Group Counseling

The Counseling Center offers group counseling in a private and safe atmosphere for students who may benefit from an interpersonal experience where the goal is to provide support and to learn from each other. For many students, participation in a group setting with others who share similar presenting concerns can be therapeutic and the most helpful form of counseling. UTRGV Counseling Center Groups are led by licensed therapists who are at times assisted by graduate level interns in training. Group members are encouraged to attend regularly and participate in order to achieve the best results. Please note confidentiality is emphasized in each group and members are encouraged to abide by confidentiality guidelines. Groups offered may include:

  • Women's support group
  • Gay and lesbian support groups
  • Relationship enhancements
  • Personal growth
  • Test anxiety management
  • Men's group
  • Stress management
  • Assertiveness training
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Eating disorders support group
  • Coping with HIV
  • Grief support

What to do to get the most out of Group Counseling?

  1. Be yourself. Start from where you are, not how you think others want you to be. This might mean asking questions, expressing emotions or sharing personal experiences and feelings with the group.  Growth begins by taking the first step of sharing in the group.
  2. Define goals. Take time before each session to define your goals for that session. Nevertheless, being flexible about your goals is also important. You may be surprised to find that your goals continue to change throughout the group process.
  3. Recognize and respect your pace for getting involved in the group. Some group members will easily be ready to disclose their thoughts and feelings; others need more time to gain feelings of trust and security. By respecting your needs you are learning self-acceptance. If you are having a difficult time with how to discuss your concerns or emotions with the group you may want to bring this up to group leader.
  4. Take time for yourself. You have the right to take group time to talk about yourself. Many people may feel that other’s issues are more important than their own, may have a difficult time facing feelings, or may have fears of appearing “weak.” By recognizing what the reluctance means, you begin the growth process.
  5. Recognize and express thoughts and feelings. The use of either thoughts or feelings alone is insufficient in working through problems. If you are having difficulties recognizing and expressing your thoughts or feelings, ask the group to help. Learning to express yourself fully, without censorship, enables exploration and resolution of interpersonal conflicts and self-affirmation.
  6. Take risks. Experiment with different ways of behaving and expressing yourself. By taking risks, you can discover what works for you and what doesn't. This may mean expressing difficult feelings, sharing information you usually keep secret, or confronting someone about something upsetting to you.
  7. Give and receive feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is a major aspect of group therapy. The best way to get feedback is to request it from specific individuals, those whose impression means the most to you. You have the right to ask for either negative or positive comments (or both), depending on what you are ready to hear.  Feedback should be concrete and specific, brief but to the point, and representative of both your feelings and thoughts. It is provided in the spirit of helpfulness and respect. The purpose is to help others identify patterns, personal presentations, unrecognized attitudes, and inconsistencies.

    Most group members learn that giving advice, suggestions and solutions is seldom helpful. For advice-givers, it takes time to learn how to express personal reactions, communicate understanding, give support, and listen attentively.
  8. Become aware of distancing behaviors. All of us have ways of behaving which prevent others from getting close to us such as remaining silent and uninvolved, telling long involved stories, responding to others with intellectual statements, and talking only about external events. As you become involved in the group, you will have the opportunity to identify what you do to distance yourself from others. The question you will face is whether the behavior is preventing you from getting what you want such as close relationships with people.
  9. Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. Changing what has become such an integral part of ourselves is very difficult and slow. By having patience with ourselves and accepting and understanding these blocks to growth, we set the foundation for growth and change.
  10. Work outside the group. In order to get the most from the group experience, you will need to spend time between sessions thinking about yourself, trying out new behaviors, reflecting on what you are learning, reassessing your goals, and paying attention to your feelings and reactions.

Group Resources