Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is group counseling?

A large amount of research suggests group counseling is the treatment of choice for issues like anxiety or depression that are common among college students. It has been shown to be as effective as individual counseling, and for some issues, it can be more effective.

How can group counseling as effective as individual counseling? 

Most students are pleasantly surprised at how much they benefit from participating in a group. Unlike individual counseling, group therapy provides opportunities for you to connect with others who might have similar issues, practice new interpersonal skills in a group setting, and gain new perspectives regarding your concerns from group members.

What is a typical counseling services group like?

Students are welcome to bring any issues to the group they feel are important, and the primary focus of therapy in the group is on interactions among group members.  This occurs as members give each other feedback on their interpersonal styles and identify ways in which they feel more connected to one another.

How many people are in a typical group?

Most groups have between four to ten students and two group leaders.

Do I have to reveal all of my deepest secrets and feelings to the group?

No, you don’t have to! You decide how much you want to share. Most group members tend to share more about themselves as they begin to feel safe in the group. While we recognize that sharing can sometimes be uncomfortable, we know that many members report getting more out of a group when they decide to share more personal aspects of themselves. We encourage you to share when you feel comfortable doing so. 

I am shy by nature, what if I won’t be able to talk as much as the other group members?

That’s OK. It is common that some members will talk less than others in the group. We encourage group members to be respectful of individual differences, and encourage you to take your time to open up to the group.

What if a member of the group is my friend or classmate?

It might be awkward to be in the same group with a friend or classmate. Let the group leaders know immediately if you have an existing relationship with a group member. Group leaders will work with you to decide how to best approach the situation. It may work out to have both of you stay, or it may be best to have one of you find a different group to join. In the latter case, a leader will consult with you or your peer and do our best to find another group that matches your needs. 

If I don’t like the group, can I drop out of it?

Yes, it’s possible to leave a group if you feel it is not a good fit. Group counseling can sometimes be uncomfortable at the beginning – If you feel this way, you are not alone! We know that group members report feeling more comfortable after a few sessions.  If you decide to leave the group after attending the first few sessions, most leaders ask that you come to the group one more time to say goodbye to other members. 

What role do the group leaders play in a group?

Group leaders are trained therapists who guide and facilitate self-exploration, give feedback and support, provide comments on interpersonal issues in the group, and encourage group cohesion. In some groups, the leaders take a more active role by providing instruction on specific topical areas related to the group’s theme.