Group therapy is a unique way to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our interactions with other people, in a safe, supportive environment. Groups for older adults are meant to provide a safe emotionally and collaborative setting where older adults can help and support one other as everyone works towards their unique goals. The issues that are shared in group sessions, and the communication and collaboration skills practiced can be applied in their personal lives in practical and effective ways.
- Vitality in Aging® Groups: Healthy aging is not taught to us in school and is a subject that is largely ignored throughout our lives. This group is interactive and educates group members on nutrition, exercise, meditation and mindfulness techniques, stress management, physical and psychological wellbeing, etc.
- Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Groups: These groups run typically twice a week. The aim is to actively stimulate and engage people with cognitive impairment, especially individuals with dementia, while providing an optimal learning environment and the social benefits of the group. The effects of CST appear to be of a comparable size to those reported with the currently available anti-dementia drugs.
- Grief & Loss Groups: Losses, but also major life transitions, can bring about feelings of emotional instability and fear. This group focuses on allowing for these feelings to be openly shared in a supportive environment with peer and professional support. Sharing our losses and feelings in a respectful, compassionate setting allows older adults to connect and develop meaningful relationships through the grieving process.
- Music and Art Therapy Groups: Music and Art Therapy offer a unique opportunity to stimulate memories, connect with our creativity and express our emotions. Activating these parts of the brain is particularly important as we grow older. Music and Art therapy can also become an easier medium to express challenging feelings, especially when going through a transition period, or grieving a loss. We encourage participation in the process, not the final product.
- Stress Management & Relaxation Groups: These groups are focused on teaching the members specific techniques to practice relaxation and reduce stress. Various techniques are practiced such as mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, breathing exercises.
- Empowerment Groups: Personal empowerment and efficacy can be important in maintaining dignity and healthy, connected relationships. The empowerment group assists seniors in finding their own personal strengths, positivity and motivation via group exercises, participation, and psychoeducation.
- Peer Support Groups: Peer support groups are run by non-professionals for non-professionals. EBWS trains individuals to hold their own peer support groups without a therapist present to facilitate group discussion. These groups promote a sense of empowerment and connectedness, as well as group cohesiveness!
- Process Groups: Process groups allow group members to experience emotional support, understanding, and encouragement from one another. Group members are committed to attend for a period of 8 weeks at a time. Members develop a sense of responsibility towards one another as participation impacts one another. Thus “showing up” consistently for themselves and each other gives special meaning to members’ lives, and becomes therapeutic within itself.