Welcome to
Reading & Relating

Now Available At Holding Hope

Reading & Relating is a therapy-oriented book club designed to foster personal growth, connection, and self-discovery.

This new safe and inclusive community is the perfect place to expand your therapeutic care by exploring groundbreaking psychology books, challenging yourself, and learning more about mental health across a variety of topics, all in five sessions!

Upcoming Book Selection

Platonic by Marisa G. Franco, PhD

When: Starting Monday July 24th from 630 - 800 pm

Where: Zoom virtual group therapy

How: Bi-monthly Monday evenings for 10 weeks 

Fee: $65 per hour and a half session x 5 sessions = $325 total 

Sign Up Now

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Why should you join a therapeutic book club?

You are constantly looking for more tools

Whether that's homeowrk from your therapist, accurate attachment-based data, or a supportive and inclusive community rooted in growth, you'll find it all here.

You want reputable information

Work directly with a seasoned relationship and certified sex therapist, NOT from a viral TikTok or Instagram post.

Your curious about psychology

If you're hungry to explore popular psychology books, have a desire to enhance relationships in your life, and yourself, this is the right group for you. 

Meet The Group Leader

Join Melissa Pennica, one of the top relationship and sex therapists in New York City, for this ten-week transformational experience.

Why work with Melissa?

  • Certified Sex Therapist
  • Seasoned Relationship Therapist
  • Passionate about destigmatizing mental health
  • Fellow Book Worm
  • Creates a safe and inclusive space for open dialogue

Melissa is excited to get to know you and to guide you through this journey.

Frequently asked questions

What is Reading & Relating?Reading & Relating is a therapeutic book club for anyone interested in learning more about psychology designed to foster personal growth, connection, and self-discovery in a supportive and guided environment.

Who leads the book club sessions?The sessions are led by Melissa Pennica, our seasoned relationship and certified sex therapist at Holding Hope who specializes in supporting clients in all of their interpersonal relationships, and has a strong passion for destigmatizing sex therapy and disrupting the many myths that keep us from expressing our true selves.

What if I want to participate but cannot afford the fee? We have a sliding scale rate that we offer to selected individuals who qualify for this benefit depending on their financial and personal circumstances. Our intention is to create a safe, informative, anti-oppressive space, so if you are unsure about cost but interested in joining, please reach out and we can talk further to see what we can make work. 

What is the size of the group?To maintain an intimate and safe space for open discussion, we limit the group size to a manageable number (typically between 8-15 people).

How often does the book club meet?We meet every 2 weeks for 90 minutes per session, depending on group consensus. Each book is divided into 5 manageable sections so you have time to read each section of the book and reflect before returning to the group space. 

Can I join the book club at any time?You are welcome to join the book club at any time. However, we recommend joining at the beginning of a new book for the best experience and to allow yourself the benefit of learning and growing from others.

What type of books does the club read?We focus on thought-provoking, introspective psychology books that promote personal growth and self-awareness. While some might relate to specific topics (ie attachment, dating, polyamory, etc) we plan to do our best to create a diverse and inclusive list of books and are always open to suggestions! 

What does a typical book club session look like?Sessions include introduction/check in, open discussion as a group about the readings, guided reflection questions, a reflection activity, and time for group reflection and sharing. Group reflection might occur at times all together and other times in smaller groups of people. 

Is the expectation that I have to speak or participate directly? We want this to be a space YOU benefit from so while we encourage group interaction to enhance everyone's experience, you absolutely do not have to speak nor will you ever be put on the spot. All your parts (internally focused ones and all) are welcome and truly accepted in this space. 

What is the benefit of joining Reading & Relating?You'll get to connect with a supportive community, engage in stimulating discussions, and participate in reflection activities, all guided by a seasoned therapist. The club promotes personal growth and self-discovery.

I'm not an avid reader, can I still participate?Absolutely! Our reading schedule is designed to be manageable, even for those who don't read often.

Do I need to attend every session?While regular attendance is encouraged for consistency and group cohesion, we understand life happens. If you need to miss a session, just let us know and we will do our best to share important information from the session missed. 

How are the books selected?The books are carefully chosen by our facilitator Melissa Pennica, who selects texts that often are inspired by her clinical work or current client needs and will stimulate meaningful discussion and promote personal growth amongst a team.

Is this a form of therapy?While the book club is therapeutic in nature and facilitated by a certified therapist, it should not be considered as or replaced by individual therapy. It is designed as a supplement to individual therapy and to give you a place to build community and discuss vulnerable topics. 

Is there homework outside of the sessions?While we provide a reading schedule to follow between sessions, the only homework is to engage with the book and come ready to discuss, ask questions, and observe the conversation.

How can I sign up?You can sign up by filling out your contact details in the form below. We will be in touch with you by email within 24 to 48 hours regarding next steps. 

Ready to get started?

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To be human is to be a work in progress. Let's get to work.

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