A powerful way of working on problems we face as individuals
In group therapy, 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. Group members are actively involved, and are expected to share their feelings and impressions to the extent to which they are comfortable. The information discussed in group is confidential and group members agree to make a commitment to that confidentiality before participating in the groups.
Myths About Group Therapy
You alone decide what to say and what not to say in group. It takes time for a group of people to develop into a relationship. It is also normal to feel some anxiety about talking in a group. Pace yourself. Disclose what you are ready to disclose. Like most other things in life, however, you tend to get out of group what you put into it. If you make an effort to talk about what brought you to counseling in the first place, we are confident that you will have a positive experience.
Along with the right not to discuss what you're not ready to talk about comes the responsibility to initiate your own participation. It is each group member's responsibility to tell the group what you need, provide feedback in a warm manner, share reactions to other members, and express your present emotions. Group leaders are not mind readers, and do not know when you want to say something. We also don't have all the answers, though we certainly often wish we did! Don't forget that the other members of the group may be another good resource for challenge, support, or suggestions.
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. Sometimes they even like it better! At our Counseling Center, we use group, individual, and couple counseling based on the students' needs, not on how busy our schedules are.
Group Therapy Guidelines
Guidelines about how to participate in the group help keep the group a safe place for you and everyone else. If you join a group here, we ask that you 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 same standards, we require all group participants to respect the confidentiality of the group.
- ATTENDANCE: You, and other group members, get the most out of group when you attend every session. Please make every effort to do so. If an emergency does occur and you can't attend, please call 742-3674 and let one of the group leaders know.
- TIME: The group starts on time and ends on time. Please be punctual so you and others may get the most out of every session.
Additional guidelines might be established by the group itself to promote a feeling of safety for group members. Other guidelines might be outlined by your group facilitators depending on the nature, size, and purpose of the different groups. You will be informed of these guidelines if they exist.