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What Is Group Counseling?

Students who have common concerns meet as a group with counselors who are trained and have experience leading groups. In these small groups, you will have an opportunity to share your experience around a specific issue and hear from others who struggle with similar difficulties.  The counselor will also offer strategies and techniques for coping with that specific issue.  

How Are Groups Structured?

Groups typically consist of fewer than 10 ongoing members and meet for 90 minutes once a week for 6 -10 weeks. 

What Do I Talk About?

A great place to start is to talk about what sparked your interest to join the group in the first place. The first few sessions of a group usually focus on establishing trust.  Members work to create a safe and mutually respectful environment that allows them to talk openly and honestly about their struggles without judgment.

How much you may want to disclose or express about yourself depends completely on your own comfort level; you will never be “forced” to talk about anything personal outside of your comfort-zone.  You can benefit from the group even when you say very little, but listen carefully to others.  With time you may allow yourself to be more vulnerable.  Tell the group members what is bothering you. If you need support, let the group know. If you think you need to be challenged, let them know this also.  

Confidentiality in Groups

Confidentiality is an essential element in creating a sense of safety and trust in group.  While counselors must adhere to professional and ethical guidelines (Confidentiality and Privacy Statements), group members are not legally bound to the same standards.  Group members need to recognize the importance of confidentiality and not discuss personal information outside of group in order to enhance the success of the group.

Effectiveness of Group Counseling

Research has shown that Group Counseling tends to be just as effective as Individual Counseling, and in some instances, perhaps even more beneficial for some due to its inherent component of social interaction and support.  Just as with individual counseling, group counseling can have benefits and some potential risks.  Since counseling, in general, often involves taking about unpleasant aspects of your life, it’s normal to experience uncomfortable feelings.  Effectively working through these potentially unpleasant emotions often results in better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.  However, if you start to feel overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings, it is vital that you express this to the group counselor(s), who will typically be available for a short time after the group session.  Additionally, you may also choose to share with the group your feelings of being overwhelmed.  

Next Steps...

New groups are offered each semester.  You may call the Counseling Center at 931-221-6162 to learn more about groups that are currently running or will soon be starting up. 

 Just like individual counseling services, group sessions are confidential and free of charge for all enrolled APSU students.

SCS group sessions typically allow for a maximum of 10 student participants per group.  Therefore, if you are interested in joining one of the group offerings this Fall Semester, 2015, please call (931) 221-6162, or stop by SCS (Ellington, Rm. 202)