What is Group Counseling?
Group counseling can be a very helpful and powerful tool in addressing student concerns. A group offers an environment where students can increase self-understanding, enhance personal relationships, and try out new behaviors while receiving feedback and support from professionals and peers.
Please Read the Introduction to Group Therapy handout and view the Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of this page for more information.
Group counseling offers a unique opportunity to build community, explore your needs, share your experiences, offer support to others, and develop strategies to combat many different problems. In fact, studies show that group counseling is just as effective as (and, in some cases, even MORE effective than) individual therapy!
To participate, Call the Counseling Center between 8:30am-11am or 1pm-2:30pm
for a brief conversation with a clinician. No appointment required!
All groups will be conducted online via a secure version of Zoom.
- Coping with COVID-19 Support Group (1:30pm-3pm)
- Calm in the Storm (3pm-4:30pm)
- Self-Compassion & Mindfulness (4:30pm-6pm)
- Understanding Self & Others (5pm-6:30pm)
- Trans Support (5pm-6pm)
- Taking Back Hope (1:30pm-3pm)
- Sister to Sister (3:30pm-4:30pm)
- LGBTQ Support (4pm-5pm)
- Thriving After Trauma (5pm-6:30pm)
- Mindful Living (12pm-1pm)
- Braving Shame (1:30pm-3pm)
- ACT for Kats (3pm-4:30pm)
- ACT for Kats: This group is devoted to helping you encounter depression, anxiety, procrastination, anger, chronic pain, compulsions, and many other common problems differently, so you can pursue a full and meaningful life
- Braving Shame: Struggling with low self-esteem, self-criticism, hostility, or anger? Feeling like you’re not living up to expectations? Learn how to improve your life by joining this 6-week psychoeducational-experiential group to learn how to manage feelings of shame
- Calm in the Storm: If your emotions feel out-of-control and you have stormy relationships, learning skills related to mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance may help. Join this 10-week psychoeducational group to learn more
- Coping with COVID-19 Support: A private space to share your experiences and to learn practical strategies to cope with the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
- LGBTQ Support: This is a peer-led support group that provides a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community to share their experiences and receive feedback
- Mindful Living: This skill-based and experiential group focuses on learning mindfulness, meditation, relaxation and stress-management techniques to help improve your emotional well-being and ability to cope with difficult life stressors
- Self-Compassion & Mindfulness: Self-compassion is caring for ourselves as we would care for someone we love. Mindfulness is a practice that will help bring your awareness to the present moment and help you to manage stress and improve your overall emotional and physical well-being. This 5-week group will serve as an introduction to both
- Sister to Sister: This support group focuses on the needs and issues salient to African American/Black women in the college environment
- Taking Back Hope: Are you struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, or another mood disorder? Gain support and learn coping strategies by participating in this group
- Thriving After Trauma: Major life events can have a substantial impact on one’s relationships, health, and day-to-day functioning. In this group, you will learn how to identify and navigate symptoms of trauma while gaining support from others who are also on the same healing journey
- Trans Support: This is a peer-led support group that provides a safe space for LGBT community members who identify as transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming and other identities under the trans umbrella to share their experiences and receive feedback
- Understanding Self & Others: Deepen your level of self-awareness, improve your ability to connect with others, and receive invaluable feedback by participating in this interpersonal process group
For more information, contact Dr. Danielle Sirles at (936) 294-1720 or email@example.com
Group Counseling Frequently Asked Questions
I'm used to receiving individual therapy. Is group counseling effective?
- Absolutely! In fact, research suggests that group counseling is just as effective and (in some cases) even MORE effective than individual counseling! Let's face it: We live in a social world. Group counseling takes advantage of the power of social connection while helping you to learn new skills and gain support.
What do I talk about in group counseling?
- Anything! If it's bothering you, the group wants to hear about it!
- Common topics of discussion include (but are not limited to): managing depression and anxiety, navigating social, familial, or romantic relationships, coping with everyday stressors (e.g., school and work), improving low self-esteem, decreasing feelings of isolation and loneliness, working through past traumas, and coping with socio-political stress.
I'm afraid that I'll be the only person in the group experiencing a particular problem. No one will understand me.
- This is a common fear that many people have before joining a group. However, a majority of members are surprised to find that they are not alone in their struggles and experiences. Hearing how others are coping with challenged can help you feel more optimistic about addressing your own concerns.
How many people will be in my group?
- Groups generally consist of 4-12 members and 2 group leaders.
I'm nervous about beginning group. Am I going to be forced to talk?
- It is not uncommon to feel nervous about opening up to new people. In fact, most members will feel some level of anxiety during their first few group meetings! While group leaders will never force you to talk if you're feeling too uncomfortable, students tend to get more out of their group experience if they openly discuss their concerns.
I'm a private person. Do I have to tell my deepest secrets to this group?
- Not at all. You are in control of the information that you decide to share with the group. However, the more your share, the more you get out of group!
If I do open up in group, won't every share my private information?
- The leaders of the group are bound by professional and ethical rules to keep your information confidential. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality, which will be discussed during your initial screening appointment and pre-group meeting.
- While we recognize that group members are not bound by the same profession and ethical rules that therapists are, co-leaders do a good job of emphasizing the importance of maintaining all members' privacy throughout the group experience.
What if someone I know (i.e., a friend or roommate) in my group?
- We understand that this can make group participation feel awkward and uncomfortable. If you do have a close relationship with someone else in the group, please let one of the group leaders know. We'll do our best to figure out a compromise that works for everyone involved. For example, we may have you or the other person join a different group.
- Similarly, if you and someone you know are both planning to join a therapy group, it is recommended that you join different groups. Even though having a friend in the group may make you feel more comfortable initially, you may find that you avoid talking about certain topics because the other person is in the room. This may negatively impact your (and your companion's) ability to make progress towards your goals. Therefore, it is usually in everyone's best interest for you and your companion to join different groups.
- Some support groups (e.g., Sister to Sister, LGBT Support, and Graduate Student Support) have different rules when it comes to knowing other group members. Please consult with the group leaders if you have any questions.
How do I join a group?
- Visit the Counseling Center, and ask about the group of your choice during your screening appointment. If the therapist at the screening appointment also feels like group is a good way to address your concerns, they will help you schedule a pre-group meeting with the group leaders.
What happens during the pre-group meeting?
- This meeting will give you time to get to know the group leaders and learn specific information about the group. Feel free to ask questions or bring up any concerns that you may have. The group leaders will do their best to help you feel as comfortable as possible before you start group.
I still have questions about group counseling. Who can I talk to?
- You can contact the Group/Workshop Coordinator, Dr. Danielle Sirles, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that e-mail is not an appropriate medium for counseling, nor can privacy/confidentiality be guaranteed through electronic communication.
Sam Houston Counseling Center
1608 Avenue J., Box 209 | Huntsville, TX 77341-2059 | Phone: 936.294.1720 | Fax: 936.294.2639