Why Group Counseling
Group counseling is a powerful venue for growth and change and one of the most effective tools for addressing common issues among college students.
Deciding Whether Group Counseling Is For You
It's normal to be apprehensive at first, but most students find tremendous support, understanding and encouragement in their groups.
Many first-time group members are concerned that hearing others' problems will make them feel worse. On the contrary, most members find that hearing others' struggles and successes helps them feel connected and understood.
Students meet in groups of six to ten with one or two trained therapists.
Covered By Your Student Health Fee
Group counseling sessions are completely covered by your student health fee, paid with your tuition.
How to Join
Call 803-777-5223 to join a group and for more information.
These groups allow students who are dealing with similar issues to come together and create safe space to talk about those issues. We ask that you commit to five consecutive meetings when you join, unless noted otherwise.
This group aims to create a safe and secure environment for female survivors of sexual abuse and/or assault. It hopes to provide support and increased coping skills for group members who may be struggling with current relationships, sexuality, self-esteem or other issues.
Students who identify as trans, gender fluid or gender nonconforming have a unique experience that may not be readily understood or supported by others. This group aims to create a space where students can feel comfortable being their true selves and talk about the issues they face on a daily basis in school, sex, relationships, family, health settings and other facets of life and transition. The group will have a supportive intent and participants may learn additional coping skills related to living in a biased society.
Academic Support Group
Academic stressors can be one the biggest sources of anxiety and poor mental health on a college campus. This group provides space for students to consistently prioritize time attending to their health while building an atmosphere of support, trust and encouragement with students in similar situations. This group will focus exploring the impact of academic stress on overall well-being and developing strategies to cope and thrive. This group may be particularly beneficial for students in pre-professional programs who cannot attend individual counseling during normal business hours.
BlackSpace (formerly known as Jamaa) is a community group for black students (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) attending USC. Sponsored and facilitated by Counseling & Psychiatry, BlackSpace was created to ensure a safe space for black students to discuss their experiences, such as stereotypes, discrimination, culture and confidence.
These groups use interpersonal interactions and the examination of those interactions to help students create change, relieve symptoms and learn new behaviors. We ask that you to commit to five consecutive meetings when you join, unless noted otherwise. To join this group, you must complete a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with at least one of the leaders of the group.
Understanding Self & Others
US&O groups are focused on students who present with unhealthy or ineffective relationship patterns at the root of (or related to) their distress. These groups are focused on helping members learn to communicate honestly and assertively about their feelings, needs and thoughts and to learn to tolerate the distress/discomfort related to vulnerability and interpersonal intimacy. Members work on a variety of issues like depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, low self-esteem, issues of family conflict or abuse, and more.
Skill-Building Groups & Workshops
These groups will teach you the necessary skills to manage symptoms and involve minimal interpersonal sharing. We ask that you to commit to five consecutive meetings when you join, unless noted otherwise.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Group
Members learn how to manage their mental health challenges by becoming aware of how thoughts influence their responses to situations that cause stress, sadness or other general concerns. Members learn the cognitive model to help overcome their difficulties by changing their thinking, behavior and emotional responses.
Mood & Food
This group is a safe space for those who struggle with issues related to food. Students who have body image issues, over-exercise, obsess about food and weight loss, overeat, binge, purge or restrict food are welcome in this group. The focus is not only on the exploration of eating behaviors, but also on the underlying causes that sustain these eating struggles. The goal of this group is to help its members gain a deeper understanding of their struggles with food, and to help them develop new coping options and challenge old ideas.
Lunch Time Meditation
This group is for students who have completed the MBSR group in previous semesters, have an active mindfulness practice or are able to sit in meditation for up to 30 minutes with no distress. The group will aim to balance didactic instruction for mindfulness and meditation, practice and discussion between group members relating to the real-world application of mindfulness to their individual journey.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR for Anxiety and Depression is designed to be an introduction to mindfulness practices
for clients of the counseling center whose symptoms are impacting their quality of
life and/or their functioning. Mindfulness, much like learning a musical instrument,
requires the learning of basic exercises and the commitment to practice them repeatedly
to gain mastery for more advanced practice. The skills of mindfulness are the foundation of
many other therapies.
Core mindfulness skills are:
- Clarifying, setting and reaffirming intention
- Cultivating a witnessing awareness (developing meta-cognition)
- Strengthening self-regulation (settling negative energies intentionally, avoiding and recovering from emotional hijackings)
- Practicing loving-kindness (calming the inner critic and self-judgment, practicing non-judgmental awareness leading to kindness and compassion for yourself and others)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a skills-based group geared specifically toward individuals who have difficulty with regulating their emotions, causing them to constantly be in a state of distress and/or have problems in sustaining healthy relationships. DBT emphasizes a mindful approach to living so ordinary moments are enjoyed to their fullest and difficult times are managed with dignity and self-respect. Goals of the group include identifying the issues that cause distress and teaching skills to deal with them without having to resort to self-defeating behaviors. Skills training teaches specific lessons in mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness in order to learn how to be fully in the moment, effectively manage emotions, cope with crises without making them worse and learning how to have healthy relationships. Sessions are highly interactive, with a strong emphasis on developing practical skills. Group members set weekly goals to practice their new skills, sharing their progress with the group in a supportive environment. Students participating in DBT group will be required to participate in ongoing individual therapy as well as attend all group sessions.
Coping Skills Workshop
This group is a three-session series designed to teach basic distress tolerance, emotion regulation and anxiety management techniques. This series is a great way to build foundational skills to empower yourself to resolve crises and build confidence in your ability to cope with the ups and downs of life. This is a wonderful group series to complete prior to therapy or to supplement individual treatment.
Drop-In Mindful Movement
Mindful movement is a drop-in group for students who want to build relaxation skills, practice meditation and enjoy moving while doing so. We need breaks to help us recharge from the chaos of a busy schedule and mindful movement is a way to plug into the present moment and unplug from the past, the future, and all the mind chatter that often holds us in autopilot. Each mindful movement group will include flow yoga, stretching to ease muscle tension, breathing exercises, and time to process and build upon the mind-body connection. This group is appropriate for students who want to learn movement-based skills to manage symptoms of worry, lack of motivation, stress/tension, insomnia or sleep disturbances and fatigue.
Come wearing clothes you can move in comfortably.