Your First Anxiety and Depression Support Group

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

What to Expect in Your First Anxiety Depression Support Group at The Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia :

    In the beginning of the Anxiety and Depression group session, the therapist begins by discussing the “Highs and Lows” of the week, followed by a light-hearted question, usually relating to a metaphor (for example, “If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?). This is the time where we introduce new members as we move along in the circle, with each member discussing the positive and negative events that happened throughout the week, usually relating to how anxiety and depression symptoms are managed, interfere with a task or event that takes place, or how you are able overcome an obstacle.

    After the opening discussion, when there are new members to the group, the confidentiality policy is discussed. Confidentiality is a concern, especially when opening yourself up in a new environment with people you don't know. We take this very seriously, and have a group discussion about what the members have all agreed to, how to handle certain scenarios (such as if you run into a group member outside of group), and the policies that the facilitators have implemented. Before moving forward, we then ask new group members if they accept the agreements, and what changes they would like to add or take away to help them feel safe and comfortable sharing information.

    The next part of the Anxiety and Depression support group is first opening up the floor to the members to see if anyone would like to address an event that has occurred, a symptom they have been struggling with, or to seek advice on a specific issue, such as anxiety and depression in the workplace, open discussions on medication management, relationship concerns, or any other topics that are plaguing individuals. Some sessions are utilized with a traditional support group design of group discussion and feedback.

Group topics often reflect what current group members are struggling with, for example trouble asserting boundaries with others, communicating effectively, using negative self-talk, and so the therapists will create psycho-educational activities to help the group work collectively on learning and demonstrating skills on how to overcome these issues. A benefit to having these interventions are the group unity and support, and the ability to work as a team to help build one another up in order to become the best (and healthiest) versions of themselves. Once the activity is completed, there is time to reflect on what aspects were easy, what were challenging, and to identify anything they may have learned about themselves.

At the end of the support group session, the  therapists will use the same circle format to have each member report on what they will take away from this session. This could be in the form of what they have learned, what they will utilize outside of therapy, what they heard from someone that resonated with them, or any other thoughts they have uncovered while in the session. After this activity the therapists may give a task or activity to have the other anxiety and depression support group members practice throughout the week, or to help prepare the group members for the next session by asking them to think about any questions or concerns they may have regarding the next topic of discussion.

Anxiety and Depression support groups can be very rewarding and a great way to work towards self-care, no matter what point you are in on your journey towards treatment. Please call The Center for Growth for more information on our Anxiety and Depression group, as well as the other groups that we have to offer. We also offer free sessions so that you can come see for yourself!