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Therapy Groups

Group therapy is a form of counseling that has been proven to be highly effective through research. Groups at UChicago Student Wellness create a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment where students can feel comfortable being open and honest about their struggles or current life situations.

Group Therapy:

  • Allows you to find more clarity about your current challenges with the help of a support system and a knowledgeable counselor.
  • Provides the opportunity for students to share and listen to the experiences of other group members.
  • Creates a safe space where members can give and receive feedback, support, and validation from others who have had similar experiences.
  • Allows students to have their own journey in the group, which is enriched by the support and experience of others.

Joining a Group

UChicago Student Wellness offers group options designed to help you navigate a variety of situations that may arise during your time at UChicago. Groups are offered for both undergraduate and/or graduate students. Before joining, you will typically be asked to complete a pre-group interview with a group facilitator to ensure that the group is a good fit. If it isn't, we will make every effort to find an appropriate group opportunity or additional resources for you.

You can learn more about substance abuse recovery groups that are not associated with UChicago Student Wellness by visiting the links on this list.

Spring Quarter 2024 Groups

Understanding Self and Others (graduate students only)

  • Fridays, 2-3:30 p.m. 
  • This group will meet in-person at the Student Wellness Center (840 E. 59th St.).
  • For more information, please contact Jerome Wilczynski, PsyD

An interpersonal therapy group graduate students. The focus of the group is determined by members. Common themes may include: Navigating academic pressures, dealing with feelings of isolation, procrastination, self-care, depression, anxiety, and maintaining healthy relationships with friends, families, and others. 

Understanding Self and Others (undergraduate students only)

  • Fridays, 3-4:30 p.m. 
  • This group will meet in-person at the Student Wellness Center (840 E. 59th St.).
  • For more information, please contact Jay Steinberg, PsyD

An interpersonal therapy group specifically for college students. The focus of the group is determined by members. Common themes may include: Navigating academic pressures, dealing with feelings of isolation, procrastination, self-care, depression, anxiety, and maintaining healthy relationships with friends, families, and others.

ACT for Anxiety

  • Mondays, 1:30-3 p.m.
  • This group will meet in-person at the Student Wellness Center (840 E. 59th St.).
  • For more information, please contact Tab Shamsi, PsyD

This group will utilize the evidence-based treatment principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help students address problems stemming from anxiety. Group participants will have an opportunity to work together in a supportive environment while learning mindfulness and other therapeutic skills that promote greater resilience and psychological flexibility. Participants will also receive encouragement to enhance their sense of purpose and meaning in accordance with personal values.

Coping With Chronic Illness

  • Mondays, 4:30 - 5:45 p.m.
  • This group will meet virtually via Zoom.
  • For more information or to sign up, please contact Lauren Haruno, PsyD 

This support group seeks to create an opportunity for students living with chronic medical, physical illness (e.g., IBS, Epilepsy, Grave’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Chronic Pain etc.) to build community through intentional moments of belonging, relatedness, and connection. A semi-structured format, driven by topics relevant to expressed student needs (e.g., interpersonal/peer dynamics, academic impacts), will offer chances to dialogue or engage with brief activities that invite participants to share their story, wisdom or challenges and bear witness to those who are also navigating the realities of chronic illness while pursuing higher education. Mutual vulnerability and encouragement within this group can foster an uplifting space for students to feel heard, contemplate analogous peers, and potentially feel less alone in their experiences.

Group Therapy FAQs

There are many benefits to joining a therapy group and the experience can be helpful in different ways depending on the type of group that you join. All groups help us realize that we are not alone in our struggles, offer opportunities to gain new insights, and may challenge members to consider new ways of thinking about specific issues. Groups are led by skilled clinicians who foster a supportive environment for members to receive valuable feedback and learn skills that help them address their challenges more effectively.

Understandably, most people feel nervous about beginning group therapy but find that after a few sessions they start to feel part of the group and are willing to interact more openly. If your goal is to feel less nervous interacting with other people in your life, then group therapy is actually the most effective way to achieve that goal. It is also important to know that different groups have different expectations of members, so we suggest that you discuss this further with the group facilitator who can offer suggestions to make the process easier for you or refer you to a different group.

If you are interested in joining one of the groups, please schedule and attend an intake appointment at UChicago Student Wellness by calling the center at 773.834.9355 At the intake appointment, your clinician will review various group options and connect you to the appropriate group facilitator for a pre-group screening. At the screening, the group facilitator will be able to give you specific information about their particular group, explain what to expect if you decide to join, and address any questions or concerns you might have about group therapy at UChicago Student Wellness.

Groups are led by one to two clinicians every week for ninety minutes for the duration of a quarter. Each group will typically have between six to eight members. Some groups are more structured and follow a curriculum that helps members learn important and practical skills to address mental health issues in daily life. Other groups may be less structured and allow members to bring in relevant issues to discuss and explore together. You can expect to receive encouragement, motivation, and a fresh perspective that changes your view on life’s problems.

Confidentiality is one very important aspect of group therapy that is crucial to the success of the group. Although it is rare, we can work with you to find a solution that is acceptable if a situation such as this occurs. It may or may not be okay to be in the same group as someone that you know so please discuss it with your group facilitator as early as possible. Facilitators are aware of this possibility and will discuss confidentiality in depth during the early stages of group.

Although many group members find that sharing personal information in the context of group therapy is highly valuable for their growth, you will never be pressured or coerced to share anything you do not feel comfortable sharing. While we strive to create an environment where you can openly share information that allows you to get support from others or receive feedback about your unique challenges, it will be entirely up to you to decide when and if to share something that feels private.

You may or may not be a good fit for group therapy depending on the challenges you are facing, your specific treatment needs, or your goals for therapy. However, we find that many students who do not feel comfortable with the idea of group are actually great candidates who benefit from group the most. If you struggle with interpersonal interactions, relationships, anxiety, depression, or feeling disconnected from others, group therapy can be a highly valuable form of treatment for you. We recommend that you review the group options on our website and discuss your fit with a clinician at UChicago Student Wellness to determine whether or not group therapy is the right fit.

It is normal to feel apprehensive about how you will be perceived in a group. Feeling safe and supported is a critical part of the group experience and group facilitators are there to ensure that no one feels judged or criticized. Trust in the group builds over time for group members and once you have a stronger sense of it, sharing personal concerns and even receiving constructive feedback from others feels as if it is coming from a caring and supportive friend.

Group therapy is as effective as individual therapy and in some cases even more effective. One advantage of group therapy is that you can learn from others even on days when you do not feel that you have much to say. Other members may also bring up a topic or idea that resonates with you or that you were not aware of—which may lead to new insight into your own challenges. Unlike individual therapy, group therapy offers the opportunity to learn news ways of interacting by talking, listening, and responding in the group. You may even think of a group therapy as a kind of laboratory for experimenting and practicing new behaviors that you can then take into your life outside of group.

Group therapy provides the benefit of being able to learn and grow even when you are not doing the talking. Group facilitators will routinely check in to see that you are getting what you need so you will have opportunities to communicate and let the group know if you need more space to talk and get support on a given day. Students who have participated in our groups often realize that they make significant progress in a very short amount of time.

It depends on the group. Some groups run for a single quarter while others may continue throughout the year. All groups require that you commit for one quarter.

Yes. Sometimes individual and group therapy can complement one another and add to overall progress. However, it may not be necessary to do both for many students. Please discuss with your group facilitator and/or individual therapist to determine the best option for you.

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