Group counseling allows you to explore feelings in a trusting and supportive environment. You can try out new behaviors, improve social/communication skills, and receive feedback from others. Groups can be especially helpful if you feel isolated or concerned about how you relate to others. As you hear others experiences and share yours, you gain support and are able to help other people as well. Common topics for groups are:
Understanding Self and Others Group
There are two primary areas of focus for this group, depending on the needs of the group and the style of group leadership. Personal growth is often addressed, with individual group members bringing their concerns to the group for feedback and support. Balancing personal needs with the needs of others is one of the important aspects of group. Relationship development is the other dimension of group process and provides firsthand experience with effective communication and emotional intimacy. Group members often address setting boundaries, listening, appropriate disclosure and problem solving. Group members will give and receive feedback about initial impressions, positive and negative patterns of interaction and stages of personal and group growth/development.
Men's Identity Group
This group is designed to explore the concept of masculinity. Constructive and destructive assumptions will be examined. Of importance will be a focus on real intimacy. Roadblocks to healthy male/male and male/female relationships will be addressed. Common issues will include:
- Compulsive Behaviors (Pornography-Internet Use)
- Patterns of Sexual Attraction
- Communication Strengths and Weaknesses
- Gender Role/Identity Stereotypes
Group members will be encouraged to maintain journals, read works by Patrick Carnes and consider workbook exercises along with in-group experience.
Women's Issues Group
This group will examine beliefs and assumptions that pertain to women, and address various women's issues/difficulties. Common topics may include gender role concerns, communication difficulties, questions about sexual intimacy, prioritizing multiple responsibilities, negative relational experiences, relationship conflicts, traumatic experiences, and so on.
Understanding Self and Other – Graduate Students
This group is specifically for graduate students. The purpose and function of this group are the same as the general USO group described above. This special section is created in recognition of unique roles graduate students play at the university (e.g., teaching undergraduate courses), and provides a place for graduate students to engage in therapeutic group work with others who share similar struggles in their academic and personal lives.
Sexual Concerns Group
The purpose of this group is to help individuals begin to bring their sexual behaviors (e.g., pornography, masturbation, etc.) in harmony with their values through a combination of evidenced-based psychological principles and support from others working to address similar concerns. Participants will be introduced to concepts of mindfulness, compulsive behavioral patterns, and emotional awareness to develop more effective responses to sexual concerns.
Stress & Anxiety Management Group
This experiential group will meet weekly for six, 90-minute sessions. These sessions will focus on helping students learn and practice a variety of skills that will help them to decrease stress and manage their anxiety.
Skills Training Group
Educational in nature, the skills training group consists of mini lectures followed by class discussions, and requires active participation, including completion of simple homework assignments. Group members must concurrently participate in individual therapy. The group is divided into 5 modules of various lengths. Following is a brief description of each module:
- Core Mindfulness Skills - Participants learn skills that enhance their ability to be in the moment and use their mind effectively.
- Chain Analysis - This practical tool is used throughout the group to decrease impulsivity, emotional distress and cognitive dysregulation.
- Emotion Regulation Skills - Participants learn skills to decrease emotional reactivity to life situations and events. They learn to identify emotions, reduce vulnerability to negative emotions, and increase frequency of positive emotions in daily life.
- Distress Tolerance Skills - Participants learn to increase their ability to handle mental distress when faced with situations they cannot change.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness - This module is similar to an assertiveness course. It gives participants tools to meet their needs in social interactions, including when to increase the intensity of requests and when to back off.
Dual Systems Therapy Group (DST)
This is a skills-based group which focuses on teaching methods for living a positive life. Skills include understanding why symptoms occur, finding more joy in each day, strengthening self-worth and learning to manage negative thoughts and emotions. The manual for the group will be available electronically (How to Train an Elephant.) This manual contains 12 chapters and each one provides specific information on how to implement a targeted skill. These skills will be taught in a context of working with the duel process mind. The emotional system, system 1, is associated with emotions, desires and conditioned behavior. The logical system, system 2, is our conscious mind, the director. Learning to integrate these two systems helps individuals to be more proactive in their goals, more in touch with their feelings and better able to live a balanced and meaningful life.
Diversity Support/Discussion Groups
These groups will meet weekly and provide a confidential and supportive place for members to discuss issues that they feel are having an impact on their lives. These groups will be held depending on student interest and therapist availability.
- Multicultural Students Group
- International Students Group
- GLBT Support Group
- Students with Disabilities Group
- Returning Veterans Group
Participation in any of the groups may require meeting with a group leader to discuss what you can expect from the group and what is expected of you in the group.