Group Counseling

  • Group therapy is a powerful tool for growth and change. The power of process groups lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, encouragement and feedback from other individuals in a safe and confidential environment. These interpersonal interactions can provide group members an opportunity to deepen their level of self-awareness and learn how they relate to others. It is often the treatment of choice for anxiety and depression.

    Please call 651-962-6750 for more information regarding Spring 2020 groups.

    Spring 2020 Counseling Groups 

    Interpersonal Process Groups: 

    Mondays         9-10:30am
    Tuesdays         1-2:30pm 
    Wednesdays   2:30-4:00pm
    Thursdays        10:00-11:30am

    What UST students are saying about their group experience:   

    I would recommend group counseling to a friend:   

    • 100%  said they agree or strongly agree

    What aspects of the group experience were the most helpful to you?

    • Group provided a safe and respectful space to share
    • Having all the voices be heard
    • I found that having peers that were able to relate to my fears was really meaningful
    • Being vulnerable to strangers seemed scary, but in reality it helped me to share more and open up about myself
    • Getting different perspectives and having a space to be honest
    • The formation of connections and being completely separate from outside life
    • Being able to share what was bothering me
    • Listening to other people allowed me to dig deeper into my thoughts
    • Having peer feedback with the pushing of the counselors was very helpful
    • Being able to provide help and also get help for my issues
    • Being honest and somewhat held accountable for it pushed me toward really trying to change
    • Being able to share things that I never get to share is very relieving and builds confidence for me to share outside of group
    • The social support from everyone. Being able to share and hear others' stories helped me realize that I'm not alone in struggling with anxiety
    • The prodding to delve deeper
    • How my defense mechanisms function in my relationships

    What specific things did you learn about yourself - about your lifestyle, attitudes and relationships with others?

    • That not everything I said was weird
    • I learned that if I speak up for myself I can achieve
    • I have a lot to offer in the conversation
    • I learned more about how I work with people and what habits I have
    • I learned that I need to speak up more. I need to say how I feel
    • I learned that I am strong, compassionate, and emotional and that is okay
    • My relationship with myself has grown and that has been interesting and helpful to me
    • I’m better than I thought, I don’t have to apologize for existing
    • That people want to hear how I’m doing, I am a good person, and I deserve happiness
    • I learned I can be more genuine and intentional with my feedback to others
    • I learned that I need to and want to be more open in my relationships and I need to share my emotions and be more vulnerable
    • I learned not only how I operate within my life and relationships, but also why I operate that way. Life changing
    • I learned that I'm not so different from others, we share the same struggles. Yet I still felt understood in my individual needs
    • That it is my responsibility to ask others what they need
    • I learned that I am accepted by others and for that I am grateful

    Please comment on anything you wish you had known about group before you entered the group?

    • The idea of group is nothing like what you see in the movies
    • I thought that group would be a lot more formal, I’m glad it’s not
    • I wish I would have known that the more you give and invest in the group the more you get out of it
    • That it is not really that bad and it isn’t weird. Also, be yourself
    • I wish I knew to get talking sooner
    • It’s not scary, and many other people are experiencing similar issues. It’s helpful to work through them together
    • How unstructured it is
    • I think it’s important from the beginning to establish that it’s ok to say what you are feeling to break the silence
    • I wish I had known that it would be hard to leave each week
    • That it would feel confusing and frustrating for a while
    • You never really know what to expect
    • That you won't talk about your own problems everyday

    If you have ever used counseling other than group counseling, please describe any unique benefits of the group counseling experience.

    • It’s so much easier talking to your peers who have similar concerns
    • I learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be
    • Group allows you to grow and see results in real time with many people supporting you
    • Getting feedback in the moment from other peers my age about issues I want to work on
    • I just really liked how other people were vulnerable and shared their experiences. It really helped me
    • I have done individual therapy and this helped more with sharing and working more on my confidence, but also helping others, connecting and relating with one another helped
    • Group gives many outlooks on one situation and each group member keeps each other accountable for being present and growing-having one opinion is not as meaningful as having many opinions that are similar
    • I think group helps you more with social aspects as well as internal
    • Group counseling lets you practice with peers and I think it really challenges people to step farther out of comfort zones than with individual counseling
    • The realization that I am not the only one who has felt the way I feel. It was nice to know that people out there feel like I do
    • Different perspectives, have to choose what to do with the time ourselves
    • Group allows you to get advice from your peers, people who are going through the same thing. Also, the advice isn’t from an adult so it is easier to trust and use
    • I received feedback and support from my peers, others students who struggle or have struggled with what I'm going through. It reminds me I'm not alone
    • I have social anxiety and it's good to talk about that in individual counseling, but in group you get hands on experience to work on it with others
    • Group helped me feel more connected and valued
    • Helps you appreciate others' experiences and lives
    • I really enjoyed group because I felt a sense of community
    • Actually experimenting! And getting peer feedback and new true relationships. Crazy. I was skeptical but I truly loved it
    • Group helped me to be vulnerable in front of more people which helped me to become more courageous and brave
    • Group also helped me practice different things in a safe space

Links to helpful information about Group Counseling and how to get the most out of your group experience

Group FAQ's:

1. I am scared to talk to people in groups; is this common for group members?

Answer: Most group members express this concern before joining the group.  It can be very scary to talk to people you don’t know about your problems. Many group members have shared that although they initially feared talking, within a few sessions they felt more and more comfortable talking. By the end of the group many members share that they feel much more comfortable talking within the group than when they started.

2. Do I have to share my deepest, darkest secrets with the group?

Answer: Group leaders will not ask you to share your deepest secrets with the group. Group leaders will encourage members to share their difficulties and distress and as a member of the group you get to decide how much you share with the group.  Members of groups report getting more out of group as they share more personal aspects but you get to set your own boundaries. 

3. Is group confidential?

Answer: Everything that is discussed in counseling groups is considered confidential. It is not to be discussed outside the group, even with other group individuals. Each member signs an agreement to observe this rule. 

4. What if I know someone in group—like they are a friend or a classmate?

Answer:  This has happened before, don’t worry! Please let the group leaders know of this at the start of group. In past groups the situations have been processed within the group, one of the group members joined another group, or the group leaders decided how to best resolve it.

5. How much do I have to share in group?

Answer: No one will force you to share in group; if you don’t want to talk you don’t have to. Unexpressed feelings are a major reason why people experience difficulties and distress. Sharing your thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment is an important part of group therapy and strongly affects how much you will be helped. Most members are worried about sharing in group initially and it might take a little time for them to feel okay about talking, but usually they eventually start sharing in group even though they are uncomfortable.

6. How long is group and how many people in group?

Answer: This depends on the type of group. Some are 3-4 sessions long, others last throughout the semester. Groups typically have between 4 and 10 members

7. How can group counseling be better than individual?

Answer: Many times group can be more helpful than individual counseling because it is an opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, encouragement and feedback from other individuals in a safe and confidential environment.  In individual counseling you can talk about your interpersonal struggles or personal distresses but in a group you could actually experience them and work through them in a safe, supportive environment.

8. I am worried there won’t be enough time for me to share because there are so many other members in the group?

Answer: If this is a concern and you find you are needing more time to talk, we recommend you bring this up in the group.  Group is an excellent place to work on assertiveness.  You may also find you can learn about yourself by listening to others.  Group members may bring up issues that you connect with but that you would not have thought to bring up yourself.

9. How can I be helped in a group when everyone’s problems are different?

Answer: Some groups are focused on teaching skills that can be useful for many different people. Hearing from people who have problems different from your own can be helpful, as can hearing from others who struggle in similar ways. Each individual is unique as are their concerns. Still, as people we have a great deal in common. 

Especially in our Interpersonal Process Counseling Groups, these similarities and differences can be useful to your growth in the group. For example, we all grow up in families, we all react to hurt in similar ways, and we all have the same basic capacity to grow and change. These root causes of our problems in living have to do with patterns and habits that we have learned during our formative years that are not working well for use now in our current life circumstances or are holding us back. (For example, our families may have taught us that certain kinds of emotional expression are to be avoided, but now as we deal with the normal stress of adult life the pent-up feelings which result from this avoidance produce symptoms like depression, worry or over-reaction.) The goal of counseling is to learn about our habits and patterns of feeling and behavior and how they cause us problems. We can then learn new habits and patterns which will be more successful for us.

Contact Counseling and Psychological Services, or speak with your counselor,
regarding your interest in any of these groups!