Photo courtesy of the Pepperdine Counseling Center
As finals and the end of the semester approach, students are encouraged by the Counseling Center to reach out to them and join counseling groups to help with stress and manage complex issues and events.
Pepperdine’s Counseling Center offers eight different weekly counseling groups. The groups are an open, safe space for students and each group consists of four to eight students and one to two counselors. To sign up for a counseling group, students can stop by the TCC 270 or email the Counseling Center.
“Counseling groups are safe and supportive spaces for students to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, learn how to cope with stressful life events, and get help in managing complex thoughts and feelings,” Shelle Welty, associate Director of the Counseling Center, wrote in an email
Each counseling group focuses on different issues. The groups consist of Real Men Real Talk, Group for Women, Boundaries, Mindfulness, Finding Peace, Recovering from Alcohol and Drug Addiction, and Eating Disorders Support Group.
“Students attending the group can expect to learn skills around that particular topic,” Welty wrote in an email. “You might learn how to communicate your needs more effectively with your friends and family in our Boundaries group, or you might learn yoga and breathing techniques to reduce stress in our Mindfulness group.”
Group therapy can have more benefits than individual therapy, according to American Psychological Association. Group therapy is a support system and puts members’ own problems in perspective and is a safe place.
“One of the greatest strengths of group counseling is the diversity of students who attend,” Welty wrote. “Everyone comes from a unique background, perspective, and vantage point. Students often discover new ways to tackle their problems by learning from each other as well as the therapist.”
Going to group therapy can be daunting for students, Welty wrote. Students may be nervous at first, but they are not forced to share anything they don’t want to.
Sophomore Alexa Birt said group counseling could be ineffective for Pepperdine students.
“I feel like group therapy could be in effective because people may feel uncomfortable opening up about their feelings in a group meeting,” Birt said.
Meanwhile, Senior Hayley Dobbins said the benefits of group counseling depend on the individual.
“Sometimes it helps to be with others who are experiencing the same emotions,” Dobbins said. “But it can also prevent people from being open and honest about themselves.”
Although students could be nervous, group counseling is a safe place, according to Welty.
“It takes time to feel comfortable enough to share during group. Group leaders understand that,” Welty wrote. “Also, group members are asked to respect the personal details shared by others by not repeating information that comes up in group.”
Group counseling is free at the Counseling Center and students are allowed to attend as many group sessions as they wish.