Groups

2022–2023
Therapy Groups

Therapy Groups at WWU

Our quarterly therapy groups are designed to facilitate connection, promote personal growth and self-understanding, and build resilience.

If you're interested in joining a group, call 360-650-3164 to schedule a group screening phone appointment with a counselor. 

Not finding the group you are looking for?

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a list of community-based and virtual groups.

Closed vs. Open Groups

Most of our therapy groups are closed groups, in which each weekly session builds on the previous one. Closed groups require a commitment to attend every week of the quarter. Please consider if this is a reasonable commitment for you.

Questions?

If you need any more information, please email Gabrielle Hope-Foucault, LMHC, Coordinator of Groups Program. 

We also maintain a list of mental health links and downloads that may provide information and/or support to better understand and cope with a variety of mental health topics.

Family Ties

Puzzle pieces painted on a wall in yellow, pink, green, gray, light blue, and red
Mondays | 2 - 3:20 PM Support Group

For students of all identities impacted by challenging family dynamics who want support maintaining connection while doing what’s healthy for them. Examples of challenging dynamics include families impacted by addiction, abuse, neglect, mental illness, chronic physical illness, violence, chronic caregiver conflict, and separation from caregivers.

Facilitator: Gabrielle Hope-Foucalt, MA, LMHC

 

Divergent Minds

Perspective looking down on a spiral staircase
Day & Time TBD Online Skills & Support Group

Existing within systems that are catered to neurotypical ways of thinking can be exhausting and isolating for neurodivergent minds. This group aims to provide a ND positive space for students who have ADHD and/or exist on the Autism Spectrum to share common experiences, build connections with themselves and others, and learn helpful tools and coping skills. Each meeting will include facets of skill-building and peer support.

Facilitator: Angela Swan, PsyD 

Understanding Self and Others

A lone tree stands silhouetted in a misty morning sunrise
Tuesdays | 2 - 3:20 PM Process Group

Students of all identities can learn more about themselves, their relationships, and connecting with others in an experiential setting.

Facilitators: Gabrielle Hope-Foucault, LMHC 

Anxiety Group

Closeup on the surface of water reflecting sunset
Wednesdays | 10:30 - 11:50 AM Skills Group

A supportive space for students who exhibit symptoms of anxiety and who are interested in learning more about anxiety. Participants will learn new coping skills and other ways to manage anxious feelings through mindfulness and Acceptance Commitment Therapy techniques practiced in real time during the group as well as outside of the group.

Facilitator: Gwen Koenig, MA, LMHC 

Queer Connections

A heart shape composed of rainbow-colored chalk dust on a dark, grey background.
Wednesdays | 2 - 3:20 PM Support Group

A safe and confidential space for students to discuss issues related to LGBTQIA identities. All are welcome, including those questioning their identity.

Facilitators: Jennifer Gildner, PhD and Sanjana Satishkumar

Art-Based Support Group

A watercolor paint palette with a red-handled paint brush
Wednesdays | 4 - 5:30 PM Support Group

A support group for survivors of violence that is available to and affirming of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This group aims to foster connections among survivors of violence and focus on supporting one another in healing. Participants will engage in art-based activities and facilitated dialogue. 

All supplies will be provided and mailed to you ahead of group starting.

This group does not require a 30-minute phone screening appointment. To enroll in this group, please contact Deidre Evans by email or phone.

Facilitator: Deidre Evans, MSW

Staying Afloat

The bow of a wooden boat with line coiled on the decks is pictured here resting in still blue water.
Thursdays | 10:30 - 11:50 AM Skills Group

Develop and practice healthier and more effective coping skills for navigating difficult emotions and interpersonal relationships in a supportive space.

Facilitator: Ruby Casiano, PhD

Mindfulness

A stack of rounded stones sits in the forest.
Thursdays | 2:30 - 3:50 PM Skills Group

Through a variety of experiential activities, meditation, and thoughtful discussion, group participants will gain understanding of the fundamentals of mindfulness practice, receive support for establishing a daily mindfulness practice, and learn ways to improve self-awareness, self-compassion, and emotional well-being.

Facilitators: Tonya Pepper, MA, LMHC

Depression Group

Two hands together and extended palm up holding a yellow flower
Fridays | 2 - 3:20 PM Skills Group

Learn more about depression and nurture your self-compassion in this psychoeducational skills group. 

Facilitator: Nikki Cassidy, PsyD

Build Your Social Confidence

A group of five people sit around a table outside. They are smiling and laughing.
Recruiting for Winter + Spring Skills Group

This group is for students that experience fear, anxiety, and discomfort in social situations that contribute to isolation and feelings of loneliness and embarrassment. Learn and practice new skills to reduce social anxiety and strategies to increase social engagement.

Facilitator: CJ Swanlund, PsyD 

After Silence

A budding leaf glows in the misty wet morning light
Recruiting for Spring Support Group

A confidential space for students who identify on the feminine gender spectrum to learn resilience skills and connect with others after experiencing interpersonal violence.

Facilitators: Nikki Cassidy, PsyD & Deidre Evans, MSW

About Group Therapy

Group Support

Every quarter, the Counseling and Wellness Center offers a variety of different groups. In group therapy, you can count on the expertise of the counselors who facilitate the group, and you can also get to know other students who are experiencing similar issues as you. Our therapy groups are designed to facilitate connection, promote personal growth and self-understanding, and build resilience. A common theme for group participants is wanting to learn how to change thinking, feelings, and/or behavior to feel better about themselves and cope more effectively with life. Now more than ever, it’s so important that we find ways to connect with others and remind ourselves that we’re not alone. 

Interested in Joining?

If interested in joining a group, call 360-650-3164 to schedule a drop-in phone consultation with a counselor who will recommend whether the group could be of benefit to you. Most groups start near the beginning of the quarter, so be sure you call within the first few weeks of classes. If a group has already started, you can ask to be placed on a waiting list for next quarter. Please note our groups require either a group screen and/or intake appointment to join following a drop-in appointment.

Types of Groups

Support Group

Members in similar circumstances can share in an open and unedited fashion. Support groups allow members to find self-acceptance as they are; these groups validate and normalize each person’s experience. They are a place for encouragement from other group members and group facilitators.

Skills Group

Group members have the opportunity to learn and develop their abilities in a particular realm of mental health. These groups are geared toward empowering students to better cope and care for themselves and are often experiential.

Process Group

The power of process groups lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, and feedback from other individuals in a safe and confidential environment. Process groups are typically 5-10 members and are generally unstructured; the primary focus of therapy is on the interactions among group members. Discussion flows according to what members would like to talk about — the group leaders do not, for the most part, assign topics for discussion. Members are encouraged to give support and feedback to others while also working with their own reactions to feedback that is received. These interactions can provide group members an opportunity to deepen their self-awareness and to learn how they relate with others.

Community-based Groups

Not finding the group you are looking for? The following are several community-based and virtual therapy groups that you might find helpful:

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Whatcom Groups

Grief & Loss Support

Our TreeHouse

Grief group located in Bellingham, WA.

Eating Disorders Support

Eating Disorders Hope

List of online eating disorder support groups.

Gurze Salucore Eating Disorders Resource Catalog

List of eating disorder support groups in WA.

Eating Disorders Resource Center

List of free online eating disorder and body image support groups.

National Eating Disorders Association

List of NEDA Network virtual support groups.

King Health Associates

Eating disorder online group with Kendra Corey, LMHC, and ED specialist. Email intakes@kinghealthassoc.com for more information.

The Eating Disorder Foundation

Calendar of virtual eating disorder support groups.

Survivor Support

DVSAS of Whatcom County

List of support groups for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.