Groups and Classes
Let's Talk About It.
Group counseling can be one of the most effective strategies to address many of the issues and concerns commonly experienced by college students. Counseling groups are often a place where students come together in a safe environment and support one another as they navigate concerns and address struggles. Groups allow students to share their experiences with peers who can likely relate to their concerns and understand their difficulties. Group can also provide unique opportunities to increase our knowledge of self and others, connect across differences, and learn new perspectives. Through group engagement, students can develop insights and skills that help them address challenges and deepen connections.
We understand that for some, the idea of joining a counseling group may sound intimidating and can even create some anxiety. That hesitation and uncertainty is normal, especially if sharing personal thoughts and feelings with others will be a new experience. However, most students report this anxiety is temporary and gradually fades once the group begins. Students frequently describe group therapy as positive, supportive, and impactful. In fact, many say they experienced a noticeable decrease in the distress that motivated them to seek therapy in the first place, and report an overall improvement in their emotional well-being.
What Students are Saying
- Feels helpful to share my experiences with others
- Reassuring and hopeful to know I’m not alone in how I feel
- I enjoyed having a safe, welcoming, and judgment-free space to share my experiences
- It felt nice to be listened to and understood by others
- I felt connected to others
- It was helpful to have other perspectives and learn how others deal with similar experiences
- It was nice to be intentional about taking care of myself (having a specific time each week to dedicate to my emotional well-being)
- I liked that others were open and honest
- Going to group was a small, but helpful way I challenged myself to be outside my comfort zone
- I felt better when I could listen and be helpful to others
- I learned the importance of communication in relationships
- I learned skills that have helped me slow down, be in the moment, relax, and know myself better
- I felt like I could challenge myself at my own pace
Summer Semester Support Groups
Interpersonal Process Group:
Because past and present interactions with others contribute to shaping personality and experience, process groups are often the treatment of choice for individuals dealing with loneliness/sense of isolation, unsatisfactory relationships, depression, anxiety, self-esteem concerns, and personal identity. These groups offer a safe and confidential environment to connect with others; feel less alone or isolated; identify and explore feelings; give and receive support and feedback; and practice new, healthier ways of relating to others.
GROUP TIMES: Fridays weekly at 11am
Mindfulness Skills Group:
These groups offer a variety of skills to improve overall well-being and manage daily stressors via developing a more balanced, purposeful way of being. Members will gain practice using meditation, gentle yoga and other soothing movement, and guided imagery techniques to reduce stress, improve concentration and attention, cultivate awareness, and promote mindfulness and reflection.
GROUP TIMES: Fridays weekly at 10am
Groups to Look for in the Fall
- Understanding Self and Others
- Mindfulness Skills Group
- Eating Concerns and Body Image Support Group
- Gaining Practical Skills (GPS)
FAQs about Group Counseling
Group therapy is similar to individual therapy. At its base, it allows a student to share personal experiences with another person in ways that feel connecting, important, and supportive. Through this sharing process, students have the opportunity to feel seen, heard, and understood. However, group is a unique therapeutic experience because this sharing occurs between more than two people, creating additional opportunities to gain differing perspectives, guidance, and validation from peers who are likely sharing similar experiences. Trust is important, and all members work together to create a safe and confidential space where concerns and struggles can be explored, and personal growth is encouraged. Many members say this degree of trust makes it possible to be honest and genuine with one another, and it creates opportunities to express care and acceptance for each other.
- Anxiety and stress
- Concentration issues
- Discomfort in social situations
- Challenges in relationships
- Loneliness and isolation
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Coping with difficult emotions
- Academic stressors
- Dependence in relationships
- Superficial relationships
- Difficulty trusting others
- Needing a lot of reassurance from others
- Lack of intimacy in relationships
Group therapy has been found to be equal to and, at times, more effective than individual therapy when addressing certain student concerns. Group therapy typically works because members bring themselves and the behaviors they’d like to change into group. Therefore, members can help one another by sharing feedback and perceptions about these patterns and offer alternative ways of interacting. Group can also be a safe space to try out or practice some of these new behaviors with others who are caring and encouraging. Members can get empathy, understanding, guidance, and advice on a range of concerns. And finally, for many, participating in group therapy helps them see they are not alone in their pain. Some additional benefits are listed below.
- Increase self-awareness and understanding of others
- Connect with and relate to others who have similar problems and experiences
- Decrease isolation and loneliness
- Receive multiple perspectives on your concerns
- Enhance the quality of relationships
- Develop new, healthier ways of relating to yourself and others
- Identify, experience and express feelings with greater ease
- Increase confidence & self-esteem
- Internalize lessons learned by helping others in group
- Learn specific skills to improve relaxation, concentration, and capacity to manage stress
Sharing concerns and personal struggles is difficult because it often requires vulnerability, and being vulnerable with others can be anxiety-provoking at times . Yet, learning to accept and even embrace our vulnerability by sharing parts of ourselves helps create a deeper, more meaningful sense of connection with others. When and how you share in group is always your choice, though it may be important to consider how group can be a safe space to take risks and feel more comfortable expressing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and reactions. Typically, when members do share, they often find they are not alone in their concerns, and other members can relate to what is being shared.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety in social settings, group therapy is often one of the most effective ways to address these feelings. Individuals with social anxiety might worry what others think of them, fear rejection and embarrassment, and work hard to avoid situations that bring up these experiences. Group therapy provides a supportive and encouraging space to explore and process such experiences, challenge personal assumptions, and gain confidence in social situations.
The staff at CPS is held to an ethical and legal obligation to protect the privacy of students and their personal information. Other group members are not counselors and are not held to this same standard. Therefore, we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. However, all group members are expected to keep information about other participants private and confidential. In order for group to feel safe, members are asked to be respectful of one another’s privacy and not discuss information shared in group outside of group. Historically, group members have honored this expectation, and this has not been an issue. The importance of confidentiality is reviewed with all members at the first meeting. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss this with the group.
Currently, students may only participate in one therapy service at a time, meaning that if you are currently participating in group, you are not eligible to engage in individual therapy as well. If you are interested in transferring to individual counseling, let your group facilitators know, and they can assist you in the process. Most students find that one form of therapy at a time is sufficient in helping them address concerns.
No. Students may participate in group as often as they see fit. Please note that students may only participate in one group at a time.
A group typically consists of 5-10 group members and two group counselors who facilitate the group. However, some groups will vary.
Students are encouraged to share only as much as they feel comfortable sharing, and at their own pace. Most group members tend to share more about themselves when they feel safe in the group, and this can be different for different individuals. Sharing can feel difficult and uncomfortable at times, but we typically find that students get more out of group when they are able to challenge themselves and decide to take risks in sharing personal thoughts, feelings, experiences, and reactions.
Sharing is a valuable aspect of group participation, but it’s not the only one! Many students report significant benefits when they simply listen to other members share their stories and experiences. Listening can be impactful because it allows time to reflect on how you connect to what is being shared. Being present and listening to others can also be impactful for the member sharing because it communicates investment, care, and support.
If you feel that group is not a good fit, you may withdraw from group counseling at any time. We understand that group can feel uncomfortable, particularly at the beginning. If you feel this way, you are not alone! Many group members initially experience discomfort, but we also know that members often report feeling more comfortable as the group progresses. Therefore, we encourage members to remain in the group for at least three sessions before they decide to leave. If you decide group counseling isn’t a good fit for your needs, but would like to continue with counseling, please talk to your group counselor who can help connect you with more appropriate services.
- Process Groups are for those who will benefit from sharing experiences, giving and receiving support/feedback, and experimenting with new interpersonal behaviors in a safe environment. These groups are helpful in addressing feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, self-esteem concerns, and challenges in relationships.
- Psychoeducational Workshops are for those who want to increase knowledge of mental health concerns and build coping skills.
- Wellness Groups are for those who would like to learn mindfulness-based skills to enhance their capacity to manage daily stressors, increase present awareness, and improve overall well-being.
There are a few ways to join group. You can stop by our office or give us a call and let us know you’re interest in group counseling. Our staff will assist you in taking the steps needed to join a group. If you are currently receiving services at CPS, you can mention your interest in group to your counselor and they will discuss all of the options available to you.
Group therapy can be a very rewarding experience that has much to offer to each person who participates. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you begin your group experience.
Like individual therapy, group therapy takes time. Be open to the process and attempt to delay making judgments about the value of group. Commit to attending 3-5 sessions before trying to determine the value of group for you.
Set Goals for Yourself
Consider what you want and need from group participation to grow and change. Having a personal focus and clarifying specific goals can give a sense of purpose to your attendance, enhance your own participation, and help other members know how to assist you in your growth.
Start from Where You Are
Group is an opportunity to be yourself, not who others might want you to be. It can allow you the space to share and process personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences that you might often keep to yourself.
Focus on the HERE and NOW
Try to be aware of the actual lived experiences you and the group are having in session. While it is important and appropriate to share stories from outside group, members can miss out on very powerful opportunities if this is the only material brought up in group. Share what you are feeling and thinking about being in group, reactions you are having, and what you feel towards others. This can be very difficult, and that’s OK. Challenge yourself.
Think Out Loud
Try to put words to personal reactions you notice yourself having to people or topics of conversation, and share these words rather than censoring yourself.
Hearing what others are going through can help you gain perspective and see that you are not alone in your struggles.
Just show up!!!
Successful groups depend on commitment from each group member. Attend consistently, arrive on time, and make an effort to participate in meaningful ways.