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LGBTQIA group now available at counseling center

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – The University of Central Missouri’s counseling center offers a LGBTQIA group for students to explore life challenges.

The counseling center is a safe place on campus where students can go to express concerns that may be affecting their lives. The LGBTQIA group will present an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, pan, non-binary, ace, aro and queer individuals a secure place to discuss personal and social issues.

The center has held private groups before, but never any dedicated to students in the LGBTQIA community.

The group was started during the spring semester of 2014 by Candice Moran, a psychologist who has worked in the counseling center since 2013. Moran had started similar groups at the University of North Carolina and at the Center on Halsted an LGBT community center in Chicago, Illinois, before coming to UCM.

Moran believes that living in rural areas like the Midwest is challenging for people to open-up and express who they really are.

“I’ve had experiences in group throughout my life. It’s hard growing up in areas where you probably don’t know a lot of people or you don’t have those opportunities to connect with people who have similar identities or similar experiences and it can be really isolating”, said Moran.

Through this group her goal is to help students find connections, community, and reduce isolation on campus.

Alex Munoz, one of the LGBT group facilitators, had a similar reason for facilitating the group.

“Mainly my passion for serving and empowering marginalized populations influenced me to become a facilitator for the LGBTQIA group. I also think that many personal close relationships I have or had with family and friends from LGBTQIA backgrounds have influenced my decision,” said Munoz, a psychologist who works in UCM’s counseling center.

To join the group there is a three-step process. First, students should contact the counseling center by email or phone to schedule an appointment. Then each individual must complete an initial consultation during the first appointment. The consultation consists of an application process and a brief discussion with one of the group facilitators. Last, the discussion will help the facilitator determine the best recommendation for the individual. Recommendations could include mental fitness workshops, the Body U program, downloading apps, or groups like the LGBTQIA group.

A group will form when at least five or six students have joined. No more than eight students and two facilitators will be assigned to a group. If the group becomes full or if the meeting time conflicts with a student’s schedule there is a waitlist available. All groups are closed and confidential.

Moran said, “We take privacy very important for the students, so Alex and I are bound ethically and legally to hold that confidentiality and we ask students when they join the group to pledge certain guidelines.”

The group will meet 10 times each semester. Meetings will start during the sixth week of the semester; applications are accepted on a roll in basis.

For more information about the LGBTQIA group or to join contact Candice Moran at 660-543-4060 or email

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