Group Therapy Services

Here at Mental Health Services (MHS), we offer process groups, support groups, and skills and educational groups to meet to meet the diverse needs of Wash U students. Please read on for helpful information about group therapy and our semester offerings.

Our MHS Groups Coordinator, Dr. Kristin Miserocchi, is happy to answer any additional questions you may have about our group services.

What is Group Therapy and How Does it Work?
Group therapy is a form of treatment in which a small group of people (6-12) come together, under the guidance of a trained mental health professional, to help themselves and others with current issues in their life. It is a very effective and well-researched form of treatment for a wide variety of relationship, emotional, and psychological issues.

Group therapy is often more powerful or just as powerful as individual therapy, especially for many of the problems that college and graduate students face. Group therapy is a supportive place to experiment with new ideas and ways of being. The power of group therapy lies in the opportunity to connect and grow by: developing trust, building intimacy, communicating empathy, working through conflicts, practicing new ways of relating to others, and opening up about your struggles.

Common Misconceptions

“I have so much trouble talking to people. I’ll never be able to share in group.”

Most people are initially anxious about talking in group. Almost without exception, however, new members find that the group process draws them in within a few sessions, and they begin to share with the group in ways they never anticipated. New members also begin to feel validated in their struggles, knowing that others are supporting them. This experience helps significantly reduce anxiety around sharing in group.

“I will be pressured to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with the group.”

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 share what they are most apprehensive about, the group can be very helpful and affirming. At the same time, you also benefit by listening to others and thinking about how their thoughts might apply to you.

“Group therapy is second-best to individual therapy.”

Group therapy has been recommended to you because your counselor believes that it is the best way to address your concerns. Group therapy is not used at MHS as a means of dealing with individual therapy overflow. Rather, we recommend group therapy when we believe it is the most effective treatment method to help you. In fact, group is frequently the treatment of choice, and, is in many ways, the very best of what we have to offer.

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

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 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.

“I will be judged, criticized, or verbally attacked by the leaders and by other group members.”

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.

*Thanks to the IL State University Counseling Services for permission to use this content.*

How to Participate
If you are new to MHS, the first step is to schedule a 30-minute initial consultation. The purpose of the conversation is to clarify and assess your needs, and explore options for next steps, which may include a recommendation to participle in our groups program as a first step of service. You can web-book this appointment via the Student Portal.

If you have been seen previously at MHS, you can do any of the following: 1) reach out to your current/former mental health provider for more information via Student Portal, 2) contact the Mental Health Coordinator (mhscoordinator@wustl.edu or 314-935-6695), or 3) reach out directly to the leader of the group in which you are interested.

Fall 2022 Group Offerings

Interpersonal Process Groups
In IP groups, you learn more about yourself in relation to others through here-and-now interactions with other group members. Group gives us the chance to pause and analyze these interactions, resulting in increased insight. With greater insight comes opportunity to change. In these groups, you will have opportunities to: 1) Experiment with different ways of interacting with others; 2) Receive IP feedback, so you can know how you impact others; 3) Give IP feedback, so you can learn how to better communicate your reactions, feelings, and thoughts.

Lavender Circle (for LGBTQIA+ identified and questioning students)
Laura Holt, Ph.D. & Kristin Miserocchi, Ph.D.
Mondays 3-4 p.m., in-person

Lavender Circle Flyer (PDF)

Understanding Self and Others – For Graduate/Professional Students
Yujia Lei, Ph.D. & Kristin Miserocchi, Ph.D.
Zoom Session: Tuesday 10-11:30 a.m. OR
In-Person Session: Wednesdays 1-2:30 p.m. (CURRENTLY FULL)

USO Grad Student Flyer (PDF)

Understanding Self and Others – For Mandarin Speakers
Yujia Lei, Ph.D. & Zhenni Wang, Ph.D.
Thursdays 1-2:30 p.m., in-person

USO – For Mandarin Speakers Flyer (PDF)

Understanding Self and Others with Expressive Arts
Melissa McKenna, MA, LPC & Zhenni Wang, Ph.D.
Meeting Time: To be determined, in-person

USO Expressive Arts Flyer (PDF)

Skills Groups and Workshops

These structured groups are educational in nature, focused on teaching members skills to help them overcome their problems. In some cases, you will be assigned homework between group sessions, to give you an opportunity to practice what you are learning in these groups.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workshop Series
Susan Rosse, Psy.D.

ACT can help you create a meaningful life and learn how to more effectively deal with life’s challenges.

Series 1: Fridays 10-11:30 a.m., September 30 through October 21
Series 2: Tuesdays 3-4:30 p.m., October 25 through November 15

ACT Workshop Flyer (PDF)

DBT + Relationship Skills Group
Nina Chastain, MSW, LCSW & Susan Rosse, Psy.D.
Thursdays 1-2:30 p.m., in-person.

DBT Group Flyer (PDF)

Overcoming Social Anxiety
Ta’janette Sconyers, Ph.D.
Meeting Time: Fridays 9-10:30 a.m.

Overcoming Social Anxiety Flyer (PDF)

Support and Specific Themed Groups
These unstructured groups are comprised of people facing common issues. Through vulnerability and the sharing of struggles, members have the opportunity to give and receive support and validation.

Dissertation Support Group
Karolyn Senter, Ph.D., LPC
Meeting Time: Fridays 3-4:30 p.m., over Zoom

Dissertation Support Group Flyer (PDF)

International C.H.A.T.
Karolyn Senter, Ph.D., LPC
Meeting Time: Tuesdays 3:30-4:50 p.m.

Living with Loss
Holly Weber, Ph.D. & Reverend Callista Isabelle
Meeting Time: Fridays 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m., in-person

Living with Loss Flyer (PDF)

My Not-So-Perfect Family
Yujia Lei, Ph.D. & Kristin Miserocchi, Ph.D.
Meeting Time: Fridays 10-11:30 a.m., in-person
Currently Full

My Not-So-Perfect Family Flyer (PDF)