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Individual counseling

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:

  • relationships
  • identity
  • self-esteem and self-confidence
  • sexuality
  • family
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • victimization
  • grief and loss
  • socialization and isolation
  • food and body image
  • chemical use

Group counseling

Group Counseling in a Nutshell

Group counseling is a powerful tool for growth and change.  The power of 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 how they relate to others (a common concern for college students), in addition to developing more effective ways of responding to life experiences and managing emotions.  Group can be a great space in which to seek feedback from your peers and to practice new behaviors in a trusting setting.  Although you will primarily be interacting with your peers, a trained professional will be present at each group meeting to assist in facilitating conversation and to provide input as needed.  Confidentiality in group counseling is highly valued and will be discussed in depth when students join group.  If you have questions about confidentiality, please speak with your intake therapist. 

Group Offerings

Groups vary according to semester and client demand.  The Counseling Cetner offers "Interpersonal Process Groups," which are general therapy groups in which students with varying concerns gather to learn from and support each other.  Open and honest communication in group therapy can lead to improved self-awareness and understanding of how one functions interpersonally, and self-disclosure can have a profound impact on working through our own concerns while normalizing those of others.

Depending on demand, other group offerings may be available.  Please check with your intake therapist to learn more about specific group offerings/topics.  In the past, topic groups have included the following: GLBTQA Support Group, Worry Group, Mood Group, Grief Support Group, etc. 

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:

Interpersonal Process Groups

Watch for more information on this group during Spring semester!


GLBTQA Support Group
starting October 2nd, 2015 - Fridays | 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. | 49er Room (lower level of Campus Center)

A group for students who identify as GLBTQA or are exploring their sexuality and/or gender.
Group provides a safe, confidential, and accepting place to gaher for support.

There is no set agenda, but potential topics include:

  • the coming out process
  • dealing with the expectations to define yourself
  • processing experiences with stereo-types and judgments

Questions? Contact Hannah Godbout hgodbout@gustavus.edu in the Counseling Center


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.

Programs and workshops

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.

Audio Tools

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.