Groups and workshops
Groups and workshops offer structured and confidential spaces for students to discuss issues, share feelings, problem solve, and gain support. Many students use group as their primary resource to work through challenges, gain encouragement, and maintain a healthy well-being. Groups are confidential, structured, and free.
Please complete the group interest form if you are an enrolled student and would like to join any of the PGCC Groups. A group facilitator will contact you shortly.
Summer 2021 groups
The The PGCC is excited to offer telehealth group counseling services.
Group counseling benefits
It is normal to feel un'sure about joining a group, yet most students report the experience was helpful and far beyond their expectations. Students receive understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues. Groups are often the most effective way to:
- Gain support and encouragement from others;
- Gain new perspectives and ideas;
- Gain specific skills to improve your life;
- Develop relational skills.
The PGCC wishes to make group offerings accessible to people with disabilities. If you have disability-related needs, please contact our office at 831-582-3969 or email email@example.com one to two weeks prior to the group.
Group counseling and group workshops are forms of counseling in which a small number of people come together under the guidance of a professionally trained therapist to help themselves and one another. The approach has been widely used and has been a standard and effective treatment option for over 50 years. In the group setting, not only do students receive tremendous understanding, support, and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspectives, ideas, and viewpoints on those issues.
Generally groups meet weekly in the fall and spring semesters. Each group is scheduled for a particular day of the week and time of the day that is set for the duration of the group. Typically group sessions last 60-90 minutes.
There is no limit on group sessions. We hope you will utilize our group programs as much as you would like. All students are welcome to attend--bring a friend if you'd like!
That's one of the common misunderstandings of group counseling. Group counseling can be more efficient than individual therapy for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little by listening carefully to others. You will find that you have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a concern, you can learn more about yourself. Second, group members will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but which you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.
No one will force you to do anything in group counseling. You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. You do not have to share what you are not ready to disclose and in fact some thoughts, feelings, or emotions are so personal that keeping them to oneself may be more beneficial than disclosing them to a group. You can be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you. When you feel safe enough to share what is troubling you, a group will likely be very helpful and affirming.
Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in the group. Even the most private or shy people often find that the group is a place where they can trust others and share their concerns. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.
Participants are often encouraged by one another to share their observations, internal reactions and experiences of the group, but in a way that feels comfortable and supportive. Group facilitators often discuss and model how to share information, ask group members when they might need some space within the group, and explore each individual member can best be supported by others in the group. If a member does not feel comfortable talking, they simply share this preference with the group and ask that the group trust them to speak when they are ready.
Coming into a group setting can understandably feel overwhelming when one’s own life circumstances may seem unmanageable. Many participants, however, have described hearing about the experiences of other members as extremely helpful. Focusing on the life experiences of others helps them to feel less alone in their own struggles, as well as helps them to understand their own difficulties from a different perspective. Many find a sense of relief in knowing that others struggle with similar issues or emotions.
No, this would violate the confidentiality and privacy of group members. While we value students learning about therapy and group counseling processes, we have found that students attending groups for the sole purpose of an assignment takes away from the group experience and deters students from coming back to the group. Attending a group can be a vulnerable experience and we want to ensure the PGCC is a safe and comfortable space for students to actively participate. If you'd like to talk to a counselor about group processes for an assignment, please call our office to schedule a meeting (831-582-3969). A two week notice is required. If we are unable to comply with the request due to counseling center demands, we will provide you with referral options.
Each group will have their own unique set of ground rules which will be reviewed at the first group meeting and every time a new member joins the group. Confidentiality is the first rule of group counseling and means that all group members agree and commit to not discussing any group members or their experiences outside of group. Here are some more typical ground rules:
- Group sessions are confidential. The identity of the members of the group and what they say in group is not to be talked about with anyone outside the group at any time. It is up to each group member to maintain this confidentiality.
- Attend regularly and punctually. If you are going to miss a session or be late, please let one of the group facilitators know.
- Mutual respect is essential to maintaining the safety of the group. It is okay to disagree with others. It is not okay to treat other members disrespectfully. Having a feeling and acting on it are two different actions. The way we most respect ourselves and others is by experiencing our feelings and then talking about them.
- If you decide to leave group, because you have met your goals for treatment or because it isn’t the most appropriate treatment method for you, we ask that you discuss this with the group facilitator first and then come to the group and say good-bye.
Everyone will experience group in their own unique way, however, here are some suggestions to help get the most out of the experience:
- Attend regularly. In joining the group, you have made a commitment to the other group members as well as to yourself.
- Between group sessions, think about what happened in group and about how you felt during and after group, and try to figure out why you had those feelings.
- Participate actively. You will make more progress if you get actively involved in the group discussions. If you're not ready to share, actively listen to others and demonstrate this through non-verbal cues (eye contact, head nods, etc.).
- Take some emotional risks in group. It is structured to be safe and supportive.
- Be as honest and open as you are able in group. It allows other group members to get to know who you really are.
- Learn to differentiate between thoughts and feelings…when you say “I feel that…”, or “I feel like…”, you are moving away from expressing feelings to expressing thoughts.
- Be spontaneous. Often we wait our turn to speak, try to be polite, or think about what we want to say for so long that the moment to say it has passed.
- Don’t give advice, suggestions or try to solve other member’s problems for them.