General Support Groups 

To sign up or to learn more about any of our groups,
call (802) 442-5491.

Key: (B)= Bennington-based (N)= Northshire-based
Unless otherwise noted, all groups currently meet remotely. In-person groups will follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
All groups are open to any Bennington County resident.

Anxiety/Depression/Emotional Wellness

Anxiety/Depression (B)
Wednesdays 11am–12:15pm
Facilitated by Karin Gardner

This is a support group for individuals diagnosed with an anxiety and/or depression disorder.  Member may share their symptoms and feelings about their own personal stories/trauma. Each group session begins with a 5–10 minute meditation which is then followed by member check-in and discussion.  We focus on ways to cultivate better coping skills and positive strategies to daily living. We also discuss healthy lifestyle choices which includes diet and exercise to increase energy levels. Developing trust and providing emotional support is a key element in helping members through difficult times.

Hearing Voices (B)
Wednesday 2:30–3:30 pm
Facilitated by Jean Henderson, LCMHC
Hearing Voices Group offers a safe place where voices hearers can talk openly about their experiences, gain support, and learn skills to increase their control of their own lives. Participants will learn to use meditation and mindfulness to help develop skills to focus their attention on activities at hand and not the intrusive, disruptive thoughts in their heads.

Learn to Live Well Peer Support Group (B)
Mondays 11 am–12 pm
Facilitated by Nancy Balconis
This group offers a space to learn new skills on how to be a better version of yourself. Share your thoughts and feelings on the chosen topic of the week. You will have the chance to make new friends and connect with your peers.

Maternal Mental Health (N)
Mondays 1–2 pm
Facilitated by Rose Mylott, Mental Health Outpatient Clinician, LCMHC, LADC
This group offers a safe place for new moms and moms-to-be to come together and address mood and anxiety disorders in pregnancy and postpartum through the first year after birth.

Peer Support Group: Friend & Fun (B)
Thursday 2 – 3 pm
Facilitated by Caroline Gauthier
This group offers peers the chance to create crafts, play games and meet new friends.


Behavioral and Relationship Supports

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Informed Group (DBT) (B)
Tuesdays 12:301:30  pm
Facilitator:  Doris Russell, Ph.D.  
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) informed treatment is a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the role of mindfulness in its approach to treatment. Skill sets are designed to specifically assist individuals in better managing behavioral, emotional and cognitive instability. 

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (N)
Thursdays at from 12 –1 pm
Facilitator: Barb Hand
Participants will learn ways to practice mindfulness in an integrative, mind/body-based approach that helps people to manage their thoughts, feelings, and overall mental health.

Collaborative Network Approach (B) *
Tuesdays 2:00 – 3:30pm

Fridays 1:00–2:30pm
Supervised by Victor Martini, LICSW and Team

Based upon the principles of “Open Dialogue” and developed specifically for practitioners in Vermont, the meetings are facilitated by a group who have completed stringent training by members of the European team that originated the practice in Finland. The UCS team is trained to be interviewer/listeners, and reflector/listeners. These meetings are a way to help people develop a supportive network among close family members or significant friends. Meetings will be set up remotely – either in your own home or at the UCS main offices, utilizing Zoom technology. In your home, we will provide tablets if needed in order to make use of the technology. If you have ever felt like you were truly listened to, you will appreciate these network meetings. If you have never felt truly listened to, you will experience something truly different, refreshing and uniquely supportive.
*Sessions must be scheduled individually.

Relationship Dynamics (B)
Tuesdays 9–10am
Facilitated by Karin Gardner 

This is a psychoeducation and support group for individuals who wish to improve their ability to form as well as maintain positive, healthy relationships.  This includes the promotion of building a positive self-relationship.  Past psychoeducational topics include active listening, body language, perspective taking, communication styles, codependency, triangulation, boundaries, self-care strategies, domestic violence, and emotional labeling and expression.


Substance Use and Recovery

IOP – Collaborative Network Approach (CNA) and Tai Qi (B)
Tuesday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Facilitated by Victor Martini, LICSW, Christine Ouellette and Taija LaFountain and Tai Qi with Tom Mattern
Through the use of Collaborative Network Approach (based on Open Dialogue, the Finnish evidence based practice), clients will develop a healthy and supportive recovery network in the first portion.

The second portion of IOP will utilize Tai Qi, a body-based approach to enhance mindfulness and relaxation through gentle movement.

Maintaining Abstinence During COVID-19 and Beyond (B)
Wednesdays 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Facilitated by Christine Ouellette, Community Substance Use Outreach Manager
Open to all individuals in recovery. This group provides great resource for education and social support as people learn new ways to cope during recovery.

Adult Men’s Substance Abuse Group (B)
Mondays 6 – 7
pm
Facilitated by William Plath, Ph.D.
The Men’s Substance Abuse Group, open to men, offers a number of advantages, including the development of social supports, the ability to learn from others, the ability to share information, and a feeling of togetherness such that one does not feel alone in their own issues with their substance use disorder.

IOP – Mindfulness Based Sobriety (MBS) and Dialectical Behavior Informed Therapy (DBT Informed) (B)
Fridays 9:00 am–12:00 pm
MBS facilitated by Rose Mylott and DBT facilitated by Doris Russell and Amanda Finefrock
Clients will learn the principles of mindfulness-based sobriety (MBS) for comprehensive recovery planning using the MBS principles to set value guided goals in order to lead a value-informed lifestyle. Clients will explore the six core-principles of ACT and develop a life-changing mindset known as psychological flexibility to handle painful thoughts, feelings, triggers, urges, and cravings.

Clients will utilize a DBT informed framework to learn and practice skills (mindfulness skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, emotional regulation skills, distress tolerance) that enhance the ability to cope with painful thoughts and feelings such as anxiety, stress, and sadness.

Recovery Group (N)
Fridays 12 pm–1 pm
Meets in person at UCS Northshire Offices
Facilitated by Jill Egbert
Open to individuals in recovery. This group provides great resource for education and social support as people learn new ways to cope during recovery. 

Substance Abuse (N)
Wednesdays 4–5 pm
Facilitated by James Reilly
The Substance Abuse Group, open to all, offers numerous advantages, including the development of social supports, the ability to learn from others, the ability to share information, and a feeling of togetherness such that one does not feel alone in their own issues with their substance use disorder.  

IOP – Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Group and Self-Esteem Group (B)
Thursday 9:00 am–12:00 pm
Facilitated by with JoAnne Larsen, Elizabeth Quincy and Sasha Slattery.  Self-Esteem Group facilitated  by Sasha Slattery
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan is designed to create a unique plan that is based on the person’s strengths, identifies early warning signs of mental health and/or substance abuse challenges, define supports they can count on, and the skills to use for all of life’s challenges. When completed, each participant will have a meaningful crisis plan.

The self-esteem group can help reduce substance use by learning new ways to help manage negative thinking patterns.

 

Youth and Family Support Groups

To sign up or to learn more about any of our groups,
call (802) 442-5491.

Key: (B)= Bennington-based (N)= Northshire-based
Unless otherwise noted, all groups currently meet remotely. In-person groups will follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
All groups are open to any Bennington County resident, unless noted.

Behavior and Relationships

Grief Group (B)
Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:00 pm
LOCATION: Zoom
Facilitated by Meg Biela, Clinician and Becky Schuler, PUCK/FES Coordinator
 This group will provide support to grieving children and/or teens due to the death of someone close, including parents, siblings, other family members or friends and pets. This program will run, and host discussion groups geared toward helping young people identify and share their feelings, and to help them begin the healing process. Clients only, up to age 18.

LGBTQ+ Group (B)
Fridays from 3:00 – 4:00 pm
LOCATION: Zoom
Facilitated by Steven Lecce, Family Outreach Clinician and Becky Schuler, PUCK/FES Coordinator
This group is for youth who identify as LGBTQ+ or are questioning between 13-18 years old. The group is open-ended and provides a safe space to talk, share, and connect.  This group is open to the community.


Community-focused

Teens4Change (B)
Thursdays at 11am
LOCATION: 21 Burgess Road, Bennington, VT
 
Facilitated by Pam Bolus, Transition Aged Case Manager and Adrian Headley, Transition Aged Case Manager 
Join other teens to work on projects and make a difference in the community. Enjoy a safe space to discuss your issues and concerns and receive support from your peers. Physical distancing and masks required.

Zoom Buddies (B)
Mondays from 4:00 – 5:00 pm
LOCATION: Zoom
Facilitated by Tiffany Raciot, Therapeutic Case Manager and Liz Hyland, Community Support Worker

A social emotional skill group for ages 6-10. Using pre-planned exercises, clients learn to interact with their peers, fostering positive relationships. Have fun with icebreakers, problem solving and using imagination to build skills.  


Creativity-based

Mindfulness Art Group (B)
Wednesdays from 1:00 – 2:00 pm
LOCATION: Zoom
Facilitated by Taylor Zimmermann, Therapeutic Case Manager and Rebecca LaPorte, Therapeutic Case Manager
10 weeks of mindful art activities, using materials provided by staff and delivered to homes. Participants will use art to explore mindfulness, relaxation, and coping skills. This group will run from December 16th – February 17, 2021.  Clients only, up to age 18.