What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a powerful tool for growth and change. In group therapy, 5-10 individuals meet face to face to share their struggles and concerns with the facilitation 1-2 trained group therapists. The power in group therapy lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, encouragement and feedback from other individuals in safe and confidential environment. These interpersonal interactions can provide group members an opportunity to deepen their level of self-awareness and to learn how they relate to others. Group therapy can be a safe and supportive place to experiment with new ideas and ways of being.
For many emotional concerns, personal struggles, and relationship issues that college students face, group therapy is the most effective treatment modality. Because group therapy is so effective, the Counseling Center offers a wide array of groups to address the needs of our students.
We feel confident that group therapy is one of the most effective and beneficial treatments to address the common issues faced by our students, but we understand that for many students, the idea of joining a therapy group can be daunting. Although many students are initially intimidated and hesitant about participating in group therapy, group members consistently describe group therapy as a very helpful and positive experience.
Group therapy can help you:
- Discover that you're not alone in your struggles, thoughts, and feelings
- Learn from other students facing similar problems
- Gain multiple perspectives on your concerns
- Feel more connected to others as group cohesion develops
- Become more aware of yourself through genuine feedback from others
- Pick up new interpersonal skills that you can use in your daily life
- Internalize the lessons you've learned by helping others in the group
- Develop effective ways of building and maintaining relationships
How Does Group Therapy Work?
The Counseling Center offers a wide array of groups to address the needs of our students. Groups can vary significantly in session format. Below are some general types of groups offered at the Counseling Center:
Structured Groups/Psychoeducational Groups
Structured groups, also called psychoeducational groups, are somewhat similar to workshops in that each group is centered on a specific theme (anxiety, depression, etc) and each group session focused on a particular topic relevant to the theme of the group. Each group session usually consists of brief lectures by the group leaders, group discussions, and experiential activities. Examples of structured groups currently offered at the Counseling Center include: My Body, Myself Group and DBT Skills Group.
Process Groups/Personal Exploration Groups
Process or personal exploration groups are typically much less structured as compared to a structured group/psychoeducation group. There isn't a specific topic for each group session, but of some of the groups may be focused on a particular theme (e.g., grief and loss or eating disorders) or the group may be target to specific group of individuals (e.g., women, men, or older students). Members are welcome to bring any issues to the group that they feel are important, and the primary focus of therapy in the group is on the interactions among group members. Members are encouraged to give support and feedback to others, and to work with the reactions and responses that other members' contributions bring up for them. To find out more about how process groups operate, please click here. Examples of process groups offered at the Counseling Center include:
- Understanding Self & Others Groups
- Healing Together
- Living with Loss
Combined Structure & Process Groups
Some groups that we offer have elements of both structured and process group approaches. These groups may involve a combination of presenting information about specific topics and a discussion or sharing of personal issues relating to those topics. Examples of these groups include: New Directions Group and Building Bridges.
More Information About Our Group Services
- Only U of O students are eligible to participate in group therapy.
- All groups at the Counseling Center are free and confidential.
- Most groups begin during the 2nd or 3rd week of the term.
- Groups meet on a weekly basis for about 1-1/2 hours and run for the length of the term with some groups continuing beyond the term for longer term treatment.
- Groups are usually comprised of 5 to 10 members and 1 to 2 group facilitators.
- Groups typically close when they reach their capacity: however, new groups form each term.
- For a list of the therapy groups currently being offered, please click here.
How to Join a Therapy Group
Before joining a group, students must first schedule a brief phone assessment with the Counseling Center at the UCTC or be referred to a group by their current Counseling Center therapist. To speak with a therapist about joining a group, please call (541) 346-3227 to schedule a brief phone assessment or In-Person Assessment during which the therapist can help you assess whether group is the best treatment option for you. If you have any questions about our groups, please feel free to contact Dr. Asha Stephen, who oversees the group program, at (541) 346-3227.
Additional Group Resources
Please check out these additional resources at the Accessible Education Center.