Written by Kelsey Dickerson, Staff Writer
The counseling center is a great resource for free counseling if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to. Each semester counselors offer a variety of therapy groups to help students figure out their problems alongside one another, in addition to or instead of meeting a counselor one-on-one.
This semester, the counseling center offered five group sessions. “Keep Calm and Carry On,” “Metamorphosis,” “A Healing Journey for Women,” a “Men’s Group,” and a group called “Love Your Selfie.” Valdosta State also opened a chapter of a national group called Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA).
According to Rebecca Smith, the assistant director of the counseling center, Valdosta State is required by the International Association of Counseling Services to provide group therapy sessions.
“For some students, helping others helps them” and acknowledged that “(hearing advice from) A councilor is different than hearing it from a peer,” Smith said.
Smith said that group therapy is great, because students tend to hold themselves more accountable when giving advice to others within their group and that there has been massive growth in group therapy since she started working at VSU.
This semester, the groups cater to a wide variety of needs. According to the counseling center webpage, there are three groups that are open to all genders: Metamorphosis, which is an art therapy group where participants express themselves through art projects, “Keep Calm and Carry on,” a group dealing with anxiety and stress issues, and ACOA, which functions under national standards.
Smith said that in one case she could “almost see the pain coming out” in a project a student completed in the Metamorphosis group.
Some groups also deal with problems unique to each gender. The Men’s Group deals with issues directly affecting men: sexuality, trust, strength and weaknesses, and relationships. Healing Journey and Love Your Selfie are both groups for women. Healing Journey is a group for women who were victims of sexual assault or abuse, while Love Your Selfie is a group focused on helping women with low self-esteem through positive self-talk and the encouragement of others in the group. According to Smith, there is also a discussion group open to transgender students, along with the BraveSpace, a discussion forum for LGBTQ+ students.
Smith said that groups change each semester based on what the counseling team sees a need for, and that students may sit in on one group meeting but must commit to coming to group every meeting if they wish to participate more than a few times.
The counseling center webpage is also packed with information for students to access as well. Smith said that the center will be putting up new web resources this summer for those dealing with grief.
If you’re interested in joining group therapy next semester you can contact the counseling center directly or pick up information at the counseling center tent during The Happening at the beginning of the fall semester. Students who wish to join a therapy group must first meet with a counselor. Group times are determined based on the times that will best fit the schedules of the group members.