A new counselling group in Lynn Valley hopes to support women and combat isolation.
Registered clinical counsellor Marion Gargiulo is hoping to launch a new group Thursday evenings at Mollie Nye House. Group therapy can be both more affordable than one-on-one therapy and can be less intimidating for people new to the process, said Gargiulo.
“One of the worst things for mental health is feeling alone,” she said. “When people are struggling, what is holding them back is the idea that they are in this alone – they aren’t. Depending on what resources they have, they may never reach out for support.”
The program is inspired by a client who requested Gargiulo start a women’s group after seeing their spouse succeed with a local men’s group.
“For some people, it is a more affordable way of having some support. A group replicates relationships that play out in larger life. The idea is that people come together and share – at their own pace.”
Group sessions sometimes have a greater impact than an individual session, said Gargiulo.
“Feedback from other participants might be paid more attention to because they are experiencing the person as another person, not as a therapist,” adding a group’s diversity can support that goal. “I would like a variety of ages, so there are people in different stages of life with their own wisdom to offer support. For instance, if there is a person in their early 30s struggling with their mom, there might be a person in the group who is a mom and can offer insight as to what the mom might be experiencing in the relationship with their daughter.”
Group therapy 101
For those that are new to group therapy, it works based on the trust of the other members.
“There will be some rules to help everyone feel safe,” she said. “The group will be confidential. I think we will have the rule, don’t meet outside of the group because that leads to one relationship evolving at a faster pace then the rest of the group and that can have an impact. You don’t disclose names to other people. What is said in group, stays in group. People need to come with the mindset that they will disclose and offer feedback with guidance.”
A therapy group can be a salve for people who don’t have well-rounded support in their day-to-day life.
“It reduces that feeling that people are alone. People realize the problems they are carrying are not unique to them alone. Information can be shared by other group members – different ideas,” said Gargiulo. “It also feels good to be in a group – not feeling alone – having a community. The purpose is to open up and share things you might not be able to so readily in day-to-day life.”
The whole idea is to support each other through connection.
“My own tendency is to withdraw, when what I need to do is connect with someone – not everyone but the right person.”
If there is enough interest in the group, Gargiulo will run it every second Thursday from Sept. 17 – Nov. 24 from 6:30-8:15pm at Mollie Nye House. There will be six sessions with each session costing $110. Many extended benefits cover group therapy, Gargiulo suggests checking your coverage. For more information or to register contact Gargiulo at 604-283-5755.