Group Counseling in Schools, Needed or a Waste of Money?

Anna Price, Staff Writer

In life, we all have our struggles. Trauma, depression, anxiety, and so many other things going on all at once. Talking to somebody helps, but it can be stressful to open up to a complete stranger all on your own. But, what if you had somebody to encourage you? Let me introduce you to group counseling. Basically seeing a counselor or therapist with a group of other people. Is it needed in our school or is it a waste of time and money?

I’ve asked Ms. Finney, a lovely staff member here at our school, about her thoughts on group counseling in Madison-Plains. She hasn’t been a therapist or counselor herself but her 2 daughters have and she is a strong advocate for mental health. She also thinks that our 7th-12th grade students could benefit from group counseling sessions. I asked if group counseling in our school could be an effective way to help people open up more and she responded “with that many of the students here have had or have trauma in our lives and that group counseling is a much needed service to provide to students”. If our school were to have group counseling in our school she hopes that it would teach students how to have emotional control where they are able to leave their problems at the door. She believes that when students come to school it is to do school and that the students need to be taught the tools to do this. She thinks it could positively affect our culture and also help create a stronger sense of community at MP.

I’ve also asked Mr. Belcik, my Journalism and English 2 teacher, about his thoughts on group counseling. He has been to a therapist or counselor. When asked about his thoughts on group counseling he said that group counseling seems like it would be 100 times harder to “get right” as the counselor. He thinks being able to express how you’re feeling to the therapist and the group would have a powerful effect, but it requires everyone in the group to buy into the “work”. He thinks that group counseling in our school certainly has the potential to be an effective way to help people open up more and that he is not qualified to say when or how that could be implemented in a school, but as long as everyone, including parents/guardians, are bought in it should be fine. If we were to have group counseling in our school, when asked how it would affect everybody, he said that he thinks it would impact the students involved, but the students who don’t receive any counseling would probably not notice a ton of difference.

My final interviewee of today is Payne Haverfield, a fellow student, classmate and friend of mine. She has been to a therapist or counselor. She thinks that group counseling is a good idea because maybe someone doesn’t want to open up but when other people do it makes them feel more comfortable and they will also open up to. When asked if group counseling in our school could be an effective way to help people open up more, she responded with “Yes, because again most people feel comfortable when other people open up first.” My final question for Payne was that if we were to have group counseling in our school, how do you think it would affect everybody? She said that maybe not everyone but i think it would definitely do good to the people who need it.