Authentic Connections Groups

Building strong, supportive relationships to foster resilience

About AC Groups

 AC Groups is a nonprofit that fosters people’s resilience by ensuring they have dependable, supportive relationships in their everyday lives.

Our nonprofit offers the evidence-based Authentic Connections (AC) Groups program, where participants meet virtually, once per week for 12-weeks.  Groups include 5-6 people from similar life situations or roles. For examples of the diverse groups of participants in prior AC Groups, please see Testimonials.

Facilitated by experienced clinicians, all AC Group sessions are focused on developing positive coping skills and forging dependable close relationships. At the end of the 12-week program, participants leave with not only well-established support networks, but also new skills, tools, and handouts that they can draw upon — and share with others — in the future.

For organizations, the suggested cost for a group of 5-6 participants is $3600. When signing up for three or more groups, organizations receive a 15% discount ($3060).

Who are these groups for? Are they for you?

Authentic Connections Groups are for everybody seeking to build dependable support systems that last over time, and can buffer them through times of adversity or stress. They are especially valuable for people who take care of others at home or work, teaching new coping and relationship-building skills while ensuring that they stay replenished themselves.

What makes the AC Groups Program Different?

  • Allows people to join evidence-based groups from anywhere with video-conferencing
  • Helps participants enhance supportive, nurturing relationships, with special attention to those in charge of caring for others.
  • Provides a structured program focused on topics known to be important in forging and maintaining close relationships — which are the cornerstone of resilience.
  • Has been validated in scientific publications, and is recommended by the National Academies of Science, and Engineering as an effective intervention to foster resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are these groups for? Are they right for me?

Authentic Connections (AC) Groups are for everybody seeking to build strong, dependable support systems that last over time, and can buffer them through times of adversity or stress! This said, we’ve found that groups are especially well-suited for folks who help or take care of others at home or work. They teach new coping and relationship-building skills that participants can pass on to those they support while ensuring that they are replenished themselves on an ongoing basis.

What happens during group sessions? What does the facilitator do?

Trained, experienced facilitators (who receive ongoing supervision) bring significant warmth, empathy, and genuine caring to each meeting. They deliberately foster participants’ authentic connections within and outside group, while leading focused discussions on the topic of the day. After each session, they send participants a handout that summarizes major themes covered and specific skills learned (which they can then share with others in their own lives).

What are some of the AC Group session topics?

Some examples of topics are Minimizing rumination; Contagion of others’ pain; Obstacles to connecting authentically; Shame versus self-compassion; Limits and boundaries in close relationships.

Scientific Evidence


“Given the low cost and ease of access—from mothers’ own workplaces, homes, or even while traveling—such virtual groups might be considered a useful model to be explored further in future work with mothers.”

National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine

2019 p. 282

Ambassadors of AC Groups

"Having been part of two Authentic Connections Groups groups myself, I can personally attest to the power of this program in supporting moms who balance work and caregiving. Being in these evidence-based groups opened my eyes to the importance of developing deep personal connections with other moms with similar yet different experiences. The nurturing environment is like no other relationship I have in my life and is so valuable. Through my group, I learned about genuine unconditional caring and giving, and we grew together over many months (even well after the formal program was over). AC groups are an excellent way for mothers to gain new insights and valuable support, at relatively low cost and minimal time commitment. I believe that these groups could be extremely valuable for all moms, everywhere."
Kimber Bogard, Ph.D.
Deputy Executive Officer, Programs National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC
"One of the more powerful moments from Authentic Connections Groups for me — and for my colleagues who joined — was the realization that the only way we can truly take care of others at work and home is if we ourselves have dependable supports. This is especially important now, given all the stresses from COVID; as far as I’m concerned, all mothers could benefit from these groups!"
Jewel Kling, MD
Jewel Kling, MD, Professor of Medicine, Chair, Women’s Health Internal Medicine Associate Chair of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic AZ
"One of my proudest professional experiences has been my association with Suniya Luthar’s AC Groups program. These groups were born from Suniya’s passion to acknowledge the needs of caregivers and to provide them space to connect and restore. As a school leader, I brought AC Groups to two different schools and I have been part of several groups myself, both in person and virtually. Colleagues from the same school connected over shared struggles and through their vulnerability and sharing, many in the group stayed connected long after the formal program ended. Through the pandemic, my own AC Group connected me with people from across the country from whom I gained incredible wisdom, perspective, and strength. As caregivers, we are not always the best at practicing what we preach; we tend to go it alone as we tend to the needs of everyone else. AC Groups bring caregivers together in a powerful web of generosity and understanding."
Nicole Hager, MA
Director of Upper School, Kent Place School, NJ Former Dean of Students, Northfield Mt. Hermon, MA