Spring 2017 Group Program Schedule

More general information on Groups at CAPS here.

Anxiety Workshop Series:  Brain, Heart, Courage

The anxiety management series is going "on the road!"  Undergrad, grad, and professional students are encouraged to attend all 3 sessions, but it is not required.

For more information contact Jessica Browne, LCSW and Alaina Spiegel, PsyD.

Career Anxiety Workshop

This 90 minute workshop is open to undergraduate and graduate Penn students and will include:  Psychoeducation and strategies for anxiety management related to your job/internship search (e.g., mindfulness, skill building, self-care, etc.) and Opportunities to examine your goals and values with regards to your career decision-making process.
Meetings: TBA
For more information, contact Vanessa Dabel.

Eating Concerns Art Therapy Group

This group is for women who are struggling with anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, and for those in active recovery. The purpose of this group is to explore issues and themes related to recovery, such as self-compassion and self-worth, interpersonal and family relationships, body image, and coping with emotional and situational triggers. Art therapy will be utilized in order to facilitate this process. Art therapy can promote the safe expression of thoughts and feelings, and can provide an opportunity to learn more about oneself, learn new ways to cope with uncomfortable experiences and emotions, and even increase self-acceptance.

Artistic ability is not required to participate in this group! In art therapy, the focus is not on what the end product looks like. Rather, the focus is on the process of art making, what you learned about yourself through art making, what you were able to express and say in your artwork, and the many benefits of art making within a therapeutic environment. Art therapy, in conjunction with individual therapy, can be beneficial in recovery from eating concerns. Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome. Concurrent individual therapy is required.
Meetings:  TBA

For more information, contact Jeannine Cicco Barker, PsyD, ATR-BC


This Spring, we are launching a new drop-in workshop series that will begin during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 26-March 3. Please feel free to click on and register, and come to any of the workshops that are relevant to you.

"How Do I Look?": Navigating Body Image in College.
Monday, February 27th, 1-2pm

#MASC: Tackling Body Perfection & Masculinity.
Wednesday, March 1st, 4-5pm

Body Love for Women of Color
Tuesday, April 11th (rescheduled due to snow storm), 4-5pm

Recovery: Reclaiming, Maintaining, & Honoring Myself & My Needs
Tueday, March 21st, 12-1:30pm

Food and Feelings: Addressing Emotional Eating
Monday, April 3rd, 11am-12:30pm

For more information, contact Dr. Jeannine Cicco Barker or see our Eating Concerns webpage.

Graduate Women's Support Group

This is a weekly therapy group for women who are in a graduate or professional program held at CAPS. The focus is on developing self-awareness, self-esteem, and connection in the context of being a woman in academia. Topics of exploration include preserving self-esteem while coping with the graduate school experience, balancing multiple roles, dealing with sadness and anxiety, and maintaining healthy relationships.
Meetings:  Tuesdays 9:15-10:30am and Tuesdays 3-4:30pm
For more information, contact Heather Hersh, PhD (3-4:30pm)  or Michele Downie, PhD (9:15-10:30am)

International Peer Support Group (Mandarin)

This one-hour weekly Mandarin-speaking group aims to provide international students a confidential, safe, and supportive space to learn more about themselves and others in the relationship and cultural contexts, so they could develop more effective coping skills in adjusting to Penn and managing different life events. Members will share their experiences, discuss relevant topics, engage in self-exploratory activities, seek and receive support from each other, with the facilitation of a therapist. A pre-group screening with the facilitator is required to join the group.
Meetings:  Fridays 11am-12pm
For more information, contact Yuhong He, PhD


Interpersonal Growth Groups

In these groups, 6-9 students meet weekly with 2 therapist leaders.  Group is a great place to share your concerns, get support, and learn from others. Students who participate in group therapy feel less isolated, more self-aware, and more connected to others as a result of being in group. The true power of Process Groups lies in the interactions among members, their reactions to each other, and what they learn about themselves as a result. Process Groups provide an opportunity to learn about how others experience you, to study your own style of relating, and to learn how that style may interfere with developing satisfying relationships. In group, you can experiment with being different. 
For more information, contact Michele Downie, PhD

Manage Your Moods Skills Group

Do you feel like your emotions get in the way of your life success?  At one time or another, everyone experiences stress, emotional pain, and relationship challenges. In the Manage Your Moods workshops you will learn specific skills, which are described below. We would love it if you can attend all of our workshops, but it is not an expectation. Instead we hope you come to the workshops that you feel you can benefit from and fit into your schedule.
Meetings:  Thursdays 4:30-6pm.  Start date TBA.
For more information, see contact the Manage Your Moods Skills Group Program at CAPS

Mindful Communication Group

This 3-session group will help you improve your ability to communicate with others (e.g. friends; romantic relationships; professors/advisors; interviewers) by developing mindfulness and communication skills.  In this group you will:  learn mindfulness; identify your own pattern of communication; learn different ways to communicate more effectively; gain support for making and maintaining the changes you want to make.
Meetings:  This group is now closed.  Look at the fall schedule for future offerings.
For more information, see the webpage, or contact Marilia Marien, PhD.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course (MBSR)

This MBSR course follows the guidelines developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the MBSR program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The MBSR course meets weekly for 2.5 hours and there is a retreat, scheduled on the Saturday after the sixth class.  In each of the MBSR classes, the facilitator guides participants through a number of mindfulness techniques and discussions of the practices. These techniques include breath awareness, mindful movement meditation, walking meditation and sitting meditation. The MBSR facilitators create a mindfulness community within the group, where the commonality of human experience can be witnessed and validated by each other. Participants have freedom to choose how they would like to participate, from little to a lot, in the discussion sections of the class.  This is a rigorous mindfulness course. Participants are expected to practice informal and formal mindfulness techniques each day during the eight weeks of the course. The recommended practice times vary from 30-60 minutes a day, with about half of that time devoted to integration of informal mindfulness into everyday life.

This group requires the completion of an intake package before participants are accepted into the group.

Spring 2017 MBSR Sessions: This group is now closed.  Look at the fall schedule for future offerings.
For more information, contact Aurora Casta, MD.

Mindfulness Meditation Drop-In Workshop Series

Meditation leads to: more efficient use of study time, improved concentration, decreased anxiety, decreased procrastination and improves "your edge." This workship is a drop-in workshop - come as often or as little as you like. No need to sign up. Newcomers always welcomed (please arrive at 4:30pm).  We will use the time from 6-6:30pm to answer questions about mindfulness experience during the week.  For more details about this workshop, please see our webpage.
Meetings: Thursdays 5-6pm, 4:30pm for newbies, (CANCELLED 5/18/17) 6-6:30pm optional informal time to discuss how to tailor the practice into one's daily life
For more information, please contact Ella Ray, PhD

Mindfulness Skills Group

    If you struggle with ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, this workshop is a great place to start to change that. This is a four session workshop series that will include information about mindfulness and guided meditation practices. Mindful awareness can be an important foundation for learning coping strategies for specific situations. Through the practice of mindfulness, a person can learn to develop greater calmness, clarity, and insight when facing different life experiences.  Mindfulness can help a person be in the present, have more awareness over one's actions and reactions, and live life more fully.  Each class builds upon what you learned in the previous class so you must attend the first class to be able to attend the whole series.
    Meetings: 4 Tuesdays, 12:30-1:45pm: April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25.
    To register click here. For more information contact Marilia Marien, PhD.

    RTG:  Reaching the Goal

    This eight-week group is for undergraduate and graduate students who experience ongoing difficulty setting and meeting academic and personal goals. Such difficulties include struggles with attention, concentration, motivation, and in other areas that may impact optimal functioning. Group members will meet once a week to discuss strategies for setting realistic and achievable goals. Attention will also be given to exploring strategies to help group members become more grounded and focused.
    Meetings:  Mondays 3-4:30pm
    For more information please contact Vanessa Dabel, PhD.

    Returning Students Group

    Are you a full-time undergrad who returned this semester after taking a leave?  So many students return from a leave of absence but come back without a place to talk about the experience.  Come join us to connect with others, gain more confidence, and learn skills for a successful semester back!
    : Starting on February 9th, Thursdays from 12-1pm

    For more
    information contact
    Jane Kotler, LCSW or Mara Capistrano, LSW.

    Support and Empowerment Group for Survivors of Sexual Assault

    The Support and Empowerment Group for Survivors of Sexual Assault is open to female-identified Penn undergraduate and graduate students who have been victims of sexual assault during their teen/adult years. This ten-week group will offer support, psychoeducation, interpersonal process, and collective empowerment. Weekly discussions are chosen by the participants and are related to recovery, the reestablishment of safety, healing, coping, and self-care. The focus of the group is to provide safety, connection, education, and support, as well as model relationship building.
    Meetings:  Starting on Friday Feb 17th, 10 Fridays, 3:30 - 5pm

    For more information, contact Di O'Neill, DSW Michelle Murray, PhD, or Vanessa Dabel, PhD.

    Support and Empowerment Group for Women of Color Survivors of Sexual Assault

    The Support and Empowerment Group for Survivors of Sexual Assault is open to all self-identified women of color Penn undergraduate and graduate students who have been victims/survivors of sexual assault during their teen/adult years.  Meeting weekly for 6 to 8 weeks, the group will aim to offer support, psychoeducation, and collective empowerment. Participants choose weekly topics related to recovery, the reestablishment of safety, healing, and coping. The group seeks to create a space to explore how race, ethnicity, and cultural identity inform connection and education when building support and relationships. The group is co-facilitated by Soumya Madabhushi, a psychologist at CAPS, and Sanjana Bijlani, a social worker at Penn Women's Center.
    Meetings:  Starting on Wednesday, Feb 8th, 3-4:30pm

    For more information, contact Soumya Madabhushi, PhD or Sanjana Bijlani.

    Support and Empowerment Group for Male Survivors of Sexual Assault

    This is a semi-structured group for male identified survivors of sexual assault experienced as a teenager or young adult.  While topics will vary and will be chosen by group members, reestablishment of and sensitivity to safety and inclusivity will be paramount. Psychoeducation, support, process and empowerment will be offered. Exploration of social identities, masculinity, and cultural and societal messages will be facilitated throughout this group in addition to weekly topics. The goal of this group is to co-construct a space where healing is a product of consistency, authenticity, trust and vulnerability among all members. Please contact us below to explore potential group membership.
    Meetings:  Starting on Thursday, March 30th, 7 Thursdays, 3-4:30pm
    For more information, contact Matt Poon, PsyD  or Colm Daly.

    Tell Us Your Story

    Experiences of discrimination and marginalization that occur in the world impact and shape the lived experience of each of us and our Penn community. This group provides an opportunity to explore how these events and experiences affect one's daily life, health, and wellness. This space affirms diversity and fosters inclusion, acknowledges oppression and offers support through story telling. Story telling gives us an opportunity to deepen our personal narrative, give voice to our experiences and to create connection with others. Each group meeting will have a theme (see dates below) where you can tell a story of what that word means to you. It is an open group, which means you can participate at any point of the semester - we always welcome new members. You can come weekly or whenever you are able to attend. There are six sessions on Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm to be held at Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC Patio room); and each group has trained CAPS facilitators. Light refreshments will be served.
    February 16th - Isolated
    February 23rd - Fear
    March 2nd - Outlier
    March 16th - Resilience
    March 23rd - Empowered
    March 30th - Advocate

    For more Information, see our webpage or contact Batsirai Bvunzawabaya, PhD or Vanessa Dabel, PhD.