Group therapy is an effective therapeutic intervention for many mental health concerns and is often times the preferred method of treatment. Clients experiencing social anxiety, depression, general anxiety, relationship distress, questions about identity, and a host of other concerns find group therapy to be very beneficial.  Below is a list of current groups and workshops being offered, a list of frequently asked questions, common misconceptions about group therapy, and information about how to enroll in a group or workshop.

Spring 2024 Groups and Workshops

“Show Up” Support Spaces

Graduate Student Support Group

This group is for graduate students who wish to come together to share the unique experiences and challenges of being a graduate student. Topics discussed in the group may include (but are not limited to) personal and professional relationships, academic concerns, adjusting to graduate school, coping with stress, self-esteem/confidence, identity development (personal and professional), career issues, and intersections of cultural identity.

Wednesdays at 5pm, monthly, virtually (link)

February 28th–Topic: Challenges of being a grad student

March 27th

April 10th

May 8th

Facilitator: Christine Borzumato-Gainey (cgainey@elon.edu)

Hues of Her

This affirming community space is designed to promote the emotional and social well-being of ALANAM students identifying as women or femme of center.

Facilitators: Anita Hodnett (ahodnett2@elon.edu) and Tumi Shadreck (ishadreck@elon.edu).

This group will meet on Friday afternoons in Spring 2024 in Moseley Ward Octagon Room (105A).

March 8th 3-4:30pm-“Money Talks”

Event description: Let’s talk dollars and sense. Gain insights on your relationship with money and learn strategies to prepare for your financial future.

April 12th 3-4:30pm-“Speak Easy”

Event description: A celebration of creativity and taste, where the power of words and the art of mixology come together for an unforgettable experience. The mocktails will be flowing while the affirmations are glowing.

May 3rd- Summer Sendoff Take and Make

Event description: Flex your creativity from the comfort of your own space. Pick up a kit with all the essentials to create a fun craft provided by Counseling Services.

Life After Loss

This is a supportive space for Elon students coping with loss to connect, share, and learn to navigate through the grieving process.

These drop-in meetings will occur over lunch provided from 11:30 am-1:00 pm on the following dates:

Wednesday, November 29th – Numen Lumen 201

If you’d like lunch, Sign up for lunch here. If you plan to attend but don’t want lunch, no worries–you are welcome! If you missed the lunch signup window and plan to come, email Kristen Perry at kperry19@elon.edu

Thursday, February 29th – Numen Lumen 201

Wednesday, April 17th – McBride Gathering Space

A Google sign-up sheet will be made available in advance of each meeting to RSVP for lunch.

Co-facilitators: Rev. Kirstin Boswell (kboswell4@elon.edu) and Anita Hodnett at (ahodnett2@elon.edu).

 

Nature Rx

 

Spending time in nature contributes to personal well-being and has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, positively benefit mood and energy levels, decrease common symptoms of anxiety and depression, and increase your overall sense of happiness.   These sessions will help you learn how to utilize outdoor spaces to better your mental health.

Paint the Town Red – Feb 13 at 4:15 pm

Channel your feelings about the climate crisis onto canvas (in this case, a repurposed yard sign!). This collaborative painting session fosters a space for reflection, dialogue, and a shared commitment to raising awareness about the urgent need for climate action. Let your creativity speak volumes as we paint a canvas of awareness and hope for a sustainable future.

Mental Health Hike – March 15 from 3-5 pm

Nature is filled with infinite opportunities to improve your life! Hiking allows us to tap into multiple areas of wellbeing and engage our senses. Join the Office of Sustainability and Counseling Services for an inclusive hike to experience and explore the ways being in Nature can support your holistic wellness.  Transportation provided.

Stargazing for Mental Health – April 25 at 8 pm

Join us as we engage in nature in a unique and memorable way through exploration of the night sky. Bring a mug to enjoy some hot cocoa and a blanket to enjoy the night sky.

Facilitators: Itumeleng Shadreck (ishadreck@elon.edu), Evan Small, & Kelly Harer

 

“Sign Up” Groups and Workshops

Anxiety Toolbox Workshop

Anxiety Toolbox focuses on helping you understand anxiety symptoms and build skills to manage these symptoms. The sessions include modules dedicated to: (1) understanding anxiety, (2) introducing a method for slowing down and disentangling the experience of anxiety, and (3) developing alternative responses to anxiety.  By the end of the workshop, you will have your own individualized plan for managing anxiety.

Spring 2024–We will be transitioning this workshop to virtual skills offerings. Keep a lookout for this to be updated online for self-paced engagement in this content.

 

BeWell with Campus Rec and Wellness

BeWell is a free group training program for students that promotes positive physical activity experiences in a supportive and community-oriented environment. Each session will consist of physical activity with a personal trainer and reflection with a counselor. The goal of this program is to educate participants on the holistic benefits of physical activity while simultaneously enhancing participants physical and mental well-being. While the exercise portion will be tailored to beginners and those that do not currently frequent the fitness center, the reflective component offers valuable insights for all participants, regardless of their background.

This group was offered in J-term 2024. The group will be capped at 10 participants. While we wish we could accept all applicates, this number is the most feasible at this time, and will provide the greatest experience for participants. Note, after you have submitted your application, a counselor will reach out to schedule an assessment which is an additional requirement for entry into the program.

This program is run in collaboration with Campus Recreation & Wellness and Counseling Services.

Counseling Services Facilitator: Tumi Shadreck (ishadreck@elon.edu).

BRIDGE-Building Relationship Intimacy and Dialogue Effectiveness- 3 Session Workshop

BRIDGE (Building Relationship Intimacy and Dialogue Effectiveness) focuses on identifying ways to foster healthy relationships (friendships, family, romantic, roommates, etc.) via self-monitoring, effective communication, and conflict resolution skills. The sessions include modules dedicated to help you: (1) better understand your values and boundaries in relationships, (2) learn the role of culture in communication, different styles of communication, and strategies for effective communication, and (3) identify common causes of conflict and effective conflict management techniques.

Spring 2024–We will be transitioning this workshop to virtual skills offerings. Keep a lookout for this to be updated online for self-paced engagement in this content.

 

Drum, Destress, and Decompress

Counseling services invites you to join in and stay as long as you like, in a supportive and encouraging space learning how rhythm and connection support regulation to destress and decompress.  No drum or music experience is required. Drums have been provided through Heart Beats Innovations Grant.

If you are interested in participating in Spring 2024, please enter your info here to be contact when the events are scheduled.

Facilitator:  Bonny Buckley (bbuckley2@elon.edu)

Dungeons, Dragons, and Therapy - Role Playing Group

Tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Quest allow participants to take on the persona of fictional characters and to complete daring adventures across mysterious worlds. This therapy group takes the core elements of these games but also challenges you to set goals that will improve your behavior and mindset in the real world.

In Dungeons, Dragons, & Therapy you will work with a clinician to create a fantasy character that is personalized to you and your goals. This character might excel at something with which you struggle or be designed you help you emphasize any given attribute. For example, if you wanted to practice speaking up and asking for what you need, you may design a character with assertive qualities. Within sessions of Dungeons, Dragons, & Therapy you will interact with other players not only to find treasures, solve puzzles, and converse with enigmatic individuals–but also to express meaningful parts of yourself.

No previous experiences with Dungeons and Dragons or other Role Playing Games is required. This therapy involves a simplified set of rules so that participants can focus on the interpersonal aspects of the game rather than learning complex rules. This group will not teach you how to formally play Dungeons and Dragons.

If you are interested in participating in this group in Spring 2024, please contact the game master/groups coordinator, Meredith Harrison (mharrison19@elon.edu).

Eat, Pray, Love-Women's Empowerment Group

Eat, Pray, Love is a five-week workshop designed to empower fem of core identified students at Elon University. The workshop is designed for people who are seeking self-awareness, self-love, and self-discovery. It’s designed to be interactive and fun, but you aren’t required to participate verbally if you’re not comfortable. Because of the nature of the work we will cover, the workshop will remain small. Each week will have a different theme based on our relationships with food (eat), spirituality or values (pray), and love (loving yourself and others).

Spring 2024 will meet Friday afternoons April 5th – May 3rd. Specific time TBD. 

For questions or scheduling a pre-group screening, talk with your individual counselor or reach out to group facilitator, Cara Plasencia at cplasencia@elon.edu

Facilitators: Cara Plasencia and Hannah Eng

Getting Unstuck from Depression

Getting Unstuck focuses on helping you understand depressive symptoms and build skills to manage these symptoms. The sessions include modules dedicated to: (1) understanding depression, (2) exploring how thoughts and behaviors impact depression, and (3) addressing how you can begin to make changes to thoughts and behaviors in order to better manage depression.  By the end of the workshop, you will have your own individualized plan for getting unstuck!

Spring 2024–We will be transitioning this workshop to virtual skills offerings. Keep a lookout for this to be updated online for self-paced engagement in this content.

Mindfulness Workshop

A workshop designed to help you better manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions, learn mindfulness skills, and identify what’s most important to you. This combines evidence-based practices with both conceptual and experiential tools. No screening or prior meeting with Counseling Services necessary.

Spring 2024–We will be transitioning this workshop to virtual skills offerings. Keep a lookout for this to be updated online for self-paced engagement in this content.

 

Understanding Myself and Others-Therapy Group

Relationships play an important role in mental health. This therapy group is open to students who are interested in gaining greater self-awareness, understanding their relationships with others, and practicing healthier ways of relating to others. To foster connection and growth within the group, membership is limited, and participants are expected to commit to regular attendance throughout the semester. Group sessions are typically 1 ½ hours and held weekly throughout the semester.

Spring 2024 will be facilitated by Bonny Buckley (bbuckley2@elon.edu) and Mindy Warguez. Thursdays 2:30-3:45.

If you are interested in participating in Spring 2024, talk to your individual clinician, facilitators above, or reach out to the groups coordinator, Meredith Harrison at mharrison19@elon.edu.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of groups and workshops does Elon offer?

We offer a variety of groups, support spaces, and skill based workshops for our students, and all groups/workshops are completely free to Elon students!

Our “Show Up” Groups are spaces where no sign up or prior connection with Counseling Services is required. You can even bring a friend! Our support spaces are designed as “show up” groups and they offer ways to connect with peers who may share a similar identity or life experience with you. These may vary in frequency from weekly to monthly, and are often in conjunction with campus partners. Examples include Hues of Her, Loss Support Group, and Graduate Student Support Group.

Our “Sign Up” groups require signing up ahead of time (workshops), and may require a screening within Counseling Services to make sure these are a good fit for you (therapy groups).

Our workshops are designed to help students learn and practice adaptive skills for coping with common challenges they may face (e.g., stress, anxiety, relationships, depression, etc.). The structure is similar to a class with experiential activities. These are typically 3 sessions or less, so folx quickly learn new skills they can apply to their day to day. Students do not have to have prior connection with Counseling Services in order to attend, so feel free to sign up with a friend! We ask that folx sign up ahead of time so we can send reminder emails and make sure we have enough materials for all attendees. Examples include Nature Rx, Anxiety Toolbox, and BRIDGE.

Our therapy groups are spaces where the same group of people meets weekly for half or a whole semester. This provides an opportunity to build and deepen relationships with a small group of peers (typically around 5-8 people) while working on your personally identified concerns. Students have many reasons they may choose to join a therapy group (e.g., anxiety, feeling lonely, social anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, adjustment to college, relationship concerns, etc.). These groups require a student to speak with a counselor before entering a group to make sure the group will best meet their clinical needs and goals.  Instructions for how to sign up are listed under each group and workshop, or, you can always call counseling services for instructions on how to connect with a group.  These tend to meet weekly and there is an expectation that students will commit to attend regularly. Examples include Eat, Pray, Love, Understanding Myself and Others, LGBTQ+ Therapy Group, and Dungeons, Dragons, & Therapy.

What is group therapy?

In group therapy, five to ten people meet face-to-face with one or more trained group therapists and talk about what is troubling them. Members also give feedback to each other by expressing their own feelings about what someone says or does. This interaction gives group members an opportunity to try out new ways of behaving and to learn more about the way they interact with others in a safe environment. The content of the group sessions is confidential; what members talk about or disclose is not discussed outside the group.

Why does group therapy work?

When people come into a group and interact freely with other group members, they usually recreate those difficulties that brought them to group therapy in the first place. Under the skilled direction of a group therapist, the group is able to give support, offer alternatives, or gently confront the person. In this way the difficulty becomes resolved, alternative behaviors are learned, and the person develops new social techniques or ways of relating to people. During group therapy, people begin to see that they are not alone. Many people feel they are unique because of their problems, and it is encouraging to hear that other people have similar difficulties. In the climate of trust provided by the group, people feel free to care about and help each other.

 

What do I talk about when I'm in group therapy?

Talk about what brought you to the counseling center in the first place. Tell the group members what is bothering you. If you need support, let the group know. If you think you need confrontation, let them know this also. It is important to tell people what you expect of them.

Unexpressed feelings are a major reason why people experience difficulties. Revealing your feelings is an important part of group and affects how much you will be helped. The appropriate disclosures will be those that relate directly to your present difficulty. How much you talk about yourself depends upon what you are comfortable with. If you have any questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can always ask the group.

 

Common Misconceptions about Group Therapy

"I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to the group."

You control what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. We encourage you not to share what you are not ready to disclose. However, you can also be helped by listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might apply to you.

"Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because I will have to share the time with others."

Actually, group therapy is often more efficient than individual therapy 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 that you might not have been aware of or brought up yourself.

"I will be verbally attacked by the leaders and by other group members."

It is very important that group members feel safe. Group leaders are there to help develop a safe environment. Feedback is often difficult to hear. As group members come to trust and accept one another, they generally experience feedback and even confrontation as positive, as if it were coming from their best 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.

"Group therapy is second-best to individual therapy."

Group therapy is being recommended to you because your intake counselor believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. We do not put people into group therapy because we don’t have space in individual therapy, or because we want to save time. We recommend group when it is the most effective method to help you. Your intake counselor can discuss with you why group is what we recommend for you.

 

"I have so much trouble talking to people; I'll never be able to share in a group."

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. Group members remember what it is like to be new to the group, so you will most likely get a lot of support for beginning to talk in the group.

 

How do I sign up for a group or workshop?

Some groups require potential group members to come to the counseling center for an in-person screening interview. This screening is meant to see if the client is a good fit for the group and if the group will likely meet the goals a student has for their therapy experience. If there is a particular group you are interested in, please click on the group or workshop above and email the group leader. If you would like more information about the groups and workshops offered at Elon Counseling Services, please call our main number at (336) 278-7280.