Skip navigation

Student Life

Health & Counseling Center

hcc ritchie center

For Students

Group Counseling

group therapy picture

What is Group Counseling?

Group counseling is a highly effective means of addressing personal concerns - in fact it has been proven to be equally as effective as individual therapy, and in some cases more effective.  Some groups that are often offered are focused on a particular subject or skill while others are more general in nature. The more general groups (named interpersonal process groups) in nature are particularly beneficial if you:

  • Are concerned about how you relate to other people
  • Feel isolated, depressed or anxious
  • Experience discomfort in social situations
  • Lack intimacy in relationships
  • Have family of origin difficulties
  • Are dissatisfied with your friendships or romantic relationships
  • Struggle with low self-esteem and/or low self-confidence

Watch this brief video to learn more about group, how it can help, group myths demystified and more:



 What groups Will be Run during the 2015 Summer quarter?

  • Interpersonal Process Groups (GRADUATE STUDENT ONLY) 
    • Ongoing - Limited openings
    • Starts Thursday, June 18th from 1:30PM-3:00PM
    • Meets Weekly
  • Mindfulness Group (Tuesdays 6/23, 6/30, 7/7, 7/14) - 11AM to 12PM


What is group counseling?

  • Typically, a group consists of 5 to 8 people who meet face to face with 1 or 2 group counselors to discuss their concerns.
  • Group sessions are confidential: what is discussed in group may not be disclosed or discussed outside the group.
  • Many groups last 8-10 weeks while others continue from one quarter to the next.
  • You can participate in as many groups as you would like, there are no limits to group counseling.

Why does group counseling work?

Group members and counselors can:

  • Help you obtain support
  • Help you receive immediate, genuine feedback allowing an increase in your awareness of yourself and identification of aspects of your life you want to change.
  • Help you see that you are not alone in your problems
  • Help you resolve your difficulties, learn alternative ways of responding, and develop new ways of relating to others

What does a typical group session look like?

Groups vary in session format.

  • Interpersonal process groups
    • No specific topic for each group session
    • As a group member, you bring any issues to the group you feel are important
    • The primary focus of therapy in the group is on the interactions among you and other group members
    • The primary processes of therapy in the group focus on disclosure (sharing oneself) and feedback (getting information about oneself)
      • The Johari Window is a visual resource that helps demonstrate this process
      • Group as a Laboratory helps show how group members can try new ways of interacting within a safe and confidential environment
    • Members give each other feedback on their interpersonal styles and identify ways in which they feel more connected to one another
  • Support/Theme groups
    • Mix of structured/unstructured activities
    • Providing and receiving support from others around a specific shared issue/common experience
  • Structured skills groups
    • Similar to workshops and focused on a particular topic
    • Sessions may consist of brief lectures by the group leaders, group discussions, and experiential activities

Do I have to reveal all my deepest secrets and feelings to the group?

  • No. You alone decide how much you want to share.
  • Most group members tend to share more about themselves when they feel safe in the group.
  • Members often report getting more out of group when they decide to share more about themselves.

What role do the group leaders play?

Group leaders:

  • Help create and maintain safety in the group
  • Guide and facilitate self-exploration
  • Give feedback and support
  • Provide comments on interpersonal issues in the group
  • Encourage group cohesion

Some leaders take an active role throughout the duration of the group while others tend to give group members more responsibility for self-exploration.

In structured groups, group leaders take a more active role than in process groups by providing instruction on specific topics related to the group theme.