INTRO TO GROUP COUNSELING
The UCC offers a wide variety of group counseling experiences. Group counseling is a type of psychotherapy that involves meeting with a group of individuals whom all face similar concerns. Group sessions involve sharing your experiences and listening to others experiences. Group counseling provides a supportive environment to discuss problems and concerns and to work toward your goals. Group therapy is a powerful way of working on problems we may face as individuals. In group, people learn to catch themselves making the same old mistakes, try out new approaches to problems, get support from other members, and get challenged in a variety of ways. A group has one or two leaders who may facilitate interactions in the group, challenge members to look at these interactions in a different way, and offer feedback and support. If you are interested in any of the groups the UCC has to offer please call and set up a group screening to get started.
Groups generally consist of 4 to 12 group members. Groups meet on a weekly basis. Each group session varies in length of time ranging from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the group.
BENEFITS OF GROUP COUNSELING
Group provides support. Hearing from others with similar issues can help you feel connected and understand that you are not alone in the challenges you face.
Group provides feedback. Sharing your struggles and concerns with others offers an opportunity to hear feedback from other group members that may be very helpful for you. Getting a wide range of perspective on your specific situation may help you manage your situation better. Additionally, receiving feedback from others about how you come across can be a very powerful learning experience.
Group promotes social skills. Groups can give you an opportunity to practice social skills in a safe, non-judging environment. Group also gives you an opportunity to provide support for others. Group can help you relate to others, as well as yourself, in healthier, more effective ways.
Group teaches you about yourself. Group can be a different way of uncovering areas that may be blocking your ability to overcome your struggles.
Groups are not limited. There are no session limits on groups. Additionally, groups meet on a weekly basis which can provide you with weekly support.
MYTHS OF GROUP COUNSELING
I will be forced to tell my deepest, darkest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group. You control what, how much and when you share with the group. Most people find that they feel safe enough to share what they are struggling with other group members. We encourage you not to share anything you are not ready to disclose. Simply listening to others can also provide support and help you might need.
Group counseling will take longer than individual counseling. Group therapy can be more efficient than individual counseling. You can benefit from group even in session in which you say little but actively listen to other group members. Hearing from other people who share similar struggles can help you learn more about yourself. Group members will often bring up issues that might resonate with you, but that you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.
I will be verbally attacked by group leaders and other group members. A feeling of safety is the upmost importance in group. Part of the group leaders job is help develop and maintain a safe environment for group members. Criticism is often difficult for people to handle appropriately. As group members come to trust and accept one another, they generally come to view feedback and even confrontation as positives.
Group counseling is second-best to individual counseling. This may be the biggest myth about group therapy! In fact, research shows that group participants usually experience equally satisfactory results as those who receive individual counseling. If group counseling is recommended to you, it is because your counselor believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. We do not put people into group counseling because we don’t have space in individual counseling or because we want to save time. We recommend group when it is the most effective method to help you. Your counselor can discuss with you why group counseling is recommended for you.
I am not really comfortable sharing in a group setting. Most people are anxious about the idea of sharing with a group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions, people find that they do eventually talk in the group. Discomfort with speaking in a group setting is probably one of the reasons that your counselor recommended this method of counseling. Becoming comfortable speaking with others in a safe, group setting, may help your relationships with others and other aspects of your life.
Guidelines about how to participate in group help keep the group a safe place for you and everyone else. If you decide to participate in group, we ask that you agree to comply with the following rules.
CONFIDENTIALITY. Group leaders are ethically and legally obligated to protect group members’ confidentiality, with few exceptions. While we can offer no guarantees about group members keeping the standards, we require all group participants to respect the confidentiality of the group. Group members will get the most out of the group experience if they feel safe to share.
ATTENDANCE. You get the most out of group when you attend every session. We ask that you make every effort to attend all the group sessions offered in the semester. However, we understand that there may be a time when you are unable to attend group. In that case we ask that you call and inform the group leaders that you will be unable to attend.
TIME. Groups start and end on time. Please be punctual so you and other group members can get the most of of each session.
Other guidelines may be established by the group itself to promote a feeling of safety for all group members. Additionally, other guidelines might be outlines by your group leaders depending on the nature, size, and purpose of the group. These will be covered during your group screening and the first session of group.