Group Counseling

What is Group Counseling? – Group is a therapy format that approaches issues of personal growth through the use of interpersonal interaction – to interact with others to identify and understand our maladaptive patterns and how to change them.  Group interactions provide an opportunity to build relationships and receive interpersonal feedback about how we experience one another.  You can gain specific skills and strategies to meet personal goals, explore areas that present personal challenges, and gain support and encouragement from others.  Group is one of the most effective ways to explore and support changes you wish to make in your life.

When Do Groups Meet? – Typically, groups meet once/weekly for approximately an hour and an half in one of several group rooms located at Student Counseling Services (SCS).  Group sessions are offered year round and many groups are ongoing from one semester to the next.  This allows group members to continue beyond one semester when it is therapeutically beneficial.  Groups do not meet during university holidays or semester breaks. 

What to Expect? – If this is your first experience in a therapy group, you probably have some apprehensions – most people do.  Coming to group for the first time is often the hardest part about group.  However, after getting past the first group meeting, many students describe it as a very valuable and helpful experience.  Most groups consist of one to two therapists and six to ten group members.  Feeling safe in group is very important to a successful group experience and all group members’ confidentiality is protected.  Also, some group members will be ready to disclose their thoughts and feelings early on in group; others need more time to gain feelings of trust and security.  Group members’ pace and readiness for sharing is respected.  Regular, weekly attendance is expected of all group members. 

How to Get Started? – SCS is happy to help you determine which group would be the best fit for you.  If you are interested in joining a group, stop by our office (3rd floor, Student Services Building), fill out paperwork, and meet with a counselor to determine if group is the right fit for you.  You can also contact the SCS Group Therapy Coordinator, Dr. Christian Wimmer, for more information:

Christian L. Wimmer, Ph.D.
Training Director
License Psychologist
Student Counseling Service
2223 Student Services Bldg., 3rd Floor
Iowa State University
Ames, IA  50011-2223
Phone: 515-294-1314

Walk-in Groups



Mindfulness Meditation Class



OPEN drop-inswelcome




Group Descriptions

Living without Disordered Eating Skills Group – These groups are skills-based therapy groups for students with disordered eating and body image concerns. The major goal of the group is to learn new skills to leave behind disordered eating thoughts and behaviors and to learn to embrace self and body acceptance.  During the semester long group, members will learn new skills such as mindfulness practices, emotional awareness and regulation techniques, interpersonal strategies, practices for openness and flexibility, and overall gain the ability to cope more effectively with difficult experiences.

Trauma Recovery Groups – These groups are for students who have experienced a relational pattern in which trust was broken or survived a trauma such as a distressing break-up, emotional/verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse/assault, stalking, or have been taken advantage of sexually.  Focus is on building sense of self and exploring how to integrate past hurts with present day life.

Mindfulness Meditation Group – This group is designed to help students learn the practice of mindfulness meditation.  Each meditation session will begin with 15-20 minutes of guided sitting meditation, followed by 10-15 minutes of discussion, and will conclude with another 15-20 minutes of guided sitting meditation.  This is an open group and drop-ins are always welcome.  No appointments necessary.  Come just once, or as often as you like.  

Understanding Self and Others (USO) Group – Many groups offered at SCS are general process-oriented groups for students dealing with a variety of issues of personal concern (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress, and relationship concerns, among other things). Members explore patterns of how they relate to themselves and others with the aim of developing greater understanding and acceptance, changing current behaviors, and developing better ways of coping.  Some of our USO groups also have themes, or special areas of attention. 

USO Students of Color – This is a safe space to share your experiences as a person of color living in a predominantly White society and navigating a predominantly White university. Group topics may include managing depression/anxiety, coping with minority stress, juggling multiple roles/identities, micro-aggressions, managing cultural and familial identities and relationship concerns. This group strives to increase awareness of how cultural and racial identity may influence all areas of our lives.