For many issues faced by York students, group counselling can be the optimal counselling choice. Talking in a group about one’s emotional, physical, academic, interpersonal, social, and family problems can help reduce distress and bring insight and change. Group counselling provides a safe and supportive environment in which personal change can be made. The benefit to participants is that they receive professional assistance as well as the opportunity to interact with other participants who may be in a similar situation, or who may be able to provide different perspectives. Thus, group participants have the opportunity to see themselves in a different light and explore possibilities for themselves. Although many York students are initially hesitant to join group counselling, participants consistently find group counselling to be a very beneficial and positive experience.
In a group counselling, a small number of people, (usually between six and 15 students), meet weekly with one or two counsellors to discuss their concerns. Counsellors act as facilitators to assist group members in articulating their thoughts and feelings in a way that promotes growth for themselves and for other members of the group.
At PCS, we offer various groups to address the needs of our students. Themed counselling groups may focus on a specific topic, e.g. body image. In counselling process groups the issues discussed each week arise from the members rather than predetermined by the group facilitator. Personal concerns or problems from everyday life e.g. relationships with friends, family members or significant others may be discussed. Participants may discuss their reactions (thoughts and feelings) to events or situations in their lives – e.g., the stress or anxiety associated with school or with relationships; the feelings of sadness or depression that they are experiencing, etc. Interactions within the group enable the members to work through problems and to learn from the facilitator and from group members who have similar concerns, to try new ways of relating, and to learn new ways to respond and deal with situations. Members can explore and better understand themselves and learn how to cope with their difficulties.