Group Counseling

Our Center offers about a dozen counseling groups each semester, including more general groups which support students in making positive changes in their lives, as well as groups based on specific issues or student identities. For many students, addressing their issues within the context of a counselor-led group can be the most helpful form of counseling. For more information about our groups or to check whether a group is still open for the semester, please contact our current Group Coordinator, Dr. Andy Smith at andysmith@gatech.edu. To contact staff associated with a particular group from the list below, call 404.894.2575 or contact them directly via email (see the Our Staff page for email addresses).

To discuss the possibility of joining one of our counseling groups, please schedule an Initial Consultation session.

What can you expect from Group Counseling?

Group counseling provides an opportunity to address the issues that concern you, identify with others, and examine life patterns that are interfere with your personal growth. In group, you have the opportunity to gain immediate feedback from other group members and the group facilitators. By receiving feedback from others about how they perceive you, you increase your awareness of yourself and aspects of your life that you wish to change.

Group counseling also gives you an opportunity to experiment with new behaviors, talk about feelings you have been hesitant to express, or assert yourself in new ways. You will also be able to learn from other members as you identify and connect with their struggles and successes. The more you invest in group counseling, mentally and emotionally, the more you will benefit.

What to do to get the most out of Group Counseling

1. Be yourself. Start from where you are, not how you think others want you to be. This might mean asking questions, expressing anger, or communicating confusion and hopelessness. Growth begins by taking the first step of sharing in the group.

2. Define goals. Take time before each session to define your goals for that session. Nevertheless, being flexible about your goals is also important. You may be surprised to find that your goals continue to change throughout the group process.

3. Recognize and respect your pace for getting involved in the group. Some group members will easily be ready to disclose their thoughts and feelings; others need more time to gain feelings of trust and security. By respecting your needs you are learning self-acceptance. If you are having a difficult time with how to discuss your problems with the group, then ask the group to help you.

4. Take time for yourself. You have the right to take group time to talk about yourself. Many people may feel that other’s issues are more important than their own, may have a difficult time facing feelings, or may have fears of appearing “weak.” By recognizing what the reluctance means, you begin the growth process.

5. Recognize and express thoughts and feelings. The use of either thoughts or feelings alone is insufficient in working through problems. If you are having difficulties recognizing and expressing your thoughts or feelings, ask the group to help. Learning to express yourself fully, without censorship, enables exploration and resolution of interpersonal conflicts and self-affirmation.

6. Take risks. Experiment with different ways of behaving and expressing yourself. By taking risks, you can discover what works for you and what doesn't. This may mean expressing difficult feelings, sharing information you usually keep secret, or confronting someone about something upsetting to you.

7. Give and receive feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is a major aspect of group therapy. The best way to get feedback is to request it from specific individuals, those whose impression means the most to you. You have the right to ask for either negative or positive comments (or both), depending on what you are ready to hear.  Feedback should be concrete and specific, brief but to the point, and representative of both your feelings and thoughts. It is provided in the spirit of helpfulness and respect. The purpose is to help others identify patterns, personal presentations, unrecognized attitudes, and inconsistencies.

Most group members learn that giving advice, suggestions and solutions is seldom helpful. For advice-givers, it takes time to learn how to express personal reactions, communicate understanding, give support, and listen attentively.

8. Become aware of distancing behaviors. All of us have ways of behaving which prevent others from getting close to us such as remaining silent and uninvolved, telling long involved stories, responding to others with intellectual statements, and talking only about external events. As you become involved in the group, you will have the opportunity to identify what you do to distance yourself from others. The question you will face is whether the behavior is preventing you from getting what you want such as close relationships with people.

9. Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. Changing what has become such an integral part of ourselves is very difficult and slow. By having patience with ourselves and accepting and understanding these blocks to growth, we set the foundation for growth and change.

10. Work outside the group. In order to get the most from the group experience, you will need to spend time between sessions thinking about yourself, trying out new behaviors, reflecting on what you are learning, reassessing your goals, and paying attention to your feelings and reactions.

*taken from the Iowa State Student Counseling Services

Group Facilitators

Usually, groups have two facilitators whose function is to use their knowledge and experience to assist in individual and group growth. Facilitators work to promote an atmosphere of safety and encourage open communication between members. Group facilitators also help to identify group patterns, feelings, and underlying meaning. The activity level of the group facilitators varies depending on what is happening in the group. When the members are relating freely with each other and the energy level and involvement is high, facilitators tend to be less active. You are also encouraged to communicate your reactions and thoughts to them concerning their role and activities.

Group Resources

American Group Psychotherapy Association: What is Group Therapy?

American Group Psychotherapy Association: Practice Guidelines

American Group Psychotherapy Association: Ethics in Group Therapy

International Board for the Certification of Group Psychotherapy

American Psychological Association: Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy

Association for Specialists in Group Work

American Academy of Group Psychology

Current Group Offerings - Fall 2017

INTERPERSONAL PROCESS GROUPS

These mixed gender groups will provide opportunities for students to discuss issues and concerns that create stumbling blocks to success. These groups will examine relationships, communication styles, stress management and general life concerns. In addition, there is a focus on the “process” or dynamic that plays out between group members, which allows members to provide and receive feedback, as well as process their reactions to other group members. There are a number of mixed gender therapy groups that are offered at various times.

INTERPERSONAL PROCESS [Monday]
Monday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Contact: Erin English
Open to Georgia Tech students.

INTERPERSONAL PROCESS [Thursday]
Thursday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Contact: Irene Daboin
Open to Georgia Tech students.

GRADUATE STUDENTS PROCESS GROUP [Monday]
Monday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Contact: Drew Adelman
Open to Georgia Tech graduate students.

 

OTHER GROUPS

QWEERTY
Tuesday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Contact: Irene Daboin
The QWEERTY group provides a safe and affirming place for undergraduate and graduate LGBTQIA students to share experiences and connect with others. It is a psychotherapy group focused on self-exploration and self-growth, and provides the opportunity for a range of topics to be explored. The group is well suited to meet the needs of students who are “out,” as well as students who are questioning their sexual and/or gender identity.

GRADUATE MEN'S GROUP
Friday 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Contact: Andy Smith
This group provides Georgia Tech men (graduate students) the opportunity to discuss a range of topics in their lives. Common topics include dealing with the pressures and expectations related to being a man in our society, academic/career concerns, managing anger and other emotions and communicating effectively in relationships.

GRADUATE WOMEN'S GROUP
Thursday 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Contact: Irene Dalton
A group that allows GT graduate student women to connect with others around personal, academic and relationship issues.

JOURNEY IN HEALING
Thursday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Contact: Drew Adelman
This group is open to female-identified Georgia Tech undergraduate and graduate students who have been victims of sexual assault or relationship violence during their teen/adult years. This group will offer support, psychoeducation, and collective empowerment. Weekly topics are chosen by the participants and related to recovery, the reestablishment of safety, healing, coping, and self-care. The focus of the group is to provide safety, connection, education, support, and to model relationship building.

SOCIAL ANXIETY
Monday 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Contact: Janice Harewood
This group is for students who find it challenging to interact with others due to overwhelming anxiety. The group will help students learn about the causes of social anxiety and will teach skills to combat anxious thoughts and feelings and increase positive social interactions.

MIND OVER MOOD
Tuesday 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Contact: Tyler Finklea
This group will help participants better understand the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. In addition, participants will be able to identify common problematic thought patterns, as well as learn concepts and skills to modify the thought patterns that cause negative moods and anxiety.