Katie Pfotzer | Echo
On a college campus, it can be easy to feel alone. In 2016, the Taylor Counseling Center added group therapy sessions to Student Services to combat this.
Group sessions are typically six to eight weeks in length and range in topic from anxiety management to mental toughness for athletes. The sessions are led by counseling staff and interns, and there is no one-on-one prerequisites for first time visits.
The goal of the Counseling Center in implementing these group sessions was summed up by Caroline Poland, Counseling Center Director.
"We want students to know that not only are they not alone, but that they are accepted and cared about in the midst of these things," Poland said.
Poland went on to stress the importance of providing this safe space for students to cultivate a deeper understanding of their relationship to Christ.
Counseling can provide this safe space along with the experience of talking through a situation with individuals who are going through a similar situation.
"We are 'always becoming,' and to have people who hold space with us and walk alongside us on that journey is important." Poland said. "Group therapy is a beautiful way that 'holding space as a fellow journey-er' can happen."
Marcia Wiinamaki, an adjunct Professor of Psychology shares this positive opinion of group therapy. She explained that one additional benefit that group therapy can have over individual therapy is by giving participants a community of people with similar experiences.
Wiinamaki also explained that encouragement from other group members can be seen as more authentic because they are not compelled to speak as part of their job.
"A group therapy experience can provide other helpful perspectives, socialization, and hope." Wiinamaki added.
Other topics that Wiinamaki suggests Taylor should add in future semesters include depression, emotional/physical/sexual abuse, and learning how to set boundaries.
Freshman Lor MacNorton, gave insight on her own experience with therapy. In response to what she felt she benefited most from, MacNorton responded that it was a relief to be able to talk things through with someone removed from the situation instead of a family member or friend.
MacNorton also felt that it helped to go through therapy in a Christian environment so she could not only talk through what was going on, but also it helped her to understand what it meant for her faith.
The Counseling Center will have new group therapy session sign-ups available at the beginning of next semester. Follow @tucouseling on instagram for more information regarding Taylor Counseling Center therapy groups.