Group Programs for Spring 2018

Each semester the University Counseling Service (UCS) offers a number of groups. The groups are open to University of Iowa students, and the enrollment is free and can be made directly through the UCS at (319) 335-7294, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Confidentiality in group counseling is strictly respected. At this time, the majority of groups are held at the UCS. You may view our "Group Scoop” page which describes what it might be like to participate in group counseling or psychotherapy.

Therapy and Process Groups

-Requires an individual pre-group meeting (please contact the UCS for an appointment).
-Requires commitment (will be discussed in pre-group meeting).

Three Week Brief Skills Based Groups

-Clients can be referred to a group after doing an initial consultation with UCS staff.
-Current and ongoing clients can be referred to a group by their current counselor. 

Psycho-Education and Support Groups

- Commitment to regular attendance is encouraged. 
- Please contact the group leader(s) for more information about joining.

Therapy and Process Groups

ACT on Life                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

This is a 10-week program based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an approach that teaches emotional and behavioral skills for living more effectively with life’s ups and downs.  This group can be especially helpful for individuals that are struggling with unpleasant thoughts and emotions often associated with depression and anxiety.  In this group we will:

• Learn how our thought process works and how to be less bound to unhelpful thinking. 

• Learn how to respond effectively to our emotions, without being disconnected from them or entangled with them.

• Learn how to recognize and let go of ineffective patterns of behavior, and to develop more effective behavior. 

• Explore our life values and learn how to live more congruently with those values to experience greater meaning in life.

• Support each other as we learn these skills and work towards living a more meaningful life with less struggle.


Monday 1:30 - 2:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Jeremy Kinser, Ph.D. & Stefanie Denu

Expressive Arts Group                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Expressive Arts Therapy group uses various mediums (clay, painting, mask making, and other) in a supportive setting to facilitate self-awareness, growth, and healing/stress-reduction.  In this group, members have the opportunity to use their own creative, emotional, and intuitive aspects to discover and express themselves.  The primary focus of this group is on the healing process by discovering new insights and creating meaning to one’s experience through engaging in an expressive arts intervention and group processing after the activity.  The group is also to form close relationships with other group members, find new ways to cope with personal concerns, and provide support to others.  This group is helpful to address concerns of, but is not limited to, assertiveness, social anxiety and isolation, identity development, emotional regulation, and self-esteem.  No previous experience with art is needed.  This group requires a group screening (approximately 30-45 minutes) before participating in group. 


Wednesday 1:00 - 2:20 pm
Maria Bruno, Psy.D. & Sneha Pitre, Ph.D.

Myself & My Body                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The Myself and My Body therapy group is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for individuals who are recovering from eating disorders, disordered eating, and/or body dissatisfaction. In this group we will:

  • Learn how to improve our relationships with our bodies, food, and/or exercise.
  • Identify our disordered eating cycle and learn ways to disrupt the pattern.
  • Explore the ways our emotional experiences are related to our eating and body concerns.
  • Support each other as we work towards recovery.


Friday 9:30 - 10:50 am
Lanaya Ethington, Ph.D. & Kristin Wurster

General Therapy Group                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Open to graduate and undergraduate students of all genders, general therapy groups tend to focus on relationships, intimacy, boundaries, self-awareness and other components of interpersonal process. These groups are designed to help members learn to deal with a variety of concerns including feelings of depression and anxiety, relationship issues, and other personal and academic concerns.

Group 1
Wednesday 1:30 - 2:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Barry Schreier, Ph.D.  & Hannah Stokes

Group 2 (eligibility: students living in University Housing)  (Full & Closed)
Date/Time: Friday 11:00 - 12:20 pm
Patrick Galligan, Ph.D. & Dawn Bates, Ph.D.

Group 3
Thursday 1:00 - 2:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Jeremy Kinser, Ph.D.

Group 4
Friday 2:30 - 3:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Jeremy Kinser, Ph.D. & Adam Hinshaw, Ph.D.

Group 5
Tuesday 9:30 - 10:50 am (Full & Closed)
Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Group 6 
Monday 1:00 - 2:20 pm 
Kathie Staley, Ph.D. & Soeun Park

Group 7 
Wednesday 3:00 - 4:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Darrel Kirby, LISW, CADC

Group 8 
Friday 10:30 - 11:50 am (Full & Closed)
Darrel Kirby, LISW, CADC & Cara Solness

Group 9
Friday 1:00 - 2:20 pm (Full and Closed)
Paula Keeton, Ph.D. & Stefanie Denu, M.S.

Group 10 
Friday 1:00 - 2:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Maria Bruno, Psy.D. & Lanaya Ethington, Ph.D.

Group 11 
Monday 4:30 - 5:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Audrey Bahrick, Ph.D. & Kyle Votroubek, LISW

Group 12 
Friday 2:30 - 3:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Group 13
Wednesday 9:00 - 10:20 am (Full & Closed)
Julie Corkery, Ph.D. & Adam Hinshaw, Ph.D.


Group 14
Wednesday 3:00 - 4:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Scott Liu, Ph.D. & Kristin Heider, Ph.D.

Group 15 
Friday 1:30 - 2:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Darrel Kirby, LISW, CADC

Group 16 
Thursday 3:00 - 4:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Paula Keeton, Ph.D.

Group 17 
Friday 10:30 - 11:50 am (Full & Closed)
Kristin Heider, Ph.D.

Group 18 
Tuesday 1:00 - 2:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Maria Bruno, Psy.D.

Men's Group                                                                                                                                                                                          

In this group, members have the opportunity to form close relationships with each other, to realize that they are not alone with their problems, issues, and concerns; and to discover that others also struggle with not being able to get in touch with their feelings, or to identify and know that they are, in fact, anxious or depressed, or full of anger or sadness.  Do you relate to or identify with this?  If so, come to find out if this group is right for you. This group is open to trans-men and cis-men. 


Group 1
Tuesday 2:00 - 3:20 pm (Full & Closed)
Scott Liu, Ph.D. & Kristin Wurster


Group 2
Monday 3:30 - 4:50 pm (Full & Closed)
Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Navigating a Predominately White Institution (PWI)                                   

This group was developed per students’ request to have a safe space to process their experience as racial-ethnic minority individuals in a predominantly white institution. It is a general interpersonal process group for graduate and undergraduate students. The intention of the group is to provide a safe and supportive environment where racial-ethnic minority students can receive support from peers who may share similar experiences while pursuing higher education in predominantly white spaces.

Monday 9:00 - 10:20 am (Cancelled)
Maria Bruno, Psy.D.

Social Skills 101 for Pervasive Developmental Disorders                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Students in the Social Skills 101 Therapy Group will work on developing social skills that focus on the basic fundamentals of human interaction.  Students will:

  • Learn to recognize interpersonal cues
  • Explore ways to manage emotions in interpersonal situations
  • Consider  how body language impacts relationships
  • Find ways to initiate conversations
  • Explore ways to establish relationships
  • Learn avenues for maintaining relationships

Students with Asperger’s Disorder, high functioning Autistic Disorders, or other Pervasive Developmental Disorders are welcome in this group.  Please contact Dr. Staley for a group screening meeting if interested. 


Thursday 4:00 - 4:50 pm
Kathleen Staley, Ph.D.

Women's Therapy Group                                                                                                                                                                         

Do you:

  • Want to learn better relationship skills?
  • Want to deal with low self-esteem or low self-confidence?
  • Recover from trauma in your life?
  • Want better assertiveness skills?
  • Have perfectionist concerns that are interfering with your happiness in life?
  • Struggle with depression and/or anxiety?
  • Want to share your struggles, hopes, and goals in a supportive environment? 

Come join the Women’s Therapy Group! This group is open to trans-women and cis-women. 


Monday 2:30 - 3:50 pm
Sneha Pitre, Ph.D. & Lanaya Ethington, Ph.D.

Three Week Brief Skills Based Groups

Anxiety Toolbox (AT)                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Anxiety toolbox is a three-week skills-based group series designed to help students learn to better manage their anxiety.  The most common presenting concern we see at the UCS is anxiety, and this group is dedicated to helping students learn specific skills to actively address their anxiety.  This is a curriculum-driven series with structure and specific learning objectives, which each group building on material from the preceding one(s).  Participation is strongly encouraged but personal disclosure is not required. The groups were designed to respect students’ individual privacy while still providing ample space to begin building skills through experiential learning opportunities. All participants will receive a workbook to accompany exercises within the groups.  

Group 6:  Wednesdays 11:00 - 12:00 pm on 3/28, 4/4, & 4/11

Group 7:  Mondays 2:00 - 3:00 pm on 3/26, 4/2, & 4/9

Group 8:  Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:00 pm on 4/10, 4/17, & 4/24

Group 9:  Tuesdays 3:00 - 4:00 pm on 4/17, 4/24, & 5/1



Getting Unstuck         

“Getting Unstuck” is a three-week skills-based group designed to provide support and skills aimed at addressing students who would like to learn ways be better manage their depression. Students will learn how to understand their depression, ways in which unhelpful thinking styles influence depression, and skills to actively reduce symptoms of depression. This workshop is curriculum-driven, designed with learning objectives and activities to work on each week. Each meeting builds upon material from the previous group, allowing students to build a skill-set that will support them in their process towards living a happier, more meaningful life. Although personal disclosure is not required, participants benefit most when willing to self-disclose and provide examples relevant to the topic being addressed. The groups were designed to respect students’ individual privacy while still providing ample space to begin building skills through experiential learning opportunities. All participants will receive a workbook to accompany exercises within the group. During the last week, students will have the opportunity to develop an individualized action plan to continue to apply the skills learned from the workshop moving forward.

Group 1: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00 pm on 3/20, 3/27, & 4/3 (Closed)

Group 2: Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:00 am on 4/11, 4/18, & 4/25 (Full & Closed)

Psycho-Education and Support Groups

International Student Conversation Group                                                                                                                                                                 

For all international students who would like to share their thoughts and feelings about adjusting to life at The University of Iowa and in the United States.

The group is a place where students can:

  • Learn new ways to cope with the challenges of living in a new cultural environment
  • Find support for living away from home
  • Discuss concerns about language, friendships, and customs…etc.


Tuesday Noon - 1:00 pm
UCC Rm. 1124
Sneha Pitre, Ph.D.


RA Support Group                                                    

This group for Resident Assistants working and living in University Housing is designed as an opportunity for RAs to gain support, advice, and skills from mental health professionals as well as peers related to their job.  Facilitated by the embedded counselors, you’ll have the chance discuss job-related concerns, process difficult student cases/issues, and obtain additional emotional support for the work you do as RAs.  Here are some other examples of the issues that this group can help you address: 

- Brainstorm how to follow-up with residents around difficult topics

- Discuss your reactions to job-related trauma

- Process feeling overwhelmed with the demand of your job on top of life

- Gain support around issues related to diversity and social justice

- Generate feedback for ongoing, job-related difficulties

- Gain support and insight from your fellow RAs


Date/Time: TBA
Patrick Galligan, Ph.D. & Dawn Bates, Ph.D.


Success, Not Excess: Making Changes in Substance Use                                                                                                                                                                           

The Success, Not Excess support group is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for students who are wanting to make or are considering changes in alcohol or other drug use. The group emphasizes success in academics, relationships, mental and physical health, and other meaningful goals  through abstaining or reducing  alcohol and other drug use. The group operates from a “no pressure” approach by encouraging the discussion of shared experiences and achieving success on your college campus by removing the barriers created by substance use.

Is this group right for you?

The best way to know is to check it out, but answering yes to the following questions might indicate benefit from the group:

Is my use interfering with my academic performance? my work performance?  my relationships?

Do I drink/use for a “pick me up”? out of boredom? because I’m stressed out? to fit in with others?

Do I ever regret my actions after using? black-out and not remember my actions? get into fights after drinking/using? get angry or embarrassed when others bring up my drinking/using?

In this group we will:

  • Learn alternative paths to having fun, socializing, and coping with stress outside of substance use.
  • Identify the problems created by drinking/using and establish skills to avoid or prevent those problems.
  • Explore the connection between our emotional experiences and our substance use.
  • Support each other as we work towards reducing the harmful outcomes  of excessive alcohol and other drug use and celebrate the successes that follow making changes .

 Important notice: this is not a treatment group and will not satisfy legal or other disciplinary mandates. It is open to UI students who already have started or are wanting to make changes in their alcohol or other drug use. This is a “drop-in” group with no attendance requirements. We ask that students not attend the group under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. 

Friday 3:30 - 4:30 pm
211 IMU
Darrel Kirby, LISW, CADC 

You may view our "Group Scoop” page which describes what it might be like to participate in group counseling or psychotherapy.

For general questions regarding the University Counseling Service groups program, please contact the group coordinator, Dr. Scott Liu, at (319)335-7294 or for more information.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events.  If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate, please contact the University Counseling Service at (319) 335-7294 to discuss your needs.

Updated: 4/09/2018