Group Counseling

Group counseling is a popular and beneficial CAPS service. Individuals meet weekly with other group members and one or two clinicians to explore new ways of coping, behaving, and interacting with others. Understanding Self and Others groups are our most utilized groups and are interpersonal process groups that focus on a variety of common concerns. CAPS also offers different Psycho-Educational Groups (e.g. Living Well, Living Mindfully, Emotional Skills Building) and Theme Groups (e.g.  Rainbow Coogs, First in the Family) each semester. There are no fees for students to participate in group if they are currently enrolled in classes at University of Houston.

One significant change in the CAPS group program this year is the opportunity for students to participate in ongoing groups during the academic year. The majority of our groups (with the exception of the psychoeducational groups) will stay at the same day, same time, and have at least one of the same co-leaders from fall to spring semesters. This enables a student to participate in the same group for a longer period of time, if desired, in order to continue to work on their goals. This consistency regarding the group offerings will also allow students to prioritize the day and time of their desired group when scheduling classes for the following semester.

Below are descriptions of our currently offered (Spring 2015) groups

General Process Group Descriptions

Understanding Self and Others
This group is a good fit  for those who may feel socially isolated, have difficulties connecting with others, suffer from excessive self-criticism, or have problems asserting themselves in relationships. In this group, members give feedback to each other by expressing their thoughts and feelings about what others say or do in group. Members also share about themselves and relate to each other’s experiences, enabling members to provide much needed support to one another.  One unique feature of this experience is that facilitators try to make it safe for members to try out new behaviors such as increasing assertiveness or improving communication skills. Members are also encouraged to ask other members for feedback in order to learn more about themselves and how others might perceive them.   A main goal is for group members is to determine possible changes that might improve their connections and interactions with others and themselves and then begin making these changes. Understanding Self and Others groups are a good match for those wanting a mixture of support and feedback regarding their goals and how they relate to others.

Psychoeducational Group Descriptions

Cougar Coping
This group is for anyone who wants to improve their mood and self-confidence. It meets weekly for 1½ hours and will run for 10 weeks during the semester. Throughout the group, students learn skills that increase self-awareness, help them to identify personal strengths, and assist them in successfully navigating life’s difficulties. This group uses educational materials, homework exercises, and interpersonal process between group members to help students meet their therapy goals. Exercises and educational materials are based on Cognitive-Behavioral therapy.

C.O.R.E. (Changing Ourselves, our Relationships, and our Emotions) Group
This group focuses on helping students increase their awareness and understanding of their emotional reactions, particularly feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger. This includes learning new ways to think about those emotions, as well as strategies to more effectively express and manage them. As the group progresses, students will also explore how their emotions are connected to patterns in relationships and to aspects of their identity. This portion of the group involves more open-ended discussion and provides opportunities to both give and receive feedback from peers. Ultimately, the goal of this group is to allow students to feel more “in control” of their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and to develop a healthier way of experiencing themselves and others.

Living Well, Living Mindfully Group
The Mindfulness and Meditation group is for those interested in learning to manage difficulties such as anxiety, negative thought patterns, worry, or depression. The group meets weekly for 1½ hours and runs for 5 weeks at a time. The group teaches different ways of practicing mindfulness, such as breathing skills, becoming aware of feelings and thoughts, understanding physical sensations, and how to effectively manage interpersonal relationships. Each group includes learning a new skill, time to talk about how your practice is going, feedback from group members and weekly homework assignments.

Themed Group Descriptions

Navigating Social Waters
This group is for students who feel anxious about interacting with others or being the center of attention (e.g., giving a presentation). These students will most likely benefit from learning about their anxiety and learning tools to combat it, which is the focus of this group. This group will provide coping skills and techniques, as well as discussion of thoughts and feelings that occur in the group sessions. The small group format provides an unbeatable opportunity for members to practice engaging in interpersonal situations in new ways.

Rainbow Coogs / LGBTQIA Support and Process Group
The LGBTQIA Group provides a supportive, safe, affirming, and confidential place to discuss sexual orientation, coming out, family concerns, community resources and support, and religion and spirituality among other various topics. This group also provides an opportunity to learn more about how to relate to others and explore new options for relating while in an encouraging environment with other students within the LGBTQIA community.

First in the Family Group
This is a group for undergraduate students and provides a space to discuss the challenges and strengths of being the first person in your family to seek a college degree in the United States. Topics discussed include: resources at UH, managing stress, academic and family expectations, doubts about graduation, graduate school, family and university culture, talking to family about college, and other related themes.

Spring 2015 Group Offerings

Monday 10:30am - 12:00pm Understanding Self and Others
Monday 1:00pm - 2:30pm C.O.R.E. (Changing Ourselves, our Relationships, and our Emotions)
Monday 3:00pm - 4:30pm First in the Family
Tuesday 10:30am - 12:00pm Living Well, Living Mindfully
Tuesday 1:00pm - 2:30pm Understanding Self and Others
Wednesday 10:30am - 12:00pm Navigating Social Waters
Wednesday 1:00pm - 2:30pm Understanding Self and Others
Wednesday 2:30pm - 4:30pm Understanding Self and Others (2 hr group)
Thursday 10:30am - 12:00pm Understanding Self and Others
Thursday 1:00pm - 2:30pm Cougar Coping
Thursday 3:00pm - 4:30pm Understanding Self and Others
Friday 10:30am - 12:00pm Understanding Self and Others
Friday 1:00pm - 2:30pm Rainbow Coogs

Introduction to Group Therapy Video

Below are descriptions of group offered at CAPS in past semesters. If these particular groups interest you, please contact the CAPS Group Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Smith. CAPS is always assessing the needs of UH students in order to offer groups that will benefit the UH community, so indicating your interest may help us to develop our group offerings in future semesters.

Women of Worth (W.O.W.) Group
The Women's group will be a safe place for females to process women’s issues such as interpersonal relationship difficulties, trauma, and struggles to gain a balance in life. Group will be process oriented and will allow women a safe place to express their feelings and receive support from individuals struggling with similar issues.

Cultural Connections Group
This is a group for people of color who want to explore connecting to who they are as individuals and as members of an ethnic community. The group will explore diverse relationships among ethnic group traditions and values, social standards, and personal wishes. Topics may include: cultural beliefs/myths, personal meaning, cultural connections, and other conversations chosen by group members.

International Processes Group
This is a group for students integrating into the US society who wish to explore their identities as individuals and as members of the international community. Further, the group will provide students with a safe and supportive space to explore struggles they may be encountering as a result of adjustment to transitions between cultures. The group will examine the intersection between societal standards, communal membership and personal values and allow students to process their feelings regarding these and other related topics.

Men's Group
This group is for men who may benefit from interpersonal feedback and/or could use assistance in reaching out to others for support. This group will be process-oriented to allow members to openly discuss a wide-array of concerns though certain topics will likely be discussed, including: definitions of masculinity, men’s health and mental health concerns, gender roles, relationship stressors, as well as appropriate expressions of anger.