Choose your life

A ONLINE Group for Teens during COVID isolation

Who is the group for?

Teens who are:

  • In Grades 7-12  as of  Fall 2020
  • Struggling with intense emotions like anxiety, worrying, nervousness, and  sadness, either related to the Covid -19 pandemic or pre-existing.
  • Putting time and energy into avoiding anxiety and anxiety-evoking situations and who feel “stuck”

What will you learn in the group?

If you are struggling with anxiety or sadness, you likely put a lot of effort into trying to get rid of your feelings and your thoughts. Most people find this does not work very well.  This group is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a contemporary branch of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that puts the emphasis on how to live with thoughts and feelings that are unwanted or unpleasant, and do what matters, taking them along for the ride.

You will:

  • Have an opportunity to learn about yourself, discovering who you want to be and how to be that person in your daily life.
  • Learn to be more self-aware, noticing when you are hooked by your thoughts and feelings.
  • Learn to unhook from distressing thoughts and feelings so you can live, and live well, with normal human thoughts and feelings – which includes anxiety!

Dates

6 weeks:

Friday April 10, 17, 24, & May 1, 8, 15

12:45 – 1:45 pm

Format

Online, using Zoom

Group of 4-8 teens

Fee

$200, Space is limited

Who is running the group?

The group is being facilitated by two clinicians, Dr. Sheri Turrell and Ms. Mary Bell, MSW, RSW.  Sheri and Mary have over 20 years of experience in mental health and works with both teens and adults. They have been running this group for over 5 years and have conducted research on the outcomes, which have been very positive.

How do I register my teen for the group?

If your teen is interested, please contact us by emailing BOTH of us (drsturrell@rogers.com and mary@marybell.ca) and we will get back to you to arrange a brief online session during which we can meet you, and you can meet us. We can answer any questions you have, and we can check with you to ensure, as best we can, that the group is appropriate for what your teen is experiencing.

What is the cost?

The cost is $200, payable prior to first week. If you are currently undergoing extreme financial hardship, please don’t hesitate to ask about a lower fee.

How do I pay?

Payment will be accepted, in full, by cheque or e-transfer prior to the first week.

What are the participation requirements?

Access to a desktop or laptop computer with camera, microphone and operating system that can run Zoom would be needed. It is important that your teen be able to have complete privacy during sessions.

What is the group schedule?

The group will take place on Fridays 12:45 – 1:45 pm online, using Zoom.

If regular school classes recommence prior to the end of the group, we will reschedule the group, still online, to run Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  Please be sure this alternate time will work for your teen, as well as the original scheduled time

Can I change my mind?

Because the number of participants is limited, we do have a 7 day cancellation policy for a full refund to allow us time to offer a cancelled spot to someone on the waiting list. For cancellations less than 7 days prior to the first session, we will not be able to offer a refund.

Common Questions:

How do I know if my teen should be in individual or group therapy? What are the benefits of group versus individual therapy?

This is a common question and there is no “one size fits all” answer.  We have been running this group for over five years and have collected research data that tells us teens with both intense and mild anxiety have benefited.  Many of our participants have told us that the group experience was very ‘powerful,” and had an enormous impact in helping them to feel that they are not alone and they are not abnormal:  they are a human being who is struggling. This goes a long way to reduce the stigma and shame associated with mental health concerns. Because adolescence is a time of development marked by an emphasis on peer relationships, group therapy also adds a supportive element to the therapy experience. Group therapy enables teens to navigate belonging without sacrificing what makes them unique.  From an economical perspective, group therapy is more cost effective than individual therapy and we are proud and excited to be able to offer this effective treatment at a rate we hope is manageable for most people. 

What if my teen has been isolated or is too anxious to talk to others?

The teens in the group will vary in terms of the intensity of their feelings and their ability to participate in the group-  we know that for some members, just showing up will be an enormous step that requires courage and determination. The group experience can be particularly impactful for teens who have become socially isolated, giving them a safe space in which to start to re-engage with others. We do ask that everyone  participate to some degree – if your teen can say their name and what grade they are in, that’s enough for the first week!  Recognizing that many teens will find being with others anxiety provoking, we ask that participants share only what they are willing to share, and no more. There is no pressure to disclose your most intimate life story to the group. The group facilitators are very experienced in working with teens in a group format. Sheri and Mary are skilled in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is supportive and inclusive, so your teen can learn to manage intense emotions. 

When you come for your Introductory Session, please don’t hesitate to ask to read our “Group Feedback” book, which contains notes to potential future group members, from past group members, some of whom also felt very nervous and unsure!

 

Are there teens for whom the group is not helpful?

We want every teen who takes part in the group to benefit as much as possible. Because of the intimate nature of the group experience, we do our best to offer the group to teens we believe will work well together and who will contribute to a safe environment. For this reason, the group setting is not suitable for teens who are unable to control their anger or are prone to aggressive behavior. Additionally, we are not able to offer the group to teens who have: a head injury or concussion with current symptoms that might interfere in a  group setting (i.e., intense sensitivity to light or noise or an inability to focus), a diagnosis of, or possibility of, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD that is not adequately managed, active psychosis or bipolar disorder. If your teen does not struggle with the concerns just listed, and experiences anxiety or sadness that gets in their way, or makes life more difficult than it has to be, this group is for them!

If your teen is struggling with any of these concerns, please see my website for additional resources here.

What happens if my teen misses a group session?

Due to the nature of group therapy, both in terms of content and the emphasis on developing trust and safety amongst the teens, we ask you to register ONLY if you can predict attending each and every week.  If you have to miss a session, we will try to arrange a “makeup” session for you to cover the content prior to the next session.