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We know what you’re thinking. Groups? Seriously?

Before you condemn the idea of joining a group at CPG, consider some things. We live in a technological age that is doing its best to disconnect us from one another, and many students talk about feeling alone. Others talk about their worries that everyone else seems happy and put-together but they feel like something isn’t right when it comes to themselves. Groups are the perfect way for all of us to learn how to authentically connect with one another, and to experience what it is like to show your real self and see that others will accept and care for you anyway. That connection — showing your real self — is the key factor of groups.

Many students question, “If I say something in a group, will my stuff get blabbed out to the rest of campus?” In our years at CPG doing groups, this has never been an issue — not once. Confidentiality is a rule for all groups, and group members respect one another and hold to that promise. So, seriously, take a chance. We are offering a large number of groups this year because we feel so strongly about them. Check them out.

Spring 2022

Groups are available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Because we want to fully encourage students to connect with one another, all of our groups are being held in person (masked) for the spring 2022 semester. In addition, some groups may be held in campus spaces outside of the counseling center.  We anticipate that groups will start in early to mid-February 2022.  If you are interested in attending a group, please email the group leader who is leading the group.

You may notice that we did not advertise a day or time for each group.  When we advertise our groups to the student community in late January, group leaders will contact students who have indicated an interest in joining a particular groups and gather all available times.  Once each group leader has collected students’ availability information, they will decide on the best time that can accommodate the most students.  Once that is determined, group leaders will contact all interested students about the day and time of the group.

Groups at CPG for Spring 2022

Do you identify as BIPOC? Are you looking to connect with other BIPOC students to discuss topics related to BIPOC mental health? This group is designed to be a healing and affinity space for BIPOC students to gather and form a community. By building community with one another, we can access a unique resilience including pride, excellence, and resistance to oppression. Participants will have the opportunity to increase mental health awareness and personal responsibility within a supportive and brave social context of respect and empowerment. Topics related to BIPOC mental health include, but are not limited to, microaggressions, imposter syndrome, racial trauma, family pressures and dynamics, and codeswitching. Group members will discuss current issues, address old wounds, and support one another as community members.

  • Leaders:  Mikayla Wynter, Mary Xatse, Yauris Romero
  • If you are interested in attending this group, please email Mikayla Wynter

Twenty-five years ago, society was only just becoming aware of the devastating impact of “diet culture” on individuals. Back then, researchers started to acknowledge the long-term effect of altering images in advertisements (billboards, magazines, television ads, etc.). Then science confirmed what researchers suspected about the negative repercussions of the message that our self-worth is enmeshed with what we look like, with nearly impossible standards as the threshold. At the start of a movement to unlearn shameful messages about our bodies and self-worth, the birth of social media 15 years ago served as a gush of gasoline on the fire of toxic diet culture. The ability to compare oneself to unrealistic standards of beauty was now available with a quick tap and scroll.

Based on this timeline, today’s college students have spent their lives exposed to the hottest flames of diet culture. This generation grew up in a time when expensive Photoshop editing, usually reserved for top fashion magazines, was suddenly available through Instagram filters. While we cannot control the speed of the relationship between social connection and technology, we can control shifting our attention toward relearning how to love and accept our bodies, with a focus on living a life that is consistent with our values.

  • Leader:  Jenni Waldron
  • If you are interested in attending this group, please email Jenni Waldron

Does this sound familiar?

I’ve tried meditation. I can’t do it.
I can’t stop my mind from thinking about everything.
It’s just too hard.

So, what exactly is “mindfulness”? Maybe it’s easier to think about what it is not.  It is NOT clearing your mind so that you aren’t thinking about anything at all (that’s impossible, by the way).  It is NOT a matter of doing it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (in mindfulness, there is no such thing).  It is NOT something that you have to practice for hours every day.
Mindfulness, simply stated, is being aware of what is going on inside of you, and outside of you, at any given moment — without judgment. That’s it!  When we are being mindful, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel.  When we are mindful, we are trying to be in the present moment as often as we can, and when our mind wanders away from the moment (and it will, a lot), we gently bring it back to the moment.  The idea of mindfulness is simple, but the execution of it can be hard, usually because we have to train our mind to focus on the present moment (again, without judging ourselves — this is essential).

The good news is that during our sessions together we will identify and practice different ways we can be mindful, right here and right now, in this moment. We will practice sitting and walking meditation. We also will practice mindful eating, as well as complete other tasks, all in a safe space for mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “Wherever you go … there you are,” so let’s “go” together, in a space that is safe to practice and be present in each and every moment.   Namaste.

  • Leader:  Shawn McGuirk
  • If you are interested in attending this group, email Shawn McGuirk

Loss has become a salient occurrence for many.  Loss can cause a complex array of emotions including grief, anger, guilt, sadness, and anxiety. If you are struggling to process and manage feelings related to loss, come join this support group. This group will focus on strategies to manage and process these difficult emotions, how to set limits with others and identify the many different feelings you may be experiencing.

  • Leaders:  Leah Manzella and Alexis Childs
  • If you are interested in attending this group, email Leah Manzella

We invite people who identify as being on the Autism spectrum to participate in this group. No formal diagnosis is required; this group offers a safe space for students who identify with having ASD. The group will discuss experiences related to neurodiverse thinking and social/relationship skills; this is a time to share your experiences, difficulties, and questions related to social situations, executive functioning struggles (organizing, studying, initiating work, maintaining calendars, etc.), strategies for positive social interactions, sensory integration, and other topics of interest. Psychoeducation and skills will be interwoven as needs present themselves.

We encourage students to come with questions, difficulties, concerns, and an attitude of openness, nonjudgment, and engagement. We want to create a safe space while having fun — come invest in trying something new for yourself!

  • Leaders:  Leah Manzella
  • If you are interested in this group, email Leah Manzella

Join Angelica from CPG for mindful movement utilizing TCTSY* (Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga) methodology. TCTSY is based on the hatha style of yoga, so you will have the time and space to engage in a series of physical forms and movements.  This style of yoga focuses on choice making and moving in a way that makes sense for you in the present moment. This space is suitable for all bodies and abilities, with no previous yoga experience being necessary to join. Anyone who feels this approach and practice might be supportive to them is welcome. The practice will be offered as a mat practice where you can engage in seated, standing and/or floor based forms. If it is preferable for any reason, the use of a chair rather than a mat is welcome. The space is open to all expressions of gender.

TCTSY is an empirically validated, clinical intervention for complex trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More info on this approach can be found here: About — TCTSY – Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (traumasensitiveyoga.com)

This group offers a safe and supportive environment in which members can gain powerful experiences through giving and receiving support and encouragement from others facing similar challenges. Members will be able to practice new, more engaged, and effective ways of relating to one another. Common concerns discussed include identity development, relationships (family, peers, partners), mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety (including social anxiety), identifying and asserting boundaries appropriately, loneliness/isolation, and other relevant concerns. Participants have the opportunity to give and receive interpersonal feedback and share their vulnerabilities in this safe and supportive setting.

  • Leaders:  Shawn McGuirk
  • If you are interested in attending this group, email Shawn McGuirk

Are you coping with any form of anxiety including chronic worry, social anxiety, obsessive thoughts, health-related concerns, and panic attacks?  Ever wonder why your anxiety doesn’t seem to go away, and why those stress management strategies you read about don’t seem to work?  Come get a better understanding of what anxiety is and how you can begin the path to becoming a calmer, worry-free person.

This structured group uses strategies from mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies to better manage and relate to anxiety. The ultimate goal is to assist members in freeing themselves from the pull of their constant struggle with anxiety so they can focus on living a more rich and meaningful life.

  • Leaders:  Ruby Yarmush and Bridget Gerstel
  • If you are interested in the group, please email Ruby Yarmush

Are you an international student? Are you struggling with adjustment and all the challenges that come with being away from home and struggling to navigate out of your comfort zone? Come join CPG’s Khalaf and Emma on Wednesdays from 3-4pm at the international student lounge for a social support group dedicated to providing the space for international students to discuss their struggles as they navigate through life here at Clark.

Just show up – no need to sign up!

  • Leaders:  Khalaf Alanzi and Emma Tem
  • When:  Wednesdays, 3-4pm at the International Center student lounge

 

Are you struggling with navigating your identity and all that come with it? Are you struggling with coping due to the intersection of your identity and sometimes feel alone or unheard/unseen? Lavender Alliance is a support group for LGBTQIA+ students and here, we understand that identity is more than who you are on the outside and what you present to others, but also who you are on the inside as your authentic self.  We are an all-inclusive group that will provide students a safe and respectable environment to learn and discuss several aspects that impact their lives as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In this therapeutic space, we want to help build a support network to lean on each other during difficult times. Throughout the weeks of the group we will be talking about how to manage stress effectively, dealing with family members that aren’t as supportive, imposter syndrome, and much more. At Lavender Alliance, we respect everyone for who they are, while providing support for the celebration of diversity and pride.

  • Leaders: Matt Eisner and Emmanuella Tem
  • If you are interested in attending this group, please email Matt Eisner
Contact Information

Center for Counseling & Personal Growth

Office Information
  • 114 Woodland Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed from 12 – 1 p.m.)

  • 1-508-793-7678
  • counseling[at]clarku[dot]edu