University Counseling Service (UCS) at Tippie

Welcome to the University Counseling Service (UCS) at the Tippie College of Business. Tippie’s embedded therapist provides support through confidential clinical services, faculty and staff consultation, educational and supportive outreach, and prevention programming, all in service of student well-being and success.

Why an embedded therapist?

An embedded therapist works within a community and has specialized knowledge about the community being served. Kristin Wurster, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who is dedicated to understanding the specific and unique needs of business students at the University of Iowa and is committed to fostering positive mental health among our Tippie community. She is also a generalist who enjoys working with a broad range of presenting concerns. For more on her clinical approach, you can read her UCS staff bio.

FAQ

Tippie's embedded therapist offers a variety of services including:

  • Brief individual therapy
  • Consultation
  • Clinical workshops
  • Case management and assistance with referrals
  • Prevention and psychoeducational programs

During the fall and spring semesters, UCS programming is included in the UPO Newsletter. You can also sign up to receive a list of workshops and support groups hosted by UCS. These are available regardless of your location.

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think and feel, our relationships and how we relate to others, our abilities to adapt and cope with stress, and our sense of purpose and quality of life. There are many factors that affect our mental health, and they range from biological to psychological to environmental (including social, economic, and physical environments/systems).

Poor mental health and/or mental health disorders are often due to a complex interaction of these factors. It is not a person’s fault or a sign of weakness; nearly one in five U.S. adults will experience mental illness in a given year. With help and support in their recovery, people can lead meaningful and satisfying lives.

Tippie Senate has partnered with the embedded therapist to create a variety of resources that are available on the Tippie Senate website, including written and audio grounding and mindfulness exercises. Additionally, the UCS has self-paced resources available on their website (Coping through Covid-19 and Self-Help).

Some other things that are helpful:

  • Cultivate self-compassion. Notice how you are talking to yourself, and try to talk to yourself with the same kindness and care you would your dearest friend.
  • Make time for social connection. This could be talking with a supportive friend/family member, volunteering or participating in a student organization, introducing yourself to a classmate, etc.
  • Try to incorporate things you enjoy into your routine.
  • Get enough sleep (a challenge for many, and it very much matters). The Refresh program through Student Wellness is a great resource if you are wanting to improve your sleep.
  • If the stress you are experiencing is predictable, consider whether it is possible to change the situation or change your reaction. Examples include:
    • Change the situation
      • Avoid the stressor (e.g., by rearranging your schedule or surroundings, saying “no," etc.)
      • Alter the stressor (e.g., by asking others to change their behavior, communicating your needs, etc.)
    • Change your reaction
      • Adapt to the stressor (e.g., by adjusting your expectations, reframing the issue, etc.)
      • Accept that which you cannot change (e.g., acknowledging what is uncontrollable, talking with someone who is understanding, etc.)
  • Seek out help when you need it!

Currently enrolled Tippie students are eligible for clinical services with the embedded therapist. The UCS website provides further explanation about clinical eligibility.

*During the time that tele-mental health services are being provided, you will be asked where you are currently located as part of the scheduling conversation. Each state has specific limitations set by that state about who can provide services to its residents.

As a mental health-care provider, the embedded therapist is legally and ethically required to uphold standards of confidentiality. This means the therapist cannot release any protected/privileged information to professors, advisors, parents, or concerned friends without the student’s prior written informed consent. It also prohibits the embedded therapist and UCS staff from confirming or disconfirming that a student has made an appointment or attended sessions without the student’s prior written permission.

UCS records are kept separately from medical records and academic records. There are narrow exceptions when confidentiality must be broken, and these are:

  1. When the student is in imminent danger of harm to self or others
  2. In order to protect minors and dependent adults from current potential abuse
  3. If court-ordered by a judge in a current legal proceeding. The UCS website provides further information about confidentiality.

Tippie students can schedule an appointment by e-mailing Kristin Wurster directly (kristin-wurster@uiowa.edu) or by calling the UCS front desk at 319-335-7294. If you call the UCS front desk, clarify whether you would like to be scheduled with Kristin or any available therapist.

*During the time that tele-mental health services are being provided, you will be asked where you are currently located as part of the scheduling conversation. Each state has specific limitations set by that state about who can provide services to its residents.

Prior to your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out some forms providing information about yourself and your concerns. During your appointment, the therapist will speak with you for about 50 minutes to learn more about your concerns, relevant history, and goals. Then you will have a collaborative discussion about what would be helpful next.

In an emergency or crisis related to mental health, please utilize the following resources:

  • If you need immediate help, call 911 or go directly to the nearest hospital or emergency room.
  • If you are in the Iowa City area, you can contact the UIHC Emergency Treatment Center at 319-356-2233, or the Mercy Hospital Treatment Center at 319-339-3600.
  • Contact CommUnity Crisis Services: 1-855-325-4296
  • If you or someone you know has an emergency during the traditional business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the embedded therapist is unavailable, please call UCS at 319-335-7294 and ask the front desk staff about same-day appointment availability or ask to speak with the Consultant-on-Duty.

The embedded therapist is available for consultation with faculty and staff seeking guidance on how to support a student. If you have information you feel is important to share with the embedded therapist, you are encouraged to consult with the understanding that what you share can be shared with the student as well. Examples of when consultation can be helpful include:

  • You are alarmed by a student’s behavior or words (or example, if a student is feeling very sad or anxious or threatens to hurt themself or someone else)
  • When a student has not been attending class due to low mood or personal problems
  • When a student seems to be having a difficult time in their personal life
  • When a student demonstrates a drastic change in behavior
  • When you have read something in an assignment or observed something in class that raises your concern about a student’s wellbeing.

Depending on your needs, consultation can help you gain clarity on the situation and how you can personally respond or intervene, provide on- and off-campus resources, learn how to make a referral if appropriate, or clarify your own feelings about the student/situation and consider the ways you can be most effective. Remember the embedded therapist cannot reveal whether a student has attended or is currently attending counseling. You can access further information on helping students in emotional distress.

Below are ways you can support someone about whom you have concern. You can also schedule a consultation with the embedded therapist to talk further.

  • The major way to support a troubled student is to listen and try to be nonjudgmental.
  • Just being present even when there is silence is also helpful.
  • You want to convey that you care, and you are willing to listen.
  • You want to be encouraging and hopeful but not minimizing.
  • If relevant, you can share similar experiences or feelings but do not take the spotlight.
  • Avoid promising total secrecy in case you need to reveal something to keep the student safe but be reassuring that you will respect the student's privacy.
  • Be clear that there are limits to your support and professional help is available.
  • Normalize help-seeking behavior.
  • If you are concerned whether the student is thinking about harming themself, ask directly.
  • Follow up and find out how the student is doing.

Additionally, students, faculty and staff can access training through the Kognito suicide prevention program, which is an online, interactive role-play simulation that builds awareness, knowledge, and skills about mental health and suicide prevention.