You are on page 1of 28

Running head: YOGAPATHIC GROUP TREATMENT FOR WOMEN

A Yogapathic Group Therapy for Women

Whitney Bryant, Rebecca-Anne Edelman and Allison O’Toole

CNS 742 EG - June 2016

Wake Forest University


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 2

Table of Contents

Introduction/Rationale .................................................................................................................3

Yoga and mindfulness in the group setting ..................................................................................3

Women as a target group ..............................................................................................................4

Yoga and mindfulness in groups of women .................................................................................5

Group treatment proposal .............................................................................................................7

Group objectives ...........................................................................................................................7

Group therapy sessions .................................................................................................................8

Session one: Introduction .............................................................................................................8

Session two: Self-esteem building ..............................................................................................9

Session three: Thought, power and self-expression ..................................................................11

Session four: Coping skills .........................................................................................................13

Session five: Self-care ...............................................................................................................14

Session six: Conflict resolution .................................................................................................16

Resources for group leaders .......................................................................................................18

Resources for group members ...................................................................................................19

Conclusion/Issues in application ................................................................................................20

Informed consent document (example) .....................................................................................21

Outcome evaluation questionnaire (example) ...........................................................................22

References .....................................................................................................................................23
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 3

A yogapathic group therapy for women

The group movement developed out of the counseling movement, and interest in group

treatments has been increasing since the beginning of the 20th century (Gladding, 2016, pg 381).

Women-only groups have been gaining popularity since the 1970s, and research has already

identified some issues that women deal with better in a women-only environment (pg 290). The

use of yoga and mindfulness techniques in therapy is also increasing popularity, and results of its

benefits on the mind and body are developing rapidly. This paper will provide a rationale for the

development of a yogapathic group therapy designed for women, as well as a proposal for the

structure and design of that treatment.

Rationale

Yoga and mindfulness in the group setting

Barton (2011) describes the Movement and Mindfulness program, which is a body-based

group therapy technique designed for outpatient social rehabilitation facilities. According to the

article, yoga, dance and mindfulness therapies are complimentary in practice, and are grounded

in eastern philosophical and spiritual concepts (pg 159). The curriculum is dynamic, and evolves

as the members go through it, but in its beginning stages it focuses on “core strength, balance,

tension-release, and pairing breath with movement” (pg 167).

Barton (2011) focused on the qualitative reactions of the members to the program, and

the recorded responses from the members were extremely positive. Participants reported an

increased ability to manage personal stress, decrease anxiety and improve relaxation.

Participants showed an increased understanding of themselves, and a heightened awareness of

the thoughts and feelings of others. Barton identifies the following elements as important in the

success of the program: (a) emphasis on communication, group support, trust, and safety, (b)
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 4

facilitating group confidence, (c) the importance of keeping the group active, (d) modifications,

or keeping the group invested in the therapeutic process and (e) follow up services (pp 176-177).

This article shows that people who enter mindfulness based therapy groups not only have

positive outcomes, but feel good about the process as well.

Women as a target group

Modern research on group treatments for women is beginning to specialize and search for

subgroups that require individual attention. One of these sub groups identified by Gladding

(2016) is relationship groups (pg 291). Gore-Felton and Spiegel (1999) describes a support

group designed for women with breast cancer. This study utilized Supportive-Expressive

Therapy in a group environment to provide these patients with social support, and to increase

coping responses and emotional regulation (pg 284). Gore-Felton and Spiegel (1999) found that

their group treatment “reduced anxiety related to death and dying, strengthened interpersonal

relationships and improved quality of life” (pg 274). These patients experienced less pain

compared to controls, and survived much longer than controls.

Another sub group identified by Gladding (2016) is rape/violence survivors groups (pg

290). A study by Lubin, Loris, Burt and Johnson (1999) attempted to reduce primary symptoms

of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in women who had experienced multiple traumas.

These researchers used a form of cognitive-behavioral group therapy called Interactive

Psychoeducational Group Therapy. Although a limitation to this study is that it did not include a

control group, the subjects in the study had maintained stable levels of PTSD symptoms despite

multiple forms of treatment in the years leading up to the study. The effect of the group

treatment was reduced PTSD symptoms and psychiatric distress for these women who had been

suffering for many years.


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 5

The argument for a women’s-only treatment can take many forms. McManus, Redford

and Hughes (1997) used a feminist argument for a 6-session group treatment for women. If

women grow and develop within their relationships, than the best relationships for women’s

growth would be with other women. This group treatment was very structured in its design, and

focused on communication skills, but also included guided imagery and relaxation exercises.

McManus, Redford and Hughes (1997) found that the group gave the women an opportunity to

learn about themselves and “explore the impact of gender socialization on their lives” (pg 29).

This article provides support for a generalized advantage for providing women with a specialized

treatment option.

Yoga and mindfulness in groups of women

Based on recent studies, the effects and benefits of using yoga and mindfulness in group

therapy settings seem to be endless. The study done by Clark, et. al., (2014) used trauma-

sensitive yoga as an adjunct mental health treatment in group therapy for survivors of domestic

violence. The main goal of the research was to test the feasibility of incorporating a trauma

sensitive group therapy yoga practice for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). The

participants in this study were females who completed the Domestic Abuse Project’s (DAP)

group therapy program and were seeking services in DAP’s aftercare program. This study

included seventeen women, nine of whom were in a control group receiving typical

psychotherapy.

The intervention group met once weekly for twelve weeks for a trauma sensitive yoga

protocol. Yoga is seen as a natural extension of what the DAP program already implements in

mindfulness techniques and breathing exercises. Yoga is easy to integrate into existing group

counseling environments as it can be done in the same location and requires little to no additional
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 6

equipment. The study showed that over the span of the twelve-week intervention, the women

receiving group therapy for IPV received scores of improved mental health. Clark et. al., (2014)

supports the inclusion of yoga in treatment of mental health illnesses. Yogapathic techniques

can be seen as a “promising tool for partner violence survivors seeking group therapy” (Clark et.

al., 2014).

Rybak and Deuskar (2010) studied yoga and meditation skills in a group setting to

increase self-understanding. The researchers say that yoga “offers a very practical discipline to

enhance personal development and guide one’s developing consciousness toward a greater

contact with reality.” The researchers used meditations that included watching breaths, and

detachment exercises to relax the group member’s bodies and thoughts. The groups that

practiced these exercises were able to use energies towards healthier social interactions, create a

deeper sense of self-awareness and self-understanding, and relief from unnecessary stressors.

These practitioners of yoga/meditation techniques during group sessions created an overall shift

towards a more constructive, growth-oriented atmosphere in the group counseling setting (Rybak

& Deuskar, 2010). Yoga/meditation decreased the amount of unhealthy conflict in the group

settings, and helped decrease paranoia and bitterness toward others. These negative feelings

were replaced with ones of compassion and understanding of others. This meditation serves to

aid members in learning about energy flows and harmful energies, building relationships with

others, and what interactions opens them to the energy of the group.

Shahidi, et. al., (2011) explores another interesting yogapathic group technique: laughter

yoga. Using a combination of unconditioned laughter and controlled yoga breathing with

elderly, depressed females, the study measured the effect of the treatment on mental and physical

health. Seventy females participated in the study and were divided into three randomized
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 7

intervention groups: laughter therapy, exercise therapy and a control group. Although there were

no significant differences between the laughter and exercise groups, both showed decreased

depression scores and increased life satisfaction.

Group treatment proposal

Research has shown that women thrive in a therapeutic environment that is exclusively

females (eg, McManus, Redford & Hughes, 1997). The use of yoga and mindfulness techniques

in group therapy have shown to increase life satisfaction, decrease symptoms of depression and

anxiety and increase lifespan in patients with chronic diseases (eg, Clark et. al., 2014). The

proposal to follow describes a mindfulness based yogapathic group therapy program for women

with the goal of helping members to improve socialization with their peers, and reduce or

eliminate any potential depression or anxiety symptoms.

Group objectives

 Group members will create an atmosphere of respect, acceptance, and good humor.

 Group members will explore first impressions and brainstorm how to present oneself in a

positive way towards group members and others outside of group.

 Group members will learn appropriate coping methods as well as the importance of self-

reflection and personalized techniques for coping with daily challenges.

 Group members will learn how to apply coping skills from previous sessions to learn

about physical and mental self-care. Members will also be able to identify different

aspects and categories of good self-care and apply these aspects to their lives.

 Group members will become inspired and strive for creativity through open discussion

and brainstorming how to turn dreams into reality. Group members will also learn how

to express their thoughts without fear.


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 8

Group therapy sessions

Week 1: Introduction, A tree cannot be a forest

Time: 90 minutes (10-minute icebreaker, 30-minute group discussion, 5-minute break,

35-minute group yoga/meditation, 10-minute closing)

Materials: Yoga matt arranged in a circle, four tennis balls, soft natural music, speaker

for music, active wear clothing.

Objectives: Set up an atmosphere of respect, acceptance, and good humor. Provide

introductions and build group cohesion.

Ice Breaker (10 minutes): Group juggling- The members and leader will arrange

themselves in a circle standing on their mats. The group leader will pick a person in the group

and ask their name, and toss them a tennis ball. When they respond they should underarm toss

the ball and introduce themselves to another member. The group will continue until each player

is introduced, then continue on to a second round. In the second round, the person throwing the

ball must say the name of the person they are throwing it to. After this round, the leader will say,

“That is perfect, but I think we can go faster” and start a third round. This time when the group

gets through a few people add a second, third, and even fourth ball going in order. This is a great

way to learn names and generally does not require a debriefing.

Group Discussion (30 minutes): Introduce group counseling and this group’s purpose.

Acknowledge awkwardness of first session and getting to speak openly with each other. Also,

introduce the mantra for the session: “A tree cannot be a forest.” The leader should ask the

group what they think this means to their specific life situation and the group as a whole. As the

group shares their thoughts on the subject be sure to make connections between members to

show likeness and uniqueness. To conclude, the group leader will ask the members if they have
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 9

any questions or anything they would like to share. The goal of this reflection is to reveal

similarities and shared experiences between group members.

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity.

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): Introduce the meditation with basic Ashtanga

yoga flow. As you begin the yoga practice, encourage the members to think about what they

shared in the group discussion and what the mantra of the day: “A tree cannot be a forest,”

means to them more deeply. Be sure when winding yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful

laying and deeper meditation.

Closing (10 minutes): The group leader will direct a closing discussion to recap the

session. The following questions are suggestions to guide the discussion:

 Does anyone has any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

 How did it feel to make connections with others in the group?

 What did you like or dislike about today session?

The group leader should include take away points of respect and acceptance within the group as

wells as the group's mantra for the day and how it can apply to their life. The group leader

should be sure to ask what the members are taking away from this session. End session by

repeating the session mantra: “A tree cannot be a forest.”

Week 2: Self-esteem building, At the end of the day, what matters most is how you see yourself

Time: 90 minutes (15-minute icebreaker, 25-minute group discussion, 5-minute break,

35-minute group yoga/meditation, 10-minute closing)

Materials: Yoga mats arranged in circle, soft natural music, speaker for music, giant

Jenga (can be made with 2x4s from home depot or purchased), self-image mirror worksheet

(figure 1), active wear clothing


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 10

Objectives: Further bonding as a group, explore first impressions, brain storm how to

present oneself in a positive way.

Ice Breaker (15 minutes): Set up giant Jenga in the middle of the yoga mat circle. On

each Jenga piece have a question that is empowering scribed on it. Use the following examples:

What makes you excited? What is your biggest dream? and What do you like most about your

personality? After each member draws a piece have them share their question and answer with

the group and place the Jenga piece on the top of the tower. Play until tower falls or time allows.

Discussion (25 minutes): Start by recapping Jenga and main points from the previous

week. Introduce session mantra: “At the end of the day, what matters most is how you see

yourself.” While talking about the Jenga game, it is important to link members to each other by

statements they made. The group leader can ask the members what they felt about each other's

response and how they see each other versus how they see themselves versus how others see

them. The group leader can also ask members for ways to improve self-esteem in their lives.

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): Introduce the meditation with basic Ashtanga

yoga flow. As you begin the yoga practice, encourage the members to think about what they

shared in the group discussion and Jenga icebreaker activity as well as what the mantra of the

day: “At the end of the day, what matters most is how you see yourself,” means to them more

deeply. Be sure when winding yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful laying and deeper

meditation.

Closing (10 minutes): Spend time recapping how the members can build their self-

esteem. The group leader should also recap any meaningful times during the discussion and
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 11

what the members may have thought about during their meditation. Other questions to ask

include:

 Does anyone have any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

 How did it feel to make connections with others in the group?

 What did you like or dislike about our session today?

Include take away points of building self-esteem and confidence. Give out the mirror

worksheets at the end of the session. Have each member write a few things about themselves

that makes them feel confident. Instruct the members to display their self-confidence mirror

somewhere they will see it every day, like in a school locker or their bathroom mirror as a

reminder to be confident. End session with repeating of session mantra: “At the end of the day,

what matters most is how you see yourself.”

Week 3: Thought, power and self-expression, Your thoughts create your reality

Time: 90 minutes (20-minute icebreaker, 20-minute group discussion, 5-minute break,

35-minute group yoga/meditation 10-minute group reflection)

Materials: Yoga mats, soft natural music, speaker for music, a sheet of paper for each

member, coloring/drawing supplies, active wear clothing

Objectives: To learn how to express thoughts without fear as well as how we can make

each other's thoughts and dreams a reality through creative activities and open discussion.

Ice Breaker (20 minutes): Using the paper and drawing supplies have each member

depict in some way a dream, though or goal they have. The group leader should allow about 5

minutes to complete this creative activity. When time is up, the group leader should call for a

volunteer to share their drawing/depiction. Then, the leader should ask other group members
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 12

what it would take to make this dream reality, and what needs to happen to achieve this goal.

Continue around and until everyone has shared.

Discussion (20 minutes): Continuing from icebreaker activity, the group leader will lead

into an open discussion about the power of thought and expressing yourself through your

thoughts and passions. The leader should be sure to stress that all thoughts hold value and that

your thoughts create your reality. Questions to lead discussion include:

 How does practicing mindfulness affect your thoughts and values?

 How does this tie back to our yoga exercises?

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): Introduce the group with basic Ashtanga yoga

flow. As you begin practice encourage them to think about what was shared in the group

discussion. It is important to be mindful of the group members thoughts and goals, and how they

can make them a reality. Repeat the mantra for the day: “Your thoughts create your reality.”

Also, encourage positive thought process and good thoughts while practicing yoga. Be sure

when winding yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful laying and deeper meditation.

Closing (10 minutes): The group leader should spend time recapping how the members

can build their self-esteem, as well as touch back to meaningful times during the discussion and

what they thought about during their meditation. Other questions to ask include:

 Does anyone have any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

 How did the thought power exercises affect them?

 What did you like or dislike about our session today?

Include take away points of being mindful of thoughts, expressions, and making their thoughts a

reality. End session with repeating of session mantra: “Your thoughts create your reality.”
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 13

Week 4: Coping skills, Problems are not the problems, coping is the problem

Time: 90 minutes (15-minute icebreaker, 25-minute group discussion, 5-minute break,

35-minute group yoga/meditation, 10-minute group reflection)

Materials: 1 composition notebook for each group member, yoga mats, soft natural

music, speaker for music, giant Jenga set from previous session (Adjusted questions to challenge

groups needs), active wear clothing

Objectives: Learn to cope with struggles of life and to find coping methods that work

best for each group member as an individual.

Ice Breaker (15 minutes): “Coping Giant Jenga” Set up giant Jenga in the middle of the

yoga mat circle. On each Jenga piece have a question regarding situations involving coping

skills or different types of coping skills. Use the following examples: Have you ever bottled up

your anger? or What do you do when you are stressed to distress? After they draw the piece

have the group member share their question and answer with the group and place the Jenga piece

on the top of the tower. Play until tower falls or time allows.

Group Discussion (25 minutes): Start the discussion by touching on powerful moment

during the Ice Breaker activity. Introduce the session mantra, “Problems are not the problems,

coping is the problem.” The group leader should try to link members together by their

statements from the Jenga game and talk about situations some may be experiencing now that are

causing them stress. The leader can facilitate this discussions by asking group members how

they might cope with theses situations.

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): Introduce the group with basic Ashtanga yoga

flow. Repeat the daily mantra: “Problems are not the problems, coping is the problem.” As the
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 14

leader begins practice encourage the members to think about what was shared in the group

discussion and to be mindful of not dwelling on situations that are causing them stress in life.

The group leader should encourage members to breathe rhythmically and push all their stress

away. The group leader should encourage yoga as a great coping skill. Be sure when winding

yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful laying and deeper meditation.

Closing (10 minutes): Spend time recapping how the members can cope with life

stressors. Be sure to touch back on meaningful times during the discussion and what their deeper

thought through meditation lead them to. Suggested questions to ask include:

 What forms of coping work best for you personally?

 What did you like or dislike about our session today?

 Does anyone have any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

Include take away points of releasing and coping with problems in everyday life. The group

leader should also encourage the group members to take their notebook and make it their own. It

can be their spot to write, draw, doodle, plan, and express themselves. It can help them cope

with stress by writing about their feelings and coping mechanisms. End the session by repeating

the session mantra: “Problems are not the problems, coping is the problem.”

Week 5: Self Care, Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you

want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort

Time: 90 minutes (40-minute icebreaker/group discussion, 5-minute break 35-minute

group yoga/meditation 10-minute group reflection)

Materials: yoga mats, soft natural music, speaker for music, The Self Care Game, active

wear clothing
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 15

Objectives: Apply coping skills from last session to learn about physical and mental self-

care. Members should also be able to identify different aspects and categories of good self care

and apply these to their personal lives.

Ice Breaker/Group Discussion (40 minutes): “The Self Care Game,” First, the group

leader must introduce good self-care and explain the components it involves, both physically and

mentally. The leader should give examples of self improvement; i.e., learning a new sill, using

support systems that already exist, keeping doctor appointments, etc. The group leader will pass

out one card (see figure 2) to each group member representing an aspect of self. Some cards are

repeated twice to show importance. It is also okay to repeat to make sure each member has a

card. After each member has self-care category card, tie the icebreaker and group discussion

together. Suggested question to drive the discussion include:

 Why is this considered good self-care?

 Give an example of something in this category you are already doing.

 Give one example of one thing you can improve on.

 How would you improve on this?

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): Introduce the group with basic Ashtanga yoga

flow. As the leader begins practice encourage she should encourage the other members to think

about what was shared in the group discussion. The group leader should remind the group of

daily mantra: “Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to

go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” She should encourage them to think of ways they

can nourish their minds and bodies. Encourage them during their yoga time to think of healing
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 16

their mind and body. Be sure when winding yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful laying

and deeper meditation and thought on self-care.

Closing (10 minutes): Spend time recapping how the members can care better for

themselves. Be sure to touch back on meaningful times during the discussion and what deeper

thought through meditation lead them to. Questions to ask include:

 What are ways you can take care of yourself going forward?

 What did you like or dislike about our session today?

 Ask if anyone has any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

The group leader should also include take away points of ways of self care strategies and

categories. End the session by repeating the session mantra: “Nourishing yourself in a way that

helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.”

Week 6: Conflict Resolution, Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict

by peaceful means

Time: 90 minutes (10-minute icebreaker, 30-minute group discussion, 5-minute break,

35-minute group yoga/meditation, 10-minute group reflection)

Materials: yoga mats, soft natural music, speaker for music, conflict worksheets, pens,

active wear clothing

Objectives: Apply coping skills from last session to learn about self-care both physically

and mentally. Members will also be able to identify different aspects and categories of good

self-care and apply them to their own lives.

Ice Breaker (10 minutes): The group member should pair up into groups of two and

interview each other with the conflict perspective worksheet (figure 3).
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 17

Group Discussion (30 minutes): Bring the group back to a whole to begin conflict

perspective discussion. Questions to ask include:

 Did you and your partner have similar or different perspective to conflict?

 What did you learn in the icebreaker by looking through your partner’s

perspective?

 Is conflict good or bad?

 How can conflict be beneficial or hurtful?

 Have we seen any conflict in our group in the past?

 What can we do to promote a healthy attitude toward conflict in our group?

Break (5 minutes): Grab water or restroom break before activity

Group Yoga Meditation (35 minutes): “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability

to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Introduce the group with basic Ashtanga yoga flow. As

you begin practice encourage the members to think about what was shared in the group

discussion. Encourage them to think of ways they can manage conflicts in their lives peacefully

and the perspectives of others in past conflicts they have had. Encourage the ladies during their

yoga time to think of what they can do with their knowledge: maybe apologize to a family

member, or remember to review their perspective if another conflict arises? Be sure when

winding yoga down to allow a few minutes of restful laying and deeper meditation and thought

on self-care.

Closing (10 minutes): Spend time recapping how the group members can apply these

new conflict resolution skills to their daily lives. Be sure to touch back on meaningful times

during the discussion and what their deeper thought through meditation lead them to. Questions

to ask include:
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 18

 Have we seen conflict in our group in the past? Do you have a new perspective

on conflict now?

 What did you like or dislike about our session today?

 Ask if anyone has any thoughts they would like to share about the session?

Include take away points of ways of the importance of conflict management. End session by

repeating session mantra: “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by

peaceful means.”

Resources for group leaders

 Network Yoga Therapy

o One of their main goals is the creation of a global network of yoga and health care

professionals who can learn from each other and easily connect for cooperation or

exchange of experiences.

o http://networkyogatherapy.org/

 The International Association of Yoga Therapists

o IAYT supports research and education in yoga and serves as a professional

organization for yoga teachers and yoga therapists worldwide. Our mission is to

establish yoga as a recognized and respected therapy.

o http://www.iayt.org/

 Yoga for Mental Health

o Meditation and insight based psychotherapy to promote well-being in individuals and

communities. Practitioners enjoy strength, flexibility and contentment and learn how

to integrate techniques into daily life. Our mission is to help healing, be healthy and

help others!
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 19

o http://yogaformentalhealth.com/

 The Art of Living

o AOLF offers numerous highly effective educational and self-development programs

and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner

peace, happiness and well-being for all individuals. These programs, which include

breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living, have

helped millions around the world to completely transform their lives.

o http://www.artofliving.org/us-en

Resources for group members

 Self esteem resources:

o http://www.bandbacktogether.com/self-esteem-resources/

o http://selfesteem.dove.us/?gclid=CPGCw6vAss0CFdgKgQodIhYNww&gclsrc=aw.ds

o http://www.livestrong.com/article/126741-activities-boost-self-esteem-teen/

 Self expression resources:

o http://www.pongoteenwriting.org/accepting-self-expression.html

o http://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/camping-magazine/art-camp-how-arts-

programs-fuel-self-expression-youth-development

o http://intuitivecreativity.typepad.com/expressiveartinspirations/self-expression-

therapy-activities.html

 Coping resources:

o http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/pages/tip-99-coping-skills.aspx

o https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-race-good-health/201501/teens-and-

stress-practical-coping-skills
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 20

o http://www.pbisworld.com/tier-2/teach-coping-skills/

 Self care resources:

o http://www.loveisrespect.org/for-yourself/self-care/

o http://www.visionsteen.com/tag/self-care-2/

o https://mindcheck.ca/mood-stress/self-care-resources

 Conflict resolution:

o http://www.ncpc.org/topics/conflict-resolution

o http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=291&id=21

83

o https://kidshealth.org/classroom/9to12/personal/growing/conflict_resolution.pd

Issues in application

There are many limitations for this kind of therapeutic treatment. One is due to physical

limitations of the body. The members of the group must be physically able to participate in a 35-

minute yoga session. The interests of the group leader will determine how intense the yoga

exercise will be. It is also possible to design your yoga exercises around more meditative

practices. Although the meditative practices can stimulate reflection, it is more ideal for this

group setting to be incorporating physical activity.

It is also important to make sure that as a practice we have adequate liability coverage.

Although the threat of injury is minor, we have a consent form for each participate to sign

reminding them of their own responsibility for their health. If any exercise (physical or not)

becomes uncomfortable for our participants, it will be their responsibility to express their

discomfort and remove themselves or resolve the situation.


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 21

Another issue of application is how do we decide who can and cannot be part of the

group. With females, especially younger females, the issue of trust and acceptance is very large.

Creating an environment where the group members trust each other and are able to share openly

is very important. Although sometimes women have trouble trusting one another, we hope by

creating a homogeneous group that our women will be able to express problems that may be

specific to women, and have less reservations about expressing concerns with other members.

As counselors at the ABW practice, we strive for an environment of trust, acceptance,

and growth. Building this type of environment is difficult in and of itself. Group leaders will

have to engage their learned skills to facilitate group discussion and encourage members to

engage in the therapeutic process.

At the ABW practice, we are striving to recruit a group of all female participants, but we

The environment needs to be one of trust, acceptance, and growth. It is also a difficult

situation with this being an all female group, should those who are transgender be allowed within

the group. This is an important factor to include as more people in our society are becoming

more open and comfortable with their gender identities.


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 22

References

Barton, E. J. (2011). Movement and mindfulness: A formative evaluation of a dance/movement

and yoga therapy program with participants experiencing severe mental illness. American

Journal Of Dance Therapy, 33(2), 157-181. doi:10.1007/s10465-011-9121-7

Clark, C. J., Lewis-Dmello, A., Anders, D., Parsons, A., Nguyen-Feng, V., Henn, L., &

Emerson, D. (2014). Trauma-sensitive yoga as an adjunct mental health treatment in

group therapy for survivors of domestic violence: A feasibility study. Complementary

Therapies in Clinical Practice, 20(3), 152-158. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.04.003

Gladding, S. (2016). Groups: A counseling specialty (7th ed). Wake Forest University: Pearson.

Gore-Felton, C., & Spiegel, D. (1999). Enhancing women's lives: The role of support groups

among breast cancer patients. Journal For Specialists In Group Work, 24(3), 274-287.

doi:10.1080/01933929908411436

Lubin, H., Loris, M., Burt, J., & Johnson, D. R. (1998). Efficacy of psychoeducational group

therapy in reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder among multiply

traumatized women. The American Journal Of Psychiatry, 155(9), 1172-1177.

McManus, P. W., Redford, J. L., & Hughes, R. B. (1997). Connecting to self and others: A

structured group for women. Journal For Specialists In Group Work, 22(1), 22-30.

doi:10.1080/01933929708415520

Rybak, C., & Deuskar, M. (2010). Enriching group counseling through integrating yoga concepts

and practices. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 5(1), 3-14.

doi:10.1080/15401381003626782

Shahidi, M., Mojtahed, A., Modabbernia, A., Mojtahed, M., Shafiabady, A., Delavar, A., &

Honari, H. (2011). Laughter yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 23

women: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,

26(3), 322-327. doi:10.1002/gps.2545


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 24

Dear Group Participant,

At ABW Yoga and Group Counseling Center are committed to your overall physical and

mental well being, and life achievement. At times, outside factors and personal issues can

interfere with your development. As we are committed to your best interest, we are now offering

a six week yoga and group counseling session to aid in healthy mental and physical

development. The group will meet once a week for six weeks. In these group meetings, you will

be under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor and yoga therapist. We will spend

our time guiding you in six main areas: group cohesion and trust, resenting one’s self in a

positive light and self-esteem building, thought power and self-expression, life coping skills,

physical and mental self-care, and conflict management.

The group will also partake in light yoga exercise, group discussions, and other activities

that will require physical activity. By signing below you authorize that ABW Yoga and Group

Counseling Center and staff members are in no way responsible should you be injured during the

activities in the sessions.

By signing I understand that this group is based on a trusting relationship between the

group leader and members. Information shared during these sessions is confidential, except

in certain circumstances in which there is an ethical obligation to limit confidentiality. In the

following circumstances, you will be notified: (1) If the group member reveals information

about harm to herself or others. (2) If the counselor’s records are subpoenaed by the courts.

By signing this form, I ______________________(Full name printed) agree to the terms above

and understand that I am liable for injury during the physical portions of the session.

Participant Signature ________________________________ Date _________________

If you have any questions, please call a counselor at ABW Yoga and Group Counseling Center.
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 25

Outcome Evaluation

Thank you for participating in this six-session yoga-meditation and discussion group. We

appreciate the time and work you have put into this group and hope it was both an joyful and

productive experience for you. We ask that you please fill out this survey evaluating your group

experience.

How did you learn about the group?

Overall, were you satisfied with your group experience?

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Did your group leader provide a friendly atmosphere?

Were you able to learn coping methods that best suited my issues?

What do you feel benefited you most throughout the sessions?

Would you return to this group experience?

What improvements would you make?

Additional Comments:
YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 26

Figure 1. Self-image mirror worksheet


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 27

Figure 2. Example cards for the self-care game


YOGAPATHIC GROUP THERAPY FOR WOMEN 28

Figure 3. Conflict perspective worksheet