Group Counseling

Enrollment is open for these groups:

  1. A skills-focused group for people with substance use issues meets on Sundays, 3:00 – 4:30 PM. A description of the group is below.
  2. A counseling-assisted treatment (CAT) group for people prescribed medication for substance use disorder meets on Mondays, 5:30 – 6:30 PM, beginning Monday, November 5, 2018. The group is described here.

To request an appointment for individual or group counseling, please learn more about appointments and fees, then register as a new client.

  • Do you find yourself doing something you didn’t intend to while interacting with others, perhaps with partners, children, family members, bosses, co-workers, or neighbors? Or afterwards?
  • Do you find yourself doing something you didn’t intend to in social settings?
  • Do you find yourself having done something you didn’t intend to after a particularly intense or conflicted interaction?
  • Do you lose your cool and say and do things you regret later?
  • Do you keep your silence when you need to speak up?
  • Do you tend to dominate or to withdraw during conflict?
  • Do you tend to be under-involved or over-involved in relationships?

Group counseling can be helpful for addressing these and other challenges.

Groups are limited to 7 members. To request enrollment in a group, please follow these steps:

Anne Giles

  1. Register as a new client.
  2. Then phone, text, or email me to request scheduling an initial, 75-minute, individual session. (If I have worked with you in other contexts, an initial appointment may not be needed. Please contact me to discuss.)
  3. Once we’ve had the initial session, I’ll enroll you in a group.

People who have problems with substances, binge-eating, gambling, shopping, Internet gaming, serial relationships, or other challenges, and who return to problematic behavior, frequently cite interactions with others as preceding unplanned use or behavior.

Group members practice interacting in skillful, effective ways. Through support from the facilitator and fellow group members, individuals can identify their patterns of dealing with others and make helpful modifications to:

  • better regulate emotions
  • get needs met
  • feel closer to loved ones
  • be more effective with co-workers and acquaintances
  • skillfully manage problematic behaviors
  • make more conscious choices about what might be the next most helpful thing to say or do – or not say or not do.

Group counseling is a rich opportunity for self-discovery in connection with others.

According to Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, November, 2016, Page 4-26, “Unfortunately, despite decades of research, it cannot be concluded that general group counseling is reliably effective in reducing substance use or related problems.”

That’s why our groups focus on skills. We work on specific approaches that research suggests are most helpful to people who want to limit their use of substances, or who have challenges with other behaviors that have become problematic. Here’s a description of the approach we use and here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Sample schedule for a 90-minute group session:

  • Welcome and announcements. (1 minute)
  • Review of group rules. (1 minute)
  • Check-in with a 2-minute timer. (2 minutes per group member, 4-8 group members, plus facilitator = 10-18 minutes)
  • Brief explanation of a new skill. (10 minutes)
  • Practice using new skill. (10 minutes)
  • Practice using new skill, in synthesis with formerly learned skills, in member-selected, hypothetical situations. (40 minutes)
  • Check-out with a buffet of wisdom through individual statements of observation, awareness, insight, and progress. (10-15 minutes)
  • Awards of appreciation. (2 minutes)

Group policies (excerpts):

  • Arrive on time.
  • Safety first.
  • Kindness next.
  • Use “I-statements.” Avoid “you-statements” (intrusion without permission) and “we-statements” (inclusion without permission).
  • Observe silence during each other’s sharing.
  •  If you find yourself wanting to react/respond to a group member’s statements, become aware of what you are feeling and thinking first. Even if you choose not to follow up, practice being able to state your feelings and thoughts in reaction/response to others.
  • Ask for permission – and wait to receive it – before asking a clarifying question or making a suggestion. With your request, identify the type of follow-up you want to offer. Examples: “Are you open to a clarifying question?” “Are you open to a suggestion?”
  • Balance gaining and giving.
  • Disclose making contact outside of group. You are welcome to have contact with group members outside of group, whether by text, phone, or in-person meetings. You may see each other in passing in our small, rural community. If you do have contact, please share that in the next group session.

I am very happy to provide letters at the end of each session, or for a series of sessions, for those who need documentation of attendance.

Group members are welcome to participate in both individual counseling and group counseling.

Welcome! If you would like to join the group, you’re invited to  register as a new client.

Last updated 10/22/18