Group therapy is one of the many different forms of help that is offered in the Counseling Center. In group therapy, approximately 8 to 10 individuals meet face-to-face with a staff facilitator. During the group meeting time, members take responsibility for their situation by talking about what is troubling them. Members are also encouraged to give feedback to others. Feedback includes expressing your own feelings about what someone says or does. Interaction between group members is highly encouraged and provides each person an opportunity to try out new ways of behaving; it also provides members with an opportunity for learning more about the way they interact with others.
During the first few sessions a group usually focuses on the establishment of trust. During this time, members usually work to establish a level of trust that allows them to talk personally and honestly. Group trust is enhanced when all members make a commitment to the group. Groups experience difficulty when a person either holds back from making this commitment or reneges on the contract.
What makes the group therapy situation unique is that it is a closed and safe system. People who join groups are requested to keep the content of the group sessions confidential. What people talk about or disclose in groups must remain among the members of the group. It is not appropriate for a group member to disclose events or group membership of the group to an outside person.
Why Does Group Therapy Work?
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of coming to a group is the awareness that you are not alone. Other people have similar feelings. A group provides the opportunity to see others solving their problems; as a result, this helps mobilize one's own motivation to strive for self improvement with hope and renewed energy.
In a college setting, very personal topics are often not talked about with roommates or with significant friends, even boyfriends, girlfriends or sorority and fraternity brothers and sisters. Many issues have never been addressed with parents because, perhaps, they were part of the problem. The Counseling Center groups offer a totally confidential environment in which to explore these important topics. Group members share impressions in honest and caring ways. This feedback helps to increase self knowledge and encourages members to try out new behaviors in a place of safety and support.
What Do I Talk About?
When we talk about revealing our feelings, we are talking about self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is an important part of group therapy and relates very much to how well people get helped. How much you talk about yourself depends upon what you are comfortable with. Group is not a place where people are forced to tell their most deep and innermost thoughts. You are ultimately the person responsible for how much you share. The appropriate disclosures will be those that relate directly to your present difficulty. If you have any questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can always ask the group.Ground Rules