Maybe you're interested in joining a therapy or support group but a little uneasy about the process. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help put your mind at ease.
There are many benefits to becoming a member of a support or therapy group. In such a group you obtain the support of others, you learn from the experiences of others and you assist others as you share your experiences, thoughts and perspectives. Groups are an excellent way to meet fellow students who are experiencing the same issues, which can assist you in feeling less alone or lonely. And, you will soon discover that group work is not only helpful but also actually enjoyable.
The answer depends on what type of group in which you choose to participate. Some groups are topical and focused on a particular problem or concern, such as grief. Some groups are open ended with group members discussing a concern, event or issue that is important to them at that time. Other groups are educational in nature the purpose being to assist participants in obtaining knowledge and applying that knowledge to their lives.
Groups lead by Psychological Services are advertised on their web site and are also advertised via flyers, posters or displays you'll find around campus. If you are interested in joining a group simply let us know and we'll schedule a brief appointment with you where we can discuss the group and determine if it meets your needs and if you are willing and able to make the necessary commitment. Stop by Psychological Services (Lowery House), give us a call (7-1604) or check out our web site.
A support group is usually topic specific, with members of the group dealing with a common issue such as grief or study habits. The purpose of a support group is to create an atmosphere where students can learn from one another and help each other manage the issues at hand.
A therapy group is a bit different in that there is no common issue and no specific topic. Members of the group come together, and with the help of trained group leaders, examine their thoughts, feelings and behaviors with the intent of finding out more about themselves and how to be wiser and more effective. Therapy groups not only help participants learn about themselves but also assist individuals in resolving personal issues. Therapy groups can be a bit intense, personal and definitely challenging. Students have found these groups to be interesting, valuable and definitely time well spent.
The group leaders here at Psychological Services are licensed counselors, psychologists or social workers with years of experience. Part of their graduate training and continued professional training is in the area of group dynamics and group leadership.
Confidentiality is of primary importance in any type of counseling. Group members discuss the topic of confidentiality and trust at the first group session. Each member makes a commitment to others in the group to preserve confidentiality and to respect the privacy of each member. We do our best to impress upon all group participants that without trust the group won't be successful. What happens and what is said in the group remain with the group only.
The span of time a group runs varies and those specifics can be found on our web site. But usually a group session will last ninety minutes to two hours and meet on a weekly basis for anywhere from six to twelve weeks. In that period of time participants learn about one another, build trust, feel comfortable in sharing, move through stages of learning and then come to a deliberate closing.
The answer to this question is a bit fuzzy. Of course participants are not required to speak and anyone at any time has the right to stop participating in a discussion if they so choose. But it is important to understand that it is through sharing our thoughts and feelings that we learn and that others learn from us. Participants in a group may become suspect about someone who never shares what they are thinking and/or feeling. Part of being in a group is participating.
There is a blunt answer to this question and the answer is, "Yes." You'll quickly discover that everyone in your group will become very important. Each person brings something special to the group and when someone is missing people notice and misses that person. The group dynamics change when someone is missing but especially if someone misses on a regular basis. Group attendance must be a priority. Being in a group is a commitment.
No, our services are free.
Research indicates that men and women communicate differently. Men and women also communicate differently when in a gender specific setting vs. when communicating in mixed company. So there are certain types of groups or settings where it is beneficial that all participants are all or only men or are all or only women. And, there are certain types of groups or settings where a mixed gender group is the most efficacious.
For more information (or answers to any other questions), please contact our office at (570) 577-1604.
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