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Group Therapy for Men

Group therapy is an important part of any mental health treatment program. Many men have suffered alone or have never told others how they are truly feeling. That feeling of isolation can be incredibly painful.

For many men entering treatment for the first time, it is a huge relief to be able to sit and share with a group of other men who understand you and who can listen and validate your experience and may be able to see things through your lens.

Various Types of Therapy Groups

Group therapy is not like other groups or conversations you might have been part of before. And it is not necessarily like the things you may have seen on TV. There are many different types of group therapy and each one has different objectives and outcomes.
Some of the different types of groups offered at Wings Recovery for Men:

Although some men are reluctant to join group therapy initially, for many men it becomes one of their favorite parts of the treatment experience. And at Wings Recovery for Men, a skilled therapist is always present to guide the group process and make sure you feel safe and that the groups are effective.

Group therapy is an important part of any mental health treatment program. Many men have suffered alone or have never told others how they are truly feeling. That feeling of isolation can be incredibly painful.

For many men entering treatment for the first time, it is a huge relief to be able to sit and share with a group of other men who understand you and who can listen and validate your experience and may be able to see things through your lens.

Group Therapy Schedule

In our Residential and PHP programs, you will have regular group therapy every day, Monday through Friday for six hours a day. It may sound like a lot of time in group, but you will find that the day goes very fast. We make sure to keep things interesting and engaging. And with so much treatment, you are more likely to heal more quickly and make the therapeutic gains you are looking for. In our IOP program, you attend group therapy three to five days per week, for three hours a day.

Types of Group Therapy

At Wings Recovery for Men, we offer several different types of group therapy.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT (pronounced like the word “act”, not the letters a.c.t.) is a behavioral therapy that focuses on valued engagement in life. ACT presents us with a roadmap and skills to build a meaningful and fulfilling life through changing our relationship to challenging experiences and unhelpful thoughts. Each group begins by briefly reviewing the ACT hexaflex for Psychological Flexibility and its 6 core principles of acceptance and willingness, cognitive defusion, present-moment awareness, self-as context, values clarification, and committed action. Each week, we will focus primarily on one core principle, using activities/ metaphors, to relate the principle to our own personal experiences. Research shows that ACT is effective in alleviating suffering related to disordered eating, anxiety, psychosis, chronic pain, substance use problems, and depression.

Anger Management

Unchecked rage problems can lead to problems in every area of our lives. When anger problems are recognized early and are dealt with through appropriate interventions, such problems may be reduced or avoided. This group will focus on topics including resolving conflict, realizing triggers, positive ways to express anger, effective coping behaviors to stop escalation, reducing the level of anger in provocative situations, communicating needs without anger, identifying the underlying feelings, techniques for controlling anger, and relaxation techniques.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health profession that enriches lives through active art- making, applied psychological theory and human experience in a psychotherapeutic relationship. In the Art Therapy group you will work with an Art Therapist using 2D and 3D art materials to respond to a wide range of directives which activate both sensory responses and generate imagery that is directly connected to your emotions. This process helps you re-experience in a style that allows you to organize thoughts and feelings to form a narrative around experience in a safe style that isn’t dependent on words.

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is a psychological theory concerning relationships between humans. The most important tenet is that young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for normal social and emotional development. In this group you will learn what your attachment style is, how this impacts your current relationships, and how to transition to a more secure attachment style.


Many of us learn unhealthy relationship patterns in our families of origin. In this group, you will learn to create boundaries and set yourself up for the healthy relationships you deserve.

Functional Movement

Research has shown that exercise benefits people in recovery in a variety of ways. First, gym exercises increase the production of feel good chemicals called endorphins. This will make it easier to overcome addiction. It also alleviates the tension that can build up during recovery. It’s normal to suffer from tight muscles as you embark on this new chapter of your life. When you move your body in the gym, the tension actually goes away so you feel physically better. When your body doesn’t hurt, it’s easier to tackle your addiction. You can focus on recovery instead of thinking of the aches and pains you feel. On Friday, you will have an hour of functional movement at a local gym which encompasses high intensity interval training.


Mentalization is an evidence-based treatment approach, initially developed for the treatment of adults with borderline personality disorder with its origins coming from psychodynamic psychotherapy. The objective is for you to find out more about how you think and feel about yourself and others, how those thoughts and feelings influence your behavior, and how distortions in understanding yourself and others lead to maladaptive actions.


These groups include meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga. Clinicians will lead you in a variety of practices to promote mindfulness, including visualization and thought- pattern identification exercises. As you engage in these exercises, you will increase your sense of emotional, mental and physical awareness. Through this awareness, you may come to identify maladaptive behaviors of thoughts and behaviors, helping you learn to better regulate your thoughts and feelings, manage anxiety, and handle stressful situations. This process helps you find both immediate and long-term relief and healing.

Moral Reconation Therapy

MRT is a cognitive-behavioral treatment system that leads to enhanced moral reasoning, better decision making, and more appropriate behavior. MRT is a “step-based” program. The term "moral" refers to moral reasoning based on Kohlberg's levels of cognitive reasoning. The word "reconation" comes from the psychological terms "conative" and "conation," both of which refer to the process of making conscious decisions. This group is assigned by your therapist and/or dietitian to attend if clinically appropriate but everyone is welcome to join.

Music Groups

These include Rock to Recovery and Coping Through Music. Playing music has been shown to help relieve anxiety, depression, fear, hopelessness, loneliness, and self-loathing, while increasing measures of wellness, such as: self-esteem, hope, connection, happiness, joy, and vitality. During this group you may realize hidden talents or grow in confidence by learning an instrument for the first time or reconnecting with an instrument. In the Rock to Recovery group, the facilitator will explain the ‘why’ of Rock to Recovery, and share some of their own experiences in recovery. You will then write a song as a group, using as much creativity from each member as possible, while teaching people to play instruments, often for the first time. Then, it’s time to jam!

Process Group

Irvin Yalom is a famous therapist, who is known for being a pioneer of Existential Psychotherapy, which emphasizes that mental health problems are frequently caused by struggles with existence. Common themes include fear of death, the drive toward freedom, and the desire to avoid isolation. Process groups are open-ended conversations in which group members share their feelings, including their hopes, fears, frustrations, and triumphs. For this reason we have several process groups offered throughout the week. There is no one topic for process groups and we have found that clients often enjoy process groups the most and find them to be particularly helpful. Some of the themes of process group may be: coping with daily struggles and getting feedback, shared common experiences, altruism, cohesion, universality, interpersonal learning, guidance, catharsis, identification, self-understanding, and instillation of hope.

Science of Addiction

In this group we are watching 15-20 minute video presentations by experts in the field of addiction and recovery (from substance abuse to video games to social media) and having frank and honest discussions of topics highlighted in the presentations. Participants are encouraged to ask questions, explore concerns, and to relate issues to personal experiences. You do not need to be struggling with addiction issues yourself to benefit from attending this group, as addiction is an issue which affects all families to some degree, as well as being a major issue of concern in society as a whole.

Seeking Safety

This group is designed to help members feel safe and secure. This feeling of safety comes first through the compassionate, nonjudgmental environment that the group fosters. Clinicians will lead the group in discussions designed to help you learn concrete techniques for coping with specific disorders, such as ways to develop compassion and how to ask for help. Through these discussions, you will gain added insight on your specific needs, and gain tools to help find emotional balance, self-regulation and overall wellness.

Somatic Mindfulness

Trauma memories are approached indirectly and gradually. You will learn to engage and disengage through learning skills to help regulate activation in the body. Your group facilitator will help you from becoming overwhelmed while increasing distress tolerance. You will learn to monitor and down regulate arousal by using inner resources such as positive sensations and memories. Discharge of previously incomplete defensive responses allows the natural healing process of the body to restore the nervous system to balance and increase resiliency.

Trauma Support

Learn about trauma and how to overcome its effects. This is also a group where you may feel comfortable opening up and sharing their stories. In this group the facilitator will also provide psycho-education on ways that trauma impacts our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Writing Group

In this group, you will be given a writing assignment to complete during that day’s session. These assignments vary, but can include writing a poem, diary entry, letter or short story. This can be a particularly effective process for patients who are comfortable thinking through and writing down their thoughts before saying them aloud. Following the writing period, patients then have the opportunity to share their writing with the group. Peers, along with the lead clinician, comment on each other's writing, helping each other recognize themes and struggles present in the writing. As you engage in this process, you can release pent-up or unrecognized emotions, and express feelings in words in a way you may not have done before. This provides a powerful emotional release, and helps you recognize issues you may not have been aware of before, allowing for greater self-awareness and full healing.

Relapse prevention

Did you know that many mental health diagnoses, such as depression, are vulnerable to a relapse of symptoms? Learn the coping skills and support structures you need to keep your recovery on the right track. This group is key to your long-term success. We want to make sure you have the tools to have a lasting recovery and complete healing.

Join the Treatment Happening at Wings Recovery for Men!

Call our admissions line at 1.888.790.9377 to speak with a therapist and find out if our San Diego mental health treatment program is right for you.

Waves Treatment Center will now be called Wings Recovery for Men. Same people, same program, new name.