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More about Group Therapy

At the Counseling Center, we want students to be as informed as possible about our services. We know that group therapy tends to be less familiar to many students than individual therapy. This page can help you correct some myths you may have heard about group therapy, and get answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Myths and Facts about Group Therapy Heading link

What we see in popular media usually doesn’t reflect what group therapy actually looks like in practice. Below, we correct some common misconceptions about group therapy.

Group therapy is second-best to individual therapy.

Group therapy is being recommended to you because your intake counselor or individual therapist believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. It is the research-backed preferred treatment for people whose concerns are related to or stem from their relationships with others. We do not put people into group therapy because we don’t have space in individual therapy, or because we want to save time. We offer several types of group and we only add members to a group if both you and the group leaders believe it would be a good fit. Your counselor can discuss with you why group is what we recommend for you.

I’m not comfortable talking in groups; I’ll never be able to share in a group.

This is a very common concern and believe it or not, many people are anxious about being able to talk in group. In our experience, within a few sessions most people find that themselves comfortable enough to begin talking and sharing in the group. Everyone in the group was a new member at some point, so you will most likely get a lot of support opening up at your own pace.

I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets to the group.

Group members are never forced to disclose any information if they are not ready or do not want to do so. In-group, you get to control what, how much, and when you share information with other group members. Group members share what is troubling them when they feel safe enough to do so and safety within a group is a unique and personal experience that will vary for everyone. We encourage you to share when you are ready to do so and until then you can be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you.

Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because I will have to share the time with others.

Actually, group therapy is often more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you find yourself listening to others more than talking about your own issues. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Secondly, group members will often bring up issues that that are different from the ones that brought you to therapy, but also may be affecting you. In that way, you may address issues that you were not immediately aware that you wanted to address.

I will be verbally attacked or ganged up on by the leaders or other group members.

One of the most important issues within group therapy is that group members feel safe. Your group leaders are there to help develop and facilitate a safe environment. We know that feedback can often be difficult to hear and as group members come to trust and accept one another, they generally experience feedback as a sign of caring. One of the benefits of group therapy is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive environment. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is precisely what group can offer.

Frequently Asked Questions Heading link