The pressures accompanying the adjustment to college can be rough, but a new program designed to bring incoming students together could help make the transition much smoother.
Fusion, a women’s support group, was created this month for incoming freshmen, transfer students and students troubled with adjusting to college.
The group was designed to offer support in an interactive, fun and discussion-based environment, said Kelsey Latimer, a counselor at the university’s Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center.
In addition to discussion and expression through creative outlets, such as arts and crafts, Latimer said the support group would be structured around the students’ wants and needs.
“Group therapy is really effective,” Latimer said. “It normalizes and validates students’ issues and concerns a heck of a lot better than individual counseling can because the student then has proof that other students are going through the same kind of thing they are.”
Latimer said one reason for establishing group therapy was that students can provide support and advice from different perspectives than counselors.
Latimer said that she and Elizabeth Koshy, a psychologist at the center, would lead the group, and that they said she wanted to focus on meeting the individual needs of the students as well as the needs of the group as a whole.
“It’s really kind of open,” she said. “We’re looking to leave it open, and then target what the issues are that the students are bringing in.”
Assertiveness and communication are topics that would be addressed in the weekly meetings, Latimer said.
Other topics include, but are not limited to, eating and body image issues, addiction, setting boundaries and learning to say no” to peer pressure, she said.
Other schools, such as Boston College and Georgetown College in Kentucky have started similar support groups.
According to the Boston College Web site, three women’s support groups have been established. The groups address body image, sexual experiences and concerns, as well as sexual identity issues.
Latimer said the university’s Fusion group would blend women’s issues and college transition issues.
The group was advertised at the activities fair, in residence halls, in TCU Announce and on the counseling center’s Web site. Few female students have joined Fusion thus far, but Latimer said the group sought to add two or three more members. Latimer was not able to release the number of members in the group for confidentiality reasons.
She said the group would work best with five or six members.
Veronica Rios, a freshman psychology major, said she thought the group sounded interesting and that she would be interested in joining because of her psychology major.
Female students interested in joining Fusion should contact the Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center to set up an interview. Latimer said the purpose of the interview would be to determine the student’s goals, what the group can do for her and to ask questions about the group.
If a large number of students expressed interest in joining Fusion, Latimer said the Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center would consider the addition of other meeting times in order to keep the groups small and effective.
“Our goal is to offer mental health intervention in different modalities … in order to best meet the needs of our student population,” Koshy wrote in an e-mail.
She also wrote that if there was student interest in a male therapy group that the Counseling, Testing, and Mental Health Center would be willing to provide that service.
For more information about Fusion, contact the Counseling, Testing and Mental Health Center at (817) 257-7863 or visit counseling.tcu.edu