Group therapy is a powerful venue for growth and change. Not only do students receive tremendous understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspectives, ideas, and viewpoints on those issues. Most students, though somewhat apprehensive at first, report that the group experience was helpful far beyond their expectations.
We are convinced that therapy is one of the most effective tools for addressing issues common among college students. We invite you to learn more about group therapy opportunities at CAPS and review frequently asked questions about group.
Group Therapy FAQ
What groups are being offered at CAPS this Semester?
What is group therapy?
What are the different types of group CAPS offers?
Why group therapy?
Who can benefit from group therapy?
What are the benefits of group therapy?
What do I talk about in group?
How do I make the most of group therapy?
Are there ground rules for participating in group therapy?
What about confidentiality?
Isn't individual therapy better?
How do I join a group?
Q. What groups are being offered at caps this semester? The following groups are offered, and some details are to be determined.
Understanding Self and Others
This insight oriented groups will provide you with a safe environment for exploring yourself and interpersonal style in areas such as trust, intimacy, anger, assertiveness, taking risks, and dealing with authority. This coed process group is free of charge and will be held in Darnall Hall Conference Room. Please contact Mary Quigley, LCSW by calling 687-6980 or email email@example.com. The group will meet on Mondays from 5 -6:15 pm.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Explorations Group
This is a drop-in group designed for Georgetown students who are reassessing their use of alcohol or other substances. There is no requirement of abstinence. The only requirement is a willingness to examine what is happening around one's use of substances. This is a confidential counseling group, not an AA group or a 12-step group. Students are welcome to refer themselves, and faculty and staff may also make referrals. Students may join at any point in the semester. A brief screening and orientation meeting will be needed beforehand to ensure that students are matched appropriately to the group. This group is free of charge and will be held in the CAPS office. Please contact Phil Meilman, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 687-6985. This group will be held on Tuesdays at 4 pm.
Social Confidence Group
This is a workshop designed for students struggling with social anxiety. The group will provide an opportunity for the students to develop their skills and confidence in social settings. This group is free of charge and will be held in the Darnall Conference room . Please contact Afshin Nili, Psy.D. at email@example.com or call 687-7049. Day and time for the group are TBD.
LGBTQI Affirmative Therapy Group
This is a professionally-run therapy group run by a psychologist intended for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning and/or inter-sexed students and designed to provide a confidential and safe place for looking in depth at individual concerns about coming out, relationships, family, academic, and community/university concerns unique to LGBTQI students. Objectives of the group include gaining understanding and insight into one’s own interpersonal dynamics, improving one’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth, sharing and reviewing real life experiences, exploring new ways of interacting, understanding and expanding relational skills, and exploring mental health concerns (e.g., depression and anxiety). An in-person screening interview with the group leader is required before admission to the group. This group is free of charge and will be held in the Darnall Conference Room. Please contact Seth Christman, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 687-7067 to schedule a screening for the group. Day and time TBD.
What's Going On? A Support Group (CMEA & CAPS Collaboration)
This support group offers a safe space for members to discuss and share their varied experiences at Georgetown. Within a supportive atmosphere, students are invited to explore stressors associated with student life and navigating roles within school, family, and other interpersonal relationships. This group is free of charge and will be held in the New North, Lannan Center (4th Floor). Please contact Sandra Piedrahita, Ph.D. at (202)-687-6938 or Erica Shirley, Ph.D. at 687-7080 for a brief individual appointment. This group will meet on Thursdays from 3:30-5 pm.
Q. What is group therapy?
A. Group therapy is a form of counseling in which a small number of people come together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. The therapy has been widely used and has been a standard and effective treatment option for over 50 years. In group, not only do students receive tremendous understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspectives, ideas, and viewpoints on those issues. Group therapy, like individual therapy is a powerful vehicle for growth and change, and is intended to help people who would like to gain support, increase self-awareness, and learn new ways to cope with personal or interpersonal challenges.
Q. What are the different types of groups caps offers?
A. CAPS offers two different types of groups:
Psychotherapy or Counseling Groups meet weekly on a regular basis and participants are expected to attend every session to gain the most benefit from this modality. These groups bring together a group of up to 8 members and 1 or 2 therapists, for 60-75 minutes. They focus on interpersonal relationships, help people get along better, and offer support for specific problems and challenges, such as depression, social anxiety, or identity issues. The issues discussed each week arise from the members rather than being initiated by the group leader(s). Personal concerns or problems from everyday life, relationships with friends, family members, and significant others, and specific reactions, thoughts, or feelings to people and events within the group are frequently discussed. Interaction between members is an important part of group because it enables members to try new ways of relating as well as learning about the way they interact with one another. To that end, members are encouraged to talk with one another in a spontaneous and honest fashion as well as to provide feedback to each other.
Drop-In Support Groups meet weekly at a specific time, but the members could drop in on an as needed basis. They last for 50-60 minutes, and bring together 5-8 members and a therapist. These groups help people who share a particular symptom or situation, cope with various difficulties, and work to alleviate symptoms. Examples of support groups include dealing with loss and graduate student support groups. Participants speak about their concerns and feelings related to the topic of the group, as well as respond to other members as they share. Support groups tend to have a didactic component, and discussions and/or personal disclosures are usually focused around the stated topic area.
Q. Why Group Therapy?
A. Most personal problems are interpersonal in nature. Very often they stem from our relationships or from our personal patterns of relating. Group therapy offers the rare opportunity to explore and understand how you relate to others and get specific feedback on how others react to you.
Georgetown students, groups can be more effective and produce quicker results than individual counseling. The lessons group members learn from each other and the chance to work through problems with other people who share similar concerns are what make groups special. Only in group therapy can you directly work on how you relate to others. The group environment of trust and safety can help you build the skills you need to create the same kind of trust and safety in your real life and in classes and work; in residence halls, fraternities and sororities, coops, and apartments; with friends, family, and intimate partners.
The group experience can help you learn about your style of relating, your ability to be close, and your personal effectiveness in relationships, and gives you the unique chance to see how others struggle with these concerns. It also offers the opportunity to explore a broad range of personal concerns
Q. Who can benefit from Group Therapy?
A. Like individual counseling, group therapy can benefit almost anyone. It can be especially useful for people who want to explore their style of relating to others and enhance their approach to relationships in areas such as trust, intimacy, anger, conflict, assertiveness, risk-taking, and self esteem. Group can also be useful for individuals struggling with LGBTQ issues, issues of depression, anxiety, alcohol and other drug issues, medical illness, loneliness, shyness, or who have experienced losses, sexual assault, or other stressors.
Q. What are the benefits of group therapy?
A. There are many:
- Group can afford the opportunity to ?be real? with others in an environment of safety and respect.
- Group can counteract feelings of isolation and a sense of being alone with one?s feelings.
- Members are able to try out new behaviors.
- Group can provide members with diverse views, responses, and feedback.
- In group, members often see their ?usual? patterns of relating to people, allowing for an opportunity to challenge these patterns.
- Group can allow members the chance to explore and better understand themselves.
- In group, members can learn new social techniques, ways of relating, and how to better cope with difficulties.
Q. What do I talk about in group therapy?
A. Members talk about whatever is troubling them or whatever brought them into therapy in the first place as well as their successes. Of course, you control how much and when you share information with the group. It is common for people to initially be anxious about talking in group. However, within a few sessions, people often find that they are able to talk in group and that they get validation and support from other members as they begin to share.
Q. How do I make the most out of group therapy?
A. There are many ways:
- Attend regularly. In joining the group, you have made a commitment to the other group members as well as to yourself.
- Make the group part of your life. Don't think of group as something that happens once a week and then forget about it in between. Between group sessions, think about what happened in group and about how you felt during and after group, and try to figure out why you had those feelings.
- Take responsibility for your counseling and your group. It's your group, so if it is not moving in the direction you want, say so.
- Participate actively. You will make more progress if you get actively involved in the group discussions.
- Experiment with new forms of behavior. Until you begin to act differently, you won't change.
- Take some emotional risks in group. It is structured to be safe and supportive.
- Be as honest and open as you are able in group. It allows other group members to get to know who you really are.
- Speak in the first person. This makes what you say much more personal and powerful.
- Accept responsibility for your own experience and allow other to be responsible for theirs. Don't foster dependency by assuming responsibility for others in the group.
- Learn to listen to others attentively. If you are formulating your response while someone else is speaking, you are not really hearing what is being said.
- Learn to differentiate between thoughts and feelings?when you say "I feel that?", or "I feel like?", you are moving away from expressing feelings to expressing thoughts.
- Speak directly to individuals in the group rather than about them to others.
- Be honest and direct with your feelings in group in the present moment, especially your feelings toward other group members and the therapists.
- Be spontaneous. Often we wait our turn to speak, try to be polite, or think about what we want to say for so long that the moment to say it has passed.
- Be specific and direct with your feedback.
- Share both positive and negative.
- Don't give advice and suggestions.
- Don't try to solve other member's problems for them.
- Don't blame or judge others.
- Be respectful, even when you don't agree with a person's position or behavior.
- Phrase your feedback so it is about your experience of the other person, and not a judgment of how they are.
- Ask for feedback when you need it?Seek clarification and avoid becoming defensive or making excuses.
Q. What are the ground rules?
A. For the group to be effective, your commitment to the following is essential:
Q. What about confidentiality?
A. Groups are private and confidential; that is, what members disclose in sessions is not shared outside of the group. The meaning and importance of confidentiality are reviewed with group members at the first meeting and every time a new member joins the group.
Q. Isn't individual therapy better?
A. That's one of the common misunderstandings about group therapy:
"Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy, because I will have to share the time with others."
Group therapy can be more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little by listening carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Second, group members will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but which you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.
"I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group."
No one will force you to do anything in group counseling. You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. You do not have to share what you are not ready to disclose. You can be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you. When you feel safe enough to share what is troubling you, a group will likely be very helpful and affirming.
"I have so much trouble talking to people, I'll never be able to share in a group."
Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.
Q. How do I join a group?
A. If you are currently seeing a CAPS therapist, ask him/her about joining a group. If you are not, contact the Group Coordinator, Alisa Schwartz, PhD at 687-7045 or email@example.com. You may also contact the group's facilitator (listed above) at 687-6985. Prior to joining a group, a meeting will be scheduled between you and the group facilitator(s). During this meeting, you will have a chance to discuss your interest in the group, ask questions, identify goals, and determine if group is right for you.
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