Engemann Group Counseling and Drop-In Workshops

Below are descriptions of the available groups at the Engemann Student Health Center. If you are interested in participating in one of our groups, please call (213) 740-7711 and ask to speak to the facilitator of the group you are interested in joining, or submit the Group Interest form above.  If you are not sure what group might interest you, please either complete the Group Interest Form short survey and someone will be in contact with you, or contact Dr. Abbie Wolfson, Group Program Coordinator. You can also go online to schedule an initial appointment to discuss your options with one of our counselors. Unless otherwise noted, closed group generally begin in week 4-6 of the semester.

Spring 2019 Group Counseling Calendar

Engemann Student Health Center location – UPC campus – Spring 2019 Group Counseling

Support and Skills Groups:

Bipolar Support Group:  

Tuesday, 3:30-5:00pm – led by Sarah Schreiber, LCSW

A space for students who are living with Bipolar Disorder to learn ways to cope, share experiences, and receive support from peers.

Effective Living Skills:  

Friday, 10:15-11:45am–led by Dani Gonzalez, PHD/Maggie Dennison, BA

Rolling Admissions

The Effective Living Group is a group for students who feel that it is difficult to manage intense emotions. It is meant to teach a variety of skills adapted from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)to assist individuals who struggle with emotional and interpersonal issues. Learning modules include Regulating Emotions, Tolerating Distress, Increasing Mindfulness, and Improving Relationships. Each week the group will review old material, teach new material, and assign practice exercises. Group members will interact with each other and help each other learn and grow during this process.

Face Your Fears:  

Tuesday, 5:15-6:45pm – led by Charlie Padow, LCSW

10-week skills-based therapy group for students with panic, phobias and social anxiety intended to help those interested in managing and overcoming their specific fears (e.g. social situations, driving, crowded spaces, heights, having a panic attack in public, etc.) in order to live a more fulfilling life. The group provides a therapeutically supportive environment for participants to learn anxiety management strategies and practice gradual exposure exercises to reduce avoidant behavior related to their specific fear.

Find your Focus (ADHD):  

Friday, 2:30-4:00pm – led by Alise Cogger, PHD /Susan Ramirez, PHD

Provides support for students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Meet others facing similar challenges, learn strategies for academic and personal success, and practice new behaviors. Topics include, but are not limited to: time management, organization, procrastination, problem-solving, relationship issues, building attention span, decreasing distractibility, and valuing unique strengths.

Healing Arts:  

(RSVP) Wednesday, 4:00-5:30 – led by Emily Shinne, PHD

Open to all students; no art experience required. This program uses the experience of creating art projects to promote emotional well-being.  Participants will engage in various art projects that focus on positivity and relaxation.

Living with Anxiety:

Tuesday 12:00 – 1:30pm led by Melissa Pottash, LCSW

A 5-week structured therapy group for students experiencing anxiety. Group members will be able to share their experiences living with anxiety in a supportive environment. Using a cognitive-behavioral approach, the group will address negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anxiety, and assist students in challenging and replacing negative self-talk. Students will learn skills and strategies, such as relaxation, breathing, and mindfulness techniques, to assist with managing anxiety symptoms. Group repeats throughout the semester.

Managing Mood:

Tuesday, 3:45 – 5:15pm – led by Andy Iskandar, LCSW /Lauren Cook, MFT – ( 2 sessions, one at start and one at the midpoint of semester.)

This skills group for students who often experience anxiety, depression, shame or any other difficult emotion, runs once during the first half of the semester and starts again half-way through the semester. This group uses an evidence-based model to help students identify emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components of distress. Students will also be taught new and more effective ways to respond to their emotions. The group begins both at the start of the semester and again at the mid-point.

Mindfulness Skills for Daily Living:  

Friday, 12:00-1:30pm – led by Yong Park, PHD/Amanda Tom,MA

Rolling Admissions

A structured and experiential group class using mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and to build relation and well-being skills. Students will learn ways to be more present, aware, accepting, and compassionate of their experiences. Students will have the opportunity to learn and engage in different types of mindfulness practices each week

Mindful Well-Being:  

Tuesday, 10:15 –11:45am – led by Robin Ward, LCSW/Kelsey Mendoza, MA

Through mindfulness practice, exercises, and discussion, the group will help participants in addressing self-judgment and cultivating self-compassion.

Peace with Food:  

Tuesday, 2:00 – 3:30pm – led by Dani Gonzalez, PhD/Christa Nelson,MA

Provides support for students in managing the struggle with the relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves. Primary focus is helping students understanding the function of the role of food in their lives, underlying emotional concerns, learning to name feelings, and alternative coping with feeling.

Progress Not Perfection:  

Wednesday 5:00-6:30 – led by Erika Nanes, LMFT

For students struggling with anxiety about test-taking, writing, or other academic tasks. This structured group will provide ways to combat the perfectionistic thinking and self-judgment that can cause procrastination and even paralysis. Starts mid-March.

Seeking Safety:  

Wednesday 12:15 – 1:45, Kathy Rojas, LCSW

Seeking Safety is an evidence based skills group designed to help students who have responded to trauma through unsafe coping such as all forms of addiction (including substances, on-line activities, gambling, etc) or other self-destructive behaviors that are interfering with their life  (including binging and purging). 10 weekly topics will focus on building safe coping skills to replace those potentially harmful behaviors. Safety is the overarching goal and ways of attaining safety in relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions will be explored.

Social Confidence Group:  

Wednesday, 3:30-5:00pm or Friday 1:30-3:00pm   – led by Broderick Leaks, PHD/Michelle Feldman MS/Jack Irmas, BA

A structured skills group that focuses on the needs of individuals with social and performance anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies will be employed as well as exposure exercises. Group topics include anxiety management, assertiveness and communication skills.

Thriving with Depression and Anxiety (ACT based):

Monday, 2:15 – 3:45pm led by Paul Zawacki, LCSW /Justin Barker, MPSY

Learn to how to stop anxious feelings, depressed moods, worried thoughts, and self-defeating behaviors from running your life in this structured 10-week group.

Yoga as Healing:

(RSVP), Thursday afternoons,  led by Emily Shinne, PHD

For survivors of sexual trauma; all yoga levels welcome. Slow-flow yoga practice, paired with education and community, to reconnect to mind, body and spirit after sexual trauma.

Support and Process Groups:

Living with Loss:

Thursday, 3:30-5:00pm – led by Yong Park, PHD – Rolling admissions

For students who have lost a loved one at any point in their lives. The loss could be a parent, friend or relative. Group provides a place for students to meet with others who are experiencing grief, learn about the grieving process, and share coping strategies.

Gender Spectrum: Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Support Group:

Thursday, 3:00-4:30pm – led by Bryce McDavitt, PHD

A supportive space to talk with other students about life and issues related to gender identity.  Topics are based on students’ interest and can include exploring your identity; trust and relationships; dealing with cisgenderism or internalized transphobia; coping with stresses of campus life; transitioning and (hormones; coming out; dating; family and societal expectations; and life in general. Accommodates 6-8 members; participation is confidential.

Graduate Relationship Group:  

Monday, 5:15-6:45pm– led by Parissa Nili, PSYD

This group provides a safe and supportive environment that allows you to better understand yourself and to practice more effective ways of relating to others. This group will offer you opportunities for experiencing giving and receiving interpersonal feedback, becoming more comfortable with having personal conversations with others, and establishing relationships founded in authenticity and trust. Members participate weekly for the entire semester.

Graduate Women Student Support Group:  

Tuesday, 4:45-6:15pm – led by Christina Mohajerani, PSYD

This support group is a space where female-identified students can support and learn from one another about managing the demands of being in a graduate program, specifically:  how to balance school and other parts of their life, develop and maintain a social support network, cope with feelings of being an imposter, discuss difficulties with advisors and/or peers, or other topics group members would like to explore together

International Tea Time:  

Thursday, 1:00 – 2:30pm  – led by Annie Hsueh, PHD – Rolling Admissions

A therapeutic discussion and support group to provide space for international students to share their experience here at USC. This is a chance to discuss anything that is confusing, difficult, or amusing. Themes commonly discussed include communication, relationships, homesickness, identities, and adjusting to USC in general.

Sexual Orientation Support Group:  

Monday, 3:30-5:00pm – led by Bryce McDavitt, PHD

This group addresses life and relationship issues related to sexual orientation.  Talk openly with other students about being pansexual, asexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or other sexual identities. Topics are based on students’ interest and can include exploring your identity; trust and relationships; dealing with heterosexism or internalized homophobia; dating; family and societal expectations; and self-esteem. The group accommodates 6-8 members, and participation is confidential.

Undergraduate Relationship Groups:  

Wednesday, 2:00-3:30pm – led by Elizabeth Reyes, PHD

2nd group starts mid-March Thursday, 5:15-6:45pm – led by Parissa Nili, PSYD/Sabrina Schoneberg, MSW

This group focuses on learning how to have vital, rewarding, authentic relationships. We talk about friendships and romantic/sexual relationships, as well as professional, academic, and family relationships. Relating to others effectively and fulfillingly is an ability that can grow through practice. Group members work on improving this ability through the interactive nature of the group itself, and by giving and receiving honest feedback about each other’s style of relating.

Women of Color:  

Thursday, 5:00 – 6:30pm –led by Brittany Beasley, PHD

The Women of Color group is a weekly on-going support space for students of color who identify as women to discuss the complexities of navigating personal and interpersonal spaces within and outside of USC. Students can discuss, explore, and give voice to feelings and experiences related to campus climate, racism, racial/ethnic identity, oppression and privilege, self-esteem, relationships, family, intersectionality, stress/coping, resiliency/growth, and other topics of interest.

Workshops and Drop-In Groups at Engemann/UPC:

Feel Better Workshops:  

Drop-In, in the Trojan Conference Room on the first floor of Engemann Student Health Center, led by Counseling Services Staff.

These workshops are open to all undergraduate and graduate students who would like to learn basic skills or consider new approaches to improve their ability to manage stress or cope with adversity.

No registration required.

Topics repeat every month.

Wednesday 2:00 – 3:00pm

1st Wednesday: Improve your Mood: steps to feel better

2nd Wednesday: Be Resilient and Thrive

3rd Wednesday: First Semester Trojans: Adjusting to College at USC

4th Wednesday: Using Emotions Wisely – be more effective.

5th Wednesday: Procrastinators Anonymous (held only on months that have a 5th Thursday).

Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm

1st Thursday of month:   Stress Management – tools to better manage inevitable life stress.

2nd Thursday of the month:   Managing Emotions – tools to manage difficult emotions and stay healthy.

3rd Thursday of the month:   Calm Your Anxiety – tools to manage anxiety and nervousness.

4th Thursday:  Healthy Relationships – building and improving relationships.

5th Thursday:   Preventing Procrastination and Perfectionism – understand how your mindset impacts academic anxiety and overcome procrastination (held only on months that have a 5th Thursday).

*Let’s Talk – Individual Drop-In Sessions

No appointment necessary. Just drop-in!

UPC Campus:

Where: all sessions held in Room 422, Student Union

Time: all sessions held from  2:30pm to 3:30pm

Mondays – with Karina Ramos, PhD

Wednesdays – with Annie Hsueh, PhD –

Thursdays – with Kendra Archer

Lets Talk-Group Drop-In Workshops

Where: Parkside for International Students (specific location TBD) with Kelsey Mendoza and Mandi Ginsburg

When: Time and Date TBD (Please check back for more information.)   

Mindfulness Drop-In:  

Monday 12:00-12:30pm – Robin Ward, LCSW/Alise Cogger, PHD

An ongoing silent meditation practice that meets  every Monday from 12pm to 12:30 pm at Counseling and Mental Health Services, Suite 304, in the Engemann Student Health Center. We begin with a brief guided meditation. All students, faculty and staff are welcome. No registration necessary.

Campus Partners that offer Groups:

Disability Services and Programs

Please visit the Office of Disability Services and Programs for information about their available groups.

The Haven

Please visit The Haven at College to find out about groups they offer for students evaluating or struggling with substance use.

Mindful USC

Offers resources about mindfulness including classes and workshops.


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