Group counseling is intended to assist students with a wide variety of concerns and may be recommended to you by a counselor after your initial consultation.
Group counseling sessions typically last an hour and a half and take place once a week. During the session, members talk about whatever they want help with. If you want to improve your relationships, group counseling is a great way to do that. Group counseling is also a great option if you feel alone and isolated with your concerns, and don’t think anyone else at the George Washington University (GW) is experiencing the same feelings. Meeting other people who share your feelings and concerns can reduce your isolation and provide a sense of renewed hope that things can get better.
Benefits of Group Counseling
Some people believe they will receive more attention in individual counseling, but in many ways, the opposite is true. In group counseling, you can benefit from the different perspectives and experiences of the other group members, in addition to the group leader(s).
Group counseling can:
- Provide a space for you to "be real" with others in an environment of safety and respect.
- Allow you to see how others spontaneously respond to you.
- Provide you with feedback about how others perceive you.
- Enable you to try out new behaviors.
- Help you begin to see your "usual" patterns of relating to people.
- Help you discover that you are not alone in how you feel.
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.
Sharing Information with a Group
Some people are anxious about sharing in a group setting but you are in control of what, how much and when you share information. This anxiety has the potential to stop you from talking, which in turn can prevent you from experiencing the benefits of group counseling.
Within a few sessions most group members 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, are better able to accept warmth and can present our needs to others.