Mental health: Outpatient group programs

Mental health: Outpatient group programs

At Markham Stouffville Hospital, we offer a variety of types of group therapy in our outpatient mental health program. A referral from a physician or nurse practitioner is required unless otherwise specified.

Find referral form here.

Art therapy

This is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of art to:

  • Improve physical, mental and emotional well-being
  • Promote problem solving, self-soothing skills, insight and self awareness
  • Help improve self esteem, manage stress and enhance interpersonal skills

This program runs two hours weekly for 10 weeks.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) addresses negative thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and unhealthy coping behaviours in depression and anxiety. In this group, you will be encouraged to assess different coping mechanisms and develop a set of personal coping strategies that you can use to solve current and future problems. We use a type of therapy called behavioural activation and will encourage you to set goals and try out mindfulness exercises.

We also offer:

  • CBT for transitional age youth (age 18 – 26): This group, for youth struggling with depression and/or anxiety, combines CBT with a life skills component.
  • Cantonese CBT: A CBT group for speakers of Cantonese.

These programs run two hours weekly for 10 weeks.

Concurrent disorders group – surf's up!

This group is for people who have both substance use and mental health challenges. The group is a safe, non-judgmental space to:

  • Reduce stigma
  • Learn skills such as CBT, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), mindfulness, relapse prevention, self care and healthy relationships
  • Acquire information about the biology of addiction, neuroplasticity and medications
  • Share experiences

This program runs two hours weekly for 10 weeks

Emotional resiliency

This group focuses on DBT skills to help people learn new strategies for regulating their emotions. DBT skills include mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness.

The program runs two hours weekly for 10 weeks.

Interpersonal psychotherapy group

This is a time-limited and structured psychotherapy group. Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) focuses on relationship problems and on helping people identify how they are feeling and behaving in their relationships. When a person is able to deal with a relationship problem more effectively, their psychological symptoms often improve.

This program runs two hours weekly for 20 weeks.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

This group is for people struggling with low-to-moderate levels of depression and anxiety in addition to health-related conditions such as chronic pain, osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis, diabetes or cardiac conditions. MSBR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga to help people become more mindful and present within the moment, in the midst of stress.

The program runs two hours weekly for eight weeks with one full Saturday silent retreat.

Saturday CBT

This group is ideal for people who have been recently diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety. It includes an introduction to CBT at the beginning of each session and then focuses on a specific area of CBT. This group does not require a referral form.

This is a four-module group held on Saturdays from 1 – 3 p.m. and you can start the group at any module.

This group does not require a referral form. Anyone who has accessed mental health services (e.g., outpatient mental health, inpatient mental health) for depression and/or anxiety at MSH is eligible.

Download the CBT brochure.

Saturday family psychoeducation and support group

This is a group for family members or loved ones of adults with a mental health condition. It provides education and support, and explores coping skills, mental health resources and additional programs and services.

This is a four-module group held on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and you can start the group at any module.

Download the Family psychoeducation and support group brochure.