Group Counseling at PACS
What are groups like?
Most groups meet once a week, and last between 60 and 90 minutes. Each group is led by one or two PACS mental health clinicians and usually has about 6-8 members who are all UNH students. During the group session, you will talk about how things are going for you and brainstorm solutions to help you thrive academically and personally.
What are some benefits of joining group?
- Group counseling can help students enhance their social skills, communication, and intimacy with others
- Groups can also help students improve unsatisfying, frustrating, or disappointing relationships
- Participation in group counseling can help decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Group allows people to learn and deal with losses more effectively
- Students who participate in group report that it helps diminish feelings of hopelessness
- Participants also notice improvements in their self-esteem
- Group can also be a great place to learn new skills to navigate the college experience
Is group counseling confidential?
All group members are expected to keep information about participants and what is discussed in group confidential. That means what’s said in group, stays in group. This is to help the group members establish trust and a sense of safety with one another.
I'm socially anxious and being in group sounds really uncomfortable to me. Shouldn't I just do individual counseling?
While individual counseling can be helpful, and may seem less intimidating at first, group counseling is one of the most effective ways to address social anxiety. Individuals with social anxiety often worry about what others think of them, fear rejection and embarrassment, and avoid social situations to guard against experiencing anxiety or fear. Group provides a safe and supportive space to process those feelings, challenge assumptions of what others are thinking and feeling, and learn to navigate social interactions in meaningful ways, which can all serve to alleviate the anxiety felt around others. Most students feel some initial fear or discomfort before group begins, but they typically feel relief after the first session, a growing sense of connection with group members after a few sessions, and gratitude for having chosen to participate by the end of treatment.
How much do I have to share in group? What if I have nothing to say?
While sharing is a valuable part of participating in group, a lot of benefit can be gained by simply listen to others share their experiences and reflecting upon how you connect to what is being said. Members are not required to talk in group, but it gets easier as you go on, and we do know that the more you share in group, the more benefits you’ll receive.
Is group as effective as individual counseling?
Group counseling has been scientifically shown to be effective in helping young adults deal with a broad range of issues. It has been shown to be as effective as individual counseling, and for some issues, it can be even more effective than individual counseling. Most individuals are pleasantly surprised at how much they gain from participating in a group. Unlike individual counseling, group therapy provides invaluable opportunities for you to connect with others who might have similar problems, practice new interpersonal skills in a group context, and gain multiple perspectives on your concerns from different group members.
How do I join a group?
If you’re interested in being a part of one of the counseling groups at PACS, you’ll first need to meet with a counselor to discuss if group would be a good fit for you. All group members will complete an initial consultation with a counselor and then meet briefly with one of the clinicians who will be facilitating the group. During this meeting, you will have an opportunity to get acquainted; discuss your goals and concerns; learn about the structure, format, and goals of the group; and decide with the group facilitator whether the group might be a good fit for you.