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Tag Archives: Group Therapy

Is Group Therapy Right for You?

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team building, group discussion or therapyAs we commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re also looking at some of the different types of mental health treatments that are out there — including those that The Family Institute provides.

One often overlooked form of mental health treatment is group therapy. It has proven to be an effective and efficient form of treatment for many of the issues that people experience in today’s world. Groups address personal issues where they typically occur — with other people. We live, work and play as memebers of groups, and therapy is no different.

In a typical group therapy session, a professionally-trained therapist leads the discussion as members work to express their problems, feelings, ideas and reactions. This provides members with the opportunity to learn with and from other people.

 

The Family Institute offers a number of different group therapies to help individuals work out some of their issues in a social setting with people who have similar issues. Visit our website to learn more about the groups available at our downtown Chicago, Evanston and Northbrook locations.

Ask A TFI Clinician: Young Adults & Anxiety

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Stress Meter Showing  Panic Attack From Stress Or WorryAs we continue to commemorate OCD Awareness week, today we look at the unique ways anxiety and anxiety disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder impact young adults.

Today’s insights come from Jennifer Welbel, LPC. Jennifer received her MA in Counseling from The Family Institute at Northwestern University and is currently a Clinical Fellow in the Institute’s Anxiety and Panic Treatment Program. She currently runs the Anxiety Network, a psychoeducational support group at The Family Institute that offers support for young adults (out of high school, ages 18 – mid 30s) who are struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or anxiety symptoms.

 


 

Young adults are in a natural state of anxiety.

During this transitional life stage, young adults deal with dating, career choices, self-definition and a myriad of other complex issues. Combine these concerns with an anxiety disorder during this already confusing time, and the challenges can be incredibly difficult.

Everyone worries, but excessive worry and anxiety that interferes with your life and impairs your functioning may be a sign of a larger issue, like an anxiety disorder.

 

Be on the lookout for more serious symptoms.

A large percentage of the population experiences mild symptoms of anxiety, such as occasional panic attacks, worries, and anxiety in novel situations. However, anxiety becomes problematic when:

  1. It is excessive and out of proportion to the situation.
  2. It begins to interfere in one’s social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  3. The anxiety is persistent and lasts much longer than expected.

 

Age matters.

Anxiety disorders look different at different ages. Key milestones of young adulthood, such as dating and beginning a career, are made more complicated and less enjoyable when  anxiety disorders or OCD are also present. It can be difficult to not let an anxiety disorder define who a young adult is when self-definition is such an important part of this life stage.

That’s why the support group I facilitate at The Family Institute is geared toward young adults. Most anxiety and OCD support groups tend to group everyone together. The fact that the Anxiety Network is geared toward young adults living with OCD and/or anxiety disorders creates a common ground — the group discusses issues specific to young adulthood, such as friendships, dealing with parents, roommates and employment issues, as well as issues specific to OCD and/or anxiety disorders, such as how to manage symptoms, medication concerns, and brainstorming coping strategies.

 

It’s important to break through the isolation.

Anxiety disorders can be isolating. Support, like through a group like The Family Institute’s Anxiety Network, helps break through that isolation. Young adults in our group self-assign homework and determine what topics they’d like to go over that day — things like problem-solving anxiety-provoking situations, brainstorming exposure ideas for the week, or discussing the stigma that sometimes comes with OCD and/or anxiety disorders — all while interacting and eating pizza. I facilitate the discussion, but I really want participants to lean on each other and learn from one another.

Group therapy like the Anxiety Network makes a great adjunct to individual therapy because it allows participants to brainstorm, bounce ideas off each other, and to get some emotional support if they get ‘stuck’ on a tough individual therapy homework practice. Many, but not all participants have had some form of exposure therapy that they are interested in continuing for themselves and helping interested members with

 


 

The Anxiety Network meets in downtown Chicago (8 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 500) every other Monday from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., and is $30 per session. Advanced registration is required; please see our website for more information.

Jennifer Welbel is a Clinical Fellow at The Family Institute where she specializes in using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure therapies (ERP) to treat children, adolescents, and adults with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, such as trichotillomania and hoarding, anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, school refusal, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, and driving phobia), and depression.

To read Jennifer’s full bio or to make an appointment, visit our website.

 

The Perfect Back-to-School Outfit: First-day-of-school anxiety for girls

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It’s back-to-school time at TFI Talks, and to highlight this time of year our expert therapists are telling their own first-day-of-school stories, and at the same time providing insights into how families, parents and individuals can handle back-to-school stress.

Today’s story comes from Family Institute staff therapist Mallory Rose, LMFT. Mallory treats adults, couples, families, children and adolescents at the Institute with a focus on self-esteem, body image and the transition to parenthood.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

PantsDuring my middle school years, the beginning of each school year represented an exciting time to reconnect with my friends and peers, but that excitement also produced a tremendous amount of anxiety for me.  I worried about whether my peers made new friends over the summer or if they would accept the changes to my interests, personality, and body.

My anxiety manifested itself in my need to have the “perfect outfit” for the first day of school. I felt that if I could just make a great first impression, and feel confident in my “perfect outfit,” then everything would be okay.

The “perfect outfit,” however, was not the perfect solution for my anxiety.  No matter what I ended up wearing that first day, I never felt confident or secure because I never truly addressed my anxiety.  I needed someone to talk to and encourage me to find more productive ways to address my anxiety and feel self-confident.  I needed someone to tell me that I was experiencing anticipatory anxiety, which was developmentally normal.

I wish I know that my peers were experiencing similar anxiety and concerns, and that I was not alone.  I created the self-esteem group for middle school girls partly because of my personal experiences. The self-esteem group helps adolescent girls build their self-confidence, develop peer relationships, and manage their anxiety, stress, and other normal developmental concerns as they hopefully mature into strong, confident, and healthy young women.

 

 

To read Mallory Rose’s full bio, learn more about the self-esteem group for middle school girls or make an appointment, visit our website.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health treatment for individuals, couples and families at our six Chicagoland locations. Learn more about us at our website.

The Importance of Support Groups

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Earlier this week, Institute staff therapist Jennifer Welbel, LPC wrote a piece for anxiety.org about the Anxiety Network, the Institute support group she runs for young adults experiencing anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.

From her post:

Although there are support groups for OCD in the Chicago area, there were not any groups that are specific to this phase in life. As a result, I wanted to fill that void and give these individuals a place that they could connect with others close to their age.  After about six months, I realized that many of the young adults that were coming to the group also struggled with anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and social anxiety. However, by limiting our discussions to just OCD-specific topics, we were doing a disservice to our members. As a result, after a discussion with the group, I decided to expand it to include young adults that were struggling with OCD and/or anxiety disorders and, in turn, renamed the group, “The Anxiety Network.” I have found that this change has made the group feel more relevant to individuals, has increased the number of participants, and has resulted in additional referrals from therapists the community.

Read the full post on anxiety.org, and visit our website for Jennifer’s full bio or to learn more about the Anxiety Network.

 

TFI’s Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, on Letting Go of Being Right

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Our clinicians have a variety of specialties and interests. At TFI Talks, it’s our pleasure to highlight the different ways our therapists get their expertise out in the world.

On her blog, Family Institute staff therapist Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, addresses how couples can handle the sometimes painful arguments they have in healthy ways:

“According to the model of couples therapy that I use (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy), all fights are really protests against feeling distant, feeling unimportant, or feeling like our partner wasn’t there for us when we needed them. It is essentially a model that acknowledges how important our close relationships are to our sense of safety and well being in the world. Looking at our partner through this lens, it makes sense that even a small disconnect can trigger strong feelings! For example, my husband and I have had arguments triggered (for me) by his tone of voice when he answered a phone call from me. “Geez. Sorry to bother you!” {Translation: “You didn’t seem happy to hear from me. That really hurts!”} The pain of feeling distant or unimportant to our partner leads to a cascade of negative feelings that are so intense, that all the skills you might know about relationships and how to “fight right” go out the window and now you are fighting to be heard, to be seen, to be understood, and to reach your partner again. It’s not a fight we can easily walk away from!”

Read Nikki’s full post on her blog, as well as the other insights she provides.

Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker with over 10 years of experience providing individual, couple and family therapy. She leads The Family Institute’s therapy group The Mindful Couple, where couples learn to live and love more effectively using the principles of mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In this group, couples learn to understand why feelings of anger, sadness and/or distress are common and normal reactions in relationships, as well as skills for managing those reactions and communication strategies.

To read Nikki’s full bio or make an appointment, please visit our website.

To learn more about her group The Mindful Couple, as well as other group therapies offered at the Institute, visit our group therapy page.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health treatment for families, couples and individuals. Learn more about us on our website.

Ask A TFI Clinician: Young Adults & Anxiety

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Heading into the summer months means high school and college graduations and graduation parties —families all over the country will be celebrating these major milestones and transitions.

However, what challenges exist for emerging, young adults during this time? We’ve asked some of our Family Institute experts to weigh in on the unique issues and concerns facing today’s emerging and young adults, as well as a few solutions to these challenges.

Today’s insights come from Jennifer Welbel, LPC. Jennifer received her MA in Counseling from The Family Institute at Northwestern University and is currently a Clinical Fellow in the Institute’s Anxiety and Panic Treatment Program. She currently runs the Anxiety Network, a psychoeducational support group at The Family Institute that offers support for young adults (out of high school, ages 18 – mid 30s) who are struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or anxiety symptoms.

Young adults are in a natural state of anxiety.

During this transitional life stage, young adults deal with dating, career choices, self-definition and a myriad of other complex issues. Combine these concerns with an anxiety disorder during this already confusing time, and the challenges can be incredibly difficult.

Everyone worries, but excessive worry and anxiety that interferes with your life and impairs your functioning may be a sign of a larger issue, like an anxiety disorder.

 Be on the lookout for more serious symptoms.

A large percentage of the population experiences mild symptoms of anxiety, such as occasional panic attacks, worries, and anxiety in novel situations. However, anxiety becomes problematic when:

  1. It is excessive and out of proportion to the situation.
  2. It begins to interfere in one’s social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  3. The anxiety is persistent and lasts much longer than expected.

Age matters.

Anxiety disorders look different at different ages. Key milestones of young adulthood, such as dating and beginning a career, are made more complicated and less enjoyable when  anxiety disorders or OCD are also present. It can be difficult to not let an anxiety disorder define who a young adult is when self-definition is such an important part of this life stage.

That’s why the support group I facilitate at The Family Institute is geared toward young adults. Most anxiety and OCD support groups tend to group everyone together. The fact that the Anxiety Network is geared toward young adults living with OCD and/or anxiety disorders creates a common ground — the group discusses issues specific to young adulthood, such as friendships, dealing with parents, roommates and employment issues, as well as issues specific to OCD and/or anxiety disorders, such as how to manage symptoms, medication concerns, and brainstorming coping strategies.

It’s important to break through the isolation.

Anxiety disorders can be isolating. Support, like through a group like The Family Institute’s Anxiety Network, helps break through that isolation. Young adults in our group self-assign homework and determine what topics they’d like to go over that day — things like problem-solving anxiety-provoking situations, brainstorming exposure ideas for the week, or discussing the stigma that sometimes comes with OCD and/or anxiety disorders — all while interacting and eating pizza. I facilitate the discussion, but I really want participants to lean on each other and learn from one another.

Group therapy like the Anxiety Network makes a great adjunct to individual therapy because it allows participants to brainstorm, bounce ideas off each other, and to get some emotional support if they get ‘stuck’ on a tough individual therapy homework practice. Many, but not all participants have had some form of exposure therapy that they are interested in continuing for themselves and helping interested members with

 

The Anxiety Network meets in downtown Chicago (8 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 500) every other Monday from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., and is $30 per session. Advanced registration is required; please see our website for more information.

Jennifer Welbel is a Clinical Fellow at The Family Institute where she specializes in using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure therapies (ERP) to treat children, adolescents, and adults with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, such as trichotillomania and hoarding, anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, school refusal, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, and driving phobia), and depression.

To read Jennifer’s full bio or to make an appointment, visit our website.

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