The Chrysalis Group Treatment Program offers specialized therapy for adults (16+) who have difficulty managing intense and overwhelming emotions that often result in problematic patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are long-standing, hard to change and impact many aspects of their lives, including relationships, school, and work. Their problems frequently include some or all of the following: intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, often due to a combination of a longing for deep human connection and fear of intimacy, volatile mood swings, self-destructive and self-sabotaging behaviours, suicidal ideation, inability to modulate anger, unstable sense of self, struggles with substance abuse and eating disorders, and a range of other psychological and behavioural difficulties. Individuals who have recently experienced or are currently experiencing ongoing psychosis would not be suitable for the program, but occasionally severe traumatogenic dissociative symptoms are mistaken for psychosis, and assessments for individuals suspected of possibly living with dissociative disorders, including Dissociative Identity Disorder, are a service regularly offered by the Chrysalis Program.
Treatment approaches include Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapies (Transference-Focused Therapy and Mentalization-Based Psychotherapy), offered primarily in group-based settings.
The Chrysalis Program (previously referred to as the Personality Disorders Service) also offers specialized psychiatric assessments for those with suspected or confirmed personality disorders. Assessment referrals may be focused on diagnosis, behavioural, therapeutic, and medication management, and/or questions regarding appropriate treatment, including possible inclusion in the Chrysalis Program’s range of in-person and/or virtual Group Psychotherapy programs.
Managing Powerful Emotions (MPE Group)
Managing Powerful Emotions is a 12-week (90-minute) skill-building group offered three times a year for individuals who have significant challenges with tolerating their distress and regulating emotions and behaviour. Participants learn specific strategies to help tolerate emotional crises and intense emotions; including, examining the pros and cons of acting impulsively and engaging in destructive behaviour. MPE teaches participants to use practical tools to understand their feelings and exercise control over emotional outbursts that create significant and ongoing difficulties in their lives.
Weeks 1 to 6 cover the distress tolerance material and include concepts such as accepting reality, willfulness versus willingness, and crisis survival skills. Weeks 7 to 12 teach emotion regulation concepts and tools: participants learn to identify and/or label their emotions, understand the purpose of their emotions, recognize what activates their emotions, and how to use skills to gain control over emotional outbursts.
In order to successfully complete the MPE group, participants must attend at least 9/12 sessions, actively participate in the group, complete worksheets weekly, and use the skills and tools in their day-to-day life. If these requirements are met, they can then be considered for additional DBT-informed skill-building groups: Mindfulness and People Skills. Participants are welcome to repeat the MPE group.
Mindfulness (DBT Group)
Mindfulness is a skill-based group designed to help individuals live in the present moment, build awareness, and allow emotions and physiological reactions to naturally come and go. The goals of the group are to increase awareness of internal and external responses; and to raise the threshold for accepting and enduring painful emotions.
People Skills (DBT Group: Interpersonal Effectiveness)
People Skills is a skill-based group, designed to teach participants more respectful and effective ways of communicating with others; including, expressing thoughts and feelings, making requests of others, refusing unwanted requests, and resolving conflicts.
These two groups are offered weekly for 12-weeks. Each group runs for 60 minutes and they are typically offered back-to-back, on the same day. To successfully complete and benefit from the groups, participants are expected to attend regularly and to complete the weekly worksheets. Homework for these groups is essential for developing the skills being taught. A group member who misses more than three sessions will be encouraged to repeat the groups.
Seeking Safety (Substance Abuse and Emotion Regulation)
The Seeking Safety group focuses on the link between trauma and addictions. This group teaches a specific set of skills to help individuals establish safety in their relationships, thinking, emotions, and behaviour. Participants may be at different stages in their recovery from substance use, but all will be expected to work towards abstinence. Group discussions follow a series of topics focused on building a life free from substances, with participants setting commitments in each group aimed at reducing substance use. This group meets 1.5 hours per week for 25 weeks.
Kaleidoscope Day Program
The Kaleidoscope Day Program runs for 15 weeks, two mornings a week. This program is an intensive group treatment for people with severe, persistent symptoms that have not been resolved in other settings. The program is highly structured and integrates DBT and psychodynamic approaches. Participants must be functioning independently in the community.
Successful completion of the MPE, Mindfulness, and People Skills groups is required inorder to be considered for the Kaleidoscope Program. Individual screening will be requiredfor program suitability.
Dr. Margo Rivera, PH.D., C.Psyh.,
Dr. Jamey Adirim,
Personality Disorders Service and Chrysalis Group Treatment Program
The Program is located at 303 Bagot Street, Suite 300.
A referral is mandatory to be considered for any of our groups.
Referrals to the Chrysalis Group Treatment Program are accepted from family physicians, psychiatrists, community mental health agencies, and medical care providers. Referrals can be better assessed if all collateral information is included (i.e., psychiatric assessments, social histories, discharge summaries, mental health consultation reports, or a detailed note outlining the purpose of the referral). The South Eastern Ontario Addictions & Mental Health Service Access Form can be found online or you may request a copy from our office.
Participants are encouraged to have their family physician or primary care provider continue to manage their ongoing care as our program is considered an adjunct to existing supports.
All referrals and requests for service or consultation are to be directed to the Chrysalis Group Treatment Program at (613) 542-8344 ext. 0; FAX (613) 542-1400