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Group Therapy and Skills Clinics

CAPS services are available in a variety of modalities at this time. Please call to learn more about your options.

What is Group Therapy?

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 90 minutes throughout the semester. These small groups of students 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, undergraduate students), and groups for particular concerns (e.g. sexual assault, eating disorders, grief/loss, social anxiety). Learn more about how to get started with groups and skills clinics at CAPS.


Why Group Therapy?

There are many reasons students may feel a lack of connection and support. You can mend the gap by joining a group and finding others who understand.


What is a Skills Clinic?

Skills Clinics are a brief, structured form of group counseling. In a Skills Clinic five to eight members meet for 90 minutes once per week for three to four sessions/weeks. Topics are specific to presenting concerns (e.g. stress, anxiety, perfectionism, eating disorders) and skills that can be developed as a result of attending these clinics (e.g. mindfulness, self-compassion, relationship effectiveness). The primary goal of Skill Clinics is to offer specific strategies students learn to implement in their daily lives for managing distress and improving day-to-day functioning and effectiveness.


How do I join a Therapy Group or Skills Clinic?

You can review our list of current group and skills clinic options at any time. Referral to a therapy group or skills clinic needs to be made through a provider at CAPS. If you are not currently involved in CAPS services, call CAPS to schedule a phone screening. If you are currently involved in CAPS services, speak to your provider. In most cases, a meeting with the group's therapist is scheduled prior to joining. This screening helps to determine whether a group is likely to meet your needs and whether you will fit well with a particular group's composition.

Once a group forms, it is often closed to new referrals for that semester. During group sessions, members discuss issues and offer support and feedback 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. Attendance at all sessions is expected.

The starting dates for the groups and clinics will vary. There are no fees to engage in therapy groups or skills clinics. Confidentiality is strictly respected. Detailed information about confidentiality and other tele-counseling expectations will be reviewed during your pre-group meeting. 


Drop-In Support Groups

CAPS also offers Drop-In Support Groups throughout the academic year. Intended to be support-focused for specific populations in the Penn State student community, these groups do not require a referral from a CAPS provider. Students can review the drop-in group options and stop on by at the respective group time/location with no long term commitment expected.

Drop-in groups are open to all enrolled students and operate on the assumption that attendance is self-initiated. To maintain confidentiality of all attendees, CAPS does not confirm attendance and will not allow screenshots of the group to be taken as a method for doing so.


What Clients Say About Group Therapy

What did you like about this group?

  • "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."

In what ways did you learn about yourself or how you relate to others from this group?

  • "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 thought 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."

How was group different than what you expected?

  • "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."

What would you tell other students who might be hesitant to join a therapy group?

  • "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 parts of life: other people and your interactions with them."
Explore in this Section
Group Counseling
Penn State Student Affairs
Counseling & Psychological Services
Main Location

501 Student Health Center
University Park, PA 16802

Additional Locations

3rd Floor Bank of America Career Services Building
University Park, PA 16802

Allenway Building (Downtown)
315 S Allen Street
State College, PA 16801


Our events and programs are open to all students regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other protected class. Student Affairs is committed to building a community of belonging for all.