Mental Health & Substance Abuse Support Groups

Info about Mental Health & Substance Abuse Support Groups.

Page updated on Mar 2, 2021 at 3:29 PM

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Department of Community and Human Services has decided to temporarily suspend 12-step groups that currently meet at Mill Road.

DCHS invites residents to explore the following resources that offer online recovery communities:

  • This resource has a wide variety of self-help meetings, ranging from Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to specific substance use disorder meetings and shoplifting meetings. There are also discussion forums on specific recovery related topics. Users will need to create a free account with an email address, after which they can join live video chat meetings most of the day.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous’ website has online meetings (and other formats, including email, texting, online chat, audio, phone and video chat).
  • Cocaine substance use disorder anonymous online meetings.
  • Marijuana substance use disorder anonymous online meetings.
  • This site has very active recovery related discussion boards. 

Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Groups

If you are interested in participating in one of the following groups and are currently receiving services with the Alexandria Community Services Board (CSB), Department of Community and Human Services, please speak to your service coordinator or other provider about referral to the group. If you are not currently receiving services, call Intake at 703.746.3535 and request an assessment appointment to see which services would be most helpful to you.

Below is a sampling of the groups provided. Not all groups are active at all times.

Mental Health Groups 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT is for anyone who has problems with distress tolerance, emotion regulation or interpersonal effectiveness. DBT is also for people who have a history of suicide attempts, suicidal thinking or engage in intentional self-harm. The Goal of DBT is to create a “Life Worth Living.” DBT has four modules:

  • Core Mindfulness - teaches the skill of focusing your minds attention to what you want to pay attention to.

  • Distress Tolerance - teaches skills in crisis management so you can tolerate difficult situations more effectively.

  • Emotion Regulation - teaches skills to help reduce frequent and intense swings in emotional states.

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness - teaches skills on how to develop and maintain healthy relationships.

Women’s Empowerment and Recovery Group
This group is for Latinas who are bilingual or speak only Spanish and feel sad, depressed, angry or empty. They may experience symptoms such as constant distress, tension or feeling disconnected form the body. They may have been hospitalized and may be taking medications. This group will help women:

  • Learn how the emotional, physical and sexual abuse they experienced in the past is connected to the way they feel and act in the present.

  • Learn basic self-regulation, limit setting and communication skills.

  • Develop skills in assertiveness, self-advocacy, self-management and successful relationship building.

  • Develop a positive self-esteem.

Grupo Saber es Poder- Trauma Recovery Group for Latina Women
Este grupo es para mujeres latinas que han pasado por una experiencia traumática y se sienten tristes, deprimidas, enojadas o vacías. Algunas toman medicinas o han sido hospitalizadas. A veces se sienten desconectadas de sus cuerpos y se sienten tensas y alteradas. En este grupo se puede:

  • Aprender como el abuso emocional, físico y sexual, sea del pasado o del presente, esta relacionado a la manera que se siente una y como actúa en el presente.

  • Aprender a utilizar destrezas básicas de auto-regulación, como tener límites y comunicación.

  • Aprender a ser asertiva y defender tus derechos y poder establecer relaciones que le favorezcan.

  • Desarrollar una imagen positiva de si misma.

Men’s Group
The Men’s Group is a counseling and support group for men living with a mental illness who would like a place to laugh, learn and talk about relationships, sex, work, family issues and health issues.

Mixed Adult Group
The Mixed Adult Group is a therapy group for persons who:

  • Are depressed, lonely and disconnected from others

  • Need support with current problems and issues

  • Need a safe environment to work on improving social skills and interpersonal relationships

  • Would benefit from receiving feedback from their peers and offering feedback to others

  • Need a place to practice what they have learned in therapy

  • Need an alternative to individual therapy

Real Women Real Lives
Real Women Real Lives is a group of women who share similar experiences with the hopes of finding mutual understanding, encouragement, challenges, guidance and support. Weekly discussions about the real issues that so many women face today include: Relationships, Body-Image, Self-care, Health/Aging, Family Dynamics/Parenting, Assertiveness, Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Depression, Challenging Emotions.

Women’s Trauma Recovery Group
The Women’s Trauma Recovery Group is for females over age 18 that have a history of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. The group provides skills and exercises for empowerment, helps define abuse and the effects on the mind and body and provides a healing community in which to recover and grow.

Groups for Substance Use Disorders

Considering and Maintaining Change
This group helps individuals with concerns related to their use of alcohol or drugs understand how to successfully make changes in their lives. Participants look at their relationship with or use of alcohol and/or drugs and its impact on what they value in their lives, identify changes they would like to make and learn skills to prevent falling back into unhelpful patterns of behavior related to substance use.

Matrix Program
The Matrix Program is an intensive outpatient program that provides those with substance use disorders with relevant information, skill and support to change behaviors that create problems in their lives. The full program lasts six months with the first four months being the most intensive. Daytime and evening programs are available. Women-only and coed programs are also available. The program components include the groups listed below as well as individual and family sessions.

  • Understanding Recovery
    This weekly education group provides participants with research-based information on the effects of specific drugs, the recovery process, family issues that may arise from addiction and recovery, and available community resources to support recovery.
  • Early Recovery Group
    This group meets twice weekly and consists of eight one-hour sessions during the first month of treatment. In this group, participants learn many of the basic skills they need to provide a strong foundation for recovery.

  • Relapse Prevention Group
    This group meets twice weekly for 16 weeks and consists of 32 90-minute group sessions. These sessions help participants to maintain abstinence by providing information, support and guidance as they proceed through their recovery journey. Participants also learn to schedule activities and create a structure in their lives to support recovery. 

  • Understanding Recovery Group
    This group meets once weekly and consists of twelve 75-minute group sessions. Understanding Recovery provides Matrix Program participants, their families or supportive others, recent research-based information about the effects of the specific drugs participants may be using. The group also provides information on the recovery process, family issues during drug and alcohol use and recovery, and available community resources.
  • Entendiendo la recuperación de la adicción
    Para los hombres y mujeres hispanohablantes que reconocen que su consumo de alcohol y / o drogas es problemático y quieren aprender sobre la enfermedad de la adicción, las etapas de la recuperación y las mejores prácticas para asegurar una recuperación exitosa. El grupo tiene la inscripción continua y combina la psicoeducación con el apoyo psicoterapéutico. Los miércoles, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
  • Achieving Freedom
    Achieving Freedom is a Men’s Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) group facilitated at the Substance Use Disorder Out-Patient facility. MRT is a systematic, cognitive-behavioral, step-by-step treatment strategy designed to enhance self-image, promote growth of a positive, productive identity, and facilitate the development of higher stages of moral reasoning. All of these goals are ultimately demonstrated by the more appropriate behavior on the part of the program participants. The group meets once per week, on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:45 pm and takes an estimated six to eight months to complete.
  • Mind/Body Treatment Group
    For men and women who want to practice active, body-based skills, including Yoga and Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) to learn new creative skills in recovery. Yoga and DMT have been shown to effectively treat depression, anxiety, distorted body image, and trauma symptoms. The group lasts 8 weeks. Each session we will engage in four Yoga Therapy groups and four Dance/Movement Therapy groups. New members may join the group at the start of each month, in other words every 4 weeks. The group meets on Fridays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Living In Balance Group
    For men and women who recognize that their alcohol and/or drug use is problematic, even though they still have control of significant areas of their lives; and, are seriously considering making a c change to keep alcohol and drugs out of their lives.  The group is continuous enrollment with sixteen topics. The group meets on Mondays, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

  • Filing the Inner Void Group
    For women who are letting go of criminal or addictive behavior to create a life of happiness, freedom, and peace.   The group is continuous enrollment with twelve steps with corresponding assignments that are completed and presented in group. The group meets on Tuesdays, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

  • Compassionate Recovery Practices
    This group is a long term psychotherapy group for clients in our MAT program, both males and females, that generally completed another treatment group and wish to continue to address their ongoing struggles in their recovery. Clients express their support for others in the group and offer and receive feedback related to their unique circumstances related to life after active addiction. Educational and psychoeducational opportunities are also part of this group. The group meets on Thursdays at 8:00 a.m.

  • Introduction to Change
    This group is offered for individuals that have been assessed and referred to Substance Use Disorder (treatment) program, yet there is no therapist available immediately. The group meets the requirements of same day access and consists of six sessions where new clients are provided information related to recovery, such as stages of change, treatment expectations and pros and cons of change. The group meets on Mondays at 11:00 a.m.

  • STEPS (Skills to Enhance Personal Success) Group
    This weekly group is based on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, acknowledging a dialectical interplay between reason-motivated and emotion-motivated decision-making and behaviors. STEPS teaches specific skills to develop self-awareness of thoughts, emotions and impulses that prevent a person from achieving balance and effective well-being. The groups teaches mindfulness-based skills to learn to tolerate distress, increase well-being and improve interpersonal effectiveness. STEPS is a once a week group, composed of three separate modules: Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness. It takes approximately seven months to complete all three modules. The morning group meets on Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. The evening group meets Wednesdays, 6:30 – 7:45 pm.