The University Counseling Center offers a variety of therapeutic, educational, discussion and support groups. Group counseling has been shown to be particularly effective in a collegiate environment. Here are a few responses to frequently asked questions about group counseling.
What is group counseling?
Group counseling provides an opportunity for small groups of students to meet and share common concerns, explore personal issues, and learn new skills under the guidance of group leaders. Group members help each other by making suggestions and giving feedback. Group members are not forced to reveal more about themselves than they feel comfortable with, but they are expected to maintain confidentiality out of mutual respect for other group members. The counselors are there to make observations from a caring, objective position. Group counselors recognize that individuals have different ways of expressing themselves and strive to create an environment that is safe, respectful and inclusive.
What groups are currently being offered?
There are currently no groups being offered.
Previously facilitated groups include:
- Understanding and Managing Your Anger
- Women's Group
- Healthy Relationships
- Unpacking the Family Baggage
- Men's Group
How do I join a group?
If you are interested in joining a group, call the University Counseling Center at 477-1481 and indicate which group(s) interest you. You will be asked to schedule a brief meeting with a group leader to answer any questions you might have about the group, learn more about the group's purpose, and share how this group suits your needs. The purpose of this meeting is for you and the group leader to decide whether this group is a "good fit" for your current concerns. The group counselor will also inform you of what to expect at the first meeting, clarify dates and times, and go over guidelines for group counseling, so that you can maximize your involvement and benefit from group counseling. Please have your schedule in mind when you call UCC. We try very hard to schedule groups at times that are convenient for all participants, but juggling the schedules of busy college students can be quite a challenge! Your flexibility in scheduling available times for group is greatly appreciated.
If this is an ongoing group, there may be certain times in the semester when new members join. If this group is time-limited, meaning that it meets for anywhere from 6 - 10 sessions per semester, you may need to wait until the next semester to participate. Your group counselor will go over any special circumstances with you.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality within individual counseling is fairly straightforward. However, the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality is one that is shared among all participants in group counseling, both members and facilitator(s). In your initial meeting with a counselor to discuss the particular group you are considering to join, she/he will explore what confidentiality means in a group and how everyone shares in responsibility to maintain it out of respect for one another. All group members will be asked to sign a statement, similar to the one below, to pledge their commitment to confidentiality. Any questions or concerns about confidentiality can be brought up within a group meeting so that everyone can share in the responsibility of dealing with this concern.
As a participant of this group, I realize that it is the responsibility of myself and all other group participants to keep the group confidential. This means that I am not free to share with others who are not currently group participants the names of group members, and what is discussed in the group. This does not stop me from sharing with others the fact that I am in the group as long as I do not violate the above. It is the responsibility of the group leaders to keep all records confidential.
How long do groups last?
The groups that are offered at the University Counseling Center vary in length. Some groups are considered time-limited, which means that the group members contract to meet for a given number of sessions (anywhere from 6 - 10 sessions.) Other groups are ongoing and meet all semester; most of these also continue from semester to semester during the academic year. If you join an on-going group, we ask that you make a semester commitment. We realize that sometimes circumstances come up which interfere with continuing in counseling, whether it is group counseling or individual counseling. However, we ask that you regularly attend group meetings, and if you find that you cannot come to meetings consistently, that you express your difficulties during a group meeting to determine other options.