Joining a Group

Groups can be especially beneficial for students who learn from others or feel isolated, depressed, or anxious, or who are concerned about how they relate to other people.

During your initial appointment, your therapist will help you explore the options for group work. Even though some students are nervous at first about joining a group, many soon discover that it is the best approach for their particular concerns. Group counseling is often an effective way to experience growth and change in one’s life. In groups one can share common problems, safely interact with others, learn about oneself, and help others learn about themselves.

Some groups focus on specific concerns such as stress management, relationships, and depression. Other groups are designed to provide support for students with shared identities. Groups meet once weekly for approximately 1 to 1½ hours. A variety of group formats including psychotherapy, psychoeducational, support, and outreach groups are offered.

For some of our groups, prospective group members are required to attend a pre-group meeting. A pre-group meeting is a brief individual meeting with group leader(s) before the group begins. The pre-group meeting provides you with specific information about the group, and helps you and the group leaders determine if group therapy is the best way to work on your concerns.

Additional Group Information

Learn more about group therapy in university counseling centers:

American Group Psychology Association

For additional information about group therapy in general, as well as the ability to locate group therapists in the U.S., you can visit

Winter 2018 Groups

Groups marked with an ** require a pre-group meeting with the group leaders. For more information about Counseling Center groups, please contact: specific group leaders at (949) 824-6457


  • Beating the Blues


    Mondays, 1:00 – 2:00 PM Weeks 5, 6, & 8

    Start the week positively with this 3 week drop-in group.  The group will help you learn skills to improve your mood, increase participation in important life activities, and respond differently to stress.  Participation in all three group meetings are strongly encouraged.

  • What is Love?**

    Contact: SAIMIR THANO, PH.D.

    Mondays, 3:30 - 5:00 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    This is an interactive and supportive group for individuals who are interested in talking about the subject of love and romantic relationships. Common topics include how to find love, maintain love, and/or recover from a lost love. Members do not have to be in a relationship to join this group.

  • What’s Going On


    Monday of Week 5 (Feb. 5 at 5:00 PM) @ Cross-Cultural Center

    A forum for African American and other students interested in discussing issues that are of importance to the African American community.

  • Choices and Voices

    Contact: Mandy Mount, Ph.D.

    Mondays, 3:30 – 5:00 PM

    This group, sponsored by Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE), provides a safe and secure environment to discuss the ongoing needs of survivors of sexual violence.

    If you would like more information about this group, please contact Mandy Mount, Ph.D. at 949/824-7273.


  • Finding Your Calm**

    Contact: YULI LIU, PH.D.

    Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:30 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    The goal of this group is to help students increase awareness of their personal reactions to stressors, learn anxiety management techniques, practice breathing and relaxation exercises, and gain support from others.

  • Wellness Workshop Series


    Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 PM

    Learn about and practice different skills to enhance your well-being in this drop-in series.  Weekly topics range from improving your sleep, gaining self-compassion, to managing test anxiety.

    • Week 1 (Jan. 9) – Stress Less with Mindfulness

    • Week 2 (Jan. 16) – No More Procrastination

    • Week 3 (Jan. 23) – Mindful Art

    • Week 4 (Jan. 30) – Practicing Gratitude

    • Week 5 (Feb. 6) – Beating Test Anxiety

    • Week 6 (Feb. 13) – Compassion for the Inner Critic

    • Week 7 (Feb. 20) – Can I Actually Bring Sexy Back?: Creating Sex Positivity in Intimate Relationships

    • Week 8 (Feb. 27) – Assertiveness

    • Week 9 (Mar. 6) – Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    • Week 10 (Mar. 13) - Stress Less with Mindfulness
  • Graduate Students Therapy Group**

    Contact: SAIMIR THANO, PH.D.

    Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:30 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    This is a graduate student process-oriented support group that focuses on increasing insight in order to better understand self and others.  Through the interactive nature of the group, members may engage in discussion and exploration of diverse topics including academic concerns, personal growth, and various relationships such as family, academic, professional, and romantic.  Giving and receiving feedback are important components of this group.

  • Estamos Unidas

    Contact: Jessica Ortega, Ph.D. & LISETTE SANCHEZ, M.A., M.S., M.Ed.

    Tuesdays, 4:00 – 5:00 PM on Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9

    Estamos Unidas is a supportive drop-in group for Chicana/Latina students that provides space for Chicanas/Latinas to share their cultural concerns and triumphs in a university environment, build community, address transitional issues between family and university life, empower one another to succeed academically and socially, and engage in peer mentoring.  


  • Overcoming Social Anxiety**

    Contact: KANWAR PAHWA, PH.D.

    Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:30 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    This structured skills-focused group is designed to help students overcome anxiety in a variety of social situations including public speaking, meeting new people, initiating and maintaining conversations. Group members will learn skills to help them address their anxiety and have an opportunity to practice these skills in and out of group.

  • Wind Down Wednesdays

    Contact: UYEN BUI, PH.D.

    Wednesdays, 3:00 – 4:00 PM

    Take a mid-week break by learning how to wind down and manage your stress.  This group is a drop-in workshop series where you learn and practice relaxation skills to help you manage stress and succeed.

  • Wabruda

    Contact: MILO DODSON, PH.D.


    Wabruda (Swahili for Brotherhood) is a group for empowering and supporting African American/Black men.


  • Overcoming Social Anxiety**

    Contact: DEBORAH LIU, PH.D.

    Thursdays, 10:00 - 11:30 AM (Pre-group meeting required)

    This structured skills-focused group is designed to help students overcome anxiety in a variety of social situations including public speaking, meeting new people, initiating and maintaining conversations. Group members will learn skills to help them address their anxiety and have an opportunity to practice these skills in and out of group.

  • Men’s Group**

    Contact: ZER ALON, PSY.D.

    Thursdays, 12:30 – 2:00 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    Come receive support and learn about your interpersonal patterns with other male students.  Both undergraduate and graduate students welcome.  

  • Authentic Connections**


    Thursdays, 3:00 – 4:30 PM (Pre-group meeting required)

    Develop insights about interpersonal patterns through support and feedback.  Experiment with new ways of relating to others in a safe environment.  


  • Chronic Health Concerns Support Group**


    Fridays, 9:30 – 11:00 AM

    This group is for students living with a chronic health concern (e.g. fibromyalgia, IBS) and/or chronic pain.  Connect with other students in a safe space to address such topics as maintaining balance, advocating for yourself with medical professionals, dealing with others who minimize or misunderstand your health concern, managing pain, and cultivating hope, gratitude and acceptance. 

  • International Coffee Hour


    Fridays, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

    New Location: Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication (Ayala Science Library 193)

    Come and meet interesting students from all over the world.  Relax and enjoy lively conversations and refreshments.  New members are always welcome!!