YOU MAY BE WONDERING...

WHAT IS GROUP THERAPY?

Group therapy involves meeting regularly with a small group of people and professionally trained group therapist(s) in a supportive and confidential setting. Group therapy has evidence of effectiveness for many conditions. Groups provide an opportunity to share and understand your own experiences and learn from other group members.


You control how much information you share within the group but the more you participate the more you will get out of the group. Feedback and support are some of the many benefits of group therapy.


Groups typically meet weekly but some groups may meet more or less frequently. Group therapy sessions range in duration from 1 hour 15 min to 3 hours. Closed groups involved a set list of participants for the duration of the group session. Open groups allow the addition of new group members at different time points over the group sessions. Groups commonly have 12 participants and run over 8 to 16 sessions but these factors are variable depending on the modality.


The structure and format of the group varies depending on the type of group therapy and may include teaching/education, group support, specific strategies, or exercises. Homework is a feature of some groups. Group members are encouraged and/or expected to practice new skills within and beyond the group setting, depending on the group modality. Other groups are relational in nature and less structured with a focus on understanding interpersonal patterns and improving relationships. Group interactions often parallel interactions in other aspects of life (such as families, school, work) and provide an opportunity to try out new ways of engaging with others.

Group therapy can be combined with individual therapy, family or couple therapy or medications.

Please see the group descriptions regarding the specific nature of the groups being offered at this time.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND VIRTUAL GROUP FORMAT

All groups are currently running via telemedicine both due to the pandemic and ability to offer care to patients living more remotely. Either Zoom or OTN is used. For Zoom, the same link will be used every week. Please log on promptly to ensure audio and video is working. Video needs to be on for confidentiality and group connection.

There are inherent privacy and security risks with virtual care that will be discussed at your group suitability assessment and/or first group session. You also need to take steps to improve confidentiality such as a private setting and headphones. Using a desktop or laptop works best.

It is important that the group therapists are aware if you are attending the group from a place other than your home address, so we know the location of participants in case of medical emergencies. For OHIP covered groups, please be aware that OHIP does not cover your attendance at group if you are not in the province of Ontario.


As with in person care, information shared in the group is confidential. Personal health information will only be released with your consent except under specific circumstances, for example:

- within the circle of care with your referring physician, family physician and psychiatrist

- there are concerns about your safety or the safety of others (including children)

- having a medical condition that may make it dangerous to drive

- a court subpoenas your records


Confidentiality is expected of group members, regarding each group member’s “story” and any personal health information that identifies a group member or connects them to the group. This is necessary for group participants to feel safe and for trust within the group.

REFERRAL PROCESS

A referral from your family physician or psychiatrist is required for all OHIP covered groups. You must have a valid OHIP card and be physically within the province of Ontario during the group sessions.

You will be assessed for group therapy suitability first before enrolling in a group. There may be a waiting list. Treatment available is confined to short term time limited group therapy and you will be discharged upon group completion. If the modalities available are not the right fit for you, we can suggest other outside resources that you can discuss further with your doctor.

You are required to have an individual physician (family doctor or psychiatrist) who can provide necessary medical or psychiatric monitoring during the time frame of your enrollment in the group therapy. You will need to provide us with their contact information for communication when necessary. For urgent issues, patients must see their individual physician, use crisis services or attend their local emergency department. Group therapists will NOT be available for ongoing or long-term follow-up for individual therapy.

ATTENDANCE AND CANCELLATION

Each group session builds on the prior sessions. Make a commitment to the group; being prompt and reliable will ensure you and the other group members get the most out of the group therapy process. Please do not leave a group early without informing the group therapist.

Make sure to contact your group leader if you will be absent. A fee will be charged for missed group therapy sessions without extenuating circumstances. Please contact the group leader if you are having personal or family issues that make it difficult to attend group. You are encouraged to return the group the following week, even if you have missed a session. If you miss multiple group sessions, your participation in the group will be reassessed by the group therapist.

Two full business days are required to cancel or change the OHIP covered initial assessment for group suitability otherwise you will be billed directly for the session.