Group Therapy 2018-03-15T11:47:47+00:00

Group Therapy

The Ross Center offers a variety of therapy groups throughout the year in our Washington, DC office.  Group therapy is a valuable opportunity to participate in a structured, supportive, weekly program led by a licensed therapist. Principals of cognitive behavior therapy are used to help participants develop useful skills to successfully manage anxiety. You do not need to be working with an individual Ross Center clinician to participate in a group.  For more information, please call 202-363-1010.

Social Anxiety Groups 

Social anxiety groups are offered for high-schoolers, college students, and adults, using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to teach evidenced-based strategies for overcoming social anxiety in a supportive, non-threatening environment.

Participants can expect to:

  • Face challenging social situations with a new mindset
  • Identify and challenge negative thought patterns
  • Learn mindfulness techniques
  • Develop assertiveness skills
  • Practice social skills in real-life situations with others

Social Anxiety Group for High Schoolers 

Thursdays, 7-8:15pm
April 12–May 31
8-weekly sessions for teens, 4 concurrent sessions for parents every other week

Led by Hannah Meister, PsyD and Abigail Romirowsky, PhD

FREE PARENT/TEEN INFO SESSION: Thursday, March 15, 7-8:15pm

Click here to register for the free info night

Click here for group flyer

Social Anxiety Group for College Students 

Tuesdays, 7-8:15pm
April 10–June 12

Led by Kathy HoganBruen, PhD

Click here for group flyer

Social Anxiety Group for Adults 

Fridays, 11am–12:15pm
April 13–June 15

Led by Kathy HoganBruen, PhD

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College Readiness Group

Thursdays, 3:30–4:45pm
April 12–May 31

A cognitive-behavioral therapy group for teens who have struggled with anxiety and are heading off to college. Learn tools to navigate anxiety-producing social and academic situations. Gain the skills and confidence needed for a successful transition to college.

Led by Kathy HoganBruen, PhD

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Fear of Flying Group

Wednesdays, April 11–25 and May 9, 3-5pm
Saturday May 5, 9am–5pm: Round-trip local flight

Overcome your fear of flying in a small group setting. Learn cognitive behavioral therapy tools, including mindfulness and acceptance strategies, to manage severe anxiety and panic that gets in the way of flying. Identify fears and focus on personal values to set specific travel goals. Take a local round-trip flight as a group, putting your new skills into action on a commercial airline.

Led by Kathy HoganBruen, PhD

Click here for group flyer


Do I need to be a patient at the Ross Center to participate in a group? 2018-02-19T13:40:53+00:00

No, all RC groups are open to everyone. However, outside patients will need to complete a group intake to assess if they are an appropriate fit for the group. (Current RC patients can talk to their provider to see if the RC groups are a good fit).

Is it ok if I also have another diagnosis? 2018-02-19T13:41:15+00:00

Most people in RC groups have other diagnoses in addition to the one the group is intended to address. For instance, someone with social anxiety disorder may also experience depression or ADHD. The initial intake will help sort out if other mental health concerns might interfere with group treatment. All groups at the RC are structured and focused on clear goals. Most participants also have an individual therapist to address other issues that might arise (although this is not necessarily a requirement).

Will this group be sufficient to “cure” my anxiety? 2018-02-19T13:48:48+00:00

That depends on the severity of anxiety, and the level of interference it’s causing in daily living, as well as how motivated you are to change, how engaged your are in the group, and most importantly, how much homework you do between group meetings. With fear of flying, taking just one flight—with a new “lens”, fresh information, mindfulness tools, and a willingness to accept discomfort—will be sufficient to continue flying. With social anxiety, group typically serves as a “jumping off point”, increasing social skills and social engagement.

Can I come just for a few sessions or join late? 2018-02-19T13:49:08+00:00

No. All group members must commit to the full length of the group, and pay in full for the entire group course. If someone knows in advance they’ll have to miss more than one session, they will be asked to defer to a future group rather than sign up now. This is so that all individuals get the full benefit of the group, and that group cohesion is formed among all participants. Participants are signing up to work on their anxiety with other people—if those people aren’t there, the group fails!

What sort of expertise do the group leaders have? 2018-02-19T13:49:25+00:00

RC group leaders are typically licensed clinical psychologists with extensive experience working one-on-one and in group settings using cognitive behavioral therapy to address anxiety disorders. They are considered experts in their field and employ evidenced-based strategies supported by social science research.

Is it ok if I’m taking—or not taking—medication? 2018-02-19T13:49:48+00:00

Approximately half of patients seeking group therapy are taking medication. That is an individual choice left up to you and your provider. For some, being on medication may reduce anxiety enough to be able to show up and participate in group. For others, gradually tapering off medication may make sense in order to feel anxious and learn how to tolerate the anxiety while doing exposure work.

What skills can I hope to learn? 2018-02-19T13:50:34+00:00

Here are some of the core skills you’ll work on in group:

  • Mindfulness—how to stay present in the moment on purpose without judgment
  • Identifying, challenging, and replacing negative automatic thoughts
  • Thought watching—noticing thoughts without engaging them
  • Appropriate assertiveness—asking for what you need in a respectful but firm manner
  • Relaxation—how to calm your nervous system
  • Social skills—appropriate ways to engage socially with others
What are “behavioral exposures”? 2018-02-19T13:50:51+00:00

Behavior is DOING. To reduce anxiety, exposing yourself to the very thing you fear, i.e. doing what you’re scared to do, is essential. Like a slingshot, you need to pull back (feel more anxious) to propel forward (feel less anxious). This might mean flying on a plane if you fear flying, or it might mean talking to a stranger if you have social anxiety.

Will I be forced to do behavioral exposures? 2018-02-19T13:51:08+00:00

No one is ever forced to do anything in group! How much and when you do things is up to you—although you will be guided and encouraged. Exposure work is a core feature of the RC groups, but much of it is done as homework on your own timetable. If you feel anxious about exposures, that’s to be expected! If you didn’t feel anxious, this would be the wrong group for you. We take small steps to get started, and always ask, “Would you be willing to try…?”. The more you’re willing, the more progress you make in addressing your anxiety.

Will there be homework? 2018-02-19T13:51:27+00:00

YES! Most RC groups include a workbook with the expectation that participants will read a chapter per week and complete short worksheets, as well as anxiety and behavioral logs. As the groups progress, the homework shifts to designing your own behavioral exposures (with the help of the group leader) to do between group sessions. “The more you put in, the more you get out.”

Will I be able to talk to group members outside of group? 2018-02-19T13:51:43+00:00

Yes! Unlike traditional therapy groups where members are instructed not to communicate with one another, in the RC groups, members are encouraged to interact outside of group to practice exposures (eg, with social anxiety, how to initiate and plan a social outing; with fear of flying, taking a field trip to a local airport). During the initial group session, parameters for interaction will be discussed with an emphasis on confidentiality.

What if I have a problem to address in the group that no one else shares? 2018-02-19T13:52:05+00:00

The benefit of small groups (5-8 people, usually closer to 5) is that there is room to address everyone’s concerns. But more often than not, someone else in group shares the same concern. While not “support groups,” the RC groups foster a very supportive atmosphere where group members work to help one another by drawing on their own personal experience to share with others.

Will insurance pay for group therapy? 2018-02-19T14:49:24+00:00

While we don’t accept insurance at the RC, we will provide you with a receipt after each session with codes that insurance companies recognize. You would be responsible for submitting those receipts for reimbursement. While every plan is different, some reimburse group therapy generously—we encourage you to call your company to inquire.

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The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders

Serving patients in Washington, D.C., New York City and surrounding areas, The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, LLC, is a comprehensive, outpatient facility that provides state-of-the-art treatment for anxiety disorders and related psychological problems.
Reach out to us today for a consultation.
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