Group therapy can help people from all walks of life.
“If group therapy can help hard-core rockers have better
relationships, it can help you,” said Danielle Oakley, a
psychologist and the group therapy coordinator at the University
The heavy-metal band Metallica recently released a film,
“Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” which documents the group
therapy sessions that kept the band together by preserving
relationships between group members.
The University Counseling Center, room C-36 in the Clark
Building, offers a variety of group therapy sessions that are free
to all CSU students.
“Unfortunately there is a stigma with therapy in general and we
are trying hard to overcome it,” Oakley said, citing the group
therapy offered at the counseling center that attempts to provide a
less intimidating approach to self-improvement.
“People will come to group (therapy) and they’ll hear that other
people have the same kinds of problems that they’re dealing with,”
There are three kinds of therapy groups available to
Interpersonal process groups are the most common at the
counseling center and provide the best practice for being in the
real world, Oakley said. Participants can share their experiences
about everything from depression and homesickness to test anxiety
and struggles with grades.
Theme groups delve into specific issues such as substance abuse
and eating disorders.
After experiencing the demands of moving into a new environment
and beginning a life away from home, Anna Matschke, a sophomore
political science major, can see the positive aspects of group
“The pressures that come with being a new student would have
been a lot more bearable with the option of group therapy,”
Psychoeducational groups are offered for students looking for
education, knowledge and coping skills in certain areas. The
Women’s Relationship Practice Group is the psychoeducational group
offered this semester. This group will discuss how women can
develop relational empowerment, awareness and intelligence.
Each group includes six to eight people and two therapists. In
general, each group “offers a chance for people to get feedback and
support from their peers,” Oakley said.
Group therapy can be more beneficial than individual because it
mimics the real world.
“We live in groups: family, classmates, friends, and group
therapy is a practice ground to be more comfortable with people and
have better relationships,” said Patricia Vigil, a psychologist at
the counseling center.
The sessions are also an opportunity to actually practice the
learned therapy skills in a safe environment, as confidentiality is
essential to the group therapy sessions.
“In the state of Colorado, revealing any identifying information
about another group member is against the law,” Oakley said.
Student interested in participating in group therapy must fill
out a free assessment, which will allow the counseling center to
make a referral to an appropriate group. Students will have access
to a 24-hour pager system, five free individual, couple or family
counseling sessions, and unlimited group therapy.
“If you went out in the community to get therapy, it’s about
$100 an hour,” Oakley said.
Group therapy sessions meet at specific times each week and
schedules are available at the counseling center.
“You don’t have to come (to group therapy) in crisis,” Vigil
said. “You can use it to enhance your life.”
While other types of therapy are available at the counseling
center, Oakley said group therapy is universal.
“There are very few cases where people wouldn’t benefit from
group therapy,” Oakley said.
If you are interested in the group therapy offered at the
University Counseling Center, contact for more information:
Main Office: 491-6053
Group Therapy Coordinator, Danielle Oakley: 491-7850
Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.