​Group Counseling
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​Groups Referral Request Form*
 

*Disclaimer effective 11/2019 we will place group requests on a waitlist to be scheduled. We currently have 17 scheduled groups across the district and are at capacity. However, as groups end, we add new groups and will add groups to our schedule once all consent forms are received.​

* All sites will have a maximum of two groups per year.

Group counseling has been shown to be one of the most effective strategies to address most issues experienced by students, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Discomfort in social situations
  • Challenges in relationships
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Coping with difficult emotions
  • Academic stressors
  • Substance use
  • Grief
  • Eating concerns

For some students, the idea of joining a counseling group may sound intimidating and anxiety-provoking. That hesitation and uncertainty are understandable, yet students report having positive and impactful experiences from participating in our groups and feeling improvement in the areas of concern that motivated them to seek services.

Group counseling provides students with the opportunity to connect with others in a safe, confidential and supportive space. Groups allow students to share about their experiences with others who can understand and relate to their concerns, connect across differences to learn new perspectives and experiment with new ideas, behaviors, and ways of being or interacting. Through group engagement, students develop insights and skills that can be used to work through the challenges they face and improve their quality of life.

Benefits of Group Counseling

  • Increase self-awareness and understanding of others
  • Connect with others who have similar problems and experiences
  • Decrease isolation and loneliness
  • Receive multiple perspectives on your concerns
  • Enhance the quality of relationships
  • Experience meaningful and authentic connections with others
  • Develop new, healthier ways of relating to others
  • Identifying, experiencing and expressing feelings with greater ease
  • Increase confidence & self-esteem
  • Increase the ability to give and receive honest feedback
  • Internalize lessons learned by helping others in the group

FAQs and Common Concerns

Is group counseling confidential?
All group members are expected to keep information about participants and what is discussed in group confidential. That means what’s said in group, stays in group. This is to help the group members establish trust and a sense of safety with one another.

I have a hard time opening up to one person, let alone to an entire group of people.
Opening up about your concerns is hard because it often means feeling vulnerable, and this can be anxiety-provoking. Group provides a safe space to take risks in sharing with others and allows the opportunity to learn how to express your thoughts and feelings. In doing so, members often find that they are not alone in their concerns, others can understand and relate to their experience, and sharing vulnerability influences a deeper sense of connection with others.

I’m socially anxious and being in a group sounds very uncomfortable for me. Shouldn’t I just get support in individual counseling?
While individual counseling can be helpful and may seem less scary, group counseling is one of the most effective ways to address social anxiety. Individuals with social anxiety often worry about what others think of them, fear rejection and embarrassment, and avoid social situations to guard against experiencing anxiety and fear. Group provides a safe and supportive space to process those feelings, challenge assumptions of what others are thinking and feeling, and learn to navigate social interactions in meaningful ways, which can all serve to alleviate the anxiety felt around others.

If I participate in a group, will I still be able to receive individual counseling?
Some students participating in groups also have individual counselors.

Will group count toward my counseling session limit?
No. One of the benefits of our group programs is that there are no session limits. Students have the opportunity to participate in groups multiple times or engage in different groups.

How many students are in a group?
A group typically consists of 5-8 group members with one or two counselors facilitating the group.

How long is the group?
Groups generally meet for one and a half to two hours weekly and may run between 4-12 weeks per semester, depending on the type of group. 

How much do I have to share in the group?
You are only expected to share as much as you feel comfortable with, and you can share at your own pace. Usually, students find that the more they are able to take risks in sharing their feelings and experiences, the more they get out of the group experience.

What if I don’t have anything to say?
While sharing is a valuable part of participating in group, a lot of benefits can be gained by simply listening to others share their stories, and reflecting upon how you connect to what is being shared.

How does the effectiveness of group counseling compare to individual counseling?
Group has been found to be equal to and, at times, more beneficial than individual counseling in addressing most student concerns. Our facilitators are skilled and have strong interests in groups, which adds to the high quality of this form of treatment.



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