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Woman Speaking At Support Group Meeting For Mental Health

Group Counseling

Counseling in a small group setting can help you feel less alone. It connects you with other students who are going through similar struggles, creating an environment of social support and encouragement.

During each fall and spring semester, the Counseling Center offers a number of group counseling opportunities on issues related to students’ needs. Learn more about our current counseling groups.

FAQ and Common Misconceptions about Group Counseling

Group counseling involves groups of six to ten people who meet weekly with one or two trained members of the Counseling Center staff to talk about their struggles and problems. Some groups focus on specific topics or problems while others address multiple concerns.

When people interact freely with other group members, they tend to recreate behavior patterns that brought them to counseling in the first place and learn how to manage those situations.

Under the skilled direction of group facilitators, the group supports, offers alternatives, or gently confronts individuals. In this way, group members resolve difficulties, learn alternative behaviors, and develop new social skills or ways of relating to people.

Confidentiality is critical to the development of a safe, respectful, and trusting atmosphere in which individuals share their feelings openly. The group leader and all group members share this responsibility.

To participate, each therapy group member must sign an agreement to adhere to the rules of confidentiality. Group members pledge that they will never share group business, including names of other group members, outside the group.

Group counseling is a very effective means of treatment and, in some cases, the best form of treatment. In a group, you can:

  • Increase self-awareness by learning more about how others perceive you
  • Feel a sense of acceptance and belonging
  • Discover you are not alone in the difficulties you are experiencing
  • Hear ideas from others that will improve your decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Benefit from the experience of being helpful to others
  • Learn to express your feelings and ideas to others constructively
  • Gain encouragement by observing others’ successes

If you’d like to learn more or join a counseling group, review the descriptions of our current groups. Then give us a call at 919.515.2423 to speak to a triage clinician and ask about joining a group. If you are already connected to a counselor, please speak with the counselor first.

We also offer drop-in spaces throughout the semester that do not require registration. Visit drop-in spaces to learn more.

While participating in group, people begin to see that they are not alone; that others share similar concerns and difficulties in life. Under the direction of skilled group leaders, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, or gently confront group members. Through group interactions and group feedback, new insights are gained, alternative behaviors are explored, and new ways of relating to others can be tried. As a result, the original difficulties people brought to group become resolved.

Talk about what brought you into counseling. Let other group members know what is bothering you and what your goals are. If you need support, let the group know. If you think you need confrontation, let them know that too. It is important to tell the group what you expect of them and what you need from them. Unexpressed feelings are a major reason why people experience difficulties. The most appropriate disclosures will be those that relate directly to your present difficulty. It is important that you feel comfortable with your level of self-disclosure.

Most of the groups at the Counseling Center meet once a week for 90 minutes.

Yes. Combined group and individual counseling can help you maximize your growth by working on different goals in different methods of treatment. The insights gleaned from individual therapy can be turned into action in group. Consult with your counselor to see what’s best for you.

You can stay in group as long as you and the group leaders feel it is beneficial for you. Some members stay for a semester, while others stay for longer.

Most people are initially anxious about talking in group. Almost without exception, within a few sessions, new members find that the group process draws them in and they begin to share with the group in ways they never anticipated.

You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. We encourage you not to share what you are not ready to disclose. Many group members find that when the group feels safe enough to them to share what they are most apprehensive about, the group can be very helpful and affirming. At the same time, you can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about how their thoughts might apply to you.

Group counseling is just as effective as individual therapy for various reasons. First, most members identify with concerns other members share and find they are helping themselves just by being present and processing the issues vicariously. Second, by listening, giving feedback, and engaging other group members, you may also be practicing new ways of interacting. It is a safe place to practice new behaviors or new ways of relating to others.  Third, group counseling offers the opportunity to get multiple perspectives and increased support from peers.

Group counseling is often more efficient than individual counseling, for two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little, but listen 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. Secondly, group members will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but you might not have been aware of, or brought up by yourself. Therefore, learning from others can be a powerful therapeutic experience and often enhances the work.

It is very important that group members feel safe. Group leaders are there to create a safe environment for all involved. We understand that feedback is often difficult to hear, from leaders and members alike. As group members come to trust the group, they generally experience feedback, and even confrontation – as if it were coming from a good friend. One of the benefits of group therapy is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive environment. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is precisely what group can offer. This will be done in a respectful, gentle way, so that you can hear it and make use of it.

Current Groups

All groups are open to all currently enrolled NC State students who are eligible for services. Groups do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or any other Protected Status listed in POL 04.25.05.

Neurodivergent Focus

Explore different topics, generate ideas for positive change, and share experiences to encourage focus. Believing in the potential of the ADHD-mind, finding and sharing ways to make our minds work for us will be a theme throughout!

  • Graduate Students
    • Tuesdays | 3-4 p.m.
    • Drop-in style via Zoom
  • Undergraduate Students
    • Wednesdays | 3-4 p.m.
    • Drop-in style via Zoom

Support and skill-building for students who have an interest in or identify on the Autism Spectrum or as neurodivergent. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome.

  • Thursdays | 3-4 p.m.
  • Drop-in style via Zoom


A process group that will tackle everything from current events and social norms facing Black Identified Males to navigating a predominantly white institution (PWI) as a black male.

  • Wednesdays | 4-5:30 p.m.
  • Drop-in style in African American Cultural Center

A safe space for students to share their stories, struggles, and successes of everyday life faced by Latinx students at NC State. Students are welcome to discuss experiences related to their identity, cultural values, academics/career, family, relationships, and more. Students will learn about themselves, gain support from peers, and work on improving their self-care and life balance.

  • Tuesdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets via Zoom

A process group for students to explore and discuss issues facing Men of Color, including everything from current events and social norms to relationships and overall wellness….And everything in between!

  • Fridays | 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Meets in person

A support-based counseling group to discuss issues facing those who identify as gender diverse, expansive, or questioning, including, but not limited to, those who identify as transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, nonbinary, or agender. Find community, build connection, and gain and give support in this safe, affirming space!

  • Fridays | 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Meets in person

Explore and discuss topics related to identity, emotional and social health, role expectations, and relationships of women of color – in a safe and supportive setting.

  • Graduate Students
    • Tuesdays | 4-5:30 p.m.
    • Meets in person and via Zoom
  • Undergraduate Students
    • Thursdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
    • Meets via Zoom

Addictive Behavior Focus

A place for students to connect with other students who are struggling with addictive behaviors. This group supports students in making healthier decisions around certain harmful behaviors or consequences relating to alcohol/drug/gambling/internet/gaming/nicotine, etc. The group’s focus is to work on minimizing the negative consequences to wellness (i.e. mental and physical health, relationships, or academics).

  • Tuesdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets in person

Art and Mindfulness

Drop-in style group for students to hang out and get creative with “interlocking blocks”. Build connections and a sense of belonging with other COE students, interact with someone from the counseling center in a low pressure way, reduce stigma, and relieve a little stress!

  • Fridays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Drop-in style | Location TBA

An open space for anyone who wants to engage in art making in a therapeutic environment.  Anyone can come to one or all of the groups even if you can only come for part of the time! We do both short and long-term projects and always have space for an individual project if it is needed.

  • Wednesdays | 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Drop-in style | Counseling Center (Main Campus) – Room 2221K

Theory and research suggest that people can increase their happiness through simple intentional positive activities, such as expressing gratitude, practicing kindness, doing fulfilling activities or just getting outside. Focus of groups is on engaging in activities that have shown, through research, to be effective ways of increasing our moods, our well-being and our ability to weather the storms that come with being a stressed out human. And, we will just have some fun! 

We will discuss the activity and instructions, then do the thing (art, horticulture, communing with nature, mindfulness etc.) and then discuss how it went for us.

  • Tuesdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Drop-in style in Campus Health, Room 2301

Emotion Exploration

For international undergrad and grad students who are feeling anxious about being on campus and/or feeling homesick. Addresses particular struggles unique to the international student population.

  • Fridays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets drop-in style via Zoom

For undergrad and grad students who are feeling anxious about being on campus and/or feeling homesick. Will address transfer students also.

  • Wednesdays | 12:30-2 p.m.
  • Meets drop-in style via Zoom

LEEP is a transdiagnostic skills group based on principles of Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Members will learn strategies to manage their painful internal experiences and learn how to live a rich, meaningful, values-based life. Each session will be experiential in nature and will require active engagement during the session and practice work in-between sessions.

  • Mondays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets via Zoom

The Navigating Anger group is for students who are looking to explore the feeling of anger, its place in their lives, and learn strategies to express anger in a healthy way. Members can expect to gain insight into the way they experience anger, and learn skills to express the feeling of anger in a healthy way.

  • Fridays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets in person

This is a laboratory for trying out new ways of listening, responding, understanding, and expressing what you want and need. Each group is open to 8-10 students.

  • Graduate Students
    • Thursdays | 2-3:30 p.m.
    • Meets via Zoom
  • Undergraduate Students
    • Wednesdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
    • Meets in person

Trauma Focus

Grief can feel overwhelming and lonely, especially in the context of college and campus life. This group is an opportunity to connect with other students experiencing a loss. Come learn about grief and share your experience in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Wednesdays | 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Meets via Zoom

A space designed for those who have experienced IPV related traumatic experiences in their lives or who come from backgrounds in which they did not feel safe. Members will get support from each other, learn how their past experiences affected their body and brain and are affecting their lives now. Insights about their patterns in relationships and skills to better manage their emotions and relationships will be addressed.

  • Tuesdays | 3:15-4:45 p.m.
  • Meets in person

Thanks to the American Group Psychotherapy Association– College Counseling Special Interest Group community, Scott Kaplan, PhD, for allowing us to incorporate their text into this page.