Group-oriented counselling sessions focusing on building connections between students while discussing a shared concern are now available.
Group counselling, which was implemented in February, consists of two groups: closed groups, which are more structured and build upon a single concern over a period of multiple sessions and open groups, which are more of a drop-in and adapt to the concerns of the participants.
Patti Hancock, a group counselor at Algonquin, said that initially group counselling was developed based on the primary presenting concern that they see in the counselling office.
“When I say primary concerns I mean most people walk into the counselling office because they’re struggling with anxiety, stress or relationships,” said Hancock. “However, it was an after thought of mine that we were only reaching the people that walk in here.”
Hancock says that to tackle that issue they’ve reached out to the International Student Association and she plans on going to the Pride Centre to hold a meet and greet in hopes of “finding out more from the people of what’s needed, what they want.”
According to Hancock, group counselling is a non-judgmental atmosphere.
“It’s normal to feel nervous and apprehensive,” she said. “But the benefits totally outweigh that, [group counselling] is really impactful. One of our participants commented during a session, thanking us for helping him with his concerns. That’s what group counselling is striving to accomplish and we hope to have more of that in the coming months.”