Virtual Drop-In Spaces
The Support You Need, When You Need It
The Counseling Center offers several virtual drop-in spaces for students looking to process thoughts and feelings, get advice and feedback from peers and Counseling Center staff, and connect with others around shared experiences on an ongoing or as-needed basis. No initial consultation is required, and all UIC students are eligible to attend.
...and However You Need It Heading link
Our drop in spaces are designed to be as flexible as possible. That means you can:
- Show up in your pajamas
- Have a snack
- Bring friends, partners, or your emotional support turtle
- Draw a picture of your favorite Marvel character
- Dance to Lizzo
- Share TikTok videos
- Do some yoga
- Bake a cake…
There are infinite ways to take care of your mental health and all of them are welcome! As long as it doesn’t violate the drop-in space agreements below, these spaces can be whatever you make them!
About the Spaces Heading link
Check out each tab for a description, schedule, and registration link for each drop-in space. To make them as accessible as possible, all drop-in spaces are held virtually over Zoom. Some spaces (like Building Communidad) also have an in-person option for those who would rather connect in 3D.
General Drop-In Space
When: Wednesdays 12:00-12:50pm
Facilitators: Dr. Daewon Kim and Luis Salas
Eligibility: All currently-enrolled UIC students.
More Information: Whether it’s the daily challenges of being a college student, the impact of living through a pandemic and political unrest, or you’re just having an off day and want someone to talk to, we’re here for you. Drop in when you need it or come weekly to get the mood boost you need to get you through your day.
Neurodivergent Drop-In Space
When: Tuesdays 2:00-2:50pm
Facilitators: Dr. Steve Palmieri & Lexy Coleman
Eligibility: All students who identify as neurodivergent. This includes students who are autistic or who have ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Tourette’s, or another learning disability (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, etc.). You do not need to have a formal diagnosis to participate in this space, and students who are questioning whether they may be neurodivergent are invited to participate as well. You do not need to have a specific concern related to being a neurodivergent student to use this space.
More Information: This space adheres to a strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming model and provides a welcoming environment for neurodivergent students. Students are encouraged to come as they are, and you can take off the mask, stim, infodump, use AAC, and engage in special interests (or learn what these terms mean!) to your heart’s content. We also discuss topics like self-advocacy in the classroom and healthcare settings, building relationships, testing and accommodations, and challenges of navigating a world designed for neurotypical people.
If there is anything we can do to make this space more accessible, or if you have specific questions about this space, please contact Dr. Palmieri.
What's Going On?
When: First Friday of each month
Facilitator: Dr. Belva Miles
What’s Going On? is a collaboration between the UIC Counseling Center and African American Cultural Center with presentations and discussions on rotating mental health topics. Students will have the opportunity to share their experiences on a range of topics focusing on Black mental health and wellness.
Past topics have included:
- Test anxiety and preparing for finals
- Seasonal depression
- Microaggressions and daily stressors
- …and more!
When: Fourth Wednesday of each month, starting April 27, 2022 at 12pm.
Where: Latino Cultural Center & Virtual via Zoom. Building Comunidad will go “on tour” and be hosted by different offices each month.
Facilitators: Adriana Sanchez & various staff from LARES and L@s Ganas.
Eligibility: All UIC Latine students.
More Information: This informal community building space will be led by a psychology intern who will facilitate discussions related to students’ mental health. Students will have an opportunity to connect with peers and discuss common concerns, such as competitiveness and imposter syndrome, mental health stigma in Latine families, gender gaps in different majors, setting boundaries, managing responsibilities, and time management.
Building Comunidad is a collaboration between the Counseling Center, L@s Ganas, and LARES.
Cuándo: Cuarto miércoles de cada mes, a partir del 27 de abril de 2022 a las 12:00.
Dónde: Latino Cultural Center y por Zoom. Building Comunidad irá “de gira” y nos reuniremos en un lugar diferente cada mes.
Facilitadores: Adriana Sanchez y varios miembros del personal de nuestra oficina, L@s Ganas, y LARES.
Elegibilidad: Estudiantes que identifican como Latine.
Más información: Este es un espacio informal para discusiones relacionadas con la salud mental. Estudiantes tendrán la oportunidad de conectarse con compañeros y hablar sobre diferentes temas como la competencia, el estigma de la salud mental en las familias Latines, las diferencias de género en diferentes especializaciones, el establecimiento de límites, y la gestión de responsabilidades y del tiempo.
Building Comunidad es una colaboración entre el Centro de Consejería, L@s Ganas y LARES.
Drop-In Space Expectations Heading link
All students agree to the following when registering for or using a drop-in space:
- I understand that drop-in spaces are not therapy groups.
- I understand that drop-in spaces are not crisis services, and will call the Counseling Center at (312) 996-3490 if I am experiencing a mental health crisis.
- I understand that my participation in a drop-in space does not mean I am a client at the Counseling Center.
- I will maintain confidentiality, including the names and identities of other students in the space as well as any material they may discuss.
- I will let the facilitator(s) know if I need accommodations or technology assistance.
- I will participate in a private space.
- I will be respectful of others in attendance.
- I understand that threatening, abusive, or harmful behavior will not be tolerated and may be grounds for ineligibility to participate in future drop-in spaces. This includes harmful behavior directed at others because of their ability, age, gender, nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or other identity factors.
Frequently Asked Questions Heading link
Unless otherwise specified in the drop-in space description, all UIC students who are eligible to use Counseling Center services are can use the Counseling Center’s drop-in spaces. These spaces are open to everyone, regardless of whether you’re a current or former client, or have never used Counseling Center services.
No. If you use other Counseling Center services, you may be referred to one or more of our drop-in spaces, but a referral is not necessary.
No. You can use multiple drop-in spaces, and you can use each space as often as you’d like.
What to expect
Drop-in spaces are designed to be flexible to help meet the needs of the students using the space in any given week. Many students find it helpful to consider what they might want to get from the space (e.g., coping skills, talking through what’s on your mind, learning how others deal with similar concerns) and communicate this at the start of the appointment. If you have questions about a specific drop-in space, please contact the facilitators.
Drop-in vs. workshop vs. therapy group
Each of these services has unique goals, expectations, and formats. Check out our “What’s the Difference?” page for a full comparison.
Yes! Our virtual drop-in spaces are designed to be as flexible as possible to meet your unique needs. Friends, partners, and others can use these spaces to learn how to better support each other. As long as they’re a UIC student, they’re welcome to join you.
For spaces with specific eligibility criteria (e.g., the Student/Parent space), participants must meet these criteria unless the facilitators make a limited exception.
Current and former clients are welcome to use drop-in spaces as needed. If you are a current client, we strongly encourage you to let your therapist know when you’re using a drop-in space. If you plan on using a drop-in space that your therapist is facilitating, please let your therapist know in advance. Your therapist may want to have a conversation with you about how to get the most out of the space, what to expect, and the differences between a drop-in space and therapy.
Some general things to keep in mind include:
- To protect your confidentiality in these spaces, your therapist may act like they don’t know you.
- Because of how they’re structured, drop-in spaces do not follow a formal treatment plan. You should work with your therapist to identify how you can use these spaces in a way that moves you closer to your treatment goals.
- Your therapist may interact with you differently in a drop-in space than therapy. For example, they may share more or less about themselves, be more or less direct/challenging, or spend more or less time problem-solving. Clients can have many different reactions to seeing their therapists in other spaces, and it can be helpful to talk with them about this.