Counseling & Psychological Services
Group counseling may have been proposed as a treatment that could help you during your first appointment. Or, you're thinking about group on your own. As you decide whether or not to participate in a counseling group, you probably have some questions. We hope these pages answer most of them. Feel free to call us and speak to a counselor about any other questions you might have at (317) 274-2548.
What is Group Counseling?
Group counseling is intended to assist people who would like to gain support from others, increase their self-awareness, and learn new behaviors to cope with personal and interpersonal challenges.
In group counseling, five to ten people meet face-to-face with one or more trained group therapists. All groups typically involve some combination of members sharing thoughts and feelings, giving and receiving feedback to one another, and trying out new behaviors in a safe, confidential environment.
Who can benefit from Group Counseling?
Students who want to improve their relationships are excellent candidates for group. Group is also helpful for those who feel alone and isolated with their concerns, who don't think anyone else is experiencing the same feelings. Meeting other people who share your feelings and concerns can reduce your isolation and give a sense of renewed hope that things can get better.
How will Group Counseling help?
- Group can provide a space for us to "be real" with others in an environment of safety and respect.
- Group can allow members to see how others spontaneously respond to them.
- Group can provide members with feedback about how others perceive them.
- Group enables members to learn new skills and practice new behaviors.
- In group we begin to see our "usual" patterns of relating to people.
- In group we tend to discover that we are not alone in how we feel.
What does a typical Group session look like?
Groups at CAPS vary significantly in session format. Some groups are structured or semi-structured; these groups are somewhat similar to experiential workshops in that most group sessions focus on a particular topic. Each session usually consists of brief lectures by the group leaders, group discussions, and experiential activities.
CAPS also offers a number of groups that are typically much less structured. There isn't a specific topic for each group session. Members are welcome to bring any issues to the group that they feel are important, and the primary focus of the group sessions is on the interactions among group members. This occurs as members give each other feedback on their interpersonal styles and identify ways in which they feel more connected to one another.
What if a member of the group is my friend or classmate?
We recognize that it might be awkward to be in the same group with a friend/classmate. Please let group leaders know immediately if you have an existing relationship with someone else in the group. If that happens, the group leaders, in consultation with the group members, will decide how best to resolve this situation. It may work out to have both of you stay in the same group, or it may be best to have one of you find a different group to join. In the latter case, leaders will work with you or your friend/classmate and do our best to find another appropriate group that matches your needs and schedule.
How much should I share?
First and foremost, you control what, how much, and when you share information with the group. Most people are anxious about beginning to talk in group. This anxiety has the potential to stop members from talking, which in turn can prevent members from experiencing the benefits of group.
Within a few sessions people typically find that they are able to talk in the group and receive support from other members as they begin to share. As trust develops we become more comfortable with taking risks, we are better able to accept warmth and to present our self, and our needs, to others.
How does confidentiality work in Group Counseling?
For counselors and group facilitators, the same standards of confidentiality apply to all clinical services; CAPS will not disclose information about your treatment, or even your participation in services, except as required by law.
We ask that all group participants respect the privacy of all group members as well. The expectations of privacy are discussed in early group meetings and members are asked to refrain from sharing the names or concerns of any group member outside of CAPS sessions.
Shouldn't I be in individual counseling instead of group?
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 group members, in addition to the group leader(s).
In group you will receive feedback about how you are perceived, both from group leaders and from other members. Group members tend to view feedback from peers as one of the most beneficial aspects of group therapy, and something they can't receive in individual counseling.
Another 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?
CAPS offers several different types of counseling groups. Choosing a group may be difficult and is best done by discussing your needs with a counselor. A counselor can help you consider what kind of group environment fits both your personality and your specific counseling needs.
How do I join a group?
Call CAPS, schedule an initial appointment, and let your counselor know you're interested in group counseling.
How much does Group Couseling cost?
Groups are offered free of charge at CAPS and there is no session limit!