Group Counseling

View the flyer (pdf)

Group counseling is one of the most effective tools for addressing issues common among college students. For many students, it can be more effective than individual counseling.

Our support groups and group therapy offer a safe environment to discuss problems with others who are dealing with similar concerns. Most students – although somewhat apprehensive at first – report that they find the group experience to be helpful far beyond their expectations.

  • Each group is led by one or more professional counselors
  • Groups usually meet weekly for a 90-minute session
  • Participation is FREE for registered Cornell students
  • Groups are private and confidential; all members must agree that what is disclosed in sessions cannot be shared outside of the group

View our current list of groups below.

How to join (or learn more about) a group 

Step one: If you’re already seeing a counselor at Cornell Health, ask about joining a group. Otherwise, you can schedule a 10-minute “brief phone assessment” to speak with a counselor about your interest. To schedule a phone appointment, log in to myCornellHealth and select “Appointments,” or call 607-255-5155 during business hours (press 3 for appointments).

Step two: Most groups require potential members to have a pre-group conversation with the group leader(s) to see if the group is the right one for you. The counselor who you speak with in step 1 can connect you with the right person.

Note: Some groups may be drop-in, with no registration necessary. These are indicated below. 

Spring 2019 groups:

ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) for Anxiety & Depression

Group 1 Meeting Time:  Tuesdays, 3:00–4:30 pm
Group 2 Meeting Time:  Thursdays, 3:00–4:30 pm (beginning March 22)

This group will focus on "getting better at feeling" rather than "feeling better," how to best have pain rather than get rid of pain, and how to accept internal experiences (e.g., thoughts and emotions) rather than control them. We will work on the identification of personal values and how to engage in action/behavior that is congruent with those values, even while uncomfortable internal experiences persist.

The format of the group is a mixture of "didactic" and "process"; the group will start out very class-like, with facilitators using slides and a book, "The Happiness Trap", to explain concepts and principles. As the group progresses, it will become more like a traditional therapy group, with more opportunity for interaction between group members and sharing personal experiences.

“Adulting” at Cornell 

Meeting Time: Thursdays, 3:00–4:30 pm (beginning Feb. 14)

Do you ever feel uncertain in the process of leaving the nest and becoming a fully formed human? Do you wonder if you’re the only one who stresses over time management, where to find your next meal, and how to get your laundry done? Feeling insecure about interacting with peers, bosses and professors? If so, you are not alone! We often think about “becoming an adult” as a sudden arrival at a new identity, even though it is really a process that happens over time. This group will provide a safe space to explore the emotional experiences and skill acquisition associated with “adulting” through college. Topics likely to be explored include: managing a college courseload, forming social groups, basic self-care, identity formation and staying true to ourselves while launching new independent lives. Some process, some support, this group will have no set agenda. Instead, it will develop from the interests and concerns that group members bring to it, utilizing prompts and current issues to frame discussion.

This group will be open to additional group members after the first 5 sessions

Anxiety/Depression Management Through Body Mindfulness

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 5:00–6:30 pm

This group will offer education and support regarding mind-body patterns which may arise from chronic and acute depression and anxiety. Focus will be on "listening" to body sensations (e.g., tension, hunger, sensation, discomfort and breathing) and exploring possible connections with anxiety and depression. Traditional methods like breath-work, yoga, tai chi, qigong will be explored as possible techniques for assisting in treatment oriented at gaining relief from physical and mental symptoms of anxiety and depression. Pleasant sensations associated with tension release, along with breathing, will be explored and utilized as a focus points for mindfulness practices and meditation.

Anxiety & You 

Meeting Time: Four-session group; Mondays, 5:00–6:30 pm

This group will be an educational and hands-on 4 session series designed to help students understand, manage, and treat anxiety.  Each session will have a theme:  understanding anxiety, cognitive strategies to combat anxiety, overcoming fears, and mindfulness/anxiety management strategies.  Sessions will be a mix of information and building skills, with the goal of helping each student develop an individualized treatment plan for themselves.  Students are encouraged to practice skills outside of sessions and report back so successes can be celebrated, plans can be adjusted as needed, and obstacles can be problem-solved..

Bereavement Group

Group 1 Meeting Time:  Mondays, 5:00–6:30 pm (beginning March 4)
Group 2 Meeting Time:  Thursdays, 5:00–6:30 pm

This is a weekly, confidential support group for enrolled Cornell undergraduate and graduate students who have suffered the death of a family member or other significant person. The group is open to those whose loss occurred some time ago as well as those for whom the loss is more recent. The focus of group will vary depending on members' needs and preferences.

Beyond Trauma 101

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 1:00–3:00 pm

Past experiences often lay the groundwork for our current psychological struggles. This group provides students with an opportunity to make sense of their history and develop resources to move on from the past. It addresses the long-term emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, and somatic effects of childhood trauma in the context of a safe and growth-fostering atmosphere. Each session offers: 1. psychoeducation regarding the aftereffects of trauma; 2. discussion and an opportunity for students to share personal experiences; 3. strategies to cope with the impact of trauma on day-to-day life. The group extends over three months with participants meeting weekly for 90 minutes.

"Coming to Your Senses" Mindfulness Series

*DROP-IN*  (no registration necessary)
Meeting Time: Tuesdays, 2:00–3:30 pm
Location: Cornell Health, Level 1 Tang Conference Center (look for sign on the door)

This mindfulness strategies group is a four-session educational and practice group designed to help students learn mindfulness strategies to better manage stress, anxiety, and depression in order to lead healthier, happier lives. The sessions will be a fun mix of psycho-education and practice provided in a safe and supportive environment where you can try new things. Each participant will be encouraged to try all the activities to find what works best for them. In this way participants will leave with a set of individualized mindfulness skills which they can apply to their daily lives. A large body of scientific research supports the belief that a daily practice of mindfulness can: increase attention, reduce rumination, reduce stress, boost working memory, enhance creativity, improve focus, reduce test anxiety, create less emotional reactivity, enhance cognitive flexibility, and improve relationship satisfaction. Mindfulness can help you feel less stressed, more in control and move toward the life you want to have.

Cornell Healthy Eating Program (CHEP) Education Group

Meeting Time: Mondays, 3:30–5:00 pm (Feb. 11–March 11)

The CHEP Education Group is a five session psychoeducational and support group designed to get students started on changing unhealthy cognitive patterns and behaviors related to food and body image. This group is for students who struggle with all aspects of disordered eating including chronic dieting, compulsive overeating, food restriction, purging by laxatives or vomiting, excessive exercise, binge eating, and obsessive thoughts related to body image. The group will place an emphasis on providing education about eating concerns; it will also create space, though, for group members to provide support and feedback to one another. The group will explore topics such as motivation to change, identifying ways the eating problems serve a function, self-soothing and self-care, family and other relationships, etc.

Cornell Healthy Eating Program (CHEP) Recovery Group

Meeting Time: Wednesdays or Thursdays (TBD), 3:00–4:30 pm (Feb. 13 or 14 – May 8 or 9)

This is a support group for individuals working on having a healthier relationship with food and body image. It is for students who either currently have or have had a diagnosis of an eating disorder, who have some insight about their challenges, and who are open and motivated to working towards recovery. Our goal is to create a safe environment in which students can identify barriers to recovery and gain more insight about how to manage these barriers with healthy coping skills. Other topics will include: self-care, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. 

Note: This group is NOT appropriate for students who are new to therapy or who have not addressed at least some aspects of their eating disorder with a therapist. Students who have or have had safety issues in the past three months may also not be appropriate for group.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Managing Emotions (NEW GROUP)!

Meeting Time: Thursdays, 10:00–11:30 am

Who has not experienced challenging emotions and emotional distress? Who has not been in a crisis? No one! This group lends itself to helping you develop skills to enhance awareness of your emotions, manage difficult emotions, cope with impulsivity /reactivity during times of distress, cultivate mindfulness, and build fulfilling relationships. Through both information and exercises in the group, members will learn to apply the learned material in and outside of the group!

Graduate Women's Process Group

Meeting time: Wednesdays, 5:15–6:30 pm

The Graduate Women's group is a weekly process oriented group that will provide a safe space for women pursuing graduate degrees to explore their relational concerns and personal difficulties. In process groups, the group serves as a safe & confidential space to receive multiple perspectives, feedback, and support from other graduate women. The group will work towards further developing clients' esteem, self-awareness, and relationship skills.

International Student Support Group

Meeting Time: Tuesday afternoons; 4:30-5:30 pm

Juggling two or more cultures is not easy! Calling international students who would like to have a safe, confidential space to discuss experiences related to living in the U.S. This group will provide information on cultural adjustment as it relates to your experiences, explore the nature of taking care of yourself with others, sharing resources, and forming your own community within this group. Part of the community is sharing desserts, which will be provided for this group!  [International Student Support Group flier (pdf)]

Life-Altering Illness Support Group

Meeting Time: Fridays, 2:00–3:30 pm

This group is for students who are dealing with medical illnesses that are ongoing/chronic and have a significant impact on their life. These illnesses do not have to be visible, and individuals can be in any stage of their illness (recently diagnosed, struggling with figuring out a diagnosis, in remission). This is an opportunity for group members to give and receive support, comfort and safety surrounding the struggles associated with living with a chronic illness, while being a student at Cornell, and share coping strategies in a friendly, welcoming environment.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Meeting Time: Mondays, 12:30–2:00 pm (beginning March 11, 8 week group)

This group is designed to help people who have suffered recurrent episodes/bouts of depression and/or chronic, persistent depressed mood. Over the course of 8 weeks, participants will learn how to engage in simple meditative practices, intended to increase awareness of their experience in the present moment, and be exposed to a number of relevant exercises/interventions derived from cognitive therapy. Through these strategies and more, participants will become familiar with the mental processes that often characterize depression while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them. The tone of the group is that of a class and will require that participants engage in homework outside of session, which will often include listening to recorded meditations on a daily basis.

Moving Forward: After Sexual Violence Support Group (for women)

Meeting Time: Monthly Meetings

Women who have experienced unwanted and/or non-consensual sexual contact and/or other forms of sexual trauma are encouraged to consider whether this private and confidential support group may be helpful to them. The group will be a space for women who have experienced sexual assault in recent months or years to gain support from one another and explore ways to heal in the aftermath of an assault. Discussion topics to include: Myth-busting, coping, managing triggers and flashbacks, trust and safety, fear, anger and sadness, grief and shame, body image, self-esteem, intimacy, sexuality and self-care, and identifying ongoing support.

This group is open to undergraduate, graduate and professional women students at Cornell. Once started, the group will be closed to new members. [Moving Forward After Sexual Violence: Supportive Gatherings poster (pdf)]

The Personal Exploration and Growth Undergraduate Process Group 

Meeting Time: Tuesdays, 3:00-4:30 pm

This weekly, process-oriented group provides a safe space for undergraduate students to explore their relational concerns and personal difficulties. In process groups, the group serves as a safe space to receive multiple perspectives, feedback, and support from students. Group generally includes about 8-12 students and is facilitated by two counselors. There is no set agenda each week, but commonly discussed topics include self-esteem, anxiety, stress, depression, family issues, dating, and interpersonal relationships. Students in process groups often express that they look forward to attending group each week and express appreciation for the depth of discussion and supportive environment fostered by the group. 

Positive Action through Interaction: A Co-ed Graduate Student Group

Meeting Time: Thursdays, 3:15–4:45 pm

This group is appropriate for any graduate students who have life dissatisfaction or distress that is primarily linked to how they experience their relationships with important people in their lives (e.g., friends, family, advisors, partners) AND who want to work on being more effective in those relationships. The group leaders do not teach strategies or skills, per se; instead, insight is gained through discussion with and feedback from the other group members. In addition, group will also provide a safer space to practice new, healthier ways of relating to others with the idea that you can 'try it on' in group and 'wear it' in your day-to-day life if you choose.

Relationships: An Undergraduate Therapy Group

Meeting Time: Tuesdays, 5:00–6:30 pm

For undergraduate students who are struggling with dissatisfaction in their social relationships, whether they are with peers, friends, family, or partners. For example, this group is appropriate for students who feel they have been unable to establish a healthy, intimate relationship; or who feel something is getting in the way of forming close friendships; or who would like to overcome anxiety related to social situations. The goal is that, through discussion and feedback from both peers and group facilitators, students will gain insights, knowledge, and skills that will help them form more fulfilling relationships in their lives. The group is primarily process-oriented, with aspects of peer support and psycho-education as well.

Senior Uncertainty

Meeting Time: FOUR Wednesdays (March 6, 13, 20, 27), 3:15 – 4:45 pm

Not feeling ready to graduate? Wondering how you'll make ends meet? Freaking out about not having a job when others do, or worried about not being satisfied with the job you landed? Having regrets about your college experience? Concerned about what will happen to the relationships you made here or rebuilding a life somewhere new? You are not alone. This is a FOUR week support group for graduating seniors concerned about transitioning to life after Cornell.

Understanding Self & Others: An Undergraduate Process Group

Meeting Time: Fridays, 3:00– 4:30 pm

This group is an opportunity to work through a broad range of issues facing students, including (but not limited to) academics, peer or romantic relationships, family issues, the challenges of communication (including online), personal growth, self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. The group will offer honest, gentle feedback from both therapists and participants about ways that you might be behaving and thinking that may seem unhelpful to yourself or others. These interactions give members an opportunity to gain insight, knowledge, and skills, and explore new ways of thinking and interacting in a safe, confidential environment

Women of Color Support Group

Meeting Day/Time: TBD

This is a weekly confidential support group for enrolled undergraduate students who identify as women of color. The focus of the group will vary depending on the needs of the members of the group but will include themes of identity formation, self care, and community.