Group Therapy Rocks

Aug 262004
Authors: Sara Bahnson

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

Counseling Center.

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,”

she said.

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,”

Matschke said.

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

Office Hours:

Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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