Group Therapy

Groups are a primary mode of treatment at MCA and the core modality of our Ascend and Ascend Lite young adult programs. We offer many different groups for teens, young adults and adults. Our team can help you determine if group therapy is the best approach to addressing your concerns and objectives.

Psychotherapy (Process) Groups

Process group gives clients a safe place to identify and work through conflicts and emotional challenges. Not only can clients gain insight into their own thoughts and motivation, they can also offer understanding and support to other group members. The connections that group members establish with one another creates an atmosphere of trust and safety. It is that trust that allows clients to authentically explore fears, wishes, strengths, feelings and challenges. Ultimately, clients experience difficult interactions and complex emotions in a new and empowering way and can use these new experiences as a model for how to manage their lives outside of the treatment setting more effectively.

DBT Groups

DBT is an empirically-based treatment approach developed by Marsha Linehan to help people learn the skills they need to manage difficult relationships and overwhelming emotions. It is based upon the premise that sustainable progress requires a “dialectical” ability to simultaneously ACCEPT one’s current reality AND to hold onto the hope necessary to make CHANGES in one’s life. It is taught as a skills-based curriculum and is divided into four core modules. Each module offers a large number of skills, allowing clients to eventually identify and practice those that are most effective for them. The four modules are:


Mindfulness conjures up many different images and ideas. For the purpose of DBT, it is simply referring to the ability to be present in the moment that you are in. Not to think behind or ruminate about the past and not to think about what is coming next. Rather to simply be fully aware of where you are, what you see, hear, smell and feel in the moment that you are currently in. One can be mindful while doing just about anything. Being mindful is a skill that serves as the foundation for the application of all other DBT skills.

Emotion Regulation

This DBT module focuses on teaching clients to identify, label and express emotions, to understand the function of emotions, to decrease the intensity of one’s emotions and in some cases to change the emotion entirely. Specific focus is given to teaching clients how to manage intense feelings without being reactive or destructive to oneself, one’s goals and/or one’s relationships.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

The interpersonal effectiveness module is designed to help clients learn how to express themselves clearly and effectively, to assert one’s needs, to set important limits, and to preserve important relationships. These skills rest upon clients learning how to identify their objectives prior to engaging in challenging interactions and how to discern destructive interpersonal patterns. The overall objective of the module is to get what one needs and wants from relationships while simultaneously respecting oneself AND the other person.

Distress Tolerance

This module focuses on teaching clients to accept and tolerate the things they cannot control. Marsha Linehan says “Pain is inevitable but suffering is not.” When one learns to self soothe, anticipate difficult experiences and plan for them, and accept the reality one is presented with in a given moment, suffering can be lessened and pain can be much better tolerated.

Important note about our DBT groups

DBT has become a mainstream treatment approach for teens and adults who experience significant mood instability, impulsive behavior, unstable relationships, self-destructive behaviors and suicidal tendencies. There is significant research supporting DBT as a safe and effective treatment for people with dangerous mood and behavior problems. This research involves DBT treatment structured into a “treatment adherent” program that combines individual therapy, group skills training, telephone coaching and an intensive DBT treatment team. At MCA, individual and group DBT integrate components of this model. However, we do not offer the comprehensive behavior program. Our team can help you determine if our DBT services at MCA are a safe and appropriate treatment option.

DBT Process Groups

DBT Process groups combine both elements of DBT and Process (read above). These groups are structured where half of the group is focused on DBT skill building and the other half of the group is focused on processing experiences using a DBT lens.

Art Therapy

Art therapy groups offer opportunities for self-discovery and expression by using the creative process of making art to help clients identify, contemplate and resolve existing struggles and complex feelings. Art therapy has been shown to reduce stress, improve self-esteem and increase self-awareness. Art therapy does not require an interest in art or artistic ability. Many clients with limited experience of art find make extraordinary gains through the unique ability to use non-verbal techniques to explore and express their emotions.

Executive Function/ Goals Groups

Our EF/G groups are an extremely effective way to develop and implement goal directed plans and behaviors. Teens and young adults are able to identify realistic and rewarding goals and develop a strength-based approach to meeting them in sustainable ways. Known and discovered executive function challenges are addressed strategically to decrease related problems they create in school, work and other daily activities.

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