Department of Psychiatry

Group Therapy

Mission of Service

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The mission of the Group Therapy Service reflects the same three-fold mission of the Strong Behavioral Health. It seeks to provide:

  1. A high-quality comprehensive group treatment program that addresses the needs of individuals with emotional problems and/or mental illness
  2. Education in group therapy to students and trainees in medicine, nursing, psychology, and social work
  3. Ongoing research that servers as a guide for treatment, monitors effectiveness, and allows for discovery and dissemination of new information about group methods.

Target Population

Patients with DSM–IV diagnoses.

Description of Service Providers

The Group Therapy Service is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers representing, social work, mental health nursing, psychology and psychiatry. We are committed to standards for clinical excellence and competence by ensuring all our group therapists meet qualifications of the National Registry of Certified Group Therapists or are supervised by a Certified Group Therapist (CGP). These qualifications include specific group psychotherapy education, clinical experience, and supervision.

Types of Services Provided

Group therapy is a treatment where patients meet together with the assistance of a professionally trained therapist, to help themselves and one another. Over the last few years advances in health care delivery have resulted in revolutionary change within the mental health field. The very nature of psychotherapy has undergone enormous revisions, marked by briefer treatments, new pharmacologic interventions, and increased utilization of group treatment methods.

The selection of members for group psychotherapy involves a consideration of the following:

  1. Inclusion criteria
  2. Exclusion criteria
  3. Type of group
  4. Group composition
  5. Patient goals

Inclusion and exclusion criteria provide general guidelines for referring patients to group. A more detailed assessment of the patient’s ego functioning, goals and match for a particular group are important dimensions to be considered in assigning a patient to a group.

To refer a patient to group, the process is simple. A completed group referral form is forwarded it to the Director of Group Therapy Services. Upon receipt of the referral, the patient and referring professional will receive a letter noting the group the patient was referred to, the group therapist’s name and phone number, and instructions regarding scheduling. If it is unclear as to which group is best suited to the patient’s needs, a group screening interview will be scheduled to assist in making the appropriate match.

We offer many different types of group treatments, including psychoeducational approaches, social skills training, relapse prevention, crisis intervention, cognitive/behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and process oriented, interpersonal approaches.

Special Features of Service

Strong Behavioral Health, Group Therapy Services is keeping abreast of best practices in group treatments, upgrading our technical capabilities, and creating systems that allow us to provide seamless care delivery. We believe each time our programming improves, so does patient satisfaction. For many patients, group psychotherapy is a cost-effective way to provide psychotherapeutic treatment.

Groups are effective in treating symptom clusters, such as anxiety, sexual abuse, and depression, as well as symptoms embedded in interpersonal difficulties. To be successful, psychotherapy groups need to have appropriate membership and clear goals that match the patient’s treatment needs. We have developed this series of core groups that are offered on a predictable, ongoing basis.

Process oriented interpersonal groups are available to address the more entrenched difficulties some patients experience. Therapists in these groups utilize an understanding of the patient’s emotional conflict, as well as relational interactions occurring in the group to help members change long-standing patterns that undermine their lives and create symptoms.

One of the most important developments in group work is the use of time-limited interventions. Groups of varying duration are available according to the patient’s treatment need. For example, some patients may be more receptive to time-limited groups with themes that match their presenting problem. After completing the time-limited group, they can repeat a group if necessary, or join an open-ended group, if appropriate. Time-limited approaches are provided by psychodynamically informed group therapists, as well as those trained in the use of cognitive and behavioral techniques and DBT.

As our understanding of human behavior has grown and group treatment methods have been proven highly effective, group therapy is increasingly thought to be the treatment of choice for many disorders. This is because emotional crises and psychiatric symptoms are in some way related to factors in the patient’s interpersonal world. Group therapy is based on the idea that many of the difficulties and symptoms people experience can be understood and resolved within the context of a group experience.


Key leadership names: Sherrie Smith, CSW-R, CGP, FAGPA
Director, Group Therapy Services
Contact Information: Susan Martin, Assistant
(585) 275-8575

Location of Service: Strong Behavioral Health
300 Crittenden Blvd.
Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Fridays 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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