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Current Groups Offered at CAPS


Sometimes a problem is better addressed through group counseling than individual therapy. Talking to other students who have similar experiences provides support and perspective. A counseling group can be powerfully healing and for some students, one of the most rewarding experiences during their years at UVa.

CAPS will offer groups and workshops this year. All of these groups are confidential and free of charge to full-time UVa students. In order to join a group, students must first participate in a Brief Screening or Intake Assessment with a CAPS therapist. For more information about group therapy or to schedule an initial appointment at CAPS, please call 434-243-5150.


This on-going support group is open to those previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It will provide a safe and confidential setting where members can explore experiences of living with unstable and unpredictable mood states, changing energy levels and variable functioning. The group offers support and can assist members with coping skills pertaining to mood instability, medication issues, life planning and managing the complexities of relationships from a “bipolar perspective.” A pre-group screening with the facilitator is required to join this group.

Lenny Carter, LPC and Kelley Midkiff, NP, CS
Fridays, 1:00
CAPS Large Group Room


Some students may notice that their use of alcohol or other drugs contribute to undesired consequences, or get in the way of important areas in their life.  As a result, they may decide to make a change in their alcohol and/or other drug use.  Making and maintaining this change may be difficult, especially in college.  This 8-week group focuses on helping participants understand their use a little better (e.g. when are you likely to drink more than usual?), and apply specific, concrete strategies to help them make and sustain their desired changes.  A pre-group screening with the facilitators is required to join this group (no commitment required).

Mark Silvestri, Ph.D.
Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:00pm
Student Health - Room 212


Our DBT Skills Training focuses on 4 major areas: (1) Mindfulness—skills to help you develop awareness to the present moment, reduce self-judgment, and decrease unwanted or ineffective coping behaviors, (2) Distress Tolerance – skills that help you tolerate and survive emotional crises without making things worse, (3) Emotion Regulation –skills that help you increase emotional resilience and decreasing vulnerability to emotional suffering, and (4) Interpersonal Effectiveness – skills to help you build new relationships, strengthen current ones, and deal with conflicts.  Upon completion, you will have your own toolkit to pull from when you have difficult life circumstances. By learning and practicing DBT skills, participants will experience healthier, fulfilling relationships, and embody the freedom of living more fully in the present. A pre-group screening with the facilitators is required to join this group.

Deepti Athalye, Ph.D., and Karen Painter, LPC
Fridays, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Student Health - L010


This group is designed for students who struggle with binge eating, purging, food restriction, excessive exercise, body image concerns, and other related issues. The interpersonal focus of the group allows members to explore relational and emotional patterns underlying their unhelpful behaviors. Members can use the group to increase awareness of their triggers, identify emotional needs, practice authentic communication, and learn more effective coping. This is not a structured group, and group members are encouraged to bring in and discuss issues relevant to their own struggles with eating, exercise, and body image. Self-esteem, relationships, self-expression, anxiety, perfectionism, self-criticism, and academic pressure are among the topics that may be discussed. Weekly attendance is expected. A pre-group screening with the facilitators is required to join this group.

Erin Tracy, Ph.D. and Deepti Athalye , Ph.D.
Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Student Health - L010


This is a 10-week group-based program designed to raise well-being, which focuses primarily on positive habits and skills, as well as positive attitudes.  A new module/skill is introduced each week, which students will practice and then write about their experience over the week.  Examples include identifying your values and strengths, learning mindfulness, dealing with negative emotions, and cultivating positive relationships.   In this program, you will learn how to overcome challenges you may have faced to building a life of well-being and happiness in order to achieve more sustainable well-being by:

  1. Learning 10 principles of sustainable well-being.
  2. Engaging in activities that apply these principles.
  3. Developing habits that integrate these principles into your daily life.

Results from initial randomized controlled trials have shown this program to improve life satisfaction and positive feelings in participants over the course of the program and at follow-up.  This group is ideal for those seeking an active approach with practical exercises to help you build a greater sense of well-being in your life.

Jeff Jennings, Ph.D.
Thursdays, 1:00
CAPS Large Group Room


This on-going group is open to graduate students and students of professional schools. Members will strive to provide a safe and confidential setting where the experiences of being a graduate/professional student can be freely discussed and support as well as coping strategies provided. A meeting with the group facilitator is required prior to joining the group.

Belinda Overstreet, Ph.D.
Fridays, 3:00
CAPS Large Group Room


Hoos Stress Less is a skills-based, structured group focused on teaching coping strategies to deal with anxiety and stress. The group has three rotating workshops (while classes are in session):

  1. Understanding Anxiety, Stress, and Its Impact
  2. Challenging Troubling Thoughts
  3. Coping Skills and Mindfulness

Students may join at any time. Students must complete a CAPS Brief Screening before joining this group. Please contact Sarah Cooper at for more information.

Sarah Cooper, LCSW
Wednesdays, 1:00 2:00pm
CAPS Large Group Room



This interpersonal process group is for students who want to explore their own identity and self-worth, find new ways to connect and communicate with others, and also understand what may be getting in their way of achieving these goals. Students can use the interpersonal interaction of the group to learn about themselves, identify and expand their own interpersonal patterns, try new behaviors and clarify confusing feelings within a supportive and growth producing atmosphere. A pre-group screening with the facilitator is required to join this group.

Mondays, 3:00 4:30pm
CAPS Large Group Room
Nicole Ruzek, Ph.D.
Tuesdays, 3:30 – 5:00pm
CAPS Large Group Room
Wednesdays, 3:00 – 4:30pm
CAPS Large Group Room
Bea Palma, Ph.D. and Phil Schulte, M.A.
Thursdays, 3:30
CAPS Large Group Room



This is a bi-weekly support group for international students to discuss common issues as they adjust to the culture in the U.S. and on UVa Grounds. International students often face multiple challenges, including language, communication, social, and academic stressors in a culturally new environment. This group is focused on:

  • Providing a safe and supportive place for connection
  • Discussing common issues during international students’ initial and on-going process of cross-cultural adaptation
  • Learning about resources and coping strategies
  • Discussing challenges and rewards associated with living, learning and working at UVA
  • Facilitating personal and cultural growth and academic success

This group is open to UVA undergraduate and graduate students as well as exchange students, postdoctoral researchers, medical residents and international scholars.

Baozhen Xie, Ph.D.
Fridays, 3:00 – 4:15pm
1515 Sunroom


This is a support group for students who want to become more comfortable within themselves, and with their gender identity and sexuality. This inclusive group welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender/gender non-conforming, queer, asexual, and intersex students. Members of the group include those who are fully out to others, those who are out to only a few chosen people, and those who are only just coming out to themselves. The group provides a confidential and safe space in which LGBTQ+ students can explore questions related to gender and sexuality, and also discuss issues related to societal and personal values, relationships, choices, self-esteem, and self-care. This is not thought of as a therapy group because we do not believe that LGBTQ+ identities are indicative of psychopathology. Instead, this group is designed to foster healthier adjustment and self-development in its participants by providing the opportunity to share, and reflect on their experiences, thoughts, and emotions in some depth in an atmosphere that is non-judgmental and supportive. A pre-group screening with the facilitator is required to join this group.

Katie Richard, LPC, and Corinne Lykins, Psy.M
Fridays, 12:30
Student Health - L010


This group is for students who have had some prior experience with meditation or mindfulness and are looking for a way to continue their practice in a safe and supportive space. The session will begin with a short didactic introduction, followed by meditation practice and debriefing. No in-person screening required; however, interested students must contact the facilitator before joining. If you are interested, please contact Nicole Ruzek, Ph.D.

Nicole Ruzek, Ph.D.
Fridays, 11:00am
CAPS Large Group Room


This on-going group is open to 4th year Commerce students who are interested in exploring the transition from being students to occupying new roles in their lives after graduation. The group will provide a safe and confidential setting where open discussions can occur and members support one another. An intake with Erin Tracy, Ph.D., at the School of Commerce is required prior to joining the group.

Erin Tracy, Ph.D.
Thursdays, 3:30 – 4:45pm

McIntire School of Commerce