The presenter, a psychologist working at a North American university counseling center will describe a group for ALANA-African, Latina/Latino, Asian and Native American graduate students that was created and sustained for several years. The purpose of the group was to offer a safe place for students in advanced degree programs to come together to discuss common and individual concerns and to acquire support in coping with the marginalized status of "minority" students on campus." Group topics ranged from worry regarding familial stressors to confrontations on and off campus, with racial "micro and macro aggressions."
The ages of student group members ranged from the mid-twenties to the mid-thirties. Developmentally they were well posed to consider the myriad factors impacting their lives and to offer support to one another. Students began to see the group as their "fam" (ily) – and to look out for one another. Of course, in being a family, tensions sometimes mounted, and students were able to successfully discuss and come to terms with the conflicts endemic in any group setting. The theme of "keep on, keeping on’, – so familiar to non-white populations, became a mantra for graduate students to rely on in bringing up historical and cultural methods of coping and successfully meeting the challenge of being thought of by the wider culture as "less than.,’ The presenter will describe the developmental characteristics of the students in the group, the stressors they carried and the goals and achievements they set out for themselves. The group can therefore be seen as a model for other populations, in other countries – in particular those who have been marginalized.