As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, U.S., and Houston area, the CAPS team has been diligently working to make systemic changes that protect students, staff, and faculty, while also providing services to meet current needs. At this time, group counseling has been suspended. All students who were participating in group counseling this semester should have received, or expect to receive, a call and/or email from their group facilitator(s) informing them of the suspension and alternative service options. In the meantime, we are exploring options to potentially host group counseling via online platforms and will let the campus community know if and when this becomes available.
Take care Coogs! And remember, social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing! Here are some tips to continue socializing while staying safely separate from others:
- Call someone you care about. Asking them how they are doing amid the current climate and ask a non-coronavirus question (e.g., If you could eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?).
- Set-up a virtual hang out with others and do a hobby together (e.g., watch a movie, play video games, draw).
- Practice meditation and share with someone you care about what your experience was while doing it.
Group counseling is a popular and beneficial CAPS service. Individuals meet weekly with other group members and one or two clinicians to explore new ways of coping, behaving and interacting with others. Understanding Self and Others groups are our most utilized groups and are interpersonal process groups that focus on a variety of common concerns. CAPS also offers different Psycho-Educational Groups (e.g. Stress Management 101) and Theme Groups (e.g. Rainbow Coogs, First in the Family) each semester. There are no fees for students to participate in a group if they are currently enrolled in classes at the University of Houston.
One beneficial aspect of the CAPS group program is the opportunity for students to participate in ongoing groups during the academic year. The majority of our groups (with the exception of the psychoeducational groups) will stay on the same day, same time, and have at least one of the same co-leaders from fall to spring semesters. This enables a student to participate in the same group for a longer period of time, if desired, in order to continue to work on their goals. This consistency regarding the group offerings will also allow students to prioritize the day and time of their desired group when scheduling classes for the following semester.
If you are interested in more information about group counseling please contact your individual CAPS clinician or walk into CAPS for an initial appointment and ask about group counseling.
Below are descriptions of our currently offered groups
General Process Group Descriptions
Understanding Self and Others
This group is a good fit for those who may feel socially isolated, have difficulties connecting with others, suffer from excessive self-criticism, or have problems asserting themselves in relationships. In this group, members give feedback to each other by expressing their thoughts and feelings about what others say or do in a group. Members also share about themselves and relate to each other’s experiences, enabling members to provide much-needed support to one another. One unique feature of this experience is that facilitators try to make it safe for members to try out new behaviors such as increasing assertiveness or improving communication skills. Members are also encouraged to ask other members for feedback in order to learn more about themselves and how others might perceive them. The main goal is for group members is to determine possible changes that might improve their connections and interactions with others and themselves and then begin making these changes. Understanding Self and Others groups are a good match for those wanting a mixture of support and feedback regarding their goals and how they relate to others.
Psycho-Educational Group Descriptions
Our Compassionate Selves
Compassion toward others begins with self-acceptance. This group focuses on developing mindful self-awareness of distressing thoughts, feelings and behaviors that can lead to feeling down, discouraged and frustrated - often to the detriment of meeting our goals and aspirations. Group members will learn and practice self-compassion techniques, participate in guided meditations, and have opportunities to share their feelings and experiences with others in a safe, supportive environment. The overall goal is to become more accepting and forgiving of ourselves and each other in a way that acknowledges and embraces our common humanity.
Themed Group Descriptions
Women and Relationships Group
This group aims to help women unpack the invisible knapsack of society’s unwritten rules and expectations placed on women. Through a collaborative and supportive dialogue group members are encouraged to share common and unique lived experiences in an attempt to identify challenges and opportunities for emotional fulfillment. Members gain awareness about how pressures from "the outside" impact how they feel about themselves on "the inside." Members will learn to differentiate between external and internal pressures, balance social expectations and personal life goals, set effective boundaries in relationships with others, enhance self-care and improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
Healing From Trauma
A traumatic experience like sexual abuse/assault or an abusive relationship can impact a person in several ways, even long after the event itself is over. Effects may include difficulty trusting or feeling secure in relationships, feeling embarrassed or ashamed, as well as depression or anxiety. This group will provide a safe, supportive environment to connect with others and help us explore this, as well as how we can move forward into healing from trauma.
This group is for persons who identify as a cisgender male who may benefit from interpersonal feedback and/or could use assistance in reaching out to others for support. This group will be process-oriented to allow members to openly discuss a wide array of concerns, though certain topics will likely be discussed, including definitions of masculinity, physical and mental health concerns, gender roles, relationship stressors, appropriate expressions of anger, trouble with self-esteem, being controlled (or controlling) in relationships, being alone and loneliness.
Rainbow Coogs / LGBTQIA Support and Process Group
The LGBTQIA Group provides a supportive, safe, affirming, and confidential place to discuss sexual orientation, coming out, family concerns, community resources and support, and religion and spirituality among other various topics. This group also provides an opportunity to learn more about how to relate to others and explore new options for relating while in an encouraging environment with other students within the LGBTQIA community.
Spring 2020 Group Offerings
|Monday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Women and Relationships (WAR)|
|Monday||2:30pm – 4:00pm||Men's Understanding Self and Others|
|Monday||5:00pm – 6:30pm||Understanding Self and Others|
|Tuesday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Our Compassionate Selves|
|Tuesday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Healing from Trauma|
|Tuesday||3:00pm – 4:30pm||Understanding Self and Others|
|Wednesday||10:00am – 11:30am||Understanding Self and Others|
|Wednesday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Rainbow Coogs|
|Wednesday||2:30pm – 4:00pm||Understanding Self and Others|
|Thursday||10:00am – 11:30am||Understanding Self and Others|
|Thursday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Understanding Self and Others|
|Friday||1:00pm – 2:30pm||Understanding Self and Others|