group. Participants will learn about anxiety and how to recognize thinking patterns that impede one’s symptoms. The differences are that you, as a parent will reflect on your parenting style, recognize ways your own emotions impact that of your family, and learn how to encourage your child toward healthy thinking. Teens, on the other hand, will talk about different pressures that contribute to their anxiety such family stress, academic and social pressures, technology and more. Skills learned will be applied during group while processing through these anxiety-provoking topics. This will help teens begin to apply skills to their everyday life as well.

Confidentiality is crucial in group. Unless safety issues arise, teens and parents alike will respect the limits of their respective group focus and the not specifics of the other group.

Having a healthy avenue to talk about your worries and learning how to respond to your thoughts is crucial in living a happy life. I invite YOU to join group geared toward mutual support, learning and applying healthy skills, and planning for a happy future. Only you can control you, so let’s figure out how to feel your best!!

“Perceptive Parenting of Challenging Children”

This group helps parents keep raising their children in perspective. Every child has some kind of struggle, while others have more challenging behaviors. This group can help with all of it. We will give some attention to understanding what is “normal” within each age group so that you understand what to expect with raising a child. Hearing from other parents will help normalize your own experiences.. A good part of the group will consist of building a toolbox of parenting strategies. You will learn to how to avoid the need to control your child and instead be mindful of your own internal and external responses to your child(ren)’s behaviors. Much of the group will help you gain insight into where your beliefs and approaches come from, begin to process challenges in healthy ways and be aware of your parenting as it’s happening. Group members will discuss how to make changes where necessary by using the tools from their toolboxes and apply their insightful viewpoints. You will be able to shift your focus back to the good qualities of your child, thus moving towards a connecting and effective parent-child dynamic. You will have opportunities to apply these skills by brainstorming with other parents and at home in between sessions.

“Identity: Be The Person You Want To Be”

This group is for teen girls, ages 14-19, who struggle with their relationships, including the ones they have with themselves. Teens will be grouped together based on individual needs. The beginning sessions will focus on the teens connecting with one another and getting in touch with who they are as individuals. By understanding who they are, their behaviors and how they want to be perceived, your teen will be able to decide what changes, if any, they want to make in their relationships. Identifying inconsistencies with how they are perceived and how they want to be perceived is the main focus of the group. We will look at various relationships, including those with family, friends and significant others. We will also pay attention to developing coping skills.

Group Therapy Can Help You Feel Connected and Empowered

Group therapy can be much more intimidating to folks than individual or family therapy. Group therapy, however, can offer much more than individual or family counseling in that you get feedback from others who can relate directly to you and your situation. It can provide more structure, which allows you to leave sessions with a larger toolbox of skills and greater insight into yourself. As the therapist for the group, my role is to facilitate connections among the group members so that each person feels connected to and supported by group. I make sure that everyone has an opportunity to share and offer support to other members.

When I am facilitating group, I ensure that everyone is respected and feels supported by the others. I strive to not only offer my own training and experience, but also to create a stage for everyone to offer what they know about being in their respective situations. This contributes to the group going as well as possible.

You may be surprised by the level of comfort you will feel in group therapy. Hearing from others in similar situations and having them share how they got through a situation can be pretty amazing. You will realize that you are not alone in your struggle. Mental illness and life problems are both shunned in many ways in our society. People feel embarrassed about their situations and often don’t want anyone to know what they struggle with on a daily basis. Imagine the weight off your shoulders when you hear that others feel similar to you. Group therapy can show you that you are truly not alone.

You may believe that group therapy can help you feel better, but still have questions or concerns…

What is expected of me in group therapy?

This is a great question. Each member needs to pre-register for whichever group they are interested in. This consists of attending an intake appointment with only me. The teen group and the parenting group both have a total of nine (9) sessions, whereas the anxiety and depression support group has a minimum of six (6) sessions, with the option to continue longer. Members must commit to attending all required sessions to maintain congruency within the group process.

Will the group therapy sessions work with my schedule?

Groups are offered during the evening hours to best accommodate for work and school schedules. Generally speaking, the anxiety and depression support group is held on Monday evenings and the Parenting Group is offered on Thursday evenings. There is not a specific evening that the teen group occurs on. If members request different days to attend group, then the evenings and times can be changed to best accommodate your needs.

I am afraid to open up to strangers.

It can be quite scary to share such personal things with people who you do not know. Remember that everyone there is in the same situation as you are – wondering what others will think of them, if they will be accepted or judged and if the group will be helpful.

Confidentiality is very important to me as the group therapist. I stress the importance of respecting people’s privacy both during the individual intakes as well in the first group therapy session together. We will talk about what this means and how it applies to everyday life, and I will address any questions group members may have about it. I want each and every member to feel comfortable with what they share. Of course, it is up the individuals to share what they feel is appropriate.

Free Phone Consultation

I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to first-time group members. If you have specific questions or concerns about your specific situation or a certain group, don’t hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at (703) 554-2882. I am happy to talk with you further.