New Group Therapy that is Open to All Students

Alexander Bershtein

Staff Writer

The Counseling Center of Millersville University at Lyle Hall has a new form of therapy open to all students, Peer Support Group. The new group therapy was created in February of this Spring Semester, and occurs weekly with a timeframe of 3pm-4pm every Wednesday.

As it is in its sixth week, it usually has an attendance average that is usually below ten. The new therapy session is overseen by counselors Dr. Kendra Saunders and Dr. Daniel O’Neill, the, and was influenced by the fact that neighboring college campuses already had support groups of their own. It has already allowed students to attend therapy sessions during crowded weeks, especially during testing times, since one-on-one therapy with any of the counselors is tough to establish.

In comparison to the other support group styled therapy, Family Dynamics Support Group, which has been around for ten years, the new Peer Support Group has a higher degree of openness, and only shares the requirement of those in attendance being Millersville students. The Family Dynamics Group is more geared toward the concerns of loved ones of Millersville students, who are usually dealing with drug addiction or similar situations, as well as the fact that the Peer Support Group does not have Willow the golden retriever therapy dog always present.

The openness that is central to the Peer Support Group, according to Dr. Kelsey Backels, Chair of the Counseling Center, is seen, “They talk about whatever the students bring up. And the idea, being students, and knowing what it’s like to be students, they can offer each other support. So it’s pretty open-ended.”

The returning members has given Dr. Backels assurance that the new group therapy will bring more students in once the awareness of it comes about, and explains, “We would really like to see it take off and have students take advantage of it because a group is very powerful; there is a dynamic in every group, where if you picture yourself in a room with six or seven folks your own age, who are going through the same stuff you are this a lot of support there, for lack of a better word.”