The University Counseling Service (UCS) is The University of Iowa’s primary mental health service provider for university students. The UCS supports the Division of Student Life mission for student success by providing support and mental health services to the University of Iowa campus community.
The scope of UCS service entails three primary areas: Clinical and Case Management Services, Outreach Services, and Training and Supervision.
In addition to what is covered in the Scope of Services below, we acknowledge that that we are frequently asked to provide support and documentation for students who are wanting to get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). While agreeing that many people enjoy and take comfort in a relationship with an animal, it is UCS policy that a formal disability assessment is required to authorize an animal as an ESA. Disability assessments are not within the scope of practice for the UCS. Potential ethical and legal implications are noted. This position is consistent with the recommendations outline by Younggren et.al. (2016) in “Examining Emotional Support Animals and Role Conflicts in Professional Psychology.” (http://psycnet.apa.org/psycarticles/2016-27335-001.pdf)
Clinical and Case Management Services
The UCS implements an interdisciplinary approach to provide mental health services to currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, professional, post-doctoral, and non-degree seeking students at the University of Iowa. For more information regarding students’ eligibility for services, including options if you have graduated or separated from the university, see our clinical eligibility FAQ.
Our staff is comprised of psychologists, social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and graduate level trainees (most commonly doctoral-level practicum students from University of Iowa’s Counseling Psychology and Clinical Psychology programs, doctoral-level psychology interns, master’s-level trainees from the School of Social Work, and master’s-level trainees from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program). We also offer services through our embedded therapists in the College of Dentistry, University Housing and Dining, College of Business, and the College of Law.
Typically, a student’s first contact with the UCS is with a therapist serving in a consultant role who will collaboratively determine how to best meet the student’s needs. Common outcomes of this consultation appointment are a referral to group therapy at the UCS, being assigned an individual counselor at the UCS for brief individual therapy, or being referred to a resource on campus or to a community provider who can best meet the student’s needs. Additionally, the UCS offers same-day 30-minute brief problem solving/crisis management appointments (these appointments are typically 60 minutes when conducted virtually/via tele-health).
Regarding individual therapy, UCS operates within a brief therapy model. This means that a student and their assigned individual therapist will focus on addressing clearly identified goals. The UCS does not have a formal session limit for individual therapy; instead, the number of sessions is determined by the needs of the student, and typically averages 4-8 weekly sessions for one course of brief therapy. Students are eligible to receive one course of brief therapy per academic year. Typically, a student will meet with their counselor once a week for approximately 45-50 minutes. In cases where a student may require more intensive, longer-term or ongoing individual therapy, a student will be assisted with referrals by a UCS therapist or a UCS Clinical Case Manager. Another option for longer term therapy may include participation in one of our many therapy groups. Students are permitted to participate in groups for as long as they find the treatment useful while they are enrolled at UI. Learn more about our therapy groups here.
Referrals to UCS case management services may occur when one has special requirements for care, is ineligible for our services, and/or desires support in navigating referral options and health insurance coverage. A UCS therapist may recommend a client meet with a UCS Clinical Case Manager. Case management services help clients identify appropriate services and agencies available on campus and within the Iowa City community. Case Managers may also be able to offer some guidance on finding services and resources in other locations, although are not familiar with specific resources in all areas. A Case Manager can offer assistance with finding the best-fit referral, discuss insurance coverage benefits, offer support and guidance, assist in scheduling an appointment with a community provider, and follow-up to make sure the referral was successful.
To learn more about all of the clinical services UCS offers click here.
Outreach and Consultation Service
The UCS designs and implements presentations, programs, and workshops on a wide variety of psychology topics. UCS staff members are also trained as consultants to work with students or student groups to identify and work toward more effective personal, interpersonal, and organizational/group functioning. Individuals interested in outreach or consultation services can call to request a consultation or program today. To learn more about our outreach services click here.
Training and Supervision Services
The University of Iowa is a nationally and internationally recognized academic and research institution. The UCS proudly supports the academic mission of the University of Iowa through one of the oldest American Psychological Association accredited Doctoral Internships in the nation. Additionally, the UCS provides its Practicum Training Program for the Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, School of Social Work, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. To qualify for practicum, a student must be enrolled in a University of Iowa doctoral degree program in counseling psychology or clinical psychology or pursuing their master’s degree in social work while also enrolled in a practicum course within his or her academic department. To learn more about our training program click here.