Group Counseling - University of Houston
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Group Counseling

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

Navigating Social Waters
This group is for students who experience anxiety in social interactions and have difficulty initiating or maintaining social connections. Group members will learn about anxiety and develop coping skills and techniques to combat it. This group will also provide a space for members to discuss and process their thoughts and feelings, as well as an opportunity for members to practice engaging in interpersonal situations in new ways. Participants will be challenged to step outside their comfort zone and explore new and deeper ways of connecting.

Peace with Body & Food
This group is for individuals who want to explore their relationships with food and their bodies. The group aims to help members explore how different relationships with food (extreme dieting, over-exercising, binging, etc.) may be affecting their lives, increase coping skills, and share emotional experiences with each other. Group goals are to 1) foster a healthy relationship between food, exercise, and body image; 2) allow members to identify their authentic needs, practice self-care and manage stress; 3) reduce feelings of isolation by connecting to other members; 4) gain insight into emotional states and express emotions more effectively.

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.

Fall 2019 Group Offerings

Monday 1:00pm – 2:30pm Women and Relationships (WAR)
Monday 3:00pm – 4:30pm 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 1:00pm – 2:30pm Navigating Social Waters
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
Thursday 3:00pm – 4:30pm Graduate Student's Understanding Self and Others
Thursday 1:00pm – 2:30pm Peace with Food and Body
Friday 1:00pm – 2:30pm Understanding Self and Others

Introduction to Group Therapy Video

Below are descriptions of groups offered at CAPS in past semesters.

C.O.R.E. (Changing Ourselves, our Relationships, and our Emotions) Group
This group focuses on helping students increase their awareness and understanding of their emotional reactions, particularly feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger. This includes learning new ways to think about those emotions, as well as strategies to more effectively express and manage them. As the group progresses, students will also explore how their emotions are connected to patterns in relationships and to aspects of their identity. This portion of the group involves more open-ended discussion and provides opportunities to both give and receive feedback from peers. Ultimately, the goal of this group is to allow students to feel more “in control” of their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and to develop a healthier way of experiencing themselves and others.

Cougar Coping
This group is for anyone who wants to improve their mood and self-confidence. It meets weekly for 1½ hours and will run for 10 weeks during the semester. Throughout the group, students learn skills that increase self-awareness, help them to identify personal strengths, and assist them in successfully navigating life’s difficulties. This group uses educational materials, homework exercises, and interpersonal processes between group members to help students meet their therapy goals. Exercises and educational materials are based on Cognitive-Behavioral therapy.

Cultural Connections Group
This is a group for people of color who want to explore connecting to who they are as individuals and as members of an ethnic community. The group will explore diverse relationships among ethnic group traditions and values, social standards, and personal wishes. Topics may include cultural beliefs/myths, personal meaning, cultural connections, and other conversations chosen by group members.

First in the Family Group
This is a group for undergraduate and graduate students and provides a space to discuss the challenges and strengths of being the first person in your family to seek a college degree in the United States. Topics discussed include resources at UH, managing stress, academic and family expectations, doubts about graduation, graduate school, family and university culture, talking to family about college, and other related themes.

International Processes Group
This is a group for students integrating into the US society who wish to explore their identities as individuals and as members of the international community. Further, the group will provide students with a safe and supportive space to explore struggles they may be encountering as a result of an adjustment to transitions between cultures. The group will examine the intersection between societal standards, communal membership, and personal values and allow students to process their feelings regarding these and other related topics.

Men’s Group
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.

Stress Management 101
You may feel that there’s nothing you can do about stress. But you have more control over stress than you think! Come join this group and learn how to take charge of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. No matter how stressful your life may seem, there are steps that you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control! Learn healthier ways to cope with stress, and reduce its harmful effects on your daily life.

Women of Worth (W.O.W.) Group
The Women's group will be a safe place for females to process women’s issues such as interpersonal relationship difficulties, trauma, and struggles to gain a balance in life. Group will be process-oriented and will allow women a safe place to express their feelings and receive support from individuals struggling with similar issues.

Students of Color Support and Discussion Group
The aim of this group is to provide support for students of color wanting to discuss topics related to their racial/ethnic identity. Topics may include experiences with prejudice or discrimination, balancing family responsibilities with social and academic expectations, navigating the intersections of multiple identities, and other related themes. Participants of this group will have opportunities to listen, learn, be empowered, and receive support.

Navigating Social Waters
This group is for students who feel anxious about interacting with others or being the center of attention (e.g., giving a presentation). These students will most likely benefit from learning about their anxiety and learning tools to combat it, which is the focus of this group. This group will provide coping skills and techniques, as well as a discussion of thoughts and feelings that occur in the group sessions. The small group format provides an unbeatable opportunity for members to practice engaging in interpersonal situations in new ways.

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.