Category: Health and Wellness

UMKC Counseling Services Group Therapy – Fall 2020

By , September 3, 2020 8:09 pm

Group therapy helps participants learn more about themselves and their relationships. Groups are a powerful and effective option for most emotional concerns and provide a supportive and safe environment to explore common issues together.

Please contact Dr. Keara Sherman at or (816) 235-5328 for questions or to enroll in any of the following groups:

Interpersonal Processing GroupsMonday 3:00-4:30pm or Thursday 8:30-10:00am

These groups are designed to help individuals become more aware of your thoughts and feelings through exploring the “here-and-now” with other group members. This fosters greater self-awareness and more nourishing relationships that extend well beyond the therapeutic space.

LGBTQIA+ SupportMonday 9:00-10:00am

This semester-long support group will provide a space for anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ in which you can feel safe to discuss what’s going on in your life, relevant topics, or anything else you desire with peers and a facilitator from Counseling Services. This is a group for you to receive and give support, learn about other people’s experiences, and be in a safe place for exploration.

Grief and Loss SupportTuesdays 12-1pm

This group provides a supportive and safe space for students to learn about the grieving process, as well as share experience of loss and give and receive emotional support. Members of the group will be limited to those who have experienced a recent loss, or those who have had a significant loss (i.e. parent, sibling) at some point in their life.

Moving ForwardThursday 4:00-5:00pm

This will be a confidential and supportive space for female-identifying students who have experienced sexual violence in any form. This group will help bring together students and assist them in gaining support, as well as exploring ways to help heal through learning coping strategies and sharing stories. This safe and supportive time together will be guided by topics and concerns, including coping, managing triggers, trust and safety, managing relationships, self-esteem, and others.

Coping in CrisisWednesday 3:00-4:00pm or Friday 1:00-2:00pm

The current pandemic has brought with it unprecedented losses in every community, and has disproportionately impacted communities of color, underserved communities, and vulnerable populations. Many have experienced feelings of fear, loss, isolation, anxiety, and sadness, among many others. This group will be primarily supportive, but will also provide skills and psychoeducation related to stress relief, connection, coping in uncertain times, and mindfulness.

Body WellnessTuesday 11:00am-12:00pm

A group aimed at helping students who want to explore body image, as well as their relationship with food, and disordered eating.

Beyond AddictionMonday 2:00pm-3:00pm

When a family member or friend is dealing with substance use issues, it can be difficult for those who love and care about them. This support group provides a supportive, safe space for individuals to come together and be inspired and empowered, as well as share hope and grow with the help of peers and the support of counselors.

Health Sciences SupportThursday 6:00-7:00pm

This group will allow current Health Sciences students to discuss the challenges they face, ways to deal with the hurdles and hassles of school, find ways to connect with others, and consider ways to manage stress and live a balanced life. Topics will include academics, stress management skills, relationships, career concerns, and more.

Empowering WomenFriday 10:00-11:00am

This group provides a safe space for individuals who identify as women to come together to share and explore challenges, stressors, and successes in their lives. This supportive space will allow women to receive multiple perspectives, feedback, and empowerment from one another. 

Dissertation /Thesis SupportThursday 5:00-6:00pm

A support group for students who are currently working on their thesis or dissertation. This offers a supportive space to discuss challenges and successes, as well as tips and ideas, from others who are facing the same frustrations, isolation, struggles, and successes that come with writing a dissertation or thesis.

Success, Not ExcessThursday 12:00-1:00pm

This support group is for students who may have concerns related to some form of substance use and how it may be impacting their personal, social, and academic lives. This group is directed towards those students who want to find ways to manage, reduce, or quit using certain substances. By combining peer support, therapeutic strategies, and psychoeducation, this group will help students to identify, develop, and implement effective strategies based on their own goals.

Men’s EngagementThursday 9:00-10:00am

This group provides a space for students who identify as men to come together and discuss concerns, explore and manage their mental health, and reflect on their relationships with others. The group will allow for exploration of societal and family impacts on what it means to be a man. A relaxed and supportive environment will allow group members to provide and receive feedback and discuss relevant topics, challenges, and successes.

Ready and AbleThursday 3:00-4:00pm

A support group for those who are navigating life as a college student with a health and/or other disability issue. This group will provide an affirming and safe space for students who have similar life experiences, to feel validated, understood, and encouraged.

First GenFriday 11:00am-12:00pm

This support group for first generation college students will provide a supportive space for individuals to build community, navigate new situations, discuss struggles and successes, and receive useful feedback. Group members will also receive therapeutic support, psychoeducation, and practical college information and coping skills from the clinical facilitator. 

Art TherapyOctober (Dates and times TBD)

This group will meet in person once a week. There are no grades nor judgments here, the purpose is to make art to find relief from stress by promoting mindfulness, self-awareness, and resiliency. Wear your mask and practice physical distancing. Art supplies provided, and no artistic talent is required to participate. Contact Melanie Arroyo Perez at to sign up.

Acing Academic AnxietyTuesday 5:00-6:00pm

A counseling group for students who experience anxiety around academics. These 4-session series will help students learn skills to manage and reduce test-taking anxiety and other academic stressors.

Stressed? Help and Healthy Resources

By , April 15, 2020 11:29 am

An interview with Dr. Arnie Abels, Director of UMKC Counseling Services, by Patricia O’Dell.

The strain of the personal and global effects of the coronavirus pandemic may be unavoidable.  But there are resources available to help manage stress and anxiety.  Arnie Abels, Ph.D., director of Counseling, Health, Testing and Disability Services at UMKC, suggests strengthening your assets may help you manage your emotional needs.

“One thing to remember is that every experience is individual,” Abels said.  “For some people, isolation is a huge blow.  Those folks are learning to be creative – trying new activities or using Zoom or online activities – to stay connected to other students, friends and family.

For others, the physical constraints may be more challenging.  They need to figure out how to get enough sleep, the best way to exercise and create a routine.  Others’ primary concerns may be financial as they lose jobs and may need to change living situations.

All of this is valid.  Each of us needs to understand that all of these things are important and manage our own individual emotional needs.”

He notes that students graduating this spring may be feeling completely differently than underclassmen.  “Having the experience of virtual graduation and the opportunity to walk at a later date may be more helpful than some people realize,” Abels said.  “It may ease the grief of not experiencing that ceremony.  For some, it may be a wonderful addition.”

Noticing an increase of posts on social media related to alcohol and drugs, Abels cautions about turning to substances for relief.  “First, smoking cigarettes or cannabis creates vulnerability in your lungs, which we all need to avoid,” he said.  “We don’t judge, but we want to encourage people to make healthy choices. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink – if you’re of legal age – but drinking to excess can create difficult situations with difficult consequences, especially if you are using it to avoid feelings.”

There are healthier ways to deal with stress.  “Getting enough sleep is very important,” Abels said. “One of the things that may help with this is regular exercise. Eating healthy will feel better. But not everything needs to be productive.  Along with online exercise videos, Swinney Rec is offering a video-gaming competition.  That could be a great escape as well.”

Abels encourages people to take the opportunity to see how we can grow and become better individually and as a group.  “Personally, I’m writing letters to the people I care about.  It’s a creative process for me and it allows me to let people know in a way that may be out of the ordinary and maybe more special than an email or text.”

Mental Health Resources

Personal counseling:  UMKC Counseling offers several resources to students, faculty and staff to promote mental health.  There is currently a waitlist, but Abels and his team are working with the Missouri Governor’s Office to try and suspend licensing restrictions so that they can provide online counseling to students who are now outside the state.

Mind Over Mood:  A three-week workshop focused on grief and anxiety.  The counseling office is working to provide ADA- compatible transcripts and videos on the site as additional resources.

Movement Matters:  Swinney Recreation is offering fitness classes available through Instagram stories, and Esports including PS4 and X-Box Fifa and Madden.

Help at Your Fingertips:
The Sanvello app provides on-demand help for stress, anxiety and depression.
Roos for Mental Health has additional resources.

Take care of yourself with the Sanvello App

By , November 12, 2019 11:03 am

We are happy to announce that full access to the Sanvello application is available to all UMKC students, faculty, and staff members at no cost. Sanvello is the #1 app for on-demand help for stress, anxiety, and depression.

Sanvello is a mobile- and web-based application offering clinically validated techniques and support to relieve mental health symptoms and promote healthy habits and behaviors.  As mental health and well-being become increasingly salient topics in higher education, this tool provides a new, innovative, and accessible way to support our community.  

The Sanvello app provides a range of features, including:

  1. daily mood tracking – the first step in the Sanvello journey is a simple daily question that allows you to capture your current mood and assess progress.
  2. guided journeys – designed by clinical experts, Sanvello guided journeys are engaging experiences that put the power of cognitive behavioral therapy to work for you. Each journey is progressive, helping you feel better and more in control over time.
  3. coping tools – Sanvello offers quick access to coping solutions for symptom management right when you need them: a moment to relax, meditate, practice mindfulness, or manage stressful situations.
  4. progress assessments – without labels or judgment, Sanvello assessments are professional evaluations to help you understand your progress.
  5. community support – you are not alone. One of the most powerful features of Sanvello is our peer student community, where you can find support and inspiration together.

For free full access, simply download the app from the App Store, Google Play, or the Sanvello webpage and register with your UMKC email address.

Mid-Term Stress

By , October 9, 2019 9:17 am

This week is likely the time you are busy taking mid-term exams or prepping for group projects. There may seem to be so many deadlines that it’s hard to keep up with what’s next. Just remember that everyone stresses–and stress can also be good for you! Like butterflies before an actor goes out on stage, stress just means you care and are motivated to do well. But too much stress, or not being able to manage your stress, can be a overwhelming.

Let’s take a quick look at ways to focus on and use your stress to the best advantage.

  • Make a list. Start big: what are the major projects, papers, and exams coming up? Next, for each big thing, what are the steps you need to take to finish each one successfully? Write everything down, no matter how small. These are the foundation on which successful projects are built! Plus, it’s very satisfying to check things off a to-do list.
  • Eat breakfast. Start your day right…after getting a full-night’s rest, of course! Be sure to take care of yourself–physically and emotionally!
  • Take breaks. It seems a small thing and possibly counter-intuitive, but taking breaks helps keep you refreshed. Take a walk, grab a snack, or catch your favorite re-run. You just may have a different outlook when you get back to your project.
  • Join a study group. Tackling difficult concepts as a group is better than puzzling over something by yourself. Be sure to celebrate a job well-done afterwards!
  • Keep notes. Yes, take notes in class, but also notice your moods and how you are feeling at different times and situations. Having a base-line can help you adjust your habits and expectations. Mid-morning slump? Stop and take a walk to get refocused. Jittery before a test? Breathe deeply and remind yourself that you’ve got this.

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