Celebrate Your ‘Social Brain’ with Group Therapy!

Recently, I spent some time talking about GROUPS with Katie K. May of Creative Healing Philly. Katie K. May is a DBT Certified, Licensed Therapist for Teens in Pennsylvania.  She specializes in running groups for teens who experience anxiety, depression and self-harm behaviors, with a passion in helping clients learn to express and cope with overwhelming emotions in healthy ways so that they can move forward in life EMPOWERED and able to create their own path to happiness.

In our discussion, Katie and I explored the ways that our group connections help us to build a life we want to celebrate. In fact, groups have helped people excel in work place dynamics, school related tasks, as well as family functions. Katie shares some top tips for connecting in group therapy, below, and debunks some myths about getting started with groups.

Katie’s Top Tips:

+Our interpersonal relationships are one of the most powerful predictors of both our mental and physical health.  People are happier and healthier, with lower rates of depression and greater overall happiness when they are connected socially.

+Take advantage of the “social brain!”  We are by nature social creatures and are strongly influenced by what happens around us in our world.  Be mindful of whom you surround yourself with and the choices these people are making as you are likely being swayed by their thoughts and behaviors too.

+Practicing gratitude for the people in your lives, how they have impacted you and why they are important to you can help you feel more connected and accepted socially.  Each day reflect on something you appreciate about your loved ones and what you appreciate about this person.  At the end of the week, find some way to connect face-to-face to express this gratitude and notice how your own mood improves as a result.

I would love to hear what thoughts you have about the ways groups can help you celebrate your life! In fact, I frequently hear from “graduates” of my groups that they have gone on to silence their inner critics and surrounded themselves with people who uplift them so that they can overcome anxious, debilitating thoughts and overwhelming depression and isolation. As a result, they’ve begun to reshape the celebratory lives they have been looking to build! Be sure to share with us your hopes and goals for groups in our social media communities listed below so we can celebrate with you!

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Creature Comfort In Trauma Recovery

Are you a self-proclaimed animal lover? Have you found comfort in the joy and love you share with your pets? You are in great company! It is one of the reasons animal-assisted therapies have had such great results!

Few things comfort us the way animals do. Whether it is from pets we share our lives with or the latest YouTube kitten video, animals have a natural way of bringing us peacefulness and joy much more readily. Well, therapy is no different!

A natural tendency for humans and pets to form a relationship with one another often contributes to quick connections and empathy between a client and therapy animal. Certain animals such as dogs are better suited for interactions with humans because they can more easily feel a deep sense of social connectedness beyond different species. Based on this, we can have meaningful and long lasting attachments with them – and them to us. This advanced social acuity enables them to not only be companionate but to also provide us with social support. Their loving connection allows us to explore things that were difficult for us, whether it’s tough thoughts and emotions or new coping skills we haven’t quite gotten the hang of yet.

Animal-based therapy approaches can help better handle things such as isolation, anxiety, sense of security/safety, depression, and mistrust. Most importantly, people going through a hard time can feel reconnected with themselves and the world through the cute cuddles, love, and fun of interacting with therapy animals. Animals can help provide relief and building of more adaptive coping strategies.

Either way, we benefit from their presence in therapy in a number of ways that extends beyond the session.

In what way has your furry footed loved one enhanced your life? Share with us in our Facebook and Twitter communities!

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