Most personal struggles and relationship issues result from problems with a person’s relationship with the self, which is rooted in relational injury (e.g. physical, emotional or sexual trauma, or neglect) experienced in childhood and early adulthood.

Therapy involves a dual process of understanding and healing the relational trauma one experienced and focusing attention on healing the relationship with self.

There are five core issues, listed below, within the relationship with the self that lead to the development of secondary issues such as depression, anxiety, and addictions. Learning how to identify and manage the struggle in our relationship with self helps us to esteem ourselves more consistently, engage in good self care, have healthy, fulfilling relationships and take charge of the areas of our lives that feel unmanageable.

Five Core Issues (i.e. based on Pia Mellody’s Model of Developmental Trauma and Co-dependency):

  • Problems esteeming the self
  • Problems with vulnerability and self protection and containment
  • Problems with perfection/self-loathing
  • Problems with self-care and interdependency
  • Difficulty with moderation


Group therapy alone, or in conjunction with other therapies, is a very useful and powerful form of treatment. Because group members are at different stages of the treatment process, seeing others who are coping and recovering gives hope to new members. Being in a group of people with similar issues and struggles helps decrease feelings of isolation and normalizes people’s symptoms and reactions. By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and therapist, each individual can gain a greater understanding of themselves. Finally, because group therapy is much like a family, it can provide a corrective emotional experience modeling healthy family functioning.


Barb OBrien TherapistI currently facilitate two weekly Women’s Process Groups focused on healing relationships with self and others and addressing Family of Origin issues related to present day struggles.

Family of Origin Workshops