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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Health Services Offers Therapy Groups

The University Health Services Counseling Center at UMass Boston is recruiting members for four new therapy groups. The four groups are: an interpersonal therapy group, a bereavement group, a women’s body image group, and assertiveness training for women.

Brenda Hamady, the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Certified Group Therapist who will coordinate and lead the bereavement and interpersonal therapy groups, stated, “When people contact me because they are interested in a group, they will meet with me so I can get background information on them and screen them. They can see if the group is a good match, or we can refer them to another group or individual counseling, whichever is more appropriate. We need five people to begin each group. Hopefully the groups will begin in late October.”

The bereavement group is “open to anyone who has lost a close loved one,” including those who have lost someone in the recent national tragedy in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. “Although this event is complicated by the loss of a loved one through an unexpected, violent death, the bereavement group would still be a place to work through the grief.”

Hamady explained that group therapy “gives people a place to get support, not only from the group leader, but from each other. It helps them to understand the stages of grief and that everyone grieves in their own way. It can be helpful to come together to share these differences with each other. It helps people to find a way to honor the person’s life that they are grieving without giving up their own life, as well as to make meaning of the loss.”

The goal of the interpersonal therapy group is to help people work on their interpersonal style by focusing on their “weaknesses and strengths” and identifying how they contribute to their problems in their interpersonal relationships. Hamady said, “People are able to tell their stories about what has happened in their relationships and give each other feedback. Often a conflict or influence from their past comes up that impacts their ability to communicate and develop close relationships.” Like the bereavement group, the interpersonal therapy group will give participants an opportunity to witness the “feelings, thoughts, and reactions” in dealing with their similar issues and can provide them with a “sense of connection.”

Dr. Edna Pressler, a clinical psychologist at the Counseling Center, is planning to run the body image and assertiveness training groups again this semester. Pressler stated, “The body image group will teach women how to have better relationships with their bodies, and the assertiveness training group will help them to learn how to speak up for themselves while respecting others.”

These groups are offered annually, open to women only, and are more structured than the bereavement and interpersonal therapy groups. The groups will progress by following a series of exercises, although they will still include discussion and feedback between group members. Hamady commented, “If enough men expressed interest in these issues, we would consider forming another group for them. Also, the interpersonal group deals with a lot of issues, including how these things affect people’s relationships. Help is available on an individual basis as well.”

Hamady concluded, “All of these groups have been successful at UMB in the past. We have gotten a large enough response to run the groups and from the feedback we have received on the groups, people have found them helpful.”