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Group counseling

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which a small, carefully selected group of individuals meets regularly with a therapist. It offers the opportunity to address issues, concerns, and problems in an interpersonal setting with peers and a therapist leader. Group therapy provides a safe place to work on relationships, intimacy, and self-esteem. It is often an invaluable resource.

Q. What are the benefits of group therapy?

A.  There are many:

  • Group can afford the opportunity to “be real” with others in an environment of safety and respect.
  • Group can counteract feelings of isolation and a sense of being alone with one’s feelings.    
  • Members are able to try out new behaviors.
  • Group can provide members with diverse views, responses, and feedback.
  • In group, members often see their “usual” patterns of relating to people, allowing for an opportunity to challenge these patterns.
  • Group can allow members the chance to explore and better understand themselves.
  • In group, members can learn new social techniques, ways of relating, and how to better cope with difficulties. 

Q.  Isn't individual therapy better?

A.  That's one of the common misunderstandings about group therapy:

"Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy, because I will have to share the time with others."

Group therapy can be more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little by listening carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Second, group members will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but which you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.

"I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group."

No one will force you to do anything in group counseling. You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. You do not have to share what you are not ready to disclose. You can be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you. When you feel safe enough to share what is troubling you, a group will likely be very helpful and affirming.

"I have so much trouble talking to people, I'll never be able to share in a group."

Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.

Q.  What about confidentiality?

A.  Groups are private and confidential; that is, what members disclose in sessions is not shared outside of the group. The meaning and importance of confidentiality are reviewed with group members at the first meeting and every time a new member joins the group.

Q. How do I join a group?

A. If you are currently seeing a counselor at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), ask him/her about joining a group.  If you are not, contact the CAPS at 521-6202 or come by the office in the Chavis University Center, Suite 243 to fill out intake paperwork and have a chance to talk with a counselor and discuss your interest in the group, ask questions, identify goals, and determine if group is right for you.

 

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