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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Counseling and Psychological Services

Group Counseling

 
 

Group Room  GROUP FAQs

 

What is group counseling?

Group counseling is a form of helping in which a small number of people come together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another.  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 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.  

 

I heard that group counseling is not as good as individual counseling, is that true?

For many FGCU 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.   Group counseling has been shown to be an effective, and sometimes preferable, treatment option for many issues. 

 

Since FGCU is somewhat of a small campus, should I be concerned about confidentiality?

All participants in CAPS groups, whether counselors who facilitate the groups or students who participate in the groups, have agreed to maintain confidentiality of the group and group members.  Group members may also asked to sign a confidentiality statement before the start of group each semester.  To date, CAPS is not aware of any breaches of confidentiality of group members.

 

Is there an extra fee to participate in a CAPS group?

 For students who are registered at FGCU for the term in which the group is offered, the group is free. 

 

How do I sign up?

It depends.  For the most part if you are interested in a group, please talk with a CAPS counselor who can either schedule you for a group screening/orientation appointment or enroll you directly in the group.  Some groups may require a group screening/orientation, which involves meeting with the group facilitator for approximately 15 – 20 minutes to make sure your concerns and current level of distress are appropriate for participation in the group. 

Other groups (e.g., DBT Skills Training) are reserved for students dealing with specific issues or who have reached a certain degree of progress in individual counseling.  These groups can only be accessed by referral from an individual counselor. 

If you are interested in one of our groups and are not currently receiving services at CAPS, please contact the CAPS office to inquire about possible participation in the group. 

 

I’m not familiar with some of the terms used to describe groups; HELP!

Open groups:  Open groups are groups that accept new members continuously; so no matter what point of the semester we are in, open groups can accept new members.

Closed groups:  Closed groups are groups that no longer accept new members once the group begins.  This is typically because of the nature of the group and allowing new members to join after the group starts might disrupt the dynamics and perceived feeling of safety in the group.  Participation in these groups requires that you get signed up early in the semester. 

Process group:  A process group is one in which the main mechanism of change/healing is the interactions between group members.   These groups require participants to share about their experiences, perceptions, and feelings in regards to either a specific topic (e.g., relationships) or life in general.

Psychoeducational group:  A psychoeducational group is one in which the main mechanism of change is education about a specific topic (e.g., anger management).  These groups require much less open sharing of group members and do tend to require more out-of-group practice of skills and strategies learned. 

Support group:  A support group is one in which all participants are going through a common life experience (e.g., women’s support group).  These groups tend to be less focused on therapeutic change and more focused on sharing resources and offering emotional support to one another.

Mixed group:  Mixed group is a term we use to describe a group that offers characteristics of more than one type of group (e.g., psychoeducational and process). 

Confidentiality:  Confidentiality refers to information that is kept restricted or private.  When it comes to groups, students must agree to maintain the confidence of other students in the group.  In other words, it would be a breach of confidentiality to share a name (or any other information shared during group) with someone who is not in the group.  Another way to put it is: what happens or is said in the group, stays in the group.