Group Counseling

Understanding Self and Others (USO) is a therapy group centered around the idea that everything in life is interpersonal. The group is a supportive, nurturing, and safe environment where everyone works together to move toward their goals by learning how to connect to each other in the group. Group members develop insight about themselves and their relationship patterns, identify and explore feelings, and learn better ways to form meaningful relationships with others.

Here are some concerns that are commonly addressed in a USO group:

  • Nervousness or anxiety when talking to others
  • Difficulty making friends or connecting with other people
  • Difficulty forming or maintaining romantic relationships
  • Experiencing frequent conflict with others
  • Self-esteem concerns
  • Worrying about how they come across to others

It’s not uncommon for group members to tell us that at first, they were skeptical about joining but afterward were so glad that they did. Members have commented about the strong bonds they formed with others in the group, how the group helped them understand themselves and their relationships better, and how they view themselves more positively as a result of the group.


What is group therapy?

In group therapy, about 5-8 students meet virtually with one or more group therapists and talk about what is troubling them. Group therapy is different from other social settings because it is a confidential and safe environment. The members of the group give each other feedback by expressing their own feelings about what someone says or does. This interaction gives group members an opportunity to try out new ways of behaving and to learn more about the way they interact with others.


Why should I join a USO group instead of individual therapy?

Group is a chance to get multiple perspectives, feedback, and support in a confidential and safe environment. By contrast, individual therapy offers you only one perspective. Many people are surprised to learn that group therapy is as effective as individual therapy, and for some concerns it is more effective. In addition, while you will always be able to find an individual therapist in your life, USO groups are unique, and finding similar groups may be difficult once you leave college. 


What if I feel anxious in groups? Will I be judged or criticized by the leaders or the other group members?

It is normal to feel nervous about starting group therapy. Most new group members experience fears of rejection and embarrassment when starting group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. You will never be forced to share anything you do not want to share.  Group leaders are there to create a safe environment for all involved.

One of the benefits of group therapy is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive environment. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is precisely what group can offer. This will be done in a respectful, gentle way, so that you can hear it and make use of it.


What if I see someone I know in the group?

This situation is very uncommon, but does occasionally happen. If you see someone you know in the group, we ask that you let the group leaders know as soon as possible so that the situation may be addressed. The group leaders, in consultation with the group members, will decide how best to resolve this situation. It may work out to have both of you stay in the same group, or it may be best to have one of you find a different group to join.


Is there a cost?

Like individual therapy sessions, enrolled students are eligible for up to six covered sessions; beyond that, group sessions are billed to insurance, or for students who don’t have insurance, CAPS also offers self-pay rates.


How do I join?

All USO group members are required to attend a 30-minute virtual group orientation meeting with one or both of the group leader(s) prior to joining. This meeting is an opportunity to get all your questions answered and to decide whether group is a good fit for you.