Who is it for?
Undergraduate (and Masters) students from any faculty who want to:
- Experience themselves in a relationship to a group
- Be involved in the support and challenge of a counselling group
- Continue their counselling work (perhaps after individual counselling) in a different format
What is the format?
The group meets every week on Fridays 9.30am to 11.00am. It is important to commit to attending weekly for a minimum of 5 meetings to develop the group relationship. It is anticipated that the group will be on-going through term times and, if there is agreement with a minimum of 3 members, through some dates in vacation times.
Where does the group meet?
In the group room of the UCS (University Counselling Service) at Westwood House.
How do members join?
Some may be referred by their counsellor after one or more individual counselling sessions; some may read about the group on the website and refer themselves in directly. Everyone interested will register on-line and then will be invited for an individual pre-group meeting with 2 experienced group facilitators where they will discuss their suitability for joining the group. Prior to this meeting, interested members will be emailed a prompt sheet of questions to consider.
New members may join the group at ANY TIME throughout the term. There will be a maximum of 8 members in the group.
Discuss group work with your counsellor, or contact the facilitator directly Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or simply register on line.
Why consider group counselling?
These groups may appeal to you if you want to experience how you function with other people, or if you want to generally broaden your emotional intelligence and life experience of yourself in relation to others. Engaging in group counselling can be a useful way of continuing counselling and of developing your learning from your counselling experience.
The benefits of being involved in a group include:
- you can get a range of perspectives on your issues
- you can get input from people like you - ie not just the professional counsellor
- you are all in a similar boat so it can feel supportive and not isolating
- you can take risks at your pace
- the experience can be mutual - you can both offer and receive
- you can relate with a range of people who you may not usually get to meet
- you can meet other students in a unique, emotionally intimate way
- you can experience the support (and challenge) of thinking aloud about yourself within a group
- you can explore how you relate with others
- you can be assured by the containment of an experienced professional facilitator
What actually happens in group counselling?
When new members join, some time is spent talking through the necessary procedural issues, such as how to manage confidentiality, absence, latecomers, etc. Then members are invited to think how they might want to get to know each other. There is no specific format or structure to group counselling so what is discussed is negotiated within and by the group, much the same as with individual counselling. Each group has a different way of being and each meeting may feel different. The role of the facilitator is to contain the boundaries of the sessions and to encourage, prompt, invite and reflect as appropriate - but each group member is encouraged to engage with others.
Feedback from Previous Group Members
Comments from the evaluation questionnaire included:
- Hearing other people's similar experiences and emotions was extremely important for me. I was able to experience my thoughts from the perspective of an outsider; they seemed shocking and illogical and it made me question the problematic elements of myself that I had previously accepted
- I felt appreciated and valued within the group and I was able to extend this to real life situations
- The group encouraged me to not blame myself for everything that goes wrong. It encouraged me to express emotions that I had tended to ignore. This was really important for me as I was able to put it into practice in real life with success
- [I was surprised] how much it would help me to hear the experiences of others - hearing that other people think in a similar way has stuck with me and somehow makes me challenge myself when a real life situation arises
- I now see myself quite differently to before
- [I was surprised] how close I felt to all of the members so quickly