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Groups

Group Counseling

In group therapy, a small number of students (usually about 8) meet weekly with one or two group therapists. Groups are often the best way for people to receive counseling services. In groups, members have the opportunity to share concerns and listen to each other, give and receive feedback, offer support to one another, express feelings, and learn more about how they interact with others.

We offer different types of groups that fall into two broader categories – Skills groups, that focus on teaching students tools for change or symptom management, and Process groups, that are more focused on helping group members examine their issues in a therapeutic group setting.

If you are referred for group counseling, here’s what to expect: from triage, you will be referred for a Group Screening with the staff member who is leading the group. A group screening is an appointment in which you will meet with one or both of the group leaders and have a chance to get to know them and learn more about the group opportunity. They will help you identify 1-2 goals that you would like to work on and will answer any questions you might have related to the group. After that, they will confirm your first group appointment. Group counseling sessions typically meet for about 90 minutes and usually meet once per week.

These are our group offerings for Fall, or click to see the flyer.

 

FALL 2018 GROUPS

 

  • MONDAYS

Graduate Interpersonal Process Group

Catie Francis, M.A. & Ashley Ross, Ph.D. / Time: Mon., 10-11:30am

Susan Mandell, M.A. & Ashley Ross, Ph.D. / Time: Mon., 3:30-5pm

This interpersonal process group is a supportive group to examine ways of relating to others, share personal experiences, express fears and concerns, and get support and feedback.

 

Adjusting to College 101

Marjorie Perkins, M.A. / Time: Mon., 2-3pm

This is a 4-week group focused on experiences of adjusting to life at UTK. Topics of focus include loneliness, cultural differences, social skills/making friends, stress management, time management, and the impact of life transitions.

 

Healthy Relationships Group

Gina Austin, Ph.D. / Time: Mon., 2:30-4pm

This weekly group emphasizes some psychoeducation, but mainly interpersonal process regarding relationships. This is not a couples group; you need not be in a current romantic relationship.

 

  • TUESDAY

Adjusting to College 101

Danielle Bissonette, B.A. / Time: Tues., 2-3pm

This is a 4-week group focused on experiences of adjusting to life at UTK. Topics of focus include loneliness, cultural differences, social skills/making friends, stress management, time management, and the impact of life transitions.

Healthy Relationships Group

Catie Francis, M.A. & Gina Austin, Ph.D. / Time: Tues., 1:30-3pm

This weekly group emphasizes some psychoeducation, but mainly interpersonal process regarding relationships. This is not a couples group; you need not be in a current romantic relationship.

 

Mixed Interpersonal Process Group

Elizabeth Baker, Psy.D. / Time: Tues., 3-4:30pm

This interpersonal process group is for undergraduate and graduate students. It provides a safe and supportive environment that allows students to practice new ways of relating and interacting with others, cultivate a better understanding and acceptance of self, and receive support and feedback from others.

 

Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety

Arthur Hatton, Psy.D. / Time: Tues., 4-5pm

A weekly experience-based group dedicated to practicing mindfulness, based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective for a variety of mental health concerns, especially anxiety, academic stress, social isolation due to overwork, depression, and chronic pain. This group cycles through basic mindful living skills, including medication, mindful eating, mindful creative expression, and more.

 

  • WEDNESDAY

Feel Better Fast

Sean Murphy, M.A. / Time: Wed., 1-2pm

This is a 4-week group focused on managing and coping with stress, anxiety, and overall well-being. Topics include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, identifying and challenging negative self-talk, and improving self-care.

DBT Treatment Program Group

Susan Mandell, M.A., Melissa Meulman, M.A., & Maggie Klotz, Ph.D. /

Time: Wed., 3-4:30pm

The DBT group is designed to help students who have experienced chronic suicidality and/or engaged in self-destructive/high-risk behavior (e.g., cutting, burning). Students who participate in the DBT program are required to receive both individual counseling and attend the weekly skills group. The group teaches students alternative coping skills, so they can learn to effectively manage their relationships, emotions, and distress levels in order to be more satisfied with life.

Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety

Cora Powers, M.A. & Arthur Hatton, Psy.D. / Time: Wed., 4-5pm

A weekly experience-based group dedicated to practicing mindfulness, based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective for a variety of mental health concerns, especially anxiety, academic stress, social isolation due to overwork, depression, and chronic pain. This group cycles through basic mindful living skills, including medication, mindful eating, mindful creative expression, and more.

 

  • THURSDAY

Feel Better Fast

Elena Schuch, B.S. / Time: Thurs., 1-2pm

This is a 4-week group focused on managing and coping with stress, anxiety, and overall well-being. Topics include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, identifying and challenging negative self-talk, and improving self-care.

 

Sexual Assault Support Group

Melissa Meulman, M.A. & Chandra Feltman, Ph.D. / Time: Thurs., 3-4:30pm

In a safe environment, this group will allow members to discuss how sexual violence continues to affect their day-to-day lives. Two therapists will be present during the group to help facilitate a supportive environment and provide psychoeducation as needed.

 

  • FRIDAY

Body Positivity

Cora Powers, M.A. & Chandra Feltman, Ph.D. / Time: Fri., 1:30-3pm

This weekly group focuses on the relationship between the self and body. Through the use of psychoeducation and interpersonal process, the group will explore how external and internalized messages impact how we treat and feel about our bodies, so that we can begin conceptualizing and honoring our bodies in different and radical ways. By identifying, challenging, and combating negative body beliefs, the group seeks to help each of us move from viewing our body as an ornament to viewing our body as an instrument.

 

Building Resiliency

Elizabeth Baker, Psy.D. / Time: Fri., 2-3:30pm

Based on the work of Brené Brown and Kristin Neff, this group focuses on building resiliency to face the many obstacles people cope with day-to-day. Through psychoeducation and interpersonal process, the group uses self-compassion, understanding and combating shame, and building trust with self and others to overcome shame, doubt, and the struggles we all face.

 

TO BE ANNOUNCED — Group time/day determined by group members

LGBTQ+ Interpersonal Process Group

Bonnie Benson-Palmgren, Ph.D.

Brave, intentional space for sexual and gender diverse students to learn more effective was to interact with others by giving and receiving feedback, expressing fears, and talking honestly about their lives. Single stall, all gender, wheelchair accessible restrooms available near the meeting room.

 

TRANScend Support Group

Bonnie Benson-Palmgren, Ph.D.

Weekly confidential support group for students who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or anywhere along the gender spectrum to discuss topics related to gender identity (e.g., social/medical transition, coming out, romantic and family relationships, resources, bias, mental health, academics). Single stall, all gender, wheelchair accessible restrooms available near the meeting room. Concurrent individual therapy may be suggested if significant mental health issues exist.

 

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Group can help you!

Research has shown group therapy creates positive change because of these distinguishing factors that are unique to group therapy:

  1. Instillation of Hope: Groups are often made up of people who are at different places in the healing process. It can be reassuring and helpful for those beginning their healing process to see and interact with individuals farther along in the process that are doing well and feeling better.
  2. Universality: Have you ever felt alone in your problems and worried that you are the only one that has that problem? Group therapy is a place where you can connect with others who are also experiencing similar emotions and difficulties. You are not alone!
  3. Imparting Information: Group can be a place to get more information about the issue you are struggling with and strategies for coping with your concerns.
  4. Altruism: Group is a place for you to help and support others in addition to being supported by others. Usually, when we help others we feel better too!
  5. The Corrective Recapitulation of the Primary Family Group: Group creates an environment similar to that of a family. When this happens, group members typically interact in group similarly to how they learned to interact early in life from their family. This allows group members to gain awareness to their interaction styles and allows opportunities for individuals to try out new ways of relating.
  6. Development of Socializing Techniques: Group offers a safe, supportive place for individuals to identify behaviors and ways of relating that are not helpful or productive. After identifying unhelpful behaviors members can experiment using new, more adaptive ways of being that will help them be more successful interacting with others.
  7. Imitative Behavior: Many times we learn by watching and imitating others behaviors. Group creates a space for members to model behaviors they may see in the therapists or other group members that are beneficial.
  8. Interpersonal Learning: Relationships tell us a lot about ourselves. The relationships created in group allow members to receive feedback from the therapists and one another about how they are being experienced interpersonally. This allows members to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, those around them, and the relationships they form outside of group.
  9. Group Cohesiveness: The purpose of a therapy group is to unite individuals in a common goal. In doing so, deep and solid connections are formed which lead to a sense of belonging and acceptance from your fellow group members.
  10. Catharsis: Group also allows space for members to get things off their chest and gain support from others. The simple act of talking about a difficult situation or experience with others can be relieving.
  11. Existential Factors: Group helps individuals to recognize that at times life is unfair and is often filled with adversities that must be faced. While the individual is ultimately responsible, it is helpful and reassuring to know that their fellow group members are there to support and encourage them. In the end, by facing these adversities with the support and encouragement of others we find meaning, purpose, and hope.

 

 

The above was summarized by Elizabeth Baker from: Yalom, I. D. (1995). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York, New York: Basic Books.

 

 

 

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