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Health and Wellness at the College of Dentistry

University Counseling Services at the College of Dentistry designs and presents programs, workshops, and training to students, faculty, and staff. These include a variety of mental health and wellness topics including: academic skills, conflict and stress management, students in distress, work/life balance, suicide prevention, diversity issues, mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, body image, eating disorders, resilience, positive psychology, healthy sleep, healthy eating, sexual health, healthy relationships, effective communication, grief and loss and more

Weekly Yoga Classes in the Dental Science Building for students, faculty, and staff.

End of Semester Events with therapy dogs and massage chairs!

Counseling Services

  • Individual Therapy: to help students address individual concerns and stress
  • Couples Therapy: to promote relationship growth and relieve emotional stress. Both partners must have an active U of I student ID
  • Consultation: to assist faculty, students, and staff to help other infidivudals seek counseling
  • Referral: to meet the needs of students, if better served by other professionals.
  • Emergency Services: for students in crisis, experiencing suicidal thoughts or unmanageable feelings.

About Cari Anderson, embedded staff therapist

Cari Anderson, LISW, is a licensed clinical social worker who has been a staff therapist with University Counseling Service since 2015.  Cari is strongly committed to student and college health and wellness at the College of Dentistry.  Students and residents can expect to receive counseling services designed to meet their individual needs in a confidential, safe and inclusive space. Cari is also a trained consultant who also works with students and student groups to identify and work towards more effective personal, interpersonal, and organizational group functioning.  For more on Cari’s clinical approach and personal commitment to diversity, please check out her staff bio at https://counseling.uiowa.edu/about/staff/cari-anderson.


Who is eligible for clinical services at the UCS location within the College of Dentistry? 

Currently enrolled dental students, residents and Ph.D scholars are eligible for clinical services at UCS.  “Current enrollment” is determined by your status in MAUI.  Clinical services include:  individual, couples, and group counseling; consultations; case management and assistance with referrals.  Individual and couples counseling is typically brief in nature and students are eligible for one round of either per academic year (June-May). 

How do I make an appointment? 

The best way to make an appointment is to contact the embedded staff therapist, Cari Anderson, by:  (1) email cari-anderson@uiowa.edu; or (2) calling 319.335-6846/7294.   

What do I do in the event of an emergency or crisis? 

If you need help right now please phone 911 for help.  If you or someone you know has an emergency during the traditional business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and the embedded therapist is unavailable, please call UCS Westlawn at 319-335-7294 and ask the receptionist about same-day appointment availability or ask to speak with the Consultant-on-Duty. 

Other urgent or emergency situation

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

Concerns About Domestic Violence or Abuse

Suicide Help

Personal Safety

General College of Dentistry Assistance

  • Associate Dean of Students Office:  319-335-7164


I'm already in counseling at UCS and have graduated or have otherwise separated from UIowa.  Can I continue to see my counselor?

You will remain eligible for services for up to three sessions, not exceeding 21 days, beyond your separation from the University as long as your separation is not the result of a student code of conduct matter.  During that time frame, your counselor (or the UCS Case Manager) will assist you in wrapping up any remaining concerns and help you transition to a new therapist in the community, if you wish.

What is a brief therapy model? 

This means that a student and their assigned individual therapy counselor will focus on resolving clearly identified goals.  Brief Therapy is typically short term in nature and focuses on helping an individual resolve or effectively manage a specific problem or challenge, or make a desire change.  The UCS at the College of Dentistry does not have a formal session limit for individual therapy; instead, the number of sessions is determined by the need of the student.  Other factors for consideration include wait times which may vary by class in this location.  Typically, a student will meet with their counselor once a week for approximately 50-minutes and most students average around 8 appointments in order to meet their stated goals.  In some cases, a student may require more intensive, longer-term or ongoing individual therapy.  If this occurs, the counselor and the student collaboratively discuss the best options for treatment to meet their needs which may include any of the following: (1) remaining on the clinician’s caseload; (2) initiating a referral for UCS Case Management Services; (3) initiating a referral to a therapist who provides specialized or long term treatment options that are appropriate for the client’s needs; or (4) a referral or recommendation for group therapy either at this location or another UCS location on campus.

Can I receive support and/or documentation for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) from UCS? 

While agreeing that many people enjoy and take comfort in a relationship with an animal, it is UCS policy that a formal disability assessment is required to authorize an animal as an ESA.  Disability assessments are not within the scope of practice for the UCS.  Potential ethical and legal implications are noted.  This position is consistent with the recommendations outline by Younggren et.al. (2016) in “Examining Emotional Support Animals and Role Conflicts in Professional Psychology.”  (http://psycnet.apa.org/psycarticles/2016-27335-001.pdf)

What are the limits of information that you can share?

All contacts with University Counseling Services at all locations are strictly confidential in accordance with Iowa state privacy laws. Records are not available to individuals or agencies, either on or off campus, without a student’s specific written permission. UCS records are kept separately from medical records and academic records.  By law and by professional codes of ethics, confidentiality is only broken by a counselor when 1) the student is in imminent danger of harm to self or others 2) a therapist suspects abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 18 or other dependent or 3) a court orders a record. Even in these cases, we try our best to work with the student in communicating this information to other parties. In accordance with university policy, UCS records are destroyed after seven years.

Can staff and faculty receive services from UCS?

UCS only offers counseling services to UIowa students.  Staff and faculty can receive counseling and referral services at Faculty and Staff Services/Employee Assistance Program.  To learn more about their services, please visit their website (http://hr.uiowa.edu/fsseap/) or call (319) 335-2085. Staff and Faculty are eligible for consultations for concerns they have about students or for scheduling UCS staff for programming services.  Please see the section below regarding what types of situations are consultations helpful for and tips for supporting a troubled student.

What can parents and family do if they are concerned about their student?

Even within the limits of confidentiality, we strive to partner with you, our parents and families. If you have information you feel is important to let us know, we encourage you to call with the understanding that what you share with us can be shared with your student. We are also glad to speak with you in hypotheticals to give you the best idea of what typically happens with students seeking mental health services. Your student can also always sign a “Release of Information” to give us permission to talk directly with you.  Our mission includes working with parents and family so we strongly encourage you to contact us and let us consult with you to obtain the best outcome possible for you and your student.

The University Counseling Service is available to parents and families for a consultation regarding your student’s well-being.  We do consultations by phone but can also meet in-person if this is requested. We can provide information to you regarding how to make an effective referral, how to intervene or bring up your concerns about your student, and help you figure out what best to do about your concern.

What types of situations are consultations helpful for?

  • When you are alarmed by the student's behavior or words (for example, if the student is feeling very sad or anxious or threatens to hurt themselves or someone else);
  • When you hear that the student has not been attending class due to depression or personal problems;
  • When you are wondering how to intervene with the student who is making risky choices with alcohol or other substances;
  • When you are worried the student may have an eating disorder;
  • When the student seems to be having a difficult time getting over a relationship breakup or relationship concerns;
  • When you have read something in an assignment that raises your concern about the student.

The consultation may be about how you can personally respond or intervene with the student and/or how to make a successful referral to counseling.

The staff can offer advice and discuss your concerns about a student prior to the students coming to the University Counseling Service. Once a student comes to the University Counseling Service and becomes a client of our center, we can receive information from you about the student. However, we cannot reveal any information to you about your student, including whether or not the student has continued to come. The client may waive the right to confidentiality, giving us permission to share information with you, by signing a Release of Information.

Tips for being supportive with a troubled student (In a consultation we can talk with you about how to do the following):

  • 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 that you are willing to listen.
  • You want to be encouraging and hopeful but not minimizing.
  • Share similar experiences or feelings but do not then 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 that professional help is available.
  • Normalize that it is a positive sign to seek help when you need it.
  • Ask if the student is thinking about harming themselves if you are concerned that they are thinking this.
  • Follow up and find out how the student is doing

Annual Campus Security Report

The combined Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available on the UI Department of Public Safety’s website at http://police.uiowa.edu/about/campus-security-act/.  If you would like to receive a paper copy of this report, you may contact the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety at 808 University Capitol Centre, Iowa City, IA 52242, or by calling (319) 335-5022.  The report contains information regarding campus security and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, fire safety, university police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures and other matters of importance related to security and safety on campus. It also contains information about crime statistics for the three previous calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by UI; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.  This information is required by federal law.