Sometimes, students need support to help sort through feelings, expectations, and alternatives that arise from academic or personal challenges of the college experience. The Counseling Center is not a place where ready-made answers or decisions are handed out. Rather, it is a place where students and counselors discuss concerns, and, in a safe, undemanding setting, work out a plan to deal with them. Some students resolve their concerns in one session, while others continue on a regular basis for several weeks.
Individual counseling provides an opportunity to explore any personal problem or concern. Often students' concerns involve issues related to:
- self-esteem and self-confidence
- grief and loss
- socialization and isolation
- food and body image
- chemical use
Therapy groups are offered in response to student need and interest. Some of the groups offered in the past have focused on topics including:
- developing healthy relationships
- coping with grief
- body image and eating disorders
- surviving sexual assault and abuse
- gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender concerns
- growing up in an alcoholic home
If you are interested in a particular group, speak with one of our counselors for more information.
What is Group Counseling?
Group counseling is a powerful tool for growth, self-awareness, and change. Groups usually include 6-8 people who meet once per week and discuss what is concerning them most. Members listen to each other and openly provide each other feedback. These interactions provide an opportunity to increase self-understanding and learn more about the ways one interacts and copes with a number of issues. Groups may be more structured as well. The content of group sessions is confidential; members agree not to identify other members or their concerns outside of group.
How does group counseling work?
Group counseling can be an effective treatment strategy. When people learn to interact freely with other group members, interpersonal patterns arise and self-awareness develops, members experiment with new communication strategies or coping skills, and individuals learn to gain compassion for themselves and others.Additionally, many people feel they are somehow weird or “wrong” because of their problems or the way they feel. As a group member, it can be encouraging to hear that other people have similar difficulties and have found ways to cope with or manage them.
Advantages of Group Counseling
- Connect with students struggling with similar concerns. As others work on similar concerns, you can learn much about yourself and recognize that you’re not alone.
- Learn to relate more honestly and openly with others, and experiment with new ways of relating to others.
- Receive feedback from multiple people with multiple perspectives.
- Give and gain support to and from your peers.
Myths about Group Counseling
I have to tell my deepest and darkest secrets.
No one is forced to disclose anything that they are not comfortable with. Members learn to identify their personal boundaries and respectfully communicate those boundaries with other group members. Learning to set and express boundaries is great practice for other relationships too!
If I don’t talk a lot, group won’t be helpful for me.
Most people are anxious when they begin group, and this is completely normal. Observing and learning from others with similar concerns stimulates self-awareness.
Group isn’t as good as individual therapy.
Research has shown that group participants are often as equally satisfied with group counseling compared to individual counseling. Though neither form of counseling is inherently better than another, some concerns are better suited for group counseling.
Current Groups for Spring Semester (2014):
*GLBTQA Group- A safe and open environment for support of those who identify as GLBTQA or are exploring their sexuality and/or gender. Contact Hannah @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Wednesadays starting 2/12/14 3:30-4:30 in Chaplins Resource Room.
*Mood and/or Worry Groups - for students seeking support in managing mood or anxiety concerns. Contact the Counseling Center (#7027) or Hannah @ email@example.com if you are interested.
I’m Interested in a group. What now?
Contact the Counseling Center. JSU 204 or 507-933-7027
As you consider group counseling, remember that it is common for people to experience some discomfort when starting group. Students experience a range of emotions when beginning group – excitement, nervousness, hope, fear. This is normal, and we hope that it won’t hold you back from taking part in a group.
*Information adapted from text provided by Appalachian State University and DePaul University Counseling Centers.
While maintaining confidentiality, counselors are available to consult with students, faculty, administrators, resident hall staff, and parents. If you are concerned about a friend, students, or son/daughter, you can consult with a member of our staff to obtain support and ideas about how to handle the situation.
The Counseling Center offers a variety of programs and workshops throughout the year. Additionally, individuals or groups of students can request a specific program or topic to meet their particular needs.
Special audio tools are available to students to help with personal issues, emotional concerns, and studying. Click here to learn more.
Students are referred to other campus offices for specific help in various areas. The Counseling Center also provides referrals to off-campus professionals or agencies for services not available at the college.