Hi, I’m Valda.
I help people of all ages and walks of life create healthier, happier relationships.
I guide them on how to navigate difficult times in their lives together, especially when anger or fears are high, and hope low.
I help people who long for better, deeper, more authentic relationships, but hold back because they worry about making themselves too vulnerable.
I teach skills and principles that help people communicate and solve problems better, while at the same time developing the flexibility and resilience to handle whatever life throws at them.
Whether you’re dealing with a personal or a relationship difficulty, group therapy can help.
Group therapy increases your awareness of self and others, as well as your capacity to work productively to resolve your personal or relationship difficulties.
Good group therapy, with a therapist and group who are good matches for you, not only can be an enriching and rewarding experience, it can also be highly enjoyable.
What Kinds Of Therapy Groups Do You Offer?
I offer two kinds of groups:
- Group therapy for individuals (members join as individuals)
- Group therapy for couples (members join as couples) – not currently available
What Are The Aims And Benefits Of Group Therapy?
The main purpose of a therapy group is the personal development of its members, although the establishment of a strong support network is often a bonus.
These are some of the special benefits that group therapy can offer:
- The realization that you’re not alone
- New perspectives to help you deal with your problems
- Encouragement to help you move forward in your life
- Sharpening of your social and relationship skills
- Fast tracking of your learning about yourself
- Mutual support, inspiration, and hope
Group therapy may not make you feel immediately better, or give you perfect or definite solutions to problems, but working through issues in a group situation can be more powerful than dealing with your struggles by yourself, or with an individual or couples therapist.
And because group work can be so powerful, it’s very, very important to choose your group therapist well.
Only work with therapists that you feel comfortable with and can trust, but also make sure they’re experienced in dealing with group dynamics and group processes.
Who Is Group Therapy For?
- Group therapy can be particularly helpful if the issues you’re dealing with are of an interpersonal nature. Or if you tend to isolate yourself when things get tough.
- It’s also suitable for people who are not ready for the intimacy of individual therapy or, on the other hand, people who are likely to become overly dependent, or too comfortable, in an exclusive one-on-one therapy situation.
- Another suitable scenario might be when you’ve already tried (or are still trying) individual or couples therapy, but feel progress has been slow or inconsistent. Sometimes changing approaches, or adding group therapy to the mix, may get things ‘unstuck’ and moving again.
- Group therapy can also be a good option to consider when you simply can’t afford intensive individual therapy at a time you feel the need for ongoing or long-term emotional support.
And Who Group Therapy Is NOT for?
Group therapy may not be a good option for you if you’re in the middle of an acute crisis, as your needs may be too great to be appropriately attended to in a group situation.
Picking the right timing can be as important as picking the right group or the right therapist. If you’re not ready to join a group, you could start with individual therapy first.
If you’re not sure whether you’re ready or not, a good group therapist will help you find out.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
- The groups are small (usually between 8-10 individual members, or 4-5 couples).
- Once established, the groups are closed and membership is expected to remain stable. There will be specific guidelines to farewell or introduce new members, if necessary.
- The groups are ongoing or long term (membership commitment may be for a term at a time or up to a whole year, depending on the group).
- Members are carefully selected to make sure they are suited to group therapy in general, and to a specific group in particular.
- Partners, family members, or close friends cannot join the same group (except the two members of a couple, in a group for couples – in this case, both partners must agree to attend the same group).
- All members are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, whereby they agree not to disclose or discuss personal information about other members outside the group or the group setting.
- Group members are expected to participate as best as they can during sessions, mainly by self-disclosing, providing thoughtful and honest feedback, and remaining open and willing to work through individual and group processes.
- Group therapy is a collaborative process between each participant with each other, and between all participants (as group and individuals) and their therapist.
- As such, group therapy works best when members not only participate actively during sessions, but also proactively between sessions (by reflecting about previous sessions and mentally ‘preparing’ for future ones).
How Are Groups Formed? And How to Join One?
Members for each group are selected carefully to make sure they are suited to group therapy in general, and to a specific group, or kind of group, in particular.
Because of this, at times you may need to wait for several weeks or even months until a suitable place, or the right group for you, becomes available.
The selection process for new members involves 5 steps:
1. Expression of interest
Anyone interested in joining a group should complete an expression of interest form.
Your details will be kept on a waiting list and as soon as a new group (or a place in an existing group) becomes available, you’ll be advised.
2. Group Information and Questionnaire
If you decide to proceed, you’ll be sent more detailed information about the group, as well as a questionnaire to complete and return, in preparation for the next step.
Within 1-2 weeks from us receiving your completed questionnaire, you’ll be contacted and offered a phone interview.
3. Phone Interview (free)
During this brief phone conversation (15-20’), we’ll review the group information and your questionnaire, and I’ll answer any questions you may have.
At the end, if appropriate, I’ll ask you if you’d like to proceed to the next step. If so, we’ll arrange a face-to-face interview.
If I find you’re not suitable, we may discuss alternative therapy options for you.
4. Face-to-face interview (charged at standard consultation rates)
Here, we’ll discuss or clarify any information or concerns you may still have. We’ll talk about the group process, what to expect, and how to best participate as a member. I may give you additional information about the new group or place.
At the end of the interview, if appropriate, I’ll ask you if you’d like to proceed. If so, you’ll be offered a place into a suitable group.
If I find you’re not suitable, we may discuss alternative therapy options for you.
5. Group contract and payment
Following verbal acceptance, to secure your place in the group, you’ll be asked to sign a group membership contract and make an advance payment.
The length of your initial membership commitment will depend on the group you join, usually varying from a term (8-10 weeks) to a whole year.
How To Know If Group Therapy Is Right For You Now
Read the statements below and notice the ones that apply to you. If applicable and possible, have your partner do the same.
- I sometimes struggle with relationship or interpersonal issues
- I like the idea of sharing and connecting with others, even if I struggle with it sometimes
- I’m willing to try and take emotional risks in a safe group environment
- I’m able to self-disclose and provide thoughtful, honest feedback – or I’m willing to learn
- I’m committed to my personal development and/or to key relationships in my life
- I’m willing to explore my life situation, including how I may be contributing to my own distress
- I value self-reflection and exploration and am prepared to invest energy, time and money into this process
If the above statements ring true to you, you’re probably suited to the type of group therapy I offer.
If you cannot relate to them at all, group therapy with me is not likely to work for you.
If you’re in a committed relationship and find that you and your partner are both keen and ready now for group therapy, you could consider joining a group therapy for couples.
What do you think?
Does the idea of a group fill you with excitement and possibilities?
Do you feel ready for the challenge and opportunity to grow and connect?
How To Get Started
If you think you’ve found what you’re looking for, or group therapy is something you’d like to try, please get in touch to express your interest.
I’ll then send you a form to complete and return, and let you know when a suitable group becomes available.