Our Take on the Circles Therapy App: Full Review [2024]

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Emily Thompson


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Circles Therapy Review

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Circles therapy is an innovative approach to mental health treatment that capitalizes on the benefits of group support and professional facilitation. Traditionally, therapy has often been a one-on-one interaction between a therapist and a client, but circles therapy introduces a dynamic where individuals can share experiences and support one another within a structured virtual setting.

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This methodology draws from the ancient practice of community healing and blends it with modern psychological principles to foster resilience, empathy, and personal growth among participants.

A group of diverse individuals sit in a circle, engaged in a therapy session. They listen and share their thoughts in a supportive environment

Incorporating technology into the framework, Circles therapy can now be accessed through a dedicated platform, where participants engage in therapeutic sessions via virtual groups.

These sessions are guided by licensed professionals and are tailored to address specific issues such as grief, anxiety, or stress management.

Technology has made group therapy more accessible, allowing for a diverse range of individuals to participate from the comfort of their own homes, while maintaining privacy and receiving professional support.

Moreover, the use of dedicated software ensures that all interactions within the therapy circles are secure, fostering a safe space for all participants.

Circles provides two subscription options for therapy: a yearly plan at $15 per month or a monthly plan at $29 per month. Additionally, Circles has a free version that includes peer-led groups.

Key Takeaways

  • One of the most affordable therapy options online
  • Circles therapy combines group dynamics with professional guidance to support mental health.
  • Technological advancements have enhanced the accessibility and convenience of Circles therapy.
  • Safety and ethical considerations are integral to the effective practice of Circles therapy.

Understanding Circles Therapy

A group of diverse individuals sit in a circle, engaging in a therapy session. The atmosphere is calm and supportive, with open dialogue and active listening

CirclesUp.com therapy is an innovative approach within the field of mental health that emphasizes collective support and shared healing.

It often involves participants gathering physically or through an online therapy platform, to form a circle where every individual can be seen and heard equally.

This methodology encourages a sense of community and ensures that every voice contributes to the therapeutic process.

Licensed therapists or mental health professionals guide the sessions, using groups or “circles” as a symbolic and literal tool to foster connection and empathy among participants.

The online “circle formation” helps to break down hierarchies and promotes an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Key Elements of Circles Therapy:

  • Equality: All participants, including therapists, sit in a “virtual circle setting”.
  • Inclusivity: Everyone is given a chance to speak without interruptions.
  • Shared Experience: Facilitates a sense of unity by focusing on common mental health issues.
  • Guidance: Led by professionals to maintain a safe and supportive environment.

Circles therapy can be utilized for a variety of mental health issues, providing a platform for mental health support that is both inclusive and collaborative.

Whether conducted in-person or through an online therapy company, their therapy is designed to promote healing through shared stories and experiences.

The approach typically involves regularly scheduled sessions where participants are encouraged to express themselves openly, with unconditional positive regard from both their peers and the facilitating professionals.

These sessions can be particularly beneficial for those seeking communal support in addition to traditional one-on-one counseling with a licensed therapist.

While relatively novel, Circles therapy is based on ancient traditions of communal healing and narrative sharing, which have been adapted to modern therapeutic practices for addressing contemporary mental health needs.

Significance of Group Therapy

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Group therapy offers a shared space where individuals can address personal challenges while drawing strength from communal experiences and professional guidance.

Benefits of Group Sessions

Group sessions serve as a cornerstone for individuals grappling with a range of issues including grief, trauma, and relationship challenges, such as those arising from divorce or separation. They facilitate healing by:

  • Support: Offering a consistent support group environment where members gain comfort from knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
  • Diversity of Perspectives: Enabling the exchange of diverse viewpoints, which can provide fresh insights into personal situations.
  • Shared Experience: Building a community that understands personal predicaments, fostering a sense of belonging and collective empowerment.

A study highlighted in the circle in dance movement therapy suggests the importance of such integrative approaches in therapeutic settings.

Role of Facilitators

The role of facilitators in group therapy is crucial for steering discussions and ensuring a safe environment for all members. They are responsible for:

  • Guidance: Providing direction to help members stay focused on the goals of therapy.
  • Mediation: Managing the group dynamics to support positive interactions and prevent harmful conflicts.

Navigating the complexities of narcissistic relationships requires skilled facilitators, as reviewed in publications like From the couch to the circle.

Dealing With Common Concerns

Group therapy participants commonly face concerns such as anxiety about sharing personal experiences or doubts about the efficacy of the process. Effective group therapy:

  • Transparency: Addresses these concerns by clarifying expectations and the proven benefits of participation early on.
  • Confidentiality: Maintains strict confidentiality rules to create a trustworthy space for sharing.

Incorporating strategies from models like the Concentric circles therapy training, facilitators can better equip participants to overcome apprehensions and invest trust in the therapeutic process.

Circles App Overview

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The Circles app provides an accessible platform for individuals seeking emotional support and therapy. It bridges the gap between traditional therapy sessions and modern convenience through online group sessions guided by professional facilitators.

Features and Functionality

The Circles app offers a range of features designed for individuals seeking online therapy and support.

Users can engage in group therapy sessions that are tailored to various topics, ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of the support provided.

Circles enables real-time messaging within a secure environment, allowing users to communicate and share experiences anonymously if they choose.

Key Functions Include:

  • Live Group Sessions: Sessions are led by qualified group facilitators, providing structured support.
  • Diverse Emotional Health Topics: The app covers an array of emotional health issues, offering specialized groups.
  • IOS Compatibility: Circles is available for iOS users, providing a smooth mobile experience.
  • Anonymous Participation: Users have the option to remain anonymous, contributing to a safe and private support environment.

Signing Up Process

The sign-up process for the Circles app is straightforward and user-friendly. Prospective users can download the app and create an account through a simplified form, which requires basic information to establish their profile.

Steps to Sign Up:

  1. Download the App: Obtain the Circles app from the iOS store.
  2. Create an Account: Follow the prompts to input personal details.
  3. Choose a Group: Select a group session that aligns with the user’s needs.

Privacy and Anonymity

Privacy and anonymity are central tenets of the Circles app experience. Users can partake in sessions without revealing personal information, fostering an environment where they can express themselves without concern.

Privacy Highlights:

  • Data Protection: Circles employs robust measures to safeguard user data.
  • Anonymous Profiles: Users may choose aliases to preserve their anonymity.
  • Confidentiality in Therapy: Group discussions are kept confidential, in line with traditional therapy standards.

Mental Health and Treatment Modalities

A group of diverse individuals sit in a circle, engaging in therapy activities. Various treatment modalities are displayed around the room, including art therapy materials, mindfulness exercises, and group discussion prompts

The pursuit of mental health stability often involves a variety of treatment modalities tailored to address specific psychological conditions. Two primary approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the implementation of coping strategies and exercises.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely recognized and evidence-based treatment modality for a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD. It operates on the principle that psychological distress is largely a product of distorted thinking and maladaptive behavior.

  • Anxiety and Depression: CBT helps patients identify negative patterns of thought and teaches them techniques to challenge and replace these with more realistic and positive ones.
  • PTSD and ADHD: Strategies within CBT aim to improve coping mechanisms for stress and trauma-related symptoms, while for ADHD it focuses on increasing attention and organizational skills.

Coping Strategies and Exercises

Adopting coping strategies and self-help exercises can be a transformative part of managing mental health conditions. These practices are designed to empower individuals with tools they can use in their daily lives.

  • Stress Management: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are effective in reducing stress.
  • Self-help Exercises: Journaling and mind mapping are examples of exercises that encourage patients to articulate their thoughts and feelings, thereby improving mental clarity.
AnxietyMindfulness MeditationTo develop a sense of presence and reduce worry
DepressionBehavioral ActivationTo engage in activities that boost mood
PTSDExposure TherapyTo lessen the power of traumatic memories
ADHDTime Management ExercisesTo enhance focus and control over daily activities

Service Accessibility and Convenience

A circle of diverse symbols representing therapy services surrounds a review star, emphasizing accessibility and convenience

When it comes to therapy, particularly circles type therapy, the priorities often focus on how users can access services and the convenience offered. This encompasses not just the geographical availability but also the affordability and ease of use within digital platforms.

Online Platform Ratings

Users typically seek platforms that are easy to navigate, offering a seamless experience from signup to the completion of a session.

Accessibility here means the platform should be usable for individuals with varying degrees of tech-savviness. For example, in e-counselling environments, features such as user-friendly interfaces and reliable connectivity are rated highly among users for facilitating a stress-free experience.

Ratings often reflect the quality of customer service as well, with prompt and helpful support being a significant factor.

Subscription and Cost Details

Subscription models and cost are central to the discussion of accessibility. They should be affordable and transparent.

Multiple tiers exist, offering different levels of access and types of services. For instance:

  • Free Tier: Peer-led groups
  • Monthly Plan Tier: Subscription at $29 per month
  • Annual Plan Tier: A year subscription at $15 per month.

Users appreciate when subscription details are clearly outlined, without hidden fees.

Additionally, options such as pay-as-you-go or sliding scale fees enhance affordability, ensuring cost is not a barrier to obtaining help.

Customer service can be a determining factor in subscriptions, as users often need assistance understanding the best plan for their needs.

Professional Expertise

A group of professionals in a circle discussing therapy techniques and reviewing their expertise

The success of circles group therapy relies heavily on the expertise of professionals such as licensed therapists and mental health experts. These individuals play a crucial role in facilitating, guiding, and moderating sessions to ensure that clients receive the best possible care.

Therapist Credentials

Licensed therapists leading circles therapy sessions are expected to hold relevant credentials demonstrating their proficiency in the field of mental health.

Credentials typically include:

  • A master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, counselling, or social work
  • State licensure certifying their qualification to practice therapy

Expertise in specific therapeutic approaches is also paramount, often verified through advanced certifications from recognized professional bodies.

It is essential that therapists maintain their credentials with ongoing education and adhere to professional ethical standards.

Expert Guidance

Experts provide the framework through which therapy circles operate. These mental health professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that is critical for addressing complex issues within the group.

The provide the following:

  • Utilize evidence-based practices to facilitate healing and growth
  • Are skilled in creating a safe, non-judgmental environment for sharing and reflection

Studies, such as an integrative international review of research, have highlighted the importance of integrating expert knowledge with the unique dynamics of therapy circles.

Supportive Moderators

Moderators, often experienced coaches or senior therapists, are integral in maintaining the flow of therapy sessions. Their roles include:

  • Guiding discussions to ensure each participant is heard and respected
  • Intervening when necessary to maintain the circle’s integrity and purpose

These supportive moderators are trained to handle group dynamics and empower participants to share their experiences, making the circle a collaborative therapeutic space. They strive to strike a balance between offering support and fostering autonomy among group members.

User Experience and Support

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In the settings of group therapy, user experience centers around the dynamics of group interaction and the sense of community and connection among participants. These elements are essential in fostering a supportive environment where users can share and grow.

Group Interaction

Group therapy sessions are designed to create a safe, moderated environment where users can interact through group chat and discussions.

The effectiveness of these sessions often hinges on how well individuals engage with each other, offering and receiving support.

A study highlighted in an Academia.edu document indicates that group interaction during therapy is positively correlated with improved treatment outcomes. It underlines the importance of a well-facilitated group support structure.

Community and Connection

A critical aspect of group therapy is fostering a connection among participants.

Support groups aim to cultivate a sense of belonging, enabling individuals to benefit from shared experiences and collective wisdom.

Research presented by Wiley Online Library suggests that compassionate mind training in group sessions helps people develop self-compassion, which is a testament to the pivotal role of community and connection in therapeutic settings.

This sense of unity not only provides emotional comfort but can also reinforce adherence to therapeutic practices.

Technological Aspects of Circles

A group of circles connected by lines, representing a network of communication and support. Various technological devices, such as smartphones and laptops, are integrated into the design, symbolizing the use of technology in therapy

In the realm of online counseling, technological components are central to delivering effective therapy sessions. Distinct features like online session logistics and audio and video capabilities have a direct impact on the quality of counseling received.

Online Session Logistics

Zoom, a leader in video conferencing, has become an essential tool for online counseling where therapists and clients can engage in therapeutic sessions remotely.

It offers a reliable platform for scheduling and hosting meetings.

Messaging systems integrated within these platforms facilitate real-time communication, allowing for seamless coordination between all participants.

Audio and Video Features

Zoom and similar platforms provide audio-only options, which cater to clients who may be bandwidth-limited or prefer a level of anonymity.

However, for a full therapy experience, high-quality video conferencing features, including clear resolution and stable connectivity, are vital.

This ensures non-verbal cues are not lost, which can be essential in online counseling and webinars.

Special Considerations

A group of diverse individuals sit in a circle, engaging in therapy activities and discussion. A review or evaluation process is evident in the scene

In the realm of circles therapy, special considerations must be given to the unique challenges and support mechanisms concerning relationships, grief, and loss. Each scenario demands a tailored approach, understanding the intricacies involved in different interpersonal dynamics and emotional states.

Addressing Relationship Challenges

Circles therapy is particularly sensitive to the complex patterns in relationship dynamics.

When dealing with issues such as divorce or separation, sessions are designed to nurture a sense of communal support.

For individuals entangled in narcissistic relationships, therapy circles provide a safe space to share experiences and receive validation, away from the manipulative environment often associated with such relationships.

Facilitating Grief and Loss Support

Support for grief and loss is another pivotal aspect of circles therapy that warrants a special focus.

It isn’t just about providing a shoulder to cry on; it’s about creating a supportive network that understands the multifaceted nature of grief.

Whether it’s the death of a loved one or coming to terms with the end of a marriage, grief and loss circles offer a structured environment where individuals can express their pain and start their journey towards healing.

Research and Effectiveness

Two intersecting circles with "Research" and "Effectiveness" written inside, surrounded by smaller circles labeled "Therapy" and "Review."

Investigations into circles therapy reveal a growing body of research focused on its efficacy and impact on quality of care.

Efficacy Studies and Outcomes

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) for sex offenders have undergone systematic scrutiny to gauge their effectiveness.

Research indicates that CoSA can contribute significantly to risk management and community integration for offenders, which directly ties into the quality of care provided to this population.

A comprehensive evaluation is documented in the study titled “Circles of support and accountability for sex offenders: A systematic review of outcomes,” which amalgamates various studies to measure Circle efficacy.

In the realm of therapeutic interventions, the Circle of Security has emerged as a noteworthy framework, particularly in the context of attachment-based interventions.

An analysis titled “Efficacy of the circle of security intervention: a meta-analysis” leverages meta-analytic methods to elucidate the possessive impact of these interventions, emphasizing its effectiveness in enhancing attachment security among children.

Further extending to primary health care, Quality Circles—collaborative groups of physicians focusing on improving clinical practice—demonstrate an improvement in the implementation of diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines.

They support the contention that systematic approaches such as Quality Circles can positively influence research applications and quality of care in primary settings, as detailed in “Perceived effectiveness of diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines in primary care quality circles.”

The application of circles therapy to areas as diverse as miscarriage trauma healing emphasizes the breadth of contexts where these approaches can be applied effectively.

Research supports inclusive methodologies such as expressive arts therapy, ritual, and healing circles not only contribute to the process of grief and trauma healing but also reinforce the therapeutic value and quality of care.

Insights into these methods are explored in the work “Healing miscarriage trauma through expressive arts therapy, ritual, and healing circles: A critical literature review.”

Ethics and Safety

A therapist sits in a circle with clients, discussing ethics and safety. Visual aids and diagrams are used to facilitate the conversation

Ethics and safety are essential components of circles therapy, a form of mental health support that emphasizes trust, confidentiality, and the well-being of participants. The therapy seeks to create a safe space where privacy is respected and insurance and professional boundaries are maintained.

Maintaining Professional Boundaries

Therapists must establish and uphold clear boundaries to safeguard the therapeutic relationship and ensure a safe environment for all parties involved.

They are responsible for setting explicit guidelines about their role and the extent of their professional involvement with clients. This includes avoiding dual relationships that may lead to conflicts of interest or exploitation.

Insurance and Confidentiality

Participants in circles therapy rely on strict confidentiality to feel secure in sharing personal experiences.

Therapists are obliged to protect private information, sharing only what is legally permissible and necessary for treatment.

In addition, therapists must verify that they possess appropriate insurance coverage to provide mental health support, which protects both clients and therapists in case of unforeseen legal or ethical issues.

Getting the Most Out of Circles

When engaging with circles therapy, it is crucial to capitalize on the dynamics of group interactions to foster effective healing and growth.

Approaching group therapy with a clear understanding of its mechanisms can significantly enhance the therapeutic experience.

Maximizing Group Therapy Benefits

Group Composition: She selects members who display a variety of perspectives yet have a common desire to heal, as diversity promotes rich discussions and insights. The facilitator ensures a balance of sharing time among participants, allowing everyone to contribute equally.

  • Session Structure: They adhere to a structured format with clear objectives for each session, which may include activities designed for self-exploration and group interaction.
  • Confidentiality: He strictly enforces confidentiality agreements to create a safe environment, which is paramount for sincere participation.

Building Trust and Rapport

Creating a Supportive Atmosphere: They cultivate a non-judgmental and empathetic environment, enhancing the sense of support among group members. Participants are encouraged to listen actively and respond to others with compassion and understanding.

  • Encouraging Vulnerability: She gently prompts members to share personal experiences and feelings, reinforcing the trust within the group. This openness paves the way for forming deeper relationships and a stronger support network.

By meticulously structuring sessions and nurturing trustful relationships, circles therapy can be a powerful modality for personal growth and collective support.

Comparison to Other Services

When evaluating Circles in the context of mental health services, it’s essential to discern how it measures up against traditional therapy and other contemporary online services. These comparisons hinge on therapeutic efficacy, mode of delivery, and accessibility.

Circles vs. Traditional Therapy

Circles of Support and Accountability offer a unique approach where a person can benefit from a community-based support system, which is distinct from traditional therapy.

Traditional therapy typically involves one-on-one sessions with a licensed therapist, focusing on the individual’s psychological well-being.

In contrast, Circles integrate a more collective methodology, often including volunteers and community members to assist individuals, notably those re-integrating into society, such as sex offenders.

In terms of effectiveness, Circles have been shown to aid in reducing recidivism for offenders, aligning with community protection goals while complementing statutory supervision. They foster accountability and support which may not feature as prominently in conventional therapy settings.

Circles vs. Other Online Services

When compared to other online services, such as BetterHelp or various mental health apps, Circles again demonstrate a different framework.

BetterHelp and similar platforms primarily offer access to professional therapy through a digital medium, which can include messaging, voice calls, or video sessions. These services provide a direct line to professional counselling, promoting a convenient and discreet therapeutic experience.

Online support groups, often accessed through mental health apps, share similarities with Circles regarding the community aspect. However, Circles is structured with a clear aim and defined roles within the support network, distinguishing them from more open and less formal online group settings.


Expressive arts therapy, when integrated with healing circles, has been shown to be beneficial in providing expression, validation, and connection for individuals coping with early pregnancy loss. A critical literature review implies potential advantages of these practices.

In the realm of dance movement therapy (DMT), the significance of forming a circle is recognized as a powerful symbol and a practical formation for group sessions. The elements of circle DMT have been examined against group therapeutic factors, suggesting its effectiveness in fostering a sense of unity and support among participants. More details can be found through an in-depth literature review on circle DMT.

Post the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, hormone therapy for menopause symptoms has undergone extensive scrutiny. A decade after WHI, the pendulum has swung back, suggesting a possible need for an independent review commission. This scrutiny has included a reassessment of research on hormone therapies.

Circle therapy has also been explored in the context of pain management for breast cancer patients, with results indicating a significant reduction in pain through hypnosis. However, this effect is found to be of a short duration. The study discussing the effect of circle therapy on breast cancer pain management delves into these findings.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section elaborates on commonly asked questions about Circles therapy platform, providing insight into its benefits, distinctions from traditional therapy, support group offerings, its use for specific issues, user testimonials, and cost comparisons.

What are the benefits of joining group therapy through Circles?

Group therapy through Circles offers a sense of community, shared experience, and peer support. It allows individuals to gain different perspectives on their issues that can lead to breakthroughs in their personal growth and healing.

How does the Circles mental health app differ from individual therapy?

The Circles app facilitates group therapy sessions that encourage collective healing, which is different from the one-on-one focus of individual therapy. Users can connect with others facing similar challenges and foster mutual support networks.

What types of support groups are offered by Circles?

Circles provides a diverse range of support groups that cater to various issues, including addiction, mental health struggles, grief, and chronic illness, all moderated by trained professionals.

Can Circles be an effective tool for people dealing with narcissistic abuse?

Members dealing with narcissistic abuse may find Circles beneficial due to the supportive community that understands this specific form of emotional trauma and offers a platform for shared healing and empowerment.

What are users saying about their experience with the Circles therapy platform?

Users often report a positive experience with the Circles platform, highlighting the comfort of shared experiences and the accessibility of therapy services as notable benefits.

How does the cost of Circles compare to traditional therapy sessions?

Circles typically offers a more affordable alternative to traditional therapy sessions. This makes mental health support more accessible to those with financial constraints.

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About the author

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

Hello there! I'm Emily Thompson, a proud Londoner and writer with a fervor for breaking down the complexities of therapy in this modern, digital era. My roots are in London, right in its bustling heart, and it was here at King's College London that I earned my degree in journalism. It was during those transformative years at university that my curiosity for mental health was ignited, propelling me to further study and earn a Masters in Clinical Psychology. I have a unique ability to simplify intricate therapy notions into easily understandable and relatable content, essentially bridging the chasm between the clinical environment and everyday folks like you and me.Social

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