“People need people–for initial and continued survival, for socialization, for pursuit of satisfaction. No one–not the dying, not the outcast, not the mighty–transcends the need for human contact.”
– Irvin Yalom
What is group counseling?
Group counseling involves a small group of people (usually 6-10) who meet together weekly, along with one or two Professional Counselors, to talk about their struggles and problems. These groups can take a variety of forms. Some focus on a specific topic or problem, while others address a number of different concerns.
Group Counseling Opportunities available are listed below:
Preparing for life after High School for girls and boys, ages 17-19, led by Courtney Loving, LPC
Beautifully Imperfect Group for girls, ages 15-17, led by Cate Cox, LAMFT and Courtney Loving, LPC
Surviving: Living with and Loving Kids with Learning Challenges for Parents, led by Courtney Loving, LPC and Jamie Delgado,
Please contact us today to join a group or to suggest a new group topic! We develop new groups when needs arise. Your group idea could benefit many others, too!
What are the benefits of group counseling?
In a group, you can:
- Learn more about how you are perceived by others.
- Experience a sense of acceptance and belonging.
- Discover that you are not alone in the difficulties you are experiencing.
- Hear ideas from others, which enhance your ability to make decisions and solve problems.
- Benefit from the experience of being helpful to others.
- Learn to constructively express your feelings and ideas to others.
- Gain encouragement by observing the successes of others.
What makes group counseling work?
When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members, they tend to recreate those difficulties that brought them to counseling in the first place. Under the skilled direction of the group facilitators, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, or gently confront the individual. In this way, the difficulty is resolved, alternative behaviors are learned, and the individual develops new social skills or ways of relating to people. Group counseling has been found to be a very effective means of treatment and, in some cases, the best form of treatment for a particular individual or a particular type of concern.
Why would you want to share your struggles or issues with a group of individuals you don’t know?
In group counseling, real-life patterns of behaving and interacting are naturally reproduced, and therapists can help individuals see these patterns, evaluate whether the patterns are helpful or hurtful in relationships, and, if necessary, change long-held relational patterns that are interfering with the development of healthy, satisfying relationships with families, friends and colleagues.
What kinds of experiences should I expect from group therapy?
Group counseling provides a safe place for you to learn how your actions affect others and how others’ actions affect you and your thoughts. Interacting within a group can provide a normalizing experience. Instead of feeling and believing you are the only one who struggles, you are relieved to discover that others are struggling with the same concerns. People are naturally social creatures, and we cannot begin to totally heal without connections and personal relationships. Groups are an effective way to explore personal issues through interaction with a professional counselor and a group of five to ten selectively–chosen individuals. Members are carefully screened to assure that group members are a good fit for each other. A natural process of enhanced acceptance of self and others occurs as one learns to relate on deeper, more meaningful levels with others in the group.
Groups are limited in size, and, after formation, are considered “closed groups”; that is, no new members are allowed to join the group after the group begins. Before each new group is formed, group therapists ask a few questions of individuals or couples in order to assure a good match between all the participants in these dynamic groups
What about confidentiality?
The responsibility for confidentiality is shared among the group leader(s) and all group members. Every member of each therapy group is required to agree to adhere to these rules of confidentiality. Group members make a personal pledge that nothing occurring in the group, including names of other group members will be shared with anyone outside of the group. Additionally, group participants are pre-screened to ensure that they each have the ability and intention to adhere to this confidential agreement. These rules are critical to the development of a safe, respectful, and trusting atmosphere, which allows individuals to openly share their feelings.