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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 19, 2003

WRAC Offers Variety Of Support And Discussion Groups

The Women's Resource & Action Center (WRAC) at the University of Iowa will offer a variety of support and discussion groups open to the public beginning in the next weeks.

This fall, the center will once again offer the "Coming Out Support Group." This eight-week group is designed to allow participants to explore the joys and concerns surrounding the process of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The group considers "coming out" as a life-long process, and places an emphasis on education and individual integrity, and provides participants the freedom to define themselves, their sexuality, and their spirituality in a community that maintains strict confidentiality. The "Coming Out Support Group" will meet at WRAC (130 N. Madison St., Iowa City) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Sept. 30. Participants must join no later than Oct. 7.

WRAC will also offer "Recovering from Abuse: Rebuilding Your Life." This peer support group is designed to meet the needs of women who are progressing on their healing journey after the end of an abusive relationship, and it will offer participants a safe place to process how their lives have been affected by intimate partner abuse. Goals of the group include creative a supportive peer community that fosters individual resiliency and strength. The dynamics of power and control will also be discussed. The group will meet at WRAC from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Oct. 1. Participants must join no later than Oct. 8.

The center is offering a new group this fall. The "Pregnancy Support Group" will provide a peer support network for expectant mothers, and an opportunity for participants to explore the continuum of thoughts and feelings that surround this major life event. Discussion topics will include hormonal changes, body image and relationship issues. The "Pregnancy Support Group" will meet at WRAC from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning Oct. 2. Participants must join no later than Oct. 9.

"Discovering Your Feminine Spirituality" is a six-week discussion group, designed to help participants explore, define and celebrate wholeness with mind, body and spirit. Questions to be considered may include: How can spirituality be a part of one's daily life? Are there rituals that add meaning to existence? How can one feel spiritually connected? How can one explore one's feelings/interactions with the surrounding world? "Discovering Your Feminine Spirituality" will meet at WRAC from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Oct. 7. Participants must join no later than Oct. 14.

WRAC will open the popular "Lesbian Reading Group" to new members this fall. This semester-long group is designed to offer lesbians a safe, comfortable environment to have interesting, thought-provoking discussions about good books. The group's main goal is to build a sense of community among the participants. The "Lesbian Reading Group" will meet at WRAC from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. every third Friday beginning Oct. 10. Participants must join no later than Oct. 17.

"In Her Own Words" is a new nine-week journaling discussion group. It is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to share and respond to personal writing, and to form a sense of community with women writers, current and past. The group will provide a creative outlet and help women connect to their everyday experiences. "In Her Own Words" will meet at WRAC from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Oct. 15. Participants must join no later than Oct. 22.

A second session of the "Eating Disorders Support Group," a drop-in peer support group designed for women and men who currently have an eating disorder, as well as for those who have experienced an eating disorder in the past, will also be offered at the center this fall. "The goals of this group are to encourage self-awareness and to provide support as participants continue steps toward recovery and/or against relapse," says Kerri Barnstuble, WRAC group services coordinator. The group will meet at WRAC from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Oct. 28, at WRAC (130 N. Madison St.). Confidentiality is strictly upheld. Participants must join no later than Nov. 4.

Pre-registration is required to attend these groups, which are open to the public. There is no charge for participation in a group, but there is a suggested donation of $10 for the entire run of the group, to help cover the center's costs in providing them.

For more information, or to arrange for needed accommodations to participate, please call the center at 319-335-1486 or visit www.uiowa.edu/~wrac.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Kerri Barnstuble, 319-335-1486, kerri-barnstuble@uiowa.edu; Writer: Linda Kroon