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 of one or two 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 a 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 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 some, the idea of joining a therapy group can be daunting. Although some students are initially intimidated and hesitant about participating in group therapy, group members consistently describe group therapy as a very helpful and positive experience.
Before beginning therapy sessions, you'll need to schedule a brief phone assessment. During your phone assessment, the therapist will ask you questions and help you decide on next steps. This could include scheduling a longer in-person assessment, referral to a campus or community resource, meeting with one of our therapy group leaders, or a combination of these.
How to get the most out of Group Therapy
Processing through experiences and concerns as a group can be intimidating or overwhelming. However, it can also be very rewarding through the understanding of other perspectives and the support of others. There are simple things you can do to make the most of your group sessions.
Each group is unique and functions slightly differently. Approach it with an open mind and identify specific goals for your experience.
Trust the Process
Sharing in a group setting may feel vulnerable, but it can help you to process your thoughts and feelings. Often these experiences are shared by group members.
Hearing what other people are going through can help you gain perspective of your own difficulties and see that you are not alone.
Support Your Peers
Offer your thoughts and support to the others in the group. These encouragements are powerful and allow members to connect more meaningfully.
Each group is led by trained therapists who help guide and elicit ways for group members to support each other and strategize ways to address concerns.
A group can keep you and others accountable. Helping each other stick to a plan and address concerns can be an important support between sessions and beyond.
How Does Group Therapy Work?
The Counseling Center offers a wide array of groups to address the needs of our students. Groups vary significantly in session format. Below are general types of groups offered at the Counseling Center.
Structured Groups or 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 is focused on a particular topic relevant to the theme of the group. Each group session usually consists of brief presentations by the group leaders, group discussions, and experiential activities.
Process Groups or Personal Exploration Groups
Process or personal exploration groups are typically much less structured as compared to a structured or psychoeducation group. There is not a specific topic for each group session, but some of the groups are focused on a particular theme—grief and loss, creating healthy relationships—or the group may be targeted to a specific group of individuals—women, men, or nontraditional 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 setting is on 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.
Combined Structure and 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.