DBSA-Boston Support Groups * dbsaboston.org
DBSA-Boston offers a variety of support groups people with affective disorders as well as their family and friends. Our groups are support groups, not therapy groups, that allow our members to share feelings, experiences, and strategies for coping with our illnesses. Groups are facilitated by DBSA members who receive ongoing training in group leadership.
Daytime Drop-in Groups (described below): These groups meet on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 132 off the de Marneffe cafeteria at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA.
DBSA-Boston at MGH/Downtown: Group meets Thursdays 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Family & friends are welcome to attend. The MGH groups meet at the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care on the fourth floor, Suite 4A, in the Schiff Conference Room.
Wednesday Evening Groups: All other DBSA-Boston support groups meet every Wednesday night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the de Marneffe cafeteria at McLean Hospital (picture on right) in Belmont, MA, except when guest lecturers are scheduled (on the 2nd Wednesday of the month). On those nights, support groups will meet from 8 to 9 p.m. following the speaker. The first night you will attend the Newcomers group. You will be introduced to DBSA and it’s guidelines and groups.
Support group attendees must be willing to adhere to the DBSA Share/Care Guidelines.
The following support groups are currently offered and are provided by DBSA peer facilitators: (click on links below for group)
Family and Friends
Mania and Bi-polar
Mania and Bi-polar
Working and Coping Group
Daytime Drop-in – DBSA-Boston offers daytime drop-in groups on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in addition to our Wednesday night meetings. Most of the two-hour meeting is spent discussing how individuals are coping with life and offering suggestions on where to get help and resources. Meets Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. in Room 132 of the de Marneffe cafeteria. Family and friends of those with Mood Disorders are also welcome to attend these groups.
Depression – The Depression group provides an opportunity for members to share feelings and experiences regarding living with depression with others who have had similar experiences in their own lives. This group typically contains a mix of unipolar and bipolar people who are dealing with depression and the effect it has on the people in our lives. The group helps everyone remember that depression is generally not a permanent way of life and to recognize the great strength and resilience of people with mood disorders. Meets weekly.
Dual Diagnosis – This group deals with the “double trouble” of having either a bipolar or depressive illness and a substance abuse or alcohol problem at the same time. The substance use or abuse may or may not be current. Even those who attend AA regularly find a special support from those who can share the understanding of the need to treat both illnesses simultaneously to achieve wellness. Meets weekly.
Family & Friends – People with the illness are not the only ones affected. Friends and family need support as well. This special group gives friends and family members a chance to share with others going through the same experience of having someone close to them become ill. This is one of our largest attended groups and friends and family members facilitate the group. Meets weekly. To read more about Family and Friends click here.
Maintaining Stability – This group is a place for individuals who have learned about and worked through various states of their illness. Participants share coping skills, treatment strategies, and suggestions for ongoing health. These ideas are designed to prevent relapse and to return individual members to an optimum level of functioning. Recent topics include relationships (accepting broken ones and establishing new ones), careers (addressing return-to-work issues), and treatment issues (cognitive therapy, medication management, working with a therapist, alternative medicine, enlisting spiritual support). This group is for those who are not currently symptomatic and therefore not suitable for those who are currently in a partial hospitalization or who are currently inpatient program. Meets weekly.
Mania & Bipolar Issues – Mania is a difficult topic because it covers a unique range of emotions and experience. Participants learn to appreciate this range through honest and voluntary sharing and humor. The tug between the energy of hypomania and the containment of medication serves as one of many topics. The ultimate goal – to stay out of the hospital and lead a productive life – provides the underlying theme for group discussions. Meets weekly.
Newcomers – The group for newcomers is a must for DBSA first-timers and anyone interested in reacquainting themselves with all that DBSA offers. All DBSA-Boston newcomers, including family and friends, are encouraged to attend. As the DBSA orientation group, Newcomers focuses on providing information on the DBSA organization as a whole, as well as the range of share/care groups, lectures, and other events, resources, and services that form the core of DBSA-Boston. Newcomers meetings usually conclude with a share/care session that is typical of other DBSA-Boston groups. Meets weekly.
Open Exchange – Group provides an ideal opportunity for people with mood disorders to meet and talk with people from our Friends and Families group. By sharing our different perspective and life issues, we foster awareness and empathy, and help each other understand how we cope with our respective experience. It can be very helpful for friends and family members to hear stories from unrelated people who live with depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. People with mental illness may benefit from the objectivity of friends and family who are not engaged in their daily lives. Please note that although Open Exchange is a good group for exchanging feedback and support between family, friends and people with a mood disorder, it not a family therapy group, and family members are discouraged from attending the group at the same time. Meets every Wednesday.
Veterans – This is a group for veterans to discuss veteran/military/combat-related issues affecting their bipolar disorder and depression. This is a new group, starting in January. Meets the third Wednesday of each month. If there is enough interest, it may meet more regularly.
Women’s Group– The Women’s group provides a haven for women who feel more comfortable participating in share/care sessions made up of women only. The female-only environment is often conducive to discussion of topics specific to women, but a wide range of subjects may be covered depending on the group’s needs and interests. Meets weekly.
Work and Coping Group – Having a job while coping with its everyday stresses can be challenging and at times seem impossible. Sometimes you may feel defeated after a long shift or even an hour after you clocked in. You are not alone. The Work and Coping Group provides meaningful and supportive discussions with working peers (volunteer, per-diem, part-time, and full-time) who have mental illness. The purpose of the group is to support and learn from others through their personal experiences in coping with everyday work stresses and situations that may exacerbate mental illness. Topics include but not limited to work-life balance, anxiety in high-pressured situations, and self-worth in the workplace. While work is the primary topic of discussion, the group is not a recruiting, job-hunting, or resume-review session. The group occurs every 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Young Adults – (Ages 18-29) This group provides a safe place for young adults to share feelings about age-related issues. Jobs, relationships, stigma, and fitting in socially are common themes in the Young Adults group. Sometimes there is controversy about where we stand in society. There is often laughter and we tend to show up expecting an exciting event. There is an environment of acceptance and openness and hopefully people leave feeling that there is nothing to be ashamed of or feel bad about regarding their illness. Meets weekly.
*All groups apart from Open Exchange at Belmont are open to peers only. For example, you must have Bipolar Illness to attend the Bipolar/Mania group, etc.
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