Counseling Center Groups for IUP Students: Spring 2013

Posted on 2/5/2013 11:45:58 AM

Talking with students who have similar experiences provides support and perspective. Research has shown that group counseling is as effective as individual counseling.

The counseling, support, and growth groups listed below are offered at the Counseling Center in G31, Suites on Maple East. These groups usually include five to eight students and are facilitated by one or two of our therapists.

Group facilitators work to provide a safe, confidential environment where members are free to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns as they are comfortable. Participation in these groups requires an initial meeting with the group facilitator(s), usually 30-45 minutes. To schedule this meeting or to ask questions: contact the Counseling Center at (724) 357-2621, stop by G31 Suites on Maple East, e-mail the group leaders (see below) or contact Patti Shaffer at All groups have openings at the start of the semester, but will close to new members after the first group meeting.

Body Image Group

Wednesdays 11:00 a.m.–noon

This support-based group is for female students. Likely topics of discussion include frustrations about dieting and dieting myths, being negatively evaluated due to weight, societal pressures of the thinness ideal, and improving body image. This group will be a safe place to discuss body image concerns and explore how these concerns are influencing self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. This group will focus on improving self-acceptance.

Facilitated by Ashley Kasardo, M.A. ( and Becky Pearlson, M.A. (

Graduate Student Group

Tuesdays 3:15–4:30 p.m.

A support-oriented group, topics of discussion are likely to include the demands of graduate study, anxieties about competition and career, self-care and coping, support for writing a thesis or dissertation, student/faculty relationships and boundaries, and healthy interpersonal relating within the stressful context of graduate study.

Facilitated by Rita Drapkin, Ph.D. ( and Janessa Nowlen, M.A. (

Interpersonal Group

Wednesdays 4:00–5:00 p.m.

This co-ed student group will focus on relationships (family, friends, dating, and professional). Loneliness, lack of confidence in social settings, self-esteem concerns, and anxiety may also be discussed. Members often learn to be more comfortable with themselves and more confident interacting with others. This group is a safe place to explore how current interpersonal styles may be affecting relationships.

Facilitated by Dave Myers, Ph.D. ( and Kate Sowder, M.A (

Men’s Group

Wednesdays 10:00–11:00 a.m.

This group is for male students who would like to explore what it means to be a college-aged man. Developing and holding onto healthy friendships and relationships, family issues, societal expectations, and dealing with societal pressures are themes that are likely to be discussed in this group. This will be a small group (up to six members), with a focus on self-awareness and personal change.

Facilitated by Michael Lute, M.A. ( and Laura Gilman, M.A. (

Mindfulness Group

Wednesdays 4:00–5:00 p.m.

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in the present moment, on purpose, without judgment. Scientific research has demonstrated that this practice can improve concentration, help control negative emotions, and increase positive emotions. Students in this group will learn basic mindfulness and meditation practices. It is ideal for students who struggle with anxiety, procrastination, moodiness, and can help increase a sense of well being.

Facilitated by Kim Weiner, Ph.D. ( and Rachel Posner, M.A. (

Not Just Straight Group

Thursdays 2:30–3:30 p.m.

Whether you are out, questioning, or not even sure, this group is for LGBTQA students to confidentially discuss and explore aspects of gender identity and sexual orientation. The group is support-based and is designed to encourage open discussion about coming out, sexuality, gender, relationships, family, community, and other areas of your life that may be difficult to discuss elsewhere.

Facilitated by Tom Wahlund, M.A. ( and Samantha Sciarrillo, M.A. (

Women’s Group

Time to be determined

Finding Our Way: This group is for six to eight female IUP students. It is a place for women to discuss common concerns about such things as academics, relationships, families, body image, self-esteem, and other common concerns with a focus on self-awareness and change.

Facilitated by Beth Kincade, Ph.D. (