Counseling Services

SHAW Counseling Services During COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about Grinnell College’s COVID-19 response, please visit the COVID-19 webpage.


Available to all students no matter their location.

Workshop Summary

This workshop teaches skills for managing strong emotions and impulses that interfere with our lives and relationships. The workshop uses principles of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT has been demonstrated to be effective in helping individuals across populations facing a variety of challenges. DBT skills center dialectics, or the balance between opposites, and behavior as the catalyst for change. The skills taught in DBT are for anyone interested in improving their relationship to their emotions and managing conflict better.

Facilitator: Teague Craig, Staff Counselor
When: Wednesdays noon–1 p.m. CST, starting Sept. 16
Where: See schedule below for each week’s link.
Who: Students in any location

Workshop description

This workshop teaches skills for managing strong emotions and impulses that interfere with our lives and relationships. The workshop uses principles of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which was originally developed in the 1990s to help individuals dealing with significant emotional and relational instability. DBT has since been demonstrated to be effective in helping individuals across populations facing a variety of challenges. DBT skills center dialectics, or the balance between opposites, and behavior as the catalyst for change. Ultimately, the skills taught in DBT are for anyone interested in improving their relationship to their emotions and managing conflict better.

What are DBT skills and what should I expect?

DBT is comprised of four skills-based modules: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. In this workshop, we focus on skills in one module each week and present different skills each time we rotate through a module, such as self-soothing for distress tolerance, or assertive communication for interpersonal effectiveness.

Workshop norms and expectations will be reviewed briefly at the start of every session and include the following:

  • Honor confidentiality of others
  • Refrain from giving advice
  • Agree that you are not currently having thoughts of harming yourself or others (or if you are, agreement to share and pursue safety plans to prevent harm)
  • Mute yourself when not speaking
  • Turn on your camera to allow for optimal facilitation

Who should attend?

Anyone who would like to learn skills to be more in control of their emotions and the ways they interact with people in their lives. This is not a counseling group and is not a substitute for either individual or group counseling. However, participants are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions and share examples of how they have used skills. Students may attend as many or as few sessions as they like and may attend group or individual counseling concurrently. See SHAW’s main page for information on accessing counseling services, depending on your location and/or your insurance.

This workshop is accessible to anyone regardless of location during remote learning.


Please register for this workshop by calling SHAW at any time prior to the session you would like to attend. This allows us to keep the group to 10 participants maximum and for us to send you the secure link to join prior to the start of the session. All sessions will be locked at 5 minutes past the hour, so please be sure to arrive on time.


Call SHAW to register or to consult and find out if this workshop meets your needs. 641-269-3230


  • Mindfulness skills help us observe what is happening in the present moment without judgment. This in turn helps us be more effective in our daily lives. Mindfulness also helps us bridge the gap between our rational and emotional minds.

Distress Tolerance

  • Developing distress tolerance skills can help us better manage crises. When we feel overwhelmed or pained by events, urges, and emotions and have to deal with circumstances we don’t want to deal with, we can employ distress tolerance skills to get through the moment.

Emotion Regulation

  • Emotion regulation skills are about understanding and naming emotions, reducing the intensity of the emotions we struggle with, managing emotional extremes, and reducing vulnerability to intense emotions by engaging in proactive behaviors.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

  • Interpersonal effectiveness skills help us learn how to deal with conflict, to get our needs and wants met, and to get better at saying no while respecting ourselves, respecting others, and maintaining others’ respect for us.


Week 10: Nov. 18 — Distress Tolerance
Week 11: Dec. 2 — Emotion Regulation
Week 12: Dec. 9 — Interpersonal Effectiveness

A 30-minute weekly workshop designed to provide students with an opportunity to practice mindfulness in a semi-structured setting. Experience is not required. Each session will provide participants with exercises to help deepen their mindful awareness. This is a drop-in workshop so come and go as you please.

Thursdays: 11:30 - 12 noon CST

Zoom Links

This workshop has been cancelled for the remainder of Fall 2. If you are interested in joining for spring term, please call SHAW (641-269-3230).

The international student workshop is an open group which provides confidential space, and supportive space for international. Confidentiality will be maintained, meaning information will not be collected while attending this workshop. Stay connected during these uncertain time, through theme-based discussion, participants will have opportunities to reflect together on their needs and goals and learn to approach challenges with a growth mindset. The workshop provides space for students to share their stories, challenges, and successes as they work to achieve their goals at Grinnell College. The goal of SHAW is to cultivate personal and academic growth by embodying resilience, self-awareness, learning from each other, and creating a caring community. Learn about the process of acculturation (including maintaining your cultural identity while adapting) to the USA.

Who should attend: Open to all international students in any location

Topics of discussion may include

  • How do we cope with the global pandemic and concerns for family and friends in home countries?
  • What are ways to cope with feeling invisible and isolated?
  • What do we feel about and how do we cope with prejudice, discrimination, and xenophobia in the US?
  • What is it like to adjust to US academic environments and culture?
  • How do we cope with anxiety about VISA issues and employment restrictions?
  • How to navigate the current immigration climate in the U.S.?
  • How to negotiate expectations and demands from different cultural contexts and norms?

Support Groups

Only available to students residing in Iowa. Must meet with SHAW counselor to be enrolled. 

This group provides therapeutic counseling for students who self-identify as Black, indigenous, or as people of color. The aim of this group is to connect members with one another to identify challenges and strengths of BIPOC students and their mental health. This group honors the needs for self-preservation in times of racial stress, and for culturally relevant, radical self-care.

Facilitator: Hodan Farah (Hodie) Staff Counselor
When: Tuesdays noon–1 p.m., starting Sept. 15
Where: Zoom — link sent after enrollment meeting
Who: Students currently located in Iowa who identify as BIPOC. Interested students should call 641-269-3230 to schedule a short meeting with Hodie to discuss enrolling.

Finding a Local Mental Health Provider

For students who would like to pursue mental health services locally, there are a few ways you can go about searching for a provider.

This is probably the simplest, most streamlined way to find providers. For most people, it will be the most efficient option.

  1. Go to your insurance carrier’s web site and search for a provider, or call and ask for a list of providers.
  2. Call or mail those providers to ask about current openings.
  3. Ask to schedule a consultation to determine goodness of fit.

Start your search from a site where providers can be found, such as Psychology Today and/or GoodTherapy. This may be the preferred option for folks looking for specialty care.

  1. Search based on location, insurance carrier, and any specialty areas of focus you would like your provider to have.
  2. Create a list of providers you’d like to contact and reach out.
  3. Ask to schedule a consultation to determine goodness of fit.

If you are struggling to find an available provider in your insurance network, you have other options.

  • Many areas have low-fee, sliding-scale community mental health agencies with qualified providers. Reach out to determine whether you are eligible for the services they provide.
  • Some mental health providers offer sliding-scale options based on financial need. If you’d like to work with someone who doesn’t state they offer a sliding scale, ask directly if they have that option, and if not, if they have any referrals who do.
  • Web sites such as Open Path Psychotherapy Collective allow you to search for providers in private practice who have committed to providing low fee, sliding scale mental health services to clients who meet financial need.
  • Apps such as BetterHelp and Talkspace can connect you with providers offering online services who are licensed in the state you’re residing in. These providers typically charge less per week than a full-fee individual session would cost in private practice. Bear in mind that these platforms are primarily a way to connect providers and clients, and that the mental health provider is still ultimately responsible for your care, rather than the company.
  • Students in remote parts of the country with limited access to mental health providers may find greater access now as many, if not most, providers transition to providing services remotely. As such, you might expand your search to cover a wider area, for example, or set your search for the nearest urban areas.
  • The first provider you make contact with may not be the best fit, or may not be available. Ask for referrals. Not all skilled providers have an online presence.
  • Many providers are offering mental health by videoconferencing for the first time in their careers. Brace yourself for some technical difficulties and general awkwardness as folks adjust to new modalities.
  • Many mental health providers will offer a free 15-minute or longer phone or video consultation to ensure goodness of fit. If they don’t offer, ask. A large body of research indicates that the relationship between client and provider is one of the most important factors in effectiveness of psychotherapy. It will benefit you to put some effort into finding someone you feel comfortable talking to.

We know that whatever affects the personal lives of students can also affect the ability to learn. Our goal at Student Health and Wellness is to provide access to counseling services which help Grinnell students succeed academically, personally, and interpersonally. Some students seek our services simply because they want to have a confidential conversation with a counselor; others are experiencing significant distress.

Our counseling team includes:

  • licensed psychologists
  • licensed mental health counselors
  • licensed independent social workers
  • therapists pursuing license and under the supervision of a licensed staff therapist
  • graduate level trainees under the supervision of a licensed staff therapist

We also have connections with providers in the surrounding community for students who prefer to see an off-campus provider.

The cost of counseling services are covered by student tuition fees. Thus, you must be an enrolled student at Grinnell to seek our services. We do not provide services to benefits-eligible employees of the college. We also do not treat families, friends, or peers of students who are not enrolled at Grinnell.

Students Currently Residing in Iowa

  • If you are experiencing a true emergency, a call should be made to 911.
  • Students can call 641-269-3230 to schedule a telecounseling visit with a SHAW counselor. Students will meet with a provider via a web-based system. 
  • If needing help after hours or on the weekends, students can call SHAW’s 24/7 counseling hotline Need to Talk? at 641-269-4404. 
  • Students may also leave a voicemail if they prefer to wait until SHAW’s normal business hours to schedule an appointment with a SHAW counselor.

If you have scheduled an appointment with a SHAW, you will need to log in from a computer so the counselor can see you. If you do not have a computer, please let the person who schedules your appointment know this.

When it is your appointment time, check-in via our online portal.

  • You will sign in using your Grinnell college username and password.
  • You will then be required to use Duo Authentication.
    If you have any difficulties, contact the ITS department for Duo assistance.
  • Once you log in: on the left navigation, click on Appointments. Your appointment should be listed.
  • There may be an option to Complete Questionnaire. If there is, please click on and complete those questions first. Once that is done, you will be returned to the Appointment page.
  • Click on Appointment Check In.
    •    You will be asked to confirm your location.
    •    There may be other questions. If so, please answer those.
    •    Hit OK. You will be directed back to the Appointment page.
  • There will now be a link called Join Meeting.
  • Click on this to join from your computer.
  • You will be on hold until the counselor starts the visit. You will know because they will appear on your screen!

Students Currently Residing Outside of Iowa, but in the United States

Any students in the United States may call SHAW to be connected to a counselor at any time via our Need to Talk? line at 641-269-4404. 

For students on the Student Health Insurance (United Healthcare)

  • If you are experiencing a true emergency, a call should be made to 911.
  • Free telecounseling visits are available. To access visit, HealthiestYou, download the HealthiestYou app by Teladoc, or call 855-870-5858 to schedule a virtual appointment.
  • Visit United Healthcare Student Resources or call 1-800-767-0700 to find an in-network provider.
    • Call/email those providers to inquire about current openings and cost of services.
    • Ask to schedule a consultation to determine goodness of fit.
  • Many providers offer telecounseling services through a virtual platform. We encourage students to ask about this option and consider using it if possible.

For Students on Private Health Insurance (the Student Health Insurance Was Waived)

  • Free telecounseling and telehealth visits are available. To access, login to Virtual Care Group or text VCG to 635483.
    • Enter your name and P-Card (student ID) number without any zero's.
    • Review the providers and schedule your free appointment.  
  • Counseling Hotline “Need to Talk?” is available 24/7 by phone at 641-269-4404.
  • Visit your health insurance provider’s website or call the number on your card for a list of in-network providers.
    • Call/email those providers to inquire about current openings and cost of services with that provider.
    • Ask to schedule a consultation to determine goodness of fit.
    • Many providers offer telecounseling visits through a virtual platform. We encourage students to ask about this option and consider using it if possible.

For Students Outside of the United States 

Our license prohibits us from offering medical services to students who are outside of the U.S. Most other campus resources remain available to you, including confidential services via the CRSSJ; Ombuds; and Title IX.

On Student Health Insurance

  • Seek services from a local provider. Be sure to obtain a receipt for services.
  • Submit a claim through the Gallagher website.

On Private Health Insurance (Waived the Student Insurance)

Seek services from a local provider.

Reminder: You must purchase into the Grinnell Student Health Insurance Plan (pro-rated by term) when you enter/return to the U.S.
Contact the Office of Student Accounts at 641-269-4100 .



  • Need to Talk 24/7 counseling hotline — 641-269-4404
  • Psychology Today provides a service to allow you to search for a local provider. Use the “Find a Therapist” feature and search by zip code (50112 for Grinnell).
    This does not mean that providers are covered by your insurance. Please check your insurance provider for covered providers.


What is a Spectrum of Care?

We want our students to sustain healthy minds and healthy bodies both during their studies and once they leave Grinnell. Learning how to take care  of oneself and utilize services as needed are vitally important life skills we want to help develop in students. SHAW uses a Spectrum of Care model to help Grinnell College students access a variety of resources to meet their needs. The spectrum of care approach focuses on empowering the student to be a proactive and self-advocating consumer.  

On one end of the spectrum are options that are more proactive, developmental, and less intensive. Resources toward the other end of the spectrum are more reactive, clinical and time intensive.   It is likely that a student will  use multiple components on the spectrum of care throughout their time at Grinnell. While some of the parts of the spectrum are designed for the student to be able to utilize on their own, other components are designed to be more collaborative between the student and a provider, even if only to help the student plan a path forward.

A downloadable version of the SHAW Spectrum of Care is available. 

Components Within the Spectrum of Care


Students can meet with a counselor for a brief consultation session to determine which resources are the best fit for their presenting issues. During this meeting students share an overview of their concerns and goals. Students are provided with information and recommendations regarding relevant resources at SHAW, online, and in the community, and they work together with a counselor to determine a plan for moving forward.   Initial screenings are required prior to participation in group and individual therapy and telepsychiatry services.

Self-Care and Wellness

Students are strongly encouraged to develop personalized and sustainable wellness habits while at Grinnell. They will not only feel better but will also perform better as a student if they do so. Grinnell offers many opportunities to grow and enhance a student's wellness via programming and opportunities across campus to build their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual facets. SHAW offers resources via the webpage, in-person, and through referrals to other campus resources to support student wellness.

Campus/Community Referrals

SHAW works closely with multiple partners across campus to support student mental health. Interdepartmental referrals are provided for students who could benefit from support from offices such as the CLS, Health, Wellness, Academic Advising, Disability Resources, CRSSJ, and Housing, to name a few.  In addition to meeting with contacts in other offices, students can participate in outreach and tabling provided by SHAW throughout the year.

Skill Development

A range of online tools and workshops are available for students who want to build skills and improve resilience. Neolth, a new interactive online tool, helps students build emotional resilience and reduce stress. Workshops offered through SHAW focus on skill-building on a variety of topics, including stress and anxiety reduction, mood management, healthy relationships, and wellness. Students can be referred to workshops or they can self-refer based on interest. 

Therapeutic Consultation 

Let’s Talk is a consultation resource for students who are looking to briefly discuss a specific issue.  Let’s Talk is usually offered at a location outside of the SHAW office, but with a counselor in a manner that maintains confidentiality.
Need to Talk? is an agency service provider that offers a 24/7 counseling hotline for Grinnell College students to have immediate access to counseling services. Students can call the hotline at any time (even when SHAW is open) to speak with a trained counseling professional who is also familiar with the range of resources available at Grinnell College. 

Group Counseling

Group counseling can be the most effective in-person counseling offering for many presenting issues. SHAW offers broad-based process groups where students have an opportunity to share concerns, support one another, learn skills, and practice healthy coping.  A similar offering, support groups, are less structured in nature but offer students a chance to get and give support regarding a more focused topic, such as grief and loss. This services is confidential and free for students.

Individual Counseling

Short-term, goal-directed individual counseling at SHAW is available to enrolled students with concerns that fall within SHAW’s scope of practice. Students will be paired with a counselor that best helps them meet their goals. The counselor and the student work collaboratively to reach those outcomes. This service is confidential and free for students.

Off-Campus Referral

SHAW’s mental health nurse can help students find mental health and medical resources off-campus. Students seeking long-term counseling, have presenting needs that require a longer commitment to counseling, or need a service not within SHAW’s scope of care can work with the mental health nurse to find resources in the community. Students seeking consultation related to medication for mental health concerns can arrange to meet with a provider through the College’s partnership with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. This is a telehealth visit that is accessed at SHAW and organized by the mental health nurse.  

Determining a Referral for Off-Campus Services

SHAW may not be able to provide services under some circumstances.  Decisions concerning these limitations may be made at the time of the initial screening, or during any subsequent stage of service. Clinical consultation and clinical judgment, in conjunction with the goal to provide the greatest benefit in the shortest amount of time are considerations taken when a referral is made. SHAW will continually strive to provide services to all students requesting services that are within SHAW’s “role and scope” and fall within the mission of SHAW. When a community referral is the most appropriate option for a client, the options should, to the best of the clinician’s ability, address client circumstances regarding insurance, finances, and transportation.

Other Counseling Resources
NAMI on Campus at Grinnell The National Alliance of Mental Health has an on-campus club.
View details on their Facebook page.
Grinnell Student Advocates (24 hrs; text or call) 641-260-1615
Crisis Intervention Services (local and 24 hours) 1-800-270-1620
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for more information.
Psychology Today

Psychology Today provides a service to allow you to search for a local provider. Use the “Find a Therapist” feature and search by zip code (50112 for Grinnell).

This does not mean that providers are covered by your insurance. Please check your insurance provider for covered providers.


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