What is Group Counseling?

In group counseling, one or two trained leaders meet with six to eight students to discuss their concerns. Some groups focus on a specific concern (e.g., body image, living with loss), while other groups focus on almost any issue relevant to your personal development and growth. All groups typically involve some combination of sharing thoughts and feelings, giving and receiving feedback, and trying out new behaviors in a safe, confidential environment.

Why choose group over individual counseling?

This is the most frequently asked question. Some people believe they will receive more attention in individual counseling, however, in many ways the opposite is true. In group, you can benefit from the different perspectives and experiences of the other members as well as the group leader(s). How others experience you and understand your concerns opens up opportunities for personal growth and change. In addition, group allows you to reflect on your thoughts and feelings as they occur while relating to others. This translates into a clearer sense of what lies at the root of your concerns. Experiencing your feelings in-the-moment as you interact with the other group members more rapidly and accurately increases your own emotional awareness in relationships. One important benefit of group counseling is the opportunity to receive support and insight from others who might share similar experiences. You will also begin to recognize your own strengths and insights as you assist others in understanding themselves, thus enhancing your own self-esteem.

How do I know which group is right for me?

The Counseling Center offers many different types of counseling groups. Choosing a group may be difficult and is often done by discussing your needs with a CC counselor. For example, initially you may feel that an Anxiety Management group best meets your needs. Upon speaking with a counselor, you might realize that your anxiety stems from difficulty creating and maintaining satisfying relationships. This suggests that a more broadly focused, interpersonal group would be a better match for you. On the other hand, you might request an interpersonal group to help improve the quality of your relationships when in fact a communication and assertiveness skills group might best suit your needs. The leader’s style may be another factor affecting your choice. You might benefit from a more active and directive leader, while others might benefit from a more non-directive approach that allows group members to find their own way of interacting. A counselor can help you consider what kind of group environment fits both your personality and your specific needs.

What can I expect?

All groups will involve some combination of giving and receiving support and feedback, learning and practicing new skills, and establishing relationships with others who understand and/or share your concerns. Some groups specifically focus on learning and practicing new skills, while others will help you problem-solve around your immediate concerns. Other groups might emphasize how to use the relationships you develop in the group to better understand yourself and how you relate to others. It is completely normal to feel a little anxious about beginning a group. Many people say things like “I could never talk to others about my problems” or “I am afraid that others won’t be able to relate to me.” These are common fears in joining group. Discovering that you’re not alone is often the first step in connecting to the other group members. As you share your concerns and get to know others in the group, your anxiety will lessen. Sometimes your fears add to the problems that brought you to the Counseling Center. Learning how to tolerate and to cope with these fears would be a powerful beginning to your learning and growth.

How do I join?

The easiest way to join a group is to call the Crisis Center and ask about our current groups. Some groups simply require that you sign-up with/through the receptionist, whereas others require that you meet with the group leader(s) for an initial screening. A group screening is a meeting with the group leader(s) to discuss your problems and needs, to learn how the group works, and to develop goals for the counseling. When you call, someone will direct you to the next step in joining a group. The initial meeting with the group leaders is free as well as the group sessions.

* This information was adapted from the George Washington University Counseling Center website

Current support groups:

A.W.A.K.E. (Abused Women Achieving Knowledge and Empowerment) is here to help victims of domestic violence…

Tell your own story
Recognize the uniqueness of your own personal needs
Move from isolation to a sense of belonging
Face and grieve loss
Realistically recognize your own limitations and personal strengths
Set clear and appropriate boundaries
Develop sources of support
Learn characteristics of a healthy relationship

CASA (Children Against Sexual Abuse)

Develop support from other children that have experienced sexual abuse.
Learn appropriate ways to manage your anger.
Develop effective coping skills.
Recognize the effects of sexual abuse.
Increase self-esteem and positive self talk.
Share your experiences with others.

Group will be held at the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties office located at 700 E. Cherokee Street in Jacksonville and 313 W. Debard St. in Palestine. Please call for sign-up or additional information at 903-586-9118 or 903-723-5858. It is at no cost to the client and welcome to all victims of abuse.

*New groups will be added in the future

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