YU Counseling Center Announces Three New Student Support Groups

By: Mili Chizhik  |  February 16, 2021

By Mili Chizhik, News Editor

On February 4, the Yeshiva University Counseling Center announced that there will be three new support groups for students on both campuses. There is a group for LGBTQ+ support, a group for anxiety and stress management support, and one for COVID and college support. These confidential support groups will be run by the counseling center staff and will be held over Zoom.

The email sent out described that the LGBTQ support group is for “students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community,” and if any student is interested, they should email Shira Silton, LCSW at shira.silton@yu.edu. Similarly, the anxiety and stress management group “will focus on learning practical skills to manage anxiety and stress, based on the evidence-based principles of DBT [dialectical behavioral therapy] and CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy],” and students should contact Dr. Rochel Ausubel at rausubel@yu.edu. Lastly, the group for COVID and college “will learn mindfulness-based techniques for dealing with the challenges of being a college student today,” and those interested should email Dr. Robert Ogle at Robert.ogle@yu.edu.

Dr. Yael Muskat, the director of the YU Counseling Center, said that “When one is facing a challenge, or needing emotional support, groups are a wonderful way to connect and learn from others who are going through similar experiences. The Counseling Center has run groups in the past and it is always an enriching experience. In the past, it was often challenging with busy schedules, to gather enough students at the same time and place. One of the silver linings of the [Z]oom era is that we are able to use the virtual platform to gather in more flexible and convenient ways.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to run some more groups, with specific, relevant topics, and began with a Stress Management group and a LGBTQ support group and we are very excited that they [are] in the beginning stages. The formation of the LGBTQ support group was inspired both by a high level of student interest as well as a strong desire by the Counseling Center to provide this valuable outlet as a platform for students in the LGBTQ community to communicate and share, learn and support one another with the guidance of a caring professional.”

Additionally, the Pride Alliance board shared that “As part of our mission to provide a supportive space on campus for all students, the Pride Alliance has met with members of the YU Counseling Center with the goal of improving LGBTQ+ students’ access to mental health resources at YU. The recently announced LGBTQ+ peer support group is a great, significant step towards this goal, and we are confident that it will provide much-needed support and improve the lives of many YU LGBTQ+ students. We look forward to continuing our work with the YU administration to move on to the next step, and establish an official club at YU to further provide crucial support and resources.”

During the current academic year, YU had a few events that were directly related to the LGBTQ+ community and mental health, such as the “Mental Health and LGBTQ: What Helps and What Hurts” event with Dr. Sara Gluck and the “Being LGBTQ in an Orthodox World” panel where one can hear “personal narratives of LGBTQ+ individuals who have attended or are currently in YU,” as was advertised. 

Dr. Muskat continued further, saying that the “Stress Management groups were brought back at this time, with the recognition of the high levels of anxiety and stress students are feeling due to COVID and in general, during this exciting but demanding time of their lives.

“We hope these groups will positively impact our students and cultivate an even greater sense of belonging, education and ongoing social support.

“It is important to note that support groups are designed to foster trust and the fundamental building block for that trust is that membership and content discussed in the group is confidential. Group facilitators and group members discuss and agree upon all the ways in which this is maintained and guarded.”

To make an appointment with the Counseling Center, please email counseling@yu.edu.