In the women’s therapy group psychotherapist Donna Marder runs at The Ajna Wellness Center in Croton-on-Hudson (18 Old Post Road S, 914-271-4514), she tries to mirror the community of support traditionally seen in the sewing circles and quilting bees of Colonial-era women.
“In the pioneer days, women would get together,” says Marder, who has been leading the group for 40 years and offers free services to those who can’t afford their insurance co-pay or deductible, “obviously not just to sew, because they could do that at home, but to talk about their problems. It recreated what a healthy family would be like.”
A healthy family, she adds, is one in which each member helps the others thrive. One of the most important elements—and benefits—of group therapy is the opportunity for participants to listen to others’ experiences. Marder stresses that this helps them recognize and solve their own problems, making the process much faster than with individual therapy alone.
“They work to stop letting the past interfere with the present—so that they can have a better future,” she says. To that collective end, the group ideally comprises eight to 10 women who help each other, just as their Colonial counterparts did before them. And no, you don’t have to know how to sew to join.