Membership in a counseling group is by appointment only. To participate in group counseling, you will first have a pre-group meeting (30 minutes) where you meet privately with the group facilitator(s) to talk about the group and your goals to assure a good fit for you. The Counseling Center offers a variety of groups each semester for undergraduate and graduate students. The group schedule may change from semester to semester, so please stop by the Counseling Center, located in the Garcia Annex (Room 100) to schedule an appointment or to speak with a group co-facilitator.
ALL groups are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL! To see our current group offerings, visit the Group Schedule page.
How Groups Can Help You Flourish:
Group counseling provides a supportive atmosphere where self-esteem, self-compassion, resiliency, and strengths can come alive. Here are a few reasons groups can provide you support:
- Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. Other members can often help you come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge, and hold you accountable along the way.
- Regularly talking and listening to others helps you put your own problems in perspective. Oftentimes, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you’re not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they’re going through, and realize you’re not alone.
- Diversity is an important benefit of group therapy. People have different personalities and backgrounds, and they look at situations in different ways. By seeing how other people tackle problems and make positive changes, you can discover a whole range of strategies for facing your own concerns.
Myths About Group Counseling:
- I’ll have to tell all my deepest, darkest secrets right away!
You alone decide what to say and what not to say in group. It takes time for a group of people to develop into a relationship. It is also normal to feel some anxiety about talking in a group when you enter. Pace yourself. Disclose what you are ready to disclose when you are ready. However, like most other things in life, you tend to get out of group what you put into it. If you make an effort to talk about what brought you to counseling in the first place, we are confident that you will have a positive experience.
- The group leaders are responsible for your participation and have the best answers to your problems.
Along with the right not to discuss what you’re not ready to talk about comes the responsibility to initiate your own participation. It is each group member’s responsibility to tell the group what you need, provide feedback in a warm manner, share reactions to other members, and express your emotions. Group leaders are not mind readers, and do not know when you want to say something. We also don’t have all the answers, though we certainly often wish we did! Other members of the group may be another good resource for challenge, support, or suggestions.
- Group counseling is an inferior form of treatment and is only used here when the waiting list for individual counseling is long.
This may be the biggest myth about group therapy! In fact, research shows that group participants usually experience equally satisfactory results as those who receive individual counseling; sometimes they even like it better! At our Counseling Center, we use group, individual, and couple counseling based on the students’ needs, not on how busy our schedules are.
- My problems might not be “as bad as others” or are “worse” than others and I won’t fit in.” Elie Wiesel, a concentration camp survivor, once noted, “We all lose when we compare suffering.” Group can provide a place for you to experience renewed self-compassion for yourself and empathy for others, without deciding who may have gone through the “worst” experience. Relief comes when we recognize that we are not alone in our pain. Group provides an opportunity to connect with others and learn how to give and receive support.
- I could be in group with someone who is a friend or classmate and there is nothing I can do. You will not be asked to be in a group with someone you may already know or are comfortable with. Inform your group members if you know someone else in the group and it is uncomfortable with you. Group co-facilitators will make efforts to make adjustments as possible to enhance your level of safety and comfort.