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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 Spring 2018, or click to see the flyer.

 

MONDAYS

Feel Better Fast

Elliott DeVore, M.Ed., & Elliot Spengler, M.A. / Time: Mon., 12-1pm

This is a 4-week group focused on managing and coping with stress, anxiety, and overall well-being. Each week will focus on a different coping strategy to help you feel better fast. Topics include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, identifying and challenging negative self-talk, and improving self-care.

Grief Recovery Group

Amanda McCune, Psy.D. / Time: Mon., 3-4:30pm

This is a general group focused on coping with the death of a person significant in your life. As a participant, you will be assisted in sharing your stories, transitioning from “why” to “what now”, and building acceptance/affirmation around your loss.

 

TUESDAYS

Adjusting to College 101

Emily Keller, M.S., & Pamela Rosecrance, M.A. / Time: Tues., 11-12pm

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. Participants are encouraged to attend all four modules and are welcome to join at any time.

Feel Better Fast

Kevin Fry, B.A. / Time: Tues., 1-2pm

This is a 4-week group focused on managing and coping with stress, anxiety, and overall well-being. Each week will focus on a different coping strategy to help you feel better fast. Topics include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, identifying and challenging negative self-talk, and improving self-care.

Boots on Campus: A group for Student Veterans and Service Members

Gina Austin, Ph.D. / Time: Tues., 2-3:30pm/ Held at the VRC in the Main Library

Drop in 1.5 hour workshop/group focused on addressing adjustment issues with student veterans and service members (SVSMs) held at the Veterans Resource Center. Topics include transitioning from military to civilian environments, support for existing mental health conditions, resources and referrals, recommendations, academic support including communicating with professors effectively, strengthening relationships at home and on campus, and learning how to be a self-advocate on campus. A resiliency, posttraumatic growth model emphasizing strengths will be utilized. This will be for student veterans and their dependents. The purpose of this group is to enhance the SVSM client’s cultural orientation and acculturation to the college environment.

Mixed Interpersonal Process Group

Bethany Keller, M.Ed. & Amanda McCune., Psy.D. / Time: Tues., 2-3:30pm

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.

LGBTQ+ Interpersonal Process Group

Danielle Graham, M.A. & Bonnie Benson-Palmgren, Ph.D. / Time: Tues., 3-4:30pm

This interpersonal process group provides a supportive space where students can try out new ways of connecting with others, receive feedback/support, express fears, and share their experiences.

Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety

Arthur Hatton, M.S. & Paul McAnear, Ph.D. / Time: Tues., 4-5pm

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an evidence-based treatment that teaches mindfulness and related skills for mental health concerns. This group is great for individuals experiencing anxiety, worry, academic stress , social isolation due to overwork, and so much more.

 

WEDNESDAYS

TRANScend: A Trans/Nonbinary/Gender Non-Conforming Support Group

Bonnie Benson-Palmgren, Ph.D. / Time: Wed., 12:30-2pm

Transcend gender bias and personal roadblocks at this weekly support group. Discuss topics related and unrelated to gender identity (e.g., social/medical transition, relationships, family, resources, discrimination, mental health, academics) in a brave, supportive environment. Single stall all-gender accessible restrooms available next door to meeting room.

Graduate Interpersonal Process Group

Arthur Hatton, M.S. & Ashley Ross, Ph.D. / Time: Wed., 3-4:30pm

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.

Healthy Relationships Group

Bethany Keller, M.Ed. & Gina Austin, Ph.D. / Time: Wed., 3-4:30pm

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.

DBT Treatment Program Group

Elizabeth Baker, M.A., Chandra Feltman, 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

Arthur Hatton, M.S. & Paul McAnear, Ph.D. / Time: Wed., 5-6pm

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an evidence-based treatment that teaches mindfulness and related skills for mental health concerns. This group is great for individuals experiencing anxiety, worry, academic stress , social isolation due to overwork, and so much more.

 

THURSDAYS

Graduate Interpersonal Process Group

Elizabeth Baker, M.A. & Ashley Ross, Ph.D. / Time: Thurs., 3-4:30pm

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.

Healthy Me at UT

Phil Johnson, Ph.D. / Time: Thur., 4-5pm

A drop-in friendly ONE HOUR workshop. Topics include health decision making, unhelpful thinking styles, understanding and managing anxiety, perfectionism and procrastination…and more. Also, learn about free resources that are available at UT to support your success. No registration is necessary; no prior appointment is needed. This workshop is open to all enrolled UT students.

 

FRIDAYS

Sexual Assault Support Group

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

This is a weekly support group for survivors of sexual assault. Group perspective will also focus on facilitating posttraumatic growth, in that healing from trauma is not about forgetting, but instead transforming these experiences into a source of wisdom.

 

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.

If you would like additional information about group therapy and its benefits, please contact Elizabeth Baker, M.A. at ebaker27@utk.edu.

 

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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