Brighton & Hove Group Treatment Service
Our Brighton & Hove Group Treatment Service (GTS) offers support to adults with complex mental health difficulties, helping them to develop psychological awareness and 'here and now' coping skills to help towards recovery. We work with people who are already within our Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS)
All treatments offered are group based and are supported by individual work within the service.
An initial period of treatment with GTS is usually around eight weeks. Then you are either discharged from GTS or you will be invited to continue on to attend other groups. For further group work you need to have been attending regularly and shown motivation to work towards agreed goals. Part of our discharge planning is to support you in finding community activities and support or referring you onwards for further treatment, depending on your needs.
The Group Treatment Service (GTS) team is made up of mental health nurses, occupational therapists, mindfulness teachers, older adult specialists and behavioural activation practitioners. A number of staff in the team are trained in compassion-focused approaches and Voices Clinic interventions. We have a variety of skills across the team and we look forward to sharing these with you to help you throughout your treatment.
You will be allocated a primary worker but will benefit from the expertise, supervision and experience of the whole team.
Our supervision is overseen by a senior clinical psychologist and we receive regular training and weekly team supervision. This allows us to share our knowledge and to offer a holistic, safe and effective group treatment pathway to all clients who attend.
All of our group content and individual sessions are underpinned by research and evidence-based practice. Our programme is informed by the NICE guidelines.
If you attend the group treatment service, we ask for regular feedback from you. This is valuable information that will enable us to monitor the quality and efficacy of the group treatments that we provide. We will listen to your feedback and adjust the way we work so we can keep improving and continue to strive to provide the best service possible for you.
What does the team say?
I'm Josie, a staff nurse and team leader and I enjoy working at GTS because I like how this service works. I really value seeing people start to make positive changes from our group program to manage their mental health in more helpful ways. Seeing someone change from feeling overwhelmed by their mental health difficulties, to taking some control and therefore improving their lifestyle and wellbeing is very rewarding. Every group is so different due to the members; this makes each one a new and exciting experience. All of the team are lovely to work with, interested and dedicated to this way of working.
I'm Deb and I'm a registered mental health nurse and community practitioner. It is a genuine pleasure to see people coming along to GTS, wanting to try to make things different for themselves (even though they are nervous!). Often, people don’t have a lot of belief in how possible it can be to make changes but after even the shortest time of coming along, they can chip away at making small differences and setting manageable goals to work on. This leads to really positive change and recovery. Also, GTS is a friendly, understanding and approachable team to work with and every team member really values supporting people to make change happen.
Recovery Awareness Group
This is a seven-week course aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of the recovery approach and the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) model. It is hoped that you will build increased understanding of your mental health difficulties by starting to notice and learn about the interaction between thoughts, behaviour, mood/emotion and physical reactions. The importance of change and goal-setting are recognised.
The course is aimed at understanding mental health from a psychological perspective and recognising your own contribution to recovery. The expectation of this group is to be able to attend for the whole course. Participation in group discussion is encouraged, but is not compulsory, apart from introducing yourself.
Recovery Skills Group
This is a 20-week course for those who have completed the ‘recovery awareness group’. It aims to help you develop a toolbox of strategies to increase psychological awareness, learn and build alternative responses to emotional triggers and to improve general mental health and daily functioning. It is expected that you will practice new skills during the programme to facilitate change and increased coping in your everyday life. Mindful approaches to building awareness are a feature throughout.
The recovery skills group is made up of five modules. These are designed to build on the CBT knowledge from the recovery awareness group and include problem solving and mindfulness skills. There are modules specifically on managing anxiety, depression and communication skills. Participation is an expectation of this group, to identify goals to work on and feed back to the group on your progress. Also included are group discussions and exercises.
We offer ‘exploring art’, ‘exploring clay’ and ‘exploring horticulture’ groups. These run for a maximum of eight weeks, providing an opportunity to develop creative skills, knowledge and self-expression. These groups can help with increasing concentration, confidence, motivation, and social skills through group interaction. Creative groups can be a helpful way of getting used to being in a group setting. Attendance at creative groups will be based on individual goals that you identified at your initial appointment, such as reducing social anxiety.
This is an eight-week group aimed at increasing self-compassionate thoughts, behaviours and attitudes. We use approaches such as imagery, mindfulness, and psycho-education. We will explore benefits of self-compassion to mental and physical wellbeing, but also barriers such as our life experiences and beliefs. You will be encouraged to explore self-soothing and nurturing activities. Weekly homework tasks are required throughout to reinforce your learning.
Older Adults Pathway
This group is usually for people aged over 65. The focus is on improving mood, self-esteem, and using life’s experiences and achievements to reflect on one’s strengths and values. Awareness of living healthily and having a good quality of life is emphasised. It is hoped that the skills and knowledge learnt throughout the group will improve and maintain your wellbeing whilst going through the ageing process. This is a 16-week rolling programme: Staying Well for Older Adults which consist of workshops up to 2 ½ hours in duration. Please note that if you are referred into the older adult pathway, we will try to accommodate any sensory impairments, complex physical health needs, or preferences for learning.
If you are referred to group treatment, we will have an introductory chat with you about what we can offer, to talk about your options and make sure group treatment is the right choice for you.
While you are with the service you will have a primary worker, who will help you to choose which groups you attend. Afterwards they will work with you to reflect on what you have learned from the groups and encourage you to apply this learning to your individual recovery goals. We will work in partnership with you to help you get the best out of group treatment.
Groups vary between seven-week and 20-week long courses. If you have enjoyed the course and have engaged with it and benefited from it you might be interested in attending further courses. You can discuss and agree this with your primary worker who will support you in your next steps.
"I would like to tell you about my experience I have had with Mill View's Group Treatment Services. All the staff are friendly and along with the environment make you feel safe. I was very anxious going to my first few group meetings but this became non-existent after the first two and now I look forward to going to them. The facilitators are very knowledgeable across a wide range of topics, coping strategies and specific courses. I have done several courses now and was particularly impressed with Graded Exposure. I also found that sharing in a group has great benefits and I have learnt lots from other people. I would recommend group treatment as I am now rebuilding my life with the tools learnt."
"I am currently finishing the anxiety module. I have suffered with anxiety from a really young age. One of my earliest memories of this anxiety manifesting itself was when I had done a drawing I held it up to show people and I burst into hysterical laughter. It was a nervous reaction that I couldn’t control.
"It’s a big deal for me to be here today talking about anxiety and still facing it. I have attended the recovery awareness course through the group treatment service, the clay group and have had one to one treatment alongside this. I like the groups because it is nice to see other people, to get to know familiar faces in the group and also to welcome new people.
"A real turning point for me was learning about anxiety, learning that it can be a good thing as well as bad. It’s been explained to me so well I feel I now finally understand something that is so much a part of my life. In the recovery group every possible feeling is covered and everyone has experienced these different feelings at different times; it is a great reminder that we are not alone. The group and the group leaders and really nice, kind and supportive.
"I could never imagine myself speaking publicly about my anxiety but I can do this in the group. Group treatment has taught me strengths I didn’t know I had. My family have seen a positive change in me. If you are nervous about coming to group treatment, that’s understandable! If you can, bring someone with you to help you get over the ‘doorstep’ and come in. That first step is hard but once you start coming along you will see how life changing group treatment can be and can build up a new support network of people who understand where you are coming from and want to walk with you in this."
Here are some of the tools we use in the group treatment service to help people think about how they are feeling and look at different coping strategies. These are things that are useful to us whether we are feeling really well, or if we could be feeling better. It’s good to take some time out every now and then and think about how we are.
We use these tools in the groups we run and encourage people to think of them as a part of a toolbox for recovery, which also includes strategies that help you. Which tools / strategies work best for you is for you to find out, there is no one way that works for everyone as we are all different. If you find something that works for you that you think could help someone else, please let us know!