Overview of group counseling
UCPS offers enrolled Lehigh students group counseling as one of our primary clinical services. Our group program is one of the most successful programs across college counseling centers in the US, and we often have up to 12 groups running simultaneously.
While the campus is closed and during the period of on-line education associated with COVID-19, traditional group therapy is suspended because licensure laws prohibit psychotherapy to students living in many states and other countries. However, social and support group gatherings, group workshops, and stress management groups are currently being offered via the Zoom platform. Students are invited to call the center to get the Zoom ID in order to join these groups.
Group provides an opportunity available to students who are in need of a supportive environment that assists them in establishing and maintaining close and gratifying relationships with others while working on the struggles that brought them in to UCPS. Group can offer peer validation and support and also provides students more understanding of their relationships with others and how they could be honest about their feelings with someone in exchange for honest feedback about themselves.
What group counseling entails
UCPS offers primarily Interpersonal Groups, which have no specific topic or theme, though topical groups are offered occasionally depending on demand and interest. The groups include diversity in student backgrounds and reasons for counseling, though a shared focus typically involves a desire to improve the quality of relationships with others. Additionally, our staff makes an effort to limit the likelihood that students may be in a group with someone they know.
Group counseling involves attending a weekly 90-minute therapy group of 8-10 students and 2 co-leaders. There is no limit placed on number of group sessions students are permitted. Counseling is offered to enrolled students free of charge.
How might group counseling help you?
Group can help because:
- Group can help you better understand not only what issues you’re struggling with, but also what is getting in the way of positive change through developing more meaningful relationships with others both within and outside of group.
- When people come into a group, they usually recreate those difficulties that brought them to therapy in the first place, providing opportunities for support, alternatives for relating with others, or feedback to aid in resolving the issues at hand.
- During group therapy, people begin to see that they are not alone in their problems, which allows for connection, trust, and hope for growth.
How to get started with group
There are a few ways you might begin group counseling:
- Your individual counselor may recommend joining a group because your concerns may be ideally suited for a group counseling environment. Group counseling is often equally if not more effective than individual counseling for improving student well-being.
- You may have heard from friends on campus about their positive experiences from group and become interested yourself. You may contact UCPS directly and request a group screening (see below) to learn more about it.
- Group is also an excellent way to continue the work you accomplished in individual therapy without any restriction on number of sessions you can attend.
The Group Screening Process
Prior to joining a group, you will attend a Group Screening, which is a 30-minute meeting with one or both of the group co-leaders. This meeting provides you with an opportunity to clarify your goals for group, learn more about the group experience, and ask any questions you may have about group. The leader(s) will also explain expectations of group (e.g., attendance, confidentiality). By attending a group screening, you are not required to join the group, but rather you are supported in making that decision for yourself.