Support & Therapy Groups

Support & Therapy Groups

The Women’s Center offers two types of groups: support and therapy. Currently, all of our groups, with the exception of the Break the Cycle of Violence group, are therapy groups. 
Therapy Groups
The goal of a therapy group is to aid individuals in processing various experiences or symptoms, allowing them to learn alternative ways of coping, relating, or being. The content of therapy group sessions often leaves members feeling vulnerable, just as in individual counseling sessions. In order to ensure that the therapeutic environment of the group remains safe and confined, members in therapy groups are discouraged from outside communication while they are active participants in the group. This therapeutic boundary allows members to feel safe in the group setting and confident that what is expressed in the group remains the in group. In this type of group, the leader takes an active role in the group’s process, providing psychoeducation when necessary and utilizing therapeutic interventions to facilitate therapeutic progress.
Support Groups
In contrast, the goal of a support group is to provide individuals with a setting in which they are united with others who share certain life experiences. In this type of group, outside socialization is encouraged to allow members to create a network of support. In these groups, the leader serves as a guide to encourage interactions between members.

Click on each box to the right to view more information about each group.

How to Join

An initial phone call with our support & therapy groups coordinator is the first step towards receiving appropriate treatment.

Below is a list of all groups led by The Women’s Center therapists – not all groups are active all the time. All groups meet at our Vienna, VA offices, unless otherwise noted. 

Initial Consultation with the Group Leader: $55

Group Participation Fee: $130/month

Please call Support & Therapy Groups Manager Lauren McDonough, at 703-281-2657, ext. 236 (dial # before the extension), to set up a consultation to join one of our groups. She is also reachable by email at (please do not share confidential information via email). Reduced fee and sliding fee scale options available, based on financial need.

The anxiety and depression group will be a space for individuals who have had some experience in counseling and are looking for additional support within a group setting. The group leader will use techniques from psychodynamic theories, mindfulness approaches, and Rogerian methods to assist the members within the group. The psychoeducation of these therapeutic techniques will be discussed in the initial sessions and will be implemented as necessary throughout the time-limited group. The anxiety and depression group will mainly be a process group which encourages individuals to open up about their current challenges, contemplations, and emotions about living with anxiety and depression. The group will also explore some self-care practices and additional resources to reinforce the coping skills that will be discussed within the group.

A group of women creates a supportive environment to address existential, generalized, and social, anxieties sometimes rooted in
difficult childhoods midmorning Fridays. The group leader facilitates orientation; psychoeducation; ventilation of external
stressors; exploration of identity and life purpose issues; stress management skills acquisition; and restructuring of thinking about
challenging circumstances, core beliefs, anxieties, and their triggers. Group members rehearse social skills. They role-play new behaviors and practice gradual exposure to feared activities freeing themselves to live more fully. With skills training, group members self-monitor, self-regulate, and debrief each other’s change efforts. This small group benefits women in individual therapy, who attend regularly for a minimum of nine months.

This anxiety group will serve as space for both psychoeducation and processing. It will begin with the therapist providing psychoeducation to members about anxiety to help them identify current coping strategies and triggers. Members will learn practices of mindfulness, Acceptance-Commitment Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as they relate to coping with anxiety. After the foundation for understanding these therapies is formed, members will begin to apply this information to their daily lives outside of group. Once members have mastered the above concepts, the therapist will begin to shift the group towards a processing focus. This will allow group members to discuss their personal experiences with anxiety in the real world. The supportive dynamic of the group lends itself to providing a safe space where members are free to express their concerns, while also connecting with others with similar experiences. By supporting others, group members will learn to trust themselves and apply their learned skills outside of the group setting.

In this group women will work together to eliminate the core symptoms of depression and support each other as they establish joyful lives. Participants will learn about depression, set personal goals, and then work to achieve those goals.

The goals will relate to establishing a regular sleep pattern, engaging in pleasurable and achievement oriented activities, regulating mood, altering negative self-talk and depression-generating beliefs, and controlling obsessive and/or perfectionist thinking. They will select and examine events in their lives to set behavior change goals that they will work toward at their own pace in order to produce desired outcomes.

The overall aim is to function in all dimensions of life with a sense of contentment, while embracing the ups and downs of living.

Focuses on formulating and implementing personal strategies for dealing with the emotional and situational changes of this life experience.

Explores long-lasting scars that affect people’s feelings about themselves and others. Offers space to understand the common feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, inability to trust, humiliation, shame and isolation.

Offers a safe environment for women who have experienced sexual abuse. Focuses on unresolved feelings, and long-term effects of abuse and developing self-esteem. Individual therapy is a prerequisite.

Throughout its 43 years, the Center has helped thousands of victims of domestic violence reclaim their lives through the Break the Cycle of Domestic Violence Program (Break the Cycle).  This program provides critical components in the continuum of care for victims that help them find physical safety, economic stability, and improved mental health. Specific services include: crisis intervention; court accompaniment; trauma-informed, evidence-based mental health counseling; information about accessing and navigating the criminal, civil, housing, legal, medical, mental health and other service systems; safety planning; referrals to community resources; education about the dynamics of domestic violence and its cyclical nature; long-term care management; financial education and counseling; career mentoring and individual coaching; and, social-connection support groups that foster empowerment and development of trusted connections. In addition, the program provides education to victims and the community and support to the clinicians working with victims of domestic violence through training, peer and supervisory support. 

The support group meets twice a month. Please contact Amanda Millir, Break The Cycle Program Coordinator for more information. 

Do you wish you could connect with other women in your community? Do you wish you could share with others who understand what you are experiencing? The Women’s Center invites you to join our free Support Group for Women Over 55. In this group, you can share experiences, connect with others, access resources, and learn together. The support group will meet on the 2nd & 4th Tuesday, from January through April starting 1/8/19. Contact Lara Hammock, to register.

The postpartum group welcomes moms and babies from pregnancy through the first year of life.  It offers a safe space for new mothers experiencing depression or anxiety to discuss their concerns and receive support and encouragement.  This is a therapy group, and the focus of the sessions will be determined by the needs of the members. Group size will be kept small to make sure that each member has time to participate and to be heard.  Keeping the group smaller than most postpartum support groups also helps to build a sense of group cohesion and to maintain the confidentiality of the members.