University Counseling Center now provides coping resources virtually


Elana Guillory/The Lion's Roar

Groups like RA Support Group and Here and Queer are among nine support groups that the university offers.

The University Counseling Center now provides support groups for faculty and students virtually.

Groups like RA Support Group and Here and Queer are among nine support groups that the university offers. To combat COVID-19 related stress, the UCC now offers two new groups. LION UP Recovery, established for those recovering from addictions, has also been moved online.

Assistant Director of Programming and Outreach at the UCC Annette Newton described the foundation of a support group session.

“The support groups are structured according to the topic of the support group,” said Newton. “Support groups lean heavily on participants offering shared experiences, thoughts and feelings with each other.”

According to the UCC’s website, virtual sessions follow “popcorn” and “pass the stick” routines. Audio and visual presence is encouraged, as well as attending pre-meetings and post-meetings to build relationships with other group members.

A new group was developed to help people adjust to life during the pandemic. Grieving the Old Normal – Adjusting to Life During COVID-19 is led by two interns and allows participants to openly grieve their lack of social interactions during quarantine.

“We will discuss common myths, different types of grief during social distancing, cultural differences, ways to cope and how to apply these things with family and friends,” according to the university website. “We hope to take the mystery out of this experience that we all share and give you ideas on how to help yourself and others move forward while staying home.”

Sessions are scheduled Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

Social Distancing and Your Relationship With Food is another new support group targeting unhealthy eating choices as a result of quarantine. Sessions are scheduled biweekly on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 3 p.m.

Refuge Recovery, Here and Queer, and Social Distancing and Your Relationship with Food are also scheduled twice a week, while other groups may occur once a week or every other week.

Newton feels that receiving support from people that are experiencing similar issues offers a beneficial element to the healing process.

“We are super excited about the response thus far to our support groups,” said Newton. “I really like the idea of the accessibility support groups offer. There is something very curative about a shared process. Sometimes, there is no better support than from each other.”

Because people can feel uncomfortable in group settings, Newton listed teletherapy as an alternative option for those searching to improve their mental health.

“Not everyone is comfortable with support groups, so there are some people who may seek out our tele mental health counseling during this time,” addressed Newton. “Support groups are an excellent supplement to counseling or for those seeking shared experience support group topics.”

To enter a support group, people can fill out the Support Group Google Form on the UCC’s Group page.