Is group counseling confidential?
All group members are expected to keep information about participants and what is discussed in group confidential. That means what’s said in group, stays in group. This is to help the group members establish trust and a sense of safety with one another.
If I participate in a group, will I still be able to receive individual counseling?
Some students who participate in groups also have individual counselors.
How long is the group?
Groups generally meet for one and a half to two hours weekly, and may run between four to 12 weeks per semester, depending on the type of group. We also offer a number of single-session groups and one-hour workshops focused on specific topics.
How effective is group counseling compared to individual counseling?
Group has been found to be equal to and, at times, more beneficial than individual counseling in addressing most student concerns. Our facilitators are skilled and have strong interests in groups, which adds to the high quality of this form of treatment.
I have a hard time opening up to one person, let alone to an entire group of people.
Opening up about your concerns is hard, because it often means feeling vulnerable, and this can be anxiety provoking. Group provides a safe space to take risks in sharing with others, and allows the opportunity to learn how to express your thoughts and feelings. In doing so, members often find that they're not alone in their concerns, others can understand and relate to their experience, and sharing vulnerability influences a deeper sense of connection with others.
Will group count toward my counseling session limit?
No. One of the benefits of our groups program is that there are no session limits. Students have the opportunity to participate in groups multiple times or engage in different groups, over their course of study at UW-Madison.
How much do I have to share in the group?
You're only expected to share as much as you feel comfortable with, and you can share at your own pace. Usually students find that the more they're able to take risks in sharing their feelings and experiences, the more they get out of the group experience.
Process Groups, Support/Theme Groups, Psychoeducational Groups, Wellness Groups, and Combined Format Groups.
I’m socially anxious and being in a group sounds very uncomfortable for me. Shouldn’t I just get support in individual counseling?
While individual counseling can be helpful--and may seem less scary--group counseling is one of the most effective ways to address social anxiety. Individuals with social anxiety often worry about what others think of them, fear rejection and embarrassment, and avoid social situations to guard against experiencing anxiety and fear. Group provides a safe and supportive space to process those feelings, challenge assumptions of what others are thinking and feeling, and learn to navigate social interactions in meaningful ways, which can all serve to alleviate the anxiety felt around others.
How many students are in a group?
A group typically consists of five to eight group members with one or two counselors facilitating the group.
What if I don’t have anything to say?
While sharing is a valuable part of participating in group, a lot of benefit can be gained by simply listening to others share their stories, and reflecting upon how you connect to what is being shared.
How to join a group
To join a group, log in to your MyUHS account to schedule an Access Appointment or contact the Mental Health Services reception desk by dialing 608.265.5600 (option 2). During your consultation, let the counselor know that you're interested in joining a group.