Group Counseling at University Counseling Services

In group counseling, a small number of people meet together with one or two of our psychologists to help themselves and one another. Joining a group provides opportunities to learn with and from other people, to understand one's own patterns of thought and behavior and those of others, and to perceive how group members react to one another. You learn that perhaps you're not as different as you think, or that you're not alone. You'll meet and interact with people, and the whole group learns to work on shared problems. Group counseling helps people make significant changes so they feel better about the quality of their lives.


The Anxiety Management Group is for students who struggle with overwhelming anxiety. In the group students will learn about anxiety and develop skills to better manage their anxiety. The group meets on Monday afternoons. To schedule a brief meeting to learn more about the group, please call 617.552.3310.


The DBT Coping Skills Group is for students who struggle to control their emotions or behavior. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a well-established treatment model in which members learn specific skills for reducing their suffering and regaining control of their lives. These skills address the following: 

  • Mindfulness for experiencing and accepting life as it is
  • Distress tolerance for surviving pain and crisis without making things worse
  • Emotional regulation for reducing vulnerability, reactivity, and suffering
  • Interpersonal effectiveness for getting needs met, saying no and managing conflict

The group is structured like a class or workshop.  Group time will be focused on teaching and practicing skills rather than on open discussion. Members problems will be seen as opportunities for learning and practicing skills.

Members must commit to (1) being in individual therapy for the semester, (2) attending every group session, and (3) completing homework practices each week. Members must also agree to follow a set of group guidelines (e.g., to maintain the confidentiality of the group). 

The group will begin a few weeks after the start of the semester and end when classes end. The group will meet weekly for 1 hour and 20 minutes in University Counseling Services (Gasson 001).

Please contact the group facilitator, Sandro Piselli, Ph.D., for more information: 617-552-3310   


What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? 

How to Get the Most Out of Group

Podcasts and Blogs

To Hell and Back, a podcast hosted by Charlie Swenson, MD that covers DBT skills

NEA BPD Blog, a series of posts about how DBT helps people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.


Official DBT Website

DBT Self Help:  A non-professional website that provides lots of useful information.

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center: free guided meditations


DBT Self-Help

DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach

DBT Skills Card

The Mindfulness App


Skills Videos

The following videos explain some of the material covered in the DBT Skills Group. Please note that some of the videos have been created by mental health professionals (e.g., the ones featuring Dr. Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT), while others were created by people who have been in DBT programs and want to share their non-professional knowledge. 

Mindfulness: States of Mind


Mindfulness: "What" Skills

  • Observe: just notice experiences in the present moment without labeling them.
  • Describe: just name the things you observe without judgment or interpretation. 
  • Participate: throw yourself into the present moment completely and mindfully.


Mindfulness: "How" Skills

  • Non-judgment:  notice and let-go of evaluations (i.e., "good," "bad," or "should").
  • One-mindfulness: focus your full attention on just one thing or task in the present moment. 
  • Effectiveness: focus on what works or what is needed to achieve your goals. 


Mindfulness: Other Approaches to Mindfulness

  • Loving Kindness: increase feelings of love and compassion for yourself and others. (Another video here.)


Emotion Regulation: Understanding Emotions


Emotion Regulation: Changing Emotions


Emotion Regulation: Reducing Vulnerability

  • Accumulate Positives: guard against pain by increasing pleasant experiences. 
  • Build Mastery: guard against helplessness by doing things that make you feel competent.
  • Cope Ahead: prepare yourself by imagining difficult moments and rehearsing effective coping. 
  • PLEASE: increase resiliency by taking care of your physical needs. 
  • Let Go of Emotional Suffering: practice mindfulness and acceptance of painful emotions.


Distress Tolerance: Crisis Survival Skills


Distress Tolerance: Reality Acceptance

  • Radical Acceptance: open yourself fully to experiencing the facts of reality as they are. (More videos here and here.)
  • Turn the Mind: consciously re-commit to accepting reality over-and-over again. 
  • Willingness: actively prepare to participate in life, letting go of willfulness.


Interpersonal Effectiveness: Clarifying Goals


Interpersonal Effectiveness: Objectives Effectiveness


Interpersonal Effectiveness: Building Relationships

  • Find Relationships: actively look for connections, make conversation, and join-in. 
  • End Relationships: recognize destructive relationships and end them skillfully.


Other Useful Videos

Want to improve your relationships or feel better about yourself? Interested in connecting in a deep and meaningful way with other students? Are you noticing a pattern in your relationships that you’d like to change or understand better? Do you struggle or get anxious in social situations? Would you like honest feedback about how you relate to others? This group will provide a safe, supportive space to explore your feelings, connect with others, and practice new behaviors that can ultimately lead to more fulfilling relationships.

In this group, members try to “think out loud” by expressing their thoughts and feelings about what others say or do in group. Members are also encouraged to ask other members for feedback in order to learn more about themselves and how others might perceive them. The main goal is for group members to determine possible changes that might improve their connections and interactions with others and themselves and then begin making these changes. Understanding Self and Others groups are a good match for those wanting a mixture of support and feedback regarding their goals and how they relate to others.

Please contact the group coordinator, Dr. Emily Kates, for more information: 617-552-3310 &

Additional Resources on Group:

Group as a Laboratory

How to Get the Most Out of Group

This page links to pdf files. Use this link to download Adobe Reader, if needed. 

  • HEAL is a confidential support group for students who are survivors of sexual violence
  • HEALTH COACHING through the Office of Health Promotion
  • INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE STUDENT SUPPORT is a support group for international graduate student
  • HORIZON is a community support group for gay, bisexual, queer and questioning men
  • PRISM is a group for queer, lesbian, bisexual, gender-transcending and questioning women
  • DIOP consists of a synergetic group of AHANA men who gather to share in a common bond and discuss issues that affect their social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth
  • SISTERS, LETS TALK is a support and discussion group that seeks to facilitate connections between women students of color as well as women faculty and staff of color
  • HOPE is a support group for students who have experienced the loss of a loved one
  • ZEN MEDIATION is a group for students, faculty and staff to learn together about the practices of mindfulness and meditation
  • TOGETHER consists of members of the BC community who are children or siblings of someone who is or has been incarcerated. If you would like to be a part of a relaxed group of students/faculty with similar experiences that meet, eat and hang out, we would love to meet you! Email Professor Celeste Wells ( to get more information about our confidential group