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Group Therapy

Group therapy is one of the most effective forms of mental health treatment for college students. The Counseling Center staff have designed groups that meet the specific needs of Colgate students. 


Scheduling Group Therapy

Groups are run weekly, often starting about 4-5 weeks into a semester. If you are interested in joining a group, schedule a first appointment to speak with an individual counselor to talk more about joining the group. The fall group therapy sessions will be posted soon.

Group Descriptions

Alcohol & Other Drugs This group accommodates individuals who want to explore their use of alcohol and other drugs.

Beyond the Binary This group provides a weekly space for students to explore the internal and social dynamics of their sexual orientation. Common questions brought to the group may be: Is a label necessary in defining my sexuality? Who, if anyone, should I come out to and when should I do it? What if my family is not supportive? How do I negotiate intimate relationships?

Comfort Zone Managing Change Change can be stressful. Join us for tips and support to help you manage change and find your comfort zone at Colgate. In February, the group will focus on supporting students readjusting back to Colgate from study abroad. Beginning after spring break, the group will help seniors prepare to transition out of Colgate. 

COPS (Children of Parents) Sometimes leaving home for college provides an opportunity to process the personal impact on you from situations in your family. This group provides the space for students to examine family dynamics and get support around these concerns.

Men’s Issues This group will offer an opportunity to discuss, explore, and get support to better deal with the challenges associated with being a man at Colgate and in the world today.  Common issues might include relationships, dealing with stress and self-doubt, identity (a.k.a.-- "what does it mean to be a man in today's world?"), dealing with your emotions, and managing the many stressors in our lives.  This group for college men provides an opportunity to talk about the real issues in your life in a safe and confidential setting.

Relaxation Skills This is a mindfulness-based series that will help you learn and practice different mindfulness activities including meditation, calm breathing, body scans, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. Leave feeling relaxed and at peace.

SAM (Stress & Anxiety Management) Anxiety and stress are debilitating for many people and are the leading reasons why students seek services at the Counseling Center. The Stress and Anxiety Management (SAM) group will give students the opportunity to connect with others who struggle with stress, perfectionism, or obsessions. Janine and Dawn will teach cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness strategies to help students better cope with these difficulties.

Understanding Self & Others This group is developed for students with depression, anxiety, identity concerns, or relationship issues. Using a flexible structure, the group will address a wide variety of topics pertaining to mood, stress, diversity, coping, and relating to others. 

Fall 2015 Groups Schedule


What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a series of therapy sessions that usually include five to ten students and one or two group leaders. Students in the group are encouraged to talk about what is bothering them and provide others with feedback and support. Members control what they share with others in the group. Through the course of group therapy, members become better able to express their feelings about others. This form of therapy gives members opportunities to try new ways of interacting with others in a safe environment.

What Is the Format?

The exact format of group therapy depends on the purpose of the particular group you join. The group may meet for only a few weeks or a full semester. Some groups have a specific focus area (e.g., diminishing social anxiety) while others are directed at more general topics, such as interpersonal relating.

Sessions meet regularly for an hour per week. It is important for each member to attend the full length of each session. Generally, the first few group sessions are important for group members to get to know each other better and establish trust. This will allow each member to open up more freely and talk about themselves and their difficulties. 

Why Group Therapy?

Group therapy gives members the chance to hear from others with similar problems. Instead of feeling isolated because of seemingly unique problems, members realize that some of their peers deal with similar difficulties. This allows members to learn from and care for each other.

Group therapy also provides students with a safe place to interact and explore possibilities. In group students tend to recreate life situations that happen outside of group, including the difficulties that brought them to the counseling center. Since the group leader is skilled in helping group members learn how to give support and offer alternatives, individuals can learn ways of interacting that lead to better outcomes.

Is it Confidential?

Yes, all group members are expected to keep the information shared during group sessions confidential. Although group members can decide how to interact with each other outside of group, it is important that all group members agree to keep confidentiality about group topics. The group leader will discuss this with each member during the pre-group meeting and it will be stressed again at the beginning of group therapy.

How Much Do I Have to Talk in Group?

This is up to you. All group members are encouraged to talk about their troubles during group sessions. Since everyone agrees to respect each other, you should not be frightened of saying the “wrong” thing. If you are unsure of the appropriateness of a topic, ask the other group members what they think.

Won't I Be Nervous?

Some students find the first few sessions of group therapy to be anxiety-provoking- this is completely normal! Many students find that after the first few weeks of group their anxiety decreases and they feel more comfortable sharing in group.

Should I Have Individual Therapy, Too?

This depends on your situation. For certain types of problems, group therapy is a more effective form of treatment than individual therapy. However, it may be possible to be enrolled in group and individual therapy simultaneously, depending on your particular needs. This may be an important issue to discuss with the group facilitator or in a group session. 

How Do I Join a Group?

If you are already involved in counseling at the Counseling Center, talk to your therapist about group therapy. If you are not in counseling, you can set up a first appointment with a therapist at Counseling & Psychological Services to talk about this option. This consultation session does not commit you to group therapy, it just gives you a chance to talk more about it.

If you decide that you would like to explore this option more seriously, the therapist will help you schedule a pre-group meeting with a group facilitator. The pre-group meeting gives you and the group leader the opportunity to discuss the group in more detail and answer any questions you may have.


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* Please note that online appointments will be available when classes are in session. Please call the office for an appointment at (315) 228-7385 if the on-line scheduler is not currently active.