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Groups for IUP Students: Spring 2014

What is Group Counseling, and How Do I Get Involved?

Sometimes a problem is better addressed through group counseling than with an individual counselor. Research has shown that group counseling is as effective as individual counseling. Talking with other students who have similar experiences provides support and perspective.

The counseling, support, and growth groups listed here are offered at the Counseling Center. 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.

Groups for IUP Students: Spring 2014

Can You Relate?

  • Tuesdays 3:30–4:45 p.m.

This student group is for both men and women who would like to explore how to maintain or create healthy relationships. It is geared towards students who are either struggling to relate to others (significant others, family, friends), students who are dealing with loneliness, or students who simply want to have better, closer, or healthier relationships. We will also consider how to end a relationship that is unhealthy once and for all.  It will involve learning about one’s self and one’s interpersonal style, and it will be a safe place to explore new ways of interacting.

Facilitated by Laura Gilman, MA ( and Joelle Bazaz, MA (    

Graduate Students

  • Wednesdays 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, PhD ( and Rachel Posner, MA (   

Making Connections

  • Wednesdays 4:00–5:00 p.m.

This is a structured group that will focus on ways to improve social connections and relationships with others. Skills fostered will include: communication, meeting others and initiating conversation, managing conflicts and communicating assertively, setting boundaries, deepening relationships, and mindfulness. The group will consist of instruction time and hands-on interactive activities to try out new skills. By the end of group, members should be able to cultivate and maintain greater flexibility and comfort in relationships.

Facilitated by Janessa Nowlen, MA ( and Kate Sowder, MA (

Not Just Straight

  • Tuesdays 4:30–5:40 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 Samantha Sciarrillo, MA ( and Becky Pearlson, MA (
Note: Currently closed to new members   

Women: Finding Our Way

  • Mondays 3:30–4:45 p.m.

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 Elizabeth Kincade, PhD ( and Julia Chasler, MA (   

  • The Counseling Center
  • Suites on Maple East, G31
    901 Maple Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2621
  • Fax: 724-357-7728
  • Client Services Fall 2014
  • 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
  • Walk-In Hours:
  • Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri., 1:00–3:00 p.m.
  • Wed., 11:00 a.m.–Noon and 2:30–3:30 p.m.