Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Groups
CBT group programming is a widely used, evidence-based practice that helps members develop effective coping strategies, new patterns of thinking and behaviour, and emotional regulation. Group work also enhances connection with others through vulnerability and trust. Aurora has several CBT-based groups and also offers Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Mind-Body Bridging (MBB) groups.
Group work sessions occur 7 days a week. Each group has specific program delivery on a four-week cycle, with those in treatment for 45 or 60 days or longer moving into different group programming after the first 30 days. The morning groups are gender-specific clinical topics while the afternoon groups are mixed and focus on 12-step or alternative philosophies.
Our group programs consist of the following:
The purpose of the Transition Group is to acclimatize new members coming from detox to the programming and culture of Aurora. The emphasis of the group is to build a sense of connection, encourage involvement, understand basic recovery principles, and to stabilize members mentally, physically and emotionally. Topics emphasize skill development, awareness of substance use and mental health issues, and developing core strengths.
Members typically spend from 2-7 days in the Transitional phase, depending on their individual needs. Some members may continue in the group for longer if they have higher mental health needs and/or they benefit from smaller group interactions.
Core Clinical Group
The Core Clinical Group is the standard clinical group program, which most of our members participate in. The groups cover a variety of topics covering issues such as:
- Understanding the disease
- Emotional regulation
- Coping strategies
- Other mental health issues
- Gender specific topics.
Core 12-Step Group
12-step group work is the core component of addiction treatment programming. The groups meet daily for the purpose of understanding the philosophy underlying the steps, how to work the steps study of the basic text of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Members work thoroughly on steps 1-3 with their step counsellor while in the core 12-step group.
As described in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., the steps are “a group of principles, spiritual in nature, which if practised as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink (or use) and enable the suffer to become happy and usefully whole.” The purpose of this group is to help members understand and apply these principles as a design for living a new life.
The Readiness Group is for returning members, members who have been in treatment or had time in 12-step recovery previously, members with programs longer than 30 days and step resistant members. The focus of the group is to take a deeper dive into the causes of relapse and relapse prevention. There is a 4-week structured program of three group sessions/week that is highly tailored to the needs of the group membership. Examples of a few topics are:
- In-depth study of recovery and relapse prevention material in a facilitated peer-to-peer group.
- Topics including spirituality, Steps 1-6, cross additions, healthy relationships, positive self-talk, acceptance, coping skills, recovery and relapse and relapse prevention actions.
12-Step Alternative Group
The 12-Step Alternative Group is for members who have rigid/absolute resistance to 12-step philosophy. Step counsellors help these members identify alternative forms of spirituality to connect the member to their own concept of a Higher Power. Traditional ceremonies have been an effective way for a number of members to connect with a Higher Power. Individuals in the 12-Step Alternative Group meets as a group when possible and engage in book work and assignments during core 12-step group times.
Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are held internally six days a week and one meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is outside of Aurora. Meeting formats vary from day-to-day to provide members with the various formats they will experience after discharge. These include speaker, discussion, topic, step study and book study.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Group
DBT is offered to Aurora members one-on-one with a counsellor or in a group atmosphere, depending on each member’s needs. DBT skills have proven to help people who struggle with volatile emotions. The therapeutic approach especially helps people with co-occurring disorders like PTSD or borderline personality disorder. The sessions introduce:
- Skills of mindfulness
- Distress tolerance
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Mind–Body Bridging Group
Mind-Body Bridging (MBB) is designed as an adjunct intervention to assist the treatment of individuals suffering from substance use disorders and PTSD by reducing cravings, trauma symptoms, sleep disturbance; and increasing well-being, mindfulness and self-compassion. MBB is offered in a group and an individual format at Aurora Recovery Centre.
MBB has been certified as evidence-based intervention by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The MBBSAP is now officially listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs (NREPP).
The Mind-Body Bridging Substance Abuse Program (MBBSAP) NREPP profile can be viewed at:
Individual counselling is to provide a safe and trusting environment to facilitate digging deeper into underlying causes and conditions of addiction and mental health disorders. Counselling uses a variety of clinical and 12-step practices. Each member has a clinical and 12-step counsellor and meets a minimum of 3 times/week while in treatment.
Counsellors work collaboratively with the medical team, and therapists to guide the member to achieve the goals outlined in the Personalized Treatment Plan.
Clinical Counsellors lead the member’s treatment team, manage the member’s progress, refer members to therapists or psychiatrists, and provide the member with a minimum of two one-on-one counselling sessions per week. The counselling focuses on consequences of substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, trauma, family dynamics, and the member’s basic needs for recovery capital (e.g., housing, financial support, etc.) as it relates to the body, mind and spirit.
The 12-step counsellor meets with the member a minimum of once per week in a one-on-one session. The purpose is to enhance the clinical work by helping the member put the tools into action through the 12-step model. The 12-step counsellor actively supports the member’s preparation of the critical sobriety portion of the Recovery Plan, and assists in connecting with a temporary sponsor and ARC Buddy.
Therapy at Aurora is provided by masters-level therapists and is focused on trauma and mental health issues.
Our therapists are psychotherapists with Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT). They utilize various psychotherapy and attachment and trauma-informed treatments including but not limited to, Motivational Interviewing, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and EMDR with emphases on addiction, anxiety, depression, parenting, grief & loss, relationship distress, and emotional expression.
Members are referred to therapy by the counselling team based on need as determined from the intake assessments and the learnings from the member’s participation in clinical programming, interaction with members and one-on-one sessions. We also utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is helpful in addressing event-driven trauma.
Aurora utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is a unique, non-traditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. EMDR focuses on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from those events. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side.
The goal of EMDR is to process past negative experiences and help sort out the emotions attached to those experiences. Negative thoughts and feelings that are no longer useful are replaced with positive thoughts and feelings that will encourage healthier behaviour and social interactions. EMDR shows that the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. Once the psychological block is removed, healing resumes. At Aurora, EMDR is used for cases of severe trauma and at the discretion of the therapy team.
Our psychiatrist is on call 24/7 and meets with members with more acute forms of trauma and mental health when they are referred by our counselling and medical team. Each member receives a mental health assessment. Those with more intense forms of trauma or other mental health will also meet with our nurse practitioner specializing in mental health. The medical and counselling staff collaborate on the referral of a member to the psychiatrist based on the assessments and the team’s experience with the members.
Members may receive a consultation with a Psychiatrist if further investigation is required to determine the best course of action to address mental health concerns and changes to medications. Our Registered Psychiatric Nurses perform Mental Health Assessments and work collectively with the Counselling team and Therapists to provide optimum care before and after psychiatric consultation. Our medical doctors and nurse practitioners address the immediate medical needs of our members and work in conjunction with the member’s existing Mental Health care providers to obtain important collateral that will assist in an accurate holistic treatment approach.
Members are encouraged to participate in a variety of adjunctive therapies including Yoga, Meditation, Auricular Acupuncture, Physical Fitness, Nutrition and Expressive Art Therapy as well as Traditional Sweat Lodges and ceremonies. These therapies, in conjunction with core programming enhance mindfulness and self awareness, and have proven to enhance feelings of safety and well being, relaxation, and to open the mind for learning and new actions and behaviours. Read more about Adjunctive Therapies at Aurora.
Aurora Recovery Centre’s philosophies are consistently reflected in the way we value our members and staff. Everything we do is in the interest of our members’ recovery for life.
Aurora’s treatment process is built upon a member-first culture and stands on three pillars that reflect our philosophy toward our members’ recovery: Heal, Connect and Recover.
From initial contact with Aurora, you begin to experience our Member-First Culture. Our highly experienced Addiction Specialists help you navigate the complex, emotional decision to admit to treatment.