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Fall 2019 Groups

Topic-Based Groups

Pre-group meeting required. 

Women's Empowerment Group

This is a semi-structured support group for female students who have some history of exposure to sexual abuse and/or trauma. The group aims to empower the members to find their voice, increase self-worth, strengthen sense of self, and process through societal messages, pressures, and influences.

Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Camille Sluzis, Clinical Services Provider
  • Dempsey Young, Doctoral Intern

Thursdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

  • Desiree Howell, Psychologist
  • Courtney Tucker, Clinical Services Provider

Penn State Students on the Spectrum

This group is for students who have been diagnosed with or identify as having autism spectrum disorder. In the group, members will gain increased social contact and support as they work on interpersonal skills in a relaxed, non-judgmental environment. Members can expect to learn various social and interpersonal skills through both structured and unstructured discussions/activities.

Mondays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Stephanie Stama, Psychologist
  • Audrey Wittrup, Doctoral Intern

Loss Group

This group is for students who have experienced the death of a friend, relative, or close association. It is also appropriate for those who continue to struggle with painful memories of the death of a loved one. The group will focus on adjustment to the loss and reduction in feelings of guilt, anger, depression, and powerlessness.

Tuesdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

  • Maggie Doby, Clinical Services Provider
  • Dylan Corp, Post-Doctoral Fellow

 

Shyness in a Social Society

Students with social anxiety often experience fear of being negatively judged by others, worry about embarrassment in social situations, and discomfort interacting with others. In this structured group, students will be educated about the origins of social anxiety and learn methods for tolerating and managing the distress that results from anxiety-provoking situations. Students will also have the opportunity to receive validation and support from others who share difficulties coping with social anxiety.

Mondays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Shannan Smith-Janik, Psychologist
Eating Disorder Recovery Groups

Pre-group meeting required. These groups are designed for students who have difficulties with bingeing and purging, anorexia, and other eating disorder issues. The group focus is on understanding and managing dysfunctional patterns with food, as well as dealing with difficult emotions. Stress, body image, self-esteem, self-expression, relationships and academic pressure are all possible topics for the group. This is not a structured group. Weekly attendance is expected.

Eating Disorder Recovery Process Groups

Tuesdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • Jill Hranicka, Psychologist
  • Laurie Meguro, Doctoral Intern

Wednesdays, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

  • Julie Pelletier, Psychologist
  • Erica Wiley, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Thursdays, 10:30-12:00 p.m.

  • Caitlin Chun-Kennedy, Psychologist
  • Sultan Magruder, Psychologist

 

Skills Clinic for Eating Disorder Recovery

This four-week clinic will provide hands-on practice of daily living skills to help with recovery from disordered eating and negative body image. These skills include identifying your values, mindfulness, working with strong emotions and thoughts, self-compassion, and intuitive eating.

Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Julie Pelletier, Psychologist
  • Wes Scala, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Graduate & Returning Students Process Groups

Pre-group meeting required. These groups are designed for personal growth and self-awareness for students who are older than the typical 18-22-year-old undergraduate population. Issues that will be addressed include relationships, life transitions, family of origin issues, managing stressors both in and outside of academic life, and how these issues affect feelings about ourselves and others. 

Mondays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Desiree Howell, Psychologist
  • Henry Xiao, Doctoral Intern

Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Natalie Hernandez DePalma, Psychologist
  • Dempsey Young, Doctoral Intern

Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • John Mitchell, Psychologist
  • Laurie Meguro, Doctoral Intern

Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Jill Hranicka, Psychologist
  • Audrey Wittrup, Doctoral Intern
Interpersonal Process Groups for Undergraduates

Pre-group meeting required. 

 

Women's Therapy

This therapy group is intended for undergraduate women interested in gaining an understanding of themselves and ways of relating more comfortably to others. Issues regarding assertiveness, intimacy, self-acceptance, family of origin issues, and expressing feelings are examples of the concerns this group may cover.

Mondays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Camille Sluzis, Clinical Services Provider
  • Ainsley Rager, Extern

 

Men, Talking

This therapy group is open to both undergraduate and graduate male students. The purpose of this group is simply to get men together talking about different issues that may be impacting their life as a student at Penn State. Topics can vary from week to week and are based on group member needs. Sample topics include school and personal stressors, relationship issues, understanding and healthy expression of emotions, and dealing with the pressures associated with masculine ideals and stereotypes.

Tuesdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

  • John Mitchell, Psychologist
  • Wes Scala, Post-Doctoral Fellow

 

Understanding Self & Others

These groups are for undergraduates who are interested in gaining a greater understanding of themselves and ways of relating more comfortably to others. These groups are designed to help students learn to deal with a variety of concerns involving feelings of depression and anxiety, resolving relationship issues, and other
personal concerns.

Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Janet Schwabenbauer, Clinical Services Provider
  • Meg Collins, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Caitlin Chun-Kennedy, Psychologist
  • Dever Carney, Extern

Thursdays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

  • Stephanie Stama, Psychologist
  • Dylan Corp, Post-Doctoral Fellow

 

Skills-Based Groups

Mindful Mood Management

Pre-group meeting required. This 4-session clinic will help members develop emotion-regulation skills, allowing them to more effectively navigate difficult or overwhelming emotions, increase distress tolerance, and cultivate self-compassion. Members will be introduced to the practice of mindfulness, which has been described as "paying attention, in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally" (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness can help with depression, anxiety, social discomfort, self-critical thoughts, anger, and other distressing emotions. Members will engage in guided, experiential practice in the group and some between-group practice will be encouraged.

Mondays, 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • Caitlin Chun-Kennedy, Psychologist
  • Gabriella McNulty, Extern

 

Anxiety Clinic

These clinics are designed for students who are struggling with various forms of anxiety. Students will learn more about symptoms of anxiety, how anxiety impacts daily functioning, how anxiety works in the body, and learn ways to manage and reduce anxiety. The clinic will also provide an opportunity for students to talk with and receive support from other students who have similar difficulties with anxiety. 3-4 sessions in length.

Mondays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • Jason Yoder, Clinical Services Provider
  • Sarah Hamrick, Clinical Services Provider

Wednesdays, 2:00-3:30 p.m. (through October)

  • Shannan Smith-Janik, Psychologist
  • Henry Xiao, Doctoral Intern 

 

Insomnia

Having difficulty falling or staying asleep? The Insomnia Clinic will teach you strategies to improve your sleep quantity and quality, focusing on behaviors you engage in around sleep.

Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Elana Szczesny, Psychologist
  • Tonia Ballantyne, Extern

 

Perfectionism

Perfectionistic tendencies can be both helpful and unhelpful in our daily lives. This 4-session clinic will help participants increase their awareness and insight into their perfectionism, as well as learn strategies for coping with perfectionism. We will explore the origins of perfectionism, the impact of perfectionism in daily life, and learn to identify and intervene with thoughts and behaviors that maintain perfectionism. Begins November; taking referrals immediately.

Wednesdays, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

  • Shannan Smith-Janik, Psychologist
  • Henry Xiao, Doctoral Intern 

 

Relationships

This 4-session clinic is for individuals wanting to learn more about interpersonal relationships. Topics will include healthy communication skills, conflict resolution, setting boundaries, qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships, showing care/affection, and more! Many types of relationships will be discussed including ones with romantic partners, friends, parents, roommates, and professors.

Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Desiree Howell, Psychologist
  • Erica Wiley, Post-Doctoral Fellow

 

Stress Management

This clinic helps students who are struggling to manage daily stress. Students learn various tools to cope with stress and learn a new relaxation exercise each session.

Mondays, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

  • Elana Szczesny, Psychologist
  • Mihee Woo, Extern

 

Self-Compassion

This 4-session process-oriented clinic will focus on developing awareness and practice of self-compassion. At times, students struggle with perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. "Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings- after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?" (Neff, 2016). Members will develop skills in self-kindness through discussion, mindfulness practice, and experiential exercises. An intention will be to cultivate and empower the authentic self.

Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • Laura Briscoe, Psychologist
  • Melinda Ashe, Extern
Drop-In Support Groups

No pre-group meeting required. 

Women of Color Empowerment

This is a biweekly, open discussion group for Women of Color. This is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. The goal is to provide a supportive space for Women of Color on a majority white campus to explore what this means for them (with regard to identity, relationships, and more), to empower and enhance their voice, and to fully embrace their Penn State experience through academic excellence and relationship-building. This group is held at the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) in Grange Room 217.

Wednesdays (Biweekly), 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Find dates and details here.

  • Laura Briscoe, Psychologist
  • Dayze Florencio, MRC Staff

 

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is an international non-profit, volunteer-driven organization offering free face-to-face and online mutual self-help groups. SMART Recovery supports individuals who are considering abstinence - or already have chosen to abstain - from any type of addictive behaviors (substances, activities or both) by teaching how to change self-defeating thinking, emotions and actions while working toward long-term satisfactions and quality of life. SMART teaches tools to stop problematic alcohol and drug use - and activities that have become compulsive, such as: smoking, overeating, gambling, sexual behavior and internet use. SMART Uses a Four Point Program:

1. Building and maintaining motivation 

2. Coping with urges

3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and actions

4. Living a balanced life

Mondays, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

105 Pasquerilla

  • Lori Strayer, Clinical Services Provider
  • Jason Yoder, Clinical Services Provider

 

Black and Latino Male Empowerment

The Black and Latino Male Empowerment Group (BLMEG) is a facilitated open discussion environment for African American and Latino men to meet biweekly within a brave space. The Black and Latino Male Empowerment Group explores shared experiences as Black and Latino men in the United States, particularly on a majority White campus. The goal is to assist men of color with identifying ways to fully embrace the Penn State experience through academic success, the development of community service initiatives, and relationship building, while taking advantage of all academic and social opportunities within the University. This group is held at the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) in 220 Grange Building

Thursdays (Biweekly), 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Find dates and details here.

  • Sultan Magruder, Psychologist
  • Alex Kenney, MRC Staff

 

Interfaith Dialogues

Monthly dialogues aim to bring people of different religious, spiritual, and/or humanistic backgrounds together in ways that respect different identities, build mutually inspiring relationships, and engage in common action around issues of shared concern. Interfaith dialogues are not intended to be proselytizing, but a time to hear from one another and appreciate what everyone brings to the table. Participants are invited, but not required, to engage in additional engagements such as biannual service projects and other interfaith-inspired events on campus.

Please register in advance here. 

  • Emma Progar, Psychologist
  • Rachel Galloway, Assistant Director Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development 
Penn State Student Affairs
Counseling & Psychological Services
Main Location

501 Student Health Center
University Park, PA 16802

Additional Locations

3rd Floor Bank of America Career Services Building
University Park, PA 16802

Allenway Building (Downtown)
315 S Allen Street
State College, PA 16801