Groups and Workshops


Working together, helping one another

The Broene Counseling Center facilitates a number of groups throughout the school year that bring together students with similar concerns. Group therapy is a powerful tool for growth and change. The transformative power in group therapy lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, support, encouragement and feedback from other individuals in a safe and confidential environment. Research has validated that group therapy can be as effective as individual therapy. And, for many emotional concerns, personal struggles, and relationship issues that college students face, group therapy is the most effective treatment modality.

Before joining a group, please schedule an appointment at the Broene Counseling Center by stopping at the office, calling 616-526-6123, or sending an email to All groups are free and confidential. Groups are usually comprised of 5-10 members and are facilitated by 1 or 2 counselors. If you are interested in a group not listed (such as Grief and Loss), please do not hesitate to contact us. Below is the list of groups that are offered this semester.

Body Image Group

This discussion group provides a safe place for students to share their day-to-day struggles with body image and to encourage one another in developing a more positive self-perception. The group is open to anyone who might benefit from connection and support around this issue.

Please contact Amanda Worst ( with questions.

Creative Arts Group

If you are interested in a place to be creative, find your inner resilience, and build on the strengths you already have, the Creative Arts Processing Group is for you. No previous artistic experience or skill is required– simply be ready to participate in the process of creating and growing in community with others. Art supplies will be provided.

Contact Christina Edmondson, Ph.D. at 616-526-7852 or


Would you like to feel happier? To increase feelings of gratitude, joy, compassion, and resilience? Join us in learning and practicing the art of happiness, utilizing and expanding on the award-winning documentary HAPPY ( This six-week group will combine research-based information, discussion, and practical exercises designed to boost happiness, drawing on the fields of positive psychology, neuroscience, sociology, economics, and leadership studies.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Irene Kraegel at 616-526-7016 or

Interpersonal Process

This group offers the opportunity for participants to learn more about their distinctive ways of relating to others by exploring their interactions with fellow group members. You would have the experience of becoming a part of a supportive community where members encourage and help one another to make progress towards their personal goals in relationships. Group members communicate honestly and openly about their reactions, feedback, and suggestions in a caring, confidential atmosphere. Members are welcome to bring any issues to the group that they feel are important.

Facilitators: Mark Recker, MA, LPC, and Rick Baez, Psy.D., FLP

For more information or to register, contact Mark Recker at 616-526-6941 or

LGBTQ Discussion Group

The Broene Discussion Group is a voluntary support group for gay, lesbian and questioning students, overseen by an experienced counselor in the Broene Counseling Center. The group exists in response to the need for dialogue and understanding in the Church today, acknowledged in the Christian Reformed Church's mandate to "create a hospitable climate and an inclusive environment for those who experience same-sex desires" (2002 Synodical Report on Pastoral Care for Homosexual Members). We are also responding to requests from people within our community that we utilize our resources to care for all our students, and create a campus atmosphere of dialogue and respect.

The discussion group enables students who are gay, or who have questions about their sexual orientation, to support one another in ways that are scripture-affirming, mutually edifying, and in keeping with a Reformed worldview. It is not a decision-making group. Members are not pressured to adopt a particular position, rather, as the CRC has advised, we are "creating a fellowship of mutual honesty, caring and support" (2002 Synodical Report). We are deeply devoted to dialogue, educational growth, and understanding between community members.

For more information, contact Dan Vandersteen, MSW, at 616-526-7027 or

Men's Discussion Group

What does it mean to be a man in today's culture?

Join a group! Lunch included! Meets for 6 weeks. Honest talk about how our families, faith, culture, and media have shaped our ideas about being men.

Led by Broene Counselor Rick Baez and Ross Hoogewerf in the Student Senate Meeting Room

E-mail Rick ( to sign up.

Mindfulness Meditation

Are you feeling stressed, discontent, or unfocused? Would you like to feel more comfortable in your own skin? This group offers students an opportunity to cultivate nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment through the practice of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness has been shown by research to decrease stress, increase positive emotions, improve attention, and support a sense of belonging. Students will be introduced to the principles of mindfulness and provided with opportunities to practice it for themselves. Participation includes a handbook and access to free audio meditation guides. All participants will be provided with an overview of the topic in the first meeting before being asked to commit to the seven-week series.

Group schedules for Fall 2014 semester are as follows:

  • September 3 - October 15 (Wednesdays 3:30-4:45pm)
  • September 30 - November 18 (Tuesdays 3:30-4:45pm) - no meeting on October 21
  • October 13 - December 1 (Mondays 3:30-4:45pm) - no meeting on November 10

For more information or to register, contact Irene Kraegel, PsyD, at 616-526-7016 or

Practically Perfect

Do you feel like what you accomplish is never quite good enough? Do you worry about failure? Practically Perfect focuses on understanding, channeling, and challenging perfectionism. The group will look at the impact of the expectations we have for ourselves and others, and work toward reachable goals.

Please contact Amanda Worst ( to sign up.

Step One

Step One is a confidential group for men who are struggling with pornography use and desire to be free. The group meets on a weekly basis for one hour.

For more information, contact Dan Vandersteen, MSW, at 616-526-7027 or


Strides is a confidential group for women who are negatively affected by others (such as boyfriends, significant others, family members, or husbands) who are using pornography. The group provides a safe setting to discuss concerns, ask questions, and receive support.

For more information, contact Cindy Kok, Ph.D., at 616-526-6125 or

Taking Control Group

Students who would benefit from exploring the impact of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs on their lives are welcome to join Taking Control. The group provides confidential support, both for voluntary students and for those mandated to attend by Judicial Affairs as a result of alcohol violations. Reports of attendance may be sent to probation officers if students request this service.

For more information, contact Cindy Kok, Ph.D., at 616-526-6125 or


If you have recently returned from off-campus study, it is likely that you have a lot to think about. Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to pick up where you left off with friends & family, or frustrated that people are not as interested in your experiences abroad as you had hoped. Perhaps you’re feeling like a stranger here, flooded with negative thoughts about this culture and place. Or maybe you’re just longing to go back to where you’ve been, or missing the independence of travel.

Any of this sound familiar? We are offering an opportunity to gather with other students having similar experiences, and you are invited to join us. Meetings will include time to tell your story, explore new perspectives, and share support through the transition back to life on campus.

Tentative dates:

  • Thursday, September 4
  • Thursday, September 18
  • Thursday, October 2

Tentative time:

  • 3:45-4:45pm

(Let us know if these dates don’t work for you, as the schedule can be rearranged based on needs of group members…)

For more information or to sign up for the group, please contact Irene Kraegel at 616-526-7016 or