Group Counseling Sessions Provide Comfort During Uncertain Times

    September 9, 2020
    "People in groups tend to boost each other up when they feel down. It’s a ‘We’re in your corner, you can do this,’ kind of thing.”- Bob Liskowicz, Psy.D., Clinical Manager, University Counseling Center

    What is it like to begin your college career during a pandemic? A quarter of The University of Scranton undergraduate population is currently figuring it out. They aren’t alone and they don’t have to feel alone, said Bob Liskowicz, Psy.D., clinical manager at the University Counseling Center. He said group therapy can help.

    “Groups provide support in a sense that you do get to talk to people who have similar challenges, you’re not alone and you’re not as different as you might think,” he said.

    The University Counseling Center has formed three specific groups around the uncertainties and adjustments as they relate to COVID-19: “Who Thought My First Semester Would Look Like This?”, “Coping with Uncertainty During COVID” and “Self-Care During a Socially Distanced Semester.” The group sessions began last week via Zoom, but students can join at any time.

    The Counseling Center created “Who Thought My First Semester Would Look Like This?” for first-year students arriving to campus for the first time or studying virtually. For students who have to meet new people with masks on and have more limited on campus activities, it can be harder to adjust. In this group, led by a counselor as all group therapy sessions are at Scranton, students discuss the various adjustments they’ve had to make during this time, plus mitigation and protective concerns, among other concerns, and what it’s been like to make friends. The counselor and their fellow students can also identify other campus resources.

    Why group therapy?

    “Group therapy is known to be one of the most effective modes of counseling that we have, and that’s widespread both within and outside college campuses,” said Liskowicz. “When you’re searching for a mode of assistance or avenues for connection sometimes it’s better to be supported by someone who knows what you’re going through.”

    Some students are hesitant to join groups for fear they’ll be labeled, but this isn’t a place you must reveal your deepest secrets, said Liskowicz.

    “It’s about learning about yourself and others through sharing and feedback,” he said. “People in groups tend to boost each other up when they feel down. It’s a ‘We’re in your corner, you can do this,’ kind of thing.”

    The group titled “Coping with Uncertainty During COVID” offers a safe space to talk about anxieties, fears and the difficulty students may have expressing the uncertainty they’re experiencing. “Self-Care During a Socially Distanced Semester” addresses the fact that “we can’t just simply do the things we use to do,” said Liskowicz. 

    “Before, we had the gym, exploring campus, clubs, organizations, getting involved,” he said. “That stuff is not there for us in the same way. This group is a way to have students come together and share the challenges they’re having in a restrictive environment and how can we do self-care within that restrictive environment, both in college and out.” 

    Groups at Scranton are not a new thing, but the Counseling Center rolled these groups out specifically for students during this unprecedented semester. However, the center will begin adding other groups in later in the semester on their usual topics as they see the need.

    The times of the groups are as follows: 

    Coping with Uncertainty During COVID; Thursdays at 3 p.m.

    Who Thought My First Semester Would Look Like This? Tuesdays at 4 p.m.

    Self-Care During a Socially Distanced Semester Wednesdays at 3 p.m. 

    Call 570.941.7620 for Meeting ID.

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