If you think you know about groups, think again!

-Guest post from Joshua Ziesel, PsyD, Staff Psychologist and Groups Coordinator

The Counseling Center has worked very hard to increase its visibility on campus and reduce the stigma sometimes associated with seeing a mental health provider. We have been thrilled to witness the success of these efforts over the past few years! As more students are utilizing the center, we have been able to expand the services we can provide, and one of the biggest services we have been working on developing and expanding is our group therapy program!

When people think of counseling, they often think of meeting one-on-one with a mental health service provider. We are happy to provide confidential, one-on-one counseling free of charge to all Wake Forest students as needed, and at the same time we are aware of a growing body of research that points to the power of group-based therapy.  Group therapy is a highly-effective option for people with concerns including anxiety, stress, lower levels of depression, relationship issues, identity development, disordered eating, and adjustment issues like homesickness or upcoming graduation.  And in many cases group therapy is the preferred treatment modality because it offers students a chance to immediately practice the skills they will be learning to cope with and reduce their negative symptoms.

Because students tend to be more unfamiliar with group therapy, they often express some common concerns about participating in a group.  One of the most frequently expressed concerns is the discomfort of talking about problems in front of other students.  When I hear this, I like to tell students that just about everyone initially expresses this concern, so they will be in good company if they join the group!  Also, students do not have to share anything in group that they feel uncomfortable disclosing, and students can actually benefit from simply being present and hearing others talk about their difficulties because chances are they will be able to relate to what others share in the group.  We at the Counseling Center recognize that students can be reticent about joining a group, and we are happy to take as much time as needed to talk through a student’s concerns when we make the recommendation for group treatment.

We are excited to announce that we are further increasing our offerings for Spring 2018 from 8 to 11 different groups!  These additional groups will ensure that students have increased access to groups that will align with their already-busy schedules and that are tailored to specific issues that they are struggling with.  Whether it be relationship issues, disordered eating, LGBTQ+ identity, or a host of other areas of focus, we certainly have a group for everyone!  You can learn more about our groups by visiting our website.

Thanks again for all you do as our stakeholders to contribute to the growth and development of the students we work with!  And please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or feedback regarding our group offerings.

Categories: UCC News