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Fall 2018 Discussion Groups

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 controlling dysfunctional patterns with food as well as dealing with feelings and issues that “eat” at you. 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, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

  • Jill Hranicka, Psychologist
  • Clare Cowen, Staff Therapist

Wednesdays, 12:30-2:00 p.m.

  • Julie Pelletier, Psychologist
  • Han Wingate, Clinical Service Provider

Thursdays, 10:00-11:30 a.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
  • Stacy Jones, Registered Dietitian (Health Promotion & Wellness Staff)
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, dealing with problems and stresses in academic life, and how these issues affect feelings about ourselves and others. These groups run throughout the summer and continue into the fall.

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

  • John Mitchell, Psychologist
  • Erica Wiley, Doctoral Intern

Tuesdays, 3:15-4:45 p.m.

  • Stephanie Stama, Psychologist
  • John Loughlin-Presnal, Doctoral Intern

Wednesdays, 1:45-3:15 p.m.

  • Natalie Hernandez DePalma, Psychologist
  • Wes Scala, Doctoral Intern

Thursdays, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

  • Jill Hranicka, Psychologist
  • Dylan Corp, Doctoral Intern

Fridays, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

  • Desiree Howell, Psychologist
  • Emma Hahn, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Skills-Based Group

Mindful Mood Managament

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 nonjudgmentally" (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.

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

  • Han Wingate, Clinical Services Provider
  • Sunie Kim, Post-Doctoral Fellow

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.

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

  • Jason Yoder, Clinical Services Provider
  • Phillipe Kleefield, Extern

Thursdays, 10:30-12:00 p.m.

  • Sarah Watson, Clinical Services Provider


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.

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

  • Elana Szczesny, Psychologist


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.

Tuesdays, 1:00-2:25 p.m.

  • Shannan Smith-Janik, Psychologist
  • Wes Scala, Doctoral Intern

Relationships 101

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

  • Julie Scott, Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • Rebecca Janis, Extern

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
  • Nathan Titkemeier, Extern


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.

Mondays 3:00-4:30 p.m.

  • Laura Briscoe, Psychologist
  • Leila Wu, Extern
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.

Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

  • Camille Sluzis, Clinical Services Provider
  • Courtney Tucker, Clinical Services Provider

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.

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

  • John Mitchell, Staff Psychologist
  • Lawrence Chatters, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Interpersonal Mindfulness

This therapy group is for both undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in using mindfulness to increase self-acceptance and relate more comfortably to others. Sample topics include working with social anxiety, self-critical thoughts, mindful communication and present-centered awareness. Previous attendance at CAPS mindfulness workshop, group, or other introductory session is recommended.

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

  • Han Wingate, Clinical Services Providers
  • Emma Hahn, 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.

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

  • Annie Poet, Psychologist
  • Sultan Magruder, Psychologist

Wednesdays, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

  • Caitlin Chun-Kennedy, Psychologist
  • Erin Fackenthal, Extern

Thursdays 9:00 10:30 a.m.

  • Janet Schwabenbauer, Clinical Services Provider
  • John Loughlin-Presnal, Doctoral Intern

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

  • Jason Yoder, Clinical Services Provider
  • Lori Strayer, Clinical Services Provider
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 315.

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

For dates and details: click on this link

  • Laura Briscoe, CAPS Psychologist
  • Dayze Florencio (MRC Staff)

First-Generation Student Support

This group will provide first-generation college students with a supportive space to explore their experiences and the unique challenges they face at Penn State. Members will engage in meaningful discussions and participate in professional development opportunities that will help foster their academic success and personal growth. This group is held at HUB Room 321.

Mondays, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

  • Annie Poet, Psychologist
  • Sultan Magruder, Psychologist

September 17: CAPS—Stress Management

October 1: Financial Literacy—Budgeting as a College Student

October 15: Career Services—Resume Writing

October 29: Career Services—Making the most of Career Fairs

November 15: Financial Literacy—Understanding Student Loans

November 26: Office of Student Aid—Applying for Scholarships


Support-Oriented 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 interpersonal 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.

Mondays, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

  • Camille Sluzis, Clinical Services Provider
  • Julie Scott, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Thursdays, 4:00-5:35 p.m.

  • Desiree Howell, Psychologist
  • Erica Wiley, Doctoral Intern

Penn State Students on the Spectrum

This is a weekly support group for  students at University Park who have been diagnosed with or identify as having autism spectrum disorder. In the group, members will gain increased social contact and can work on interpersonal skills in a relaxed, non-judgmental environment, as well as learning other new skills through both structured and unstructured discussions/activities.

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

  • Stephanie Stama, Psychologist
  • Dylan Corp, 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, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

  • Maggie Doby, Clinical Services Provider
  • Sunie Kim, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Life As We Know It: Adult Child of an Alcoholic or Addict (ACOA) Support

Pre-group meeting required. This weekly support group is for both undergraduate and graduate students who identify as being an adult child of an alcoholic or addict. Members will be provided with a safe space to explore and discuss the emotional struggles, relationship difficulties, and other ways they have been impacted by growing up in this type of enviroment. The goal of this group is to promote healing and growth through sharing experiences, relating to one another, and receiving validation.

Mondays 2:30-3:30 p.m.

  • Sarah Watson, Clinical Services Provider
  • Kathy Clayton, Staff Therapist

Social Anxiety

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

  • Shannan Smith-Janik, Psychologist