What is Group Therapy?
Each semester CAPS offers a wide variety of therapy groups. Therapy groups are a form of psychotherapy, focusing on developing insight and behavior change. Five to eight group members meet with one or two group therapists once per week for 1.5 hours throughout the semester. Group therapy provides a unique opportunity for small groups of students to meet and share common concerns, explore personal issues and learn new skills under the guidance of one or two professional leaders. CAPS offers general therapy groups for all students, groups for particular populations (e.g., graduate students, women, men, returning adults) and for particular issues (e.g., sexual assault, eating disorders, stress and depression). CAPS also offers discussion and support groups for members of underrepresented populations.
How do I join a Group?
A referral to group needs to be made through a therapist at CAPS. If you have not had a triage or initial consultation, then you need to have those appointments first. In most cases, a "group evaluation" with the group therapists is scheduled prior to a group member joining.This helps to determine whether a group is likely to meet an individual student's needs and whether that student will fit well with a particular group's current composition.
Once a group forms, it is often closed to new referrals for that semester. During group sessions, members discuss issues concerning them and offer support and feedback to to one another. Personal growth stemming from these interactions is essential to the group process. Group members are committed to learning about themselves and their relationships.
Most groups meet weekly for ninety minutes and are open only to Penn State students. The starting dates for the groups will vary. Enrollment is free and can be made directly through a therapist at CAPS. Confidentiality is strictly respected.
What Clients Say About Group Therapy
Below are quotes from clients who were in group therapy at CAPS:
When asked, "What did you like about this group?", members said:
- Everyone made me feel welcome to come and open up, despite how hard this normally is for me.
- I love the people and how I can speak my mind with no judgment. I feel good afterward.
- I did not have to worry about being judged in this group.
When asked, "In what ways did you learn about yourself or how you relate to others from this group?", members said:
- I learned that I internalize, and others may not even know I'm hurting.
- I'm not alone and my thoughts and actions aren't wrong or crazy.
- I opened up a lot more than I though I would and I learned a good deal about how I compare to others with my emotions and how we can all help each other.
When asked, "How was group different than what you expected?", members said:
- I felt it was easier to discuss things that are normally difficult for me to discuss.
- I was afraid of opening up to so many people, but it was not so bad.
When asked what they would tell other students who might be hesitant to join a therapy group members said:
- It's a little scary but totally worth it and it helps you get better.
- I credit group with my many successes at PSU. It helped me through tough times.
- People aren't there to judge you. If you feel alone with your problems, it is good to see that other people have them too.
- Group is the best way to explore one of the most important and pervasive part of life: other people and your interactions with them.