Counseling Services

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Group Therapy at UB

Group Therapy

Group therapy is one of the primary modes of treatment offered by UB Counseling Services. Each semester a variety of different types of groups are offered. UBCS offers, therapy, discussion and psycho-educational groups each semester. Specific information about the types of groups currently is listed below for information on how to join a group call Counseling Services at 645-2720 and ask to speak with a counselor.

What is a Therapy Group?

We all have experienced groups as members of families, social networks, classes, co-curricular activities, work groups, religious organizations, to name a few. Group therapy is a natural extension of the way we live our daily lives; interacting with others. Group therapy provides a unique opportunity for students to meet and share common concerns, explore personal issues, try out new ways of behaving, learn more about the way they interact with others and learn new skills. Six to twelve group members meet with one or two group therapists once per week throughout the semester. The content of the group sessions is confidential; what members talk about or disclose is not discussed outside the group. Members work to establish a level of trust that allows them to talk personally and honestly. Group trust is enhanced when all members make a commitment to the group. Some of the groups are population and/or issue specific, while other groups consist of skill building and experiential learning. Typically, student interested in joining a group meet with the group leaders to make sure that the group will be a good fit for their needs. This is called a group screening appointment.

Why Does Group Therapy Work?

When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members, they usually recreate those difficulties that brought them to group therapy in the first place. Under the skilled direction of the group therapists, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, or gently confront the person. In this way the difficulty becomes resolved, alternative behaviors are learned, and the person develops new social techniques or ways of relating to people. During group therapy, people begin to see that they are not alone. Many people feel they are unique because of their problems, and it is encouraging to hear that other people have similar difficulties. In the climate of trust provided by the group, people feel free to care about and help each other.

What do I talk about when I am in group therapy?

Talk about what brought you to the Counseling Services in the first place. Tell the group members what is bothering you. If you need support, let the group know. If you think you need confrontation, let them know this also. It is important to tell people what you expect of them. Unexpressed feelings are a major reason why people experience difficulties. Revealing your feelings - self-disclosure - is an important part of group and affects how much you will be helped. The appropriate disclosures will be those that relate directly to your present difficulty. How much you talk about yourself depends upon what you are comfortable with. If you have any questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can always ask the group.

Common Mis-perceptions about Group Therapy

  1. "I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group."
    You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. We encourage you not to share what you are not ready to disclose. However, you can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you.
  2. "Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because I will have to share the time with others."
    Actually, group therapy is often more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Secondly, group members will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but that you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.
  3. "I will be verbally attacked by the leaders and by other group members."
    It is very important that group members feel safe. Group leaders are there to help develop a safe environment. Feedback is often difficult to hear. As group members come to trust and accept one another, they generally experience feedback and even confrontation as a sign of caring. 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.
  4. "Group therapy is second-best to individual therapy."
    Group therapy is being recommended to you because your intake counselor believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. We do not put people into group therapy because we don't have space in individual therapy, or because we want to save time. We recommend group when it is the most effective method to help you. Your intake counselor can discuss with you why group is what we recommend for you.
  5. "I have so much trouble talking to people; I'll never be able to share in a group."
    Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will most likely get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.

Group counseling available at Counseling Services

Counseling Services offers a variety of weekly groups. Groups are open to all registered students; there is no fee for participation in a group. Interested students should call Counseling Services at 645-2720. All groups require a completed Initial Assessment except for International Tea time. If you would like to schedule an Initial Assessment, please call Counseling Services at 716-645-2720.

Spring 2017 Groups

Groups take place at 120 Richmond Quad unless otherwise stated.

Motivated for Change - Mondays 11:30-1:00

A semi-structured group for students who want to change a particular habit or behavior and have found it difficult to identify or take the necessary steps to do so. This group will explore factors interfering with students' ability to change, assessing their desire, need, confidence, and reasons to change, and identify the steps needed to make and maintain that change.

Body Image and Eating Concerns Group (DBT/Coping Skills based) - Mondays 3:00-4:30

This is a group for students who want to explore their relationship with body image concerns and food. Individuals of any gender, who are at various stages of recovery, with disordered or disrupted eating patterns, eating disorders, or those with body image concerns would be welcome and eligible. This group will teach skills for how to cope with difficult emotions without resorting to disordered eating behavior, live in the present and build positive feelings about one's body, and find support and compassion during their recovery process. Group members are required to be in individual therapy concurrently.

Family Matters - Tuesdays 1:00-2:30

This group will provide participants with opportunities to learn about and discuss how current relationships are impacted by family experiences. The group will assist in both celebrating the gifts from our families and reconciling the struggles we still carry.

Coping Skills - Tuesdays 3:00-4:30 at Richmond & Fridays 12:30-2:00 at Michael Hall

This structured group will teach skills to live in the present, deal with stress, manage difficult emotions, and handle interpersonal conflict.

International Tea Time - Tuesdays 5:00-6:30 at 240 Student Union (Intercultural and Diversity Center)

This is a weekly free meeting which brings together U.S. and international students for conversation and fun. Students play games, talk, and enjoy getting to know each other. International tea and snacks are provided. Contact: Elena Yakunina, elenayak@buffalo.edu, for more information.

Graduate/Non-Traditional Student Group - Wednesdays 1:00-2:30

This group is designed to allow graduate and non-traditional students explore the unique challenges they face in a safe and supportive environment. It can help students explore their identity, find new ways of relating to others, recognize how stressors impact them, and share personal experiences. The group can assist students in finding alternative ways of looking at life's challenges to enable the development of healthier coping strategies.

Connections - Wednesdays 3:00-4:30 & Thursdays 1:30-3:00

This group provides a warm and supportive environment in which you can experiment constructively with new ways of relating to others, share personal experiences, express fears and concerns, and get support and feedback. People participate in this group for a number of reasons including having difficulties in relationships, finding their relationships are not satisfying, being curious about how others perceive them, and seeking support when experimenting with new relational behaviors.

Bouncing Back - Thursdays 1:30-3:00

"It's not how many times you get knocked down that counts but how many times you get back up." Resilience is the knowledge that we can handle difficulty, hardships, and challenges in our lives. Group participants will strengthen their resiliency by assessing and building upon current strengths, develop strategies for overcoming obstacles and reaching goals with "more power and more smarts", enhance their belief in their ability to perform well in challenging situations, and build their support networks. This 5-week interactive, skill development-focused group will help participants have greater self-awareness and expand their ability to survive and perhaps thrive during tough times. Contact: Sharon Mitchell, smitch@buffalo.edu, for more information.

Yoga to Manage Moods - Thursdays 1:30-2:30 in Michael Hall Yoga Room

A co-ed Hatha Yoga group that provides a holistic approach to mood and symptom management. Using a combination of gentle physical poses, breathing and relaxation techniques, this group allows for participants to feel more connected to and comfortable in their bodies. No previous yoga practice is required. This is not a drop-in group and all participants need to be screened prior by contacting Counseling Services.

iRest Meditation - Thursdays 3:15-4:30

iRest meditation increases awareness of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that contribute to both a sense of un-ease and a sense of well-being. Regular practice of meditation can lead to improvements in sleep, concentration and emotional regulation. No previous meditation practice is required. Group will meet for eight sessions.

International Student Support Group - Fridays 3:00-4:30

This group will provide a safe, supportive, and comfortable place to discuss adjustment and cross-cultural experiences in the U.S. The group will also provide a safe and confidential environment for group members to support each other and share information.

Counseling Services | 120 Richmond Quad | University at Buffalo | Buffalo, NY 14261-0053 | Tel: (716) 645-2720 or 829-5800 | Fax: (716) 645-2175 | Director: Sharon Mitchell | E-Mail: