Group Counseling


Currently, all therapy groups are provided online due to the Covid-19 Crisis. To maximize confidentiality, students who participate in group are encouraged to find a private and quiet space for group therapy meetings.


Groups are the treatment of choice for many issues and are the only long-term treatment option offered at the Counseling Center. Talking with other students who have had similar experiences provides support and perspective.

How Do I Join a Group?

Prior to joining a group, you will be required to have a 30-minute “group screening” appointment with the group therapist(s). There, the group therapist will collaborate with you in setting goals for your group therapy experience and answer any questions you may have about the group. Clients must have had a brief assessment appointment prior to having a group screening appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is group therapy?

    UMCC offers general therapy groups for students.  General therapy groups are comprised of 6-10 students and two professional group facilitators.  Groups meet between 60 to 90 minutes each week.  In order to join a therapy group, students must first attend a brief assessment with UMCC or be referred to a group by their current therapist. The group facilitator(s) will then meet with any referred students to assess whether group is an appropriate treatment option, and the counselor will explain how group therapy works.

  • What is a workshop/skill based groups?

    The UMCC also offers a number of workshop/skilled based groups. These groups have a similar composition as a therapy group and may meet for 60 to 90 minutes. The main difference from therapy groups is that these groups are more focused in nature, such as an anxiety management workshop. These groups run for 6-8 weeks and intended to teach specific skill sets. In order to join a skill based group, students must first attend a brief assessment with UMCC or be referred to a group by their current therapist.  During the brief assessment, the counselor and student will assess whether group is the best treatment option and the counselor will explain how group therapy works.

  • Why do people join?

    Most often people join group therapy because they are having difficulties in their relationships or have something in their lives that they are finding painful and difficult to handle.  Some examples of the types of interpersonal issues that students bring to group are:  Discomfort in social situations, lack of intimacy in relationships, anxiety, depression, family of origin problems, and frequent arguments with others. For many, group is the most effective method for addressing their concerns.

  • What you can get from group therapy?

    Make contact with and explore the world of inner feeling: This includes such feelings as boredom, guilt, anger, hurt, joy, sexuality, playfulness, affection, resentment, sorrow, love and excitement.  Many of us may have learned to isolate ourselves from this feeling world.  Through disclosing ourselves to others in group, and expressing our feelings towards them, we have a chance to get back in touch with this creativity and experience ourselves more fully.

    Get Feedback: In daily conversation, most people give feedback that is either polite flattery or thoughtless condemnation, which does not help us to critically understand ourselves. In a group, however, it is possible to get honest feedback about how we are coming across, to find out what impressions others have of us, to see ourselves as others see us, to discover our unknown mannerisms, habits and styles of relating and communicating, and to become aware of the unconscious messages we are transmitting.

    Learn about closeness and intimacy: What often blocks people from being close is the fear of being pushed around by other people's feelings, demands, and expectations.  When they begin to get close, they get tangled up on the feeling level. In group, there is a chance to learn how to disentangle the problems that arise in relationships so that people can be close and still retain their freedom, autonomy, and self-assertiveness.

  • What do I talk about in group therapy?

    You can expect to talk about what problem brought you to counseling in the first place. You can ask for both support and for feedback. It is important to let the group know what you want from them.

    One of the major reasons people have relationship difficulties is that they haven't learned how to express their feelings effectively. Self-disclosure of your feelings is important in group and will affect how much you will be helped.

    Most people are somewhat anxious about being able to talk in group. It is important to realize that you control what, how much, and when you share with the group. It is also important to realize that group leaders take the responsibility for a supportive environment in which feedback is given and received. Almost without exception, within a few sessions all members are sharing in the group.

  • Common misconceptions about group therapy

    “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 their concerns might apply to you.

    “Group therapy is second-best to individual therapy.”

    Group therapy is just as effective as individual therapy (Barlow et al., 2004), and will be recommended if your counselor thinks it will be the most helpful method to address your concerns.  In fact, group often helps in ways that individual therapy cannot.  For example, unlike individual therapy, group allows the therapist to see you interacting with other members, to give you feedback in the moment, and to help you practice new skills.

    Group therapy may be recommended to you because your counselor believes that it is the most effective way to address your concerns. Group therapy offers many benefits that are not as available with individual therapy.  In everyday life it is often difficult to get useful and reliable information about yourself from others. People seldom take the time to carefully observe others, and the social constraints against giving others honest feedback inhibits the sharing of observations that could be helpful and instructive. By contrast, group members do take the time to observe and share impressions in honest and caring ways.  Another asset of group therapy is provided by the variety of personalities, experiences, and coping strategies that are natural to the members of any group. The strengths of each individual group member can serve as a model for other group members who are still learning about those skills and strengths.

  • Can I be in individual and group counseling at the same time?

    Group therapy is often the ideal form of therapy for college students since a primary focus of group is on relationships and understanding and managing feelings. These are common issues for students. Group therapy alone can be a sufficient means of dealing with these issues. However, some students benefit from both individual and group therapy. The professionals at UMCC can help you decide what forms of therapy may be best for you.

  • How do I join a group?

    Talk to your counselor about the group that you are interested in joining or contact the Counseling Center to schedule an initial assessment to talk about how group therapy might help you.

Group Offerings

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  • Body Acceptance Group

    This group is intended to provide students with tools to establish and maintain a positive body image through provision of psychoeducation and participation in various activities. Students will be meeting for one hour sessions. Students will occasionally be provided with handouts and didactic materials. Participants will be allowed to participate according to their comfort level.

    Leaders Amy Crandall, Ph.D. & Brittany Jaso, Doctoral Intern
    Time Thursday 3-4 p.m.  

  • Anxiety Management

    This will be a blended skill and process group. We will provide students with psychoeducation aimed at understand anxiety and relating to anxiety in more adaptive ways. The group will also focus on teaching anxiety management skills and providing space to process experiences.

    Leader Patricia Arena, Ph.D. & Audrey Cleary, Ph.D.
    Time Tuesday 3-4 p.m.

  • Understanding Self & Others

    These groups tend to focus on a variety of themes such as relationships, intimacy, boundaries, self-awareness, and culture. These groups are typically open to both undergraduate and graduate students. These groups are designed to help group members learn to deal with a variety of concerns involving feelings of depression and anxiety, resolving relationship issues, and other personal concerns. These groups also allow clients to practice new ways of relating to others, gain increased self-awareness, learn to express worries and fears, and receive/offer supportive feedback to others.

    Leader Rene Monteagudo, Ph.D. & Jordan Coello, M.A.
    Time Tuesday 5:15-6:45 p.m.*

    *This session is only open to graduate students

    Leader Kirt McClellan, LCSW & Brittany Jaso, Doctoral Intern
    Time Wednesday 3-4:30 p.m.


    Leader Benjamin Stocking, Ph.D. & Christina Martin, Doctoral Intern
    Time Thursday 2-3:30 p.m.

  • Student Leadership and RA Talk Space

    This group aims to offer a safe, non-judgemental space for student leaders and resident advisors to come together and share the successes and challenges of being a leader on campus. Topics may include navigating organization dynamics, working with students, working with administrators, programming, balancing self-care and responsibilities, and maintaining boundaries.

    Leader Jordan Coello, M.A.
    Time Tuesday 3-4 p.m.

  • Doctoral Support Group

    This group will focus on navigating the “ups and downs” of being a doctoral at UM. Topics will range from dissertation, managing different advisor types, finding balance between career and family, and exploring your professional identity.

    Leader Ed Rappaport, Ph.D.
    Time Wednesday 3-4 p.m.

  • LGBTQ Understanding Self and Others

    Have you ever wanted a safe space to explore and talk with others about the challenges and joys of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or asexual? If so, this group is an opportunity for you to do just that. We will meet on a weekly basis in a confidential and affirming group to talk, connect with each other, and offer emotional support. We will explore themes that are relevant to your life such as relationships with family, friends, and partners, coming out, being out, identity, and ways to embrace all of who you are. Lastly, this group is open to other topics (e.g. depression, anxiety, etc.) not related to one’s sexual orientation.

    Leader Kirt McClellan, LCSW & Julianna Guitelman, Doctoral Intern
    Time Monday 3:30-5 p.m.

  • Self-Compassion

    This group is ideal for people learning to be kind to themselves and make peace with their mind and body. Through practicing essential components of self-compassion such as self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness, members will learn how to be more gentle and loving toward themselves. The benefits of practicing self-compassion can include decreased depression, anxiety, and suffering and increased joy and connection. This group will offer both structured, skills-based components as well as space for member to share their experience of practicing self-compassion. Our hope is that members will learn to treat themselves with greater compassion while still holding themselves responsible and working toward positive growth and change.

    Leader Amy Crandall, Ph.D.
    Time Friday 10:30 a.m. - noon

  • Sisters in Sharing Support Group

    Sisters in Sharing is a closed support group for Women of Color.   A support group usually follows a structured format to open and close the meetings. The goal of this support group is to provide an open and safe space for graduate and undergraduate women to connect and explore topics such as race, culture, discrimination, relationships, family, sexuality, and academic challenges.  Facilitators may suggest a topic for the meeting, but the group will have the space to share anything that they desire.

    Leader Kisha Bazelais, Ph.D. & Christina Martin, Doctoral Intern
    Time Wednesday 3-4 p.m.

  • Exploring Your Family Patterns

    A confidential and supportive space to discuss past and present family dynamics, patterns, and themes that, in one way or another, have impacted who you are today in both positive and negative ways. This group will help individuals gain a greater awareness, empathy, and understanding of their own and others' family systems. Anyone who is open to seeking to greater awareness about their family dynamics and how it has impacted the way they navigate their world and relationships may benefit from this group.

    Leader Benjamin Stocking Ph.D. & Juliana Guitelman, Doctoral Intern
    Time Wednesday 3:15-4:45 p.m.

  • Men of Color Support Group

    A confidential and non-judgmental space for self-identified Men of Color. Group will focus on building community/support and allow members to connect over their collective experiences. Group members will be encouraged to express and explore their true authentic selves. Topics may include: Microagressions, Masculinity, Systemic and Institutional Racism, Trauma, current events in the media and more.

    Leader Rene Monteagudo, Ph.D. & Jordan Coello, M.A.
    Time TBD

  • Recognition, Insight, Openness (R.I.O.) Workshop

    The R.I.O workshop is a three-part series that teaches skills to handle painful thoughts and feelings effectively, so they impact and influence us less. R.I.O. is designed to help you:

    • help you gain a deeper understanding of the issue or issues that prompted you to seek counseling
    • create flexibility in how you view and approach these issues
    • help you become aware of your moment-to-moment experiences
    • help you take the first steps towards living with a wide range of human emotions 
    • help you get a better sense of your personal values goals, and how you want to focus your energy
    Leader Benjamin Stocking Ph.D.
    Time TBD