Students Find Solace in Groups

By Claire Edwards

Cal Poly’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center has
provided emotional support to students for years. The center has
decided to mix things up a bit this quarter by trying some new
strategies. The alternative counseling style CAPS is offering this
quarter is group counseling.

CAPS’s counselors compiled a list of the top group-oriented
services students would like to see offered and did their best to
implement new group sessions for Spring 2007.

There are a total of seven new groups, ranging in focus from
stress management to social anxiety.

CAPS’s Interim Director Dr. Michele Willingham said she hopes
the groups will “provide new avenues for students to find support
without fear.”

The first of these groups, the Women’s Process Group, met
Friday. This particular group is described as an ongoing process
group designed specifically for women and focusing on the topics of
body image, self-esteem, relationships, sexuality and gender role

All of the groups, with the exception of Stress Management, have
a limit on the number of members who may participate, typically
between eight and 12 members per group.

This is not the first time CAPS has offered group-counseling
sessions. In the past, when resources allowed, other counseling and
support groups were offered, such as a Grief and Loss support
group, a Men’s Issues group, an Exploring Identity and Coming Out
group, a Latina Growth group, and a Self-Confidence Skills group.
It sounds as if a major impetus for these groups is cost, but this
cutback brings students the group workshop option that may they may
benefit from nonetheless.

These meetings are serious business to the CAPS center and there
is a requirement that all students interested in attending speak
first with a counselor to determine if group counseling is the best
route for the individual.

The Stress Management group is the only one that does not have
this requirement and can be attended by any Cal Poly student.

“Individual therapy has long been the traditional and most-used
approach at university counseling centers, but increasing demands
for psychological support and limited resources require that we be
creative in meeting student needs,” said Willingham.

For information about the groups contact the CAPS center at
(909) 869-3220 or stop by room 116 in building 66.

Claire Edwards can be reached by e-mail at
or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

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