We are here to support and nurture our talented students. We provide short-term individual counseling, groups, outreach and prevention programming, as well as training, consultations and referral resources in our community.


Appointments and Walk-Ins



Gershman Hall, Room 307
401 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

We are open for appointments Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m and can be reached at 215-717-6630.

Our services are free and confidential.


Counseling Resources

Emergency Services

Contacts to help UArts students who may be experiencing a crisis.

Emergency Resources


Important national and local numbers for additional supports in a variety of areas relating to mental health and wellbeing.


Parent & Family Resources 

Tips and advice for parents and families on how to best assist their student.

Parent & Family Resources

Faculty & Staff Resources

Tips for faculty and staff on options for how to best help students in distress.

Faculty & Staff Resources

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Abe Zubarev, LCSW
Director of Counseling

MS, Columbia University - Clinical Social Work
M.Ed, Harvard University - Arts in Education
MA, ABD, Cornell University - Art History & LGBT Studies
BA, Brooklyn College - Art History & Philosophy
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: azubarev@uarts.edu
Profile >>

Abe's Specialties: Self-Esteem & Shyness; Existential concerns; Gay men's issues; Strengths-Based Coaching & Resilience; Stress Management, Buddhism in Mental Health;  Arts in Counseling & Wellness



Ryan O'Laughlin, LCSW
Staff Therapist & Outreach Coordinator

MSW, Temple University - Clinical Social Work
BSW, Temple University - Social Work
Phone: 215-717-6622
Email: rolaughlin@uarts.edu
Profile >>

Ryan's Specialties: Mood disorders, depression/bipolar disorder, relationship difficulties, conflict resolution, attachment issues and individuation, sexual addiction, managing suicidal thoughts and crisis. Outreach and workshops. Therapeutic strengths: Behavior activation, motivational interviewing and self-empowerment.



Dustin Barnes, LSW
Temporary Staff Therapist

MSW, West Chester University - Clinical Social Work
BA, Temple University - Commuications & Psychology 
Phone: 215-717-6626
Email: dbarnes@uarts.edu  

As temporary staff therapist at the UArts Counseling Center, I am passionate about helping students to learn more about themselves and to find the tools to navigate through life’s difficult challenges. Some of my favorite presenting concerns involve working with students through the process of self-discovery, individuating from their families, and maturing into adulthood. I also enjoy helping students who struggle in their lives with creativity as artists, whether that involve anxiety, suicidal thoughts, LGBTQ concerns, or issues regarding religion and family of origin. As a therapist, I use a Rogierian person-centered approach along with some cognitive behavioral interventions, mindfulness, gestalt therapy, and underlining psychodynamic work. In my free time, I enjoy singing, travel, and good food. 



Darren Piechota, MD
Consulting Psychiatrist

MD, Medical College of Pennsylvania
BS, University of Scranton
Phone: 215-717-6630
Profile >>

Dr. Piechota's Specialties: Child & Adolescent Psychiatry; Medication Managment.



Lauren Landers Tabares, LSW
Clinical Fellow

MSW, University of Pennsylvania - Clinical Social Work
BA, California State University, Fullerton - Child & Adolescent Development
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: llanders@uarts.edu

Bio: Lauren feels privileged to return to UArts as a Clinical Fellow after being one of the first counseling interns during the 2015-2016 academic year. As a full-time case management supervisor for a community mental health agency in Montgomery County, Lauren enjoys heading to the UArts campus part-time to assist in sexual assault awareness programming and to offer groups surrounding the topic of sexual assault through a trauma-informed, intersectional, social-justice lens. Lauren's other areas of interest and experience include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and working with children and adults on the Autism spectrum. In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling and visiting her hometown in Southern California.




Samantha Tavlin, MA candidate
Clinical Intern - Art Therapy

Drexel University
Department of Creative Arts Therapies
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: stavlin@uarts.edu

Pronouns: she/her/hers

I am working on my Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling at Drexel, and am so happy to be at the UArts Counseling Center for my clinical internship. I believe that healing happens in and through relationships, collaboration, and creativity, so my priority is to build strong and meaningful therapeutic alliances with my clients. One passion I have developed during my master’s studies is incorporating social justice approaches to my work in and out of the therapy room. My favorite things in life include pugs, French bulldogs, and coffee. I feel privileged and honored to work with all students who have come my way.



Daniel Safavi, MA candidate
Clinical Intern - Dance & Movement Therapy

Drexel University
Department of Creative Arts Therapies
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: dsafavi@uarts.edu

Pronouns: he/him/his

Dan was exposed to multiple world views from an early age. He was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, to Iranian parents who taught him the values of both Eastern and Western philosophies. Later, he would live in multiple cities on both the East and West Coast of the United States. Along the way, he would study various disciplines with an open mind and a tenacious spirit. Dan’s diverse experiences have helped him attune to those of all sorts of backgrounds. His experiences have also given him a myriad of tools that he uses creatively. He adopts three main approaches to therapy: using mindfulness to guide the student to a relaxed state of mind that can better learn, using reason and logic to change unhelpful ways of thinking about the world, and using expressive arts to tap into the wisdom of the right-brain and the subconscious mind.



Jason Pirrung, MSW candidate
Clinical Social Work Intern

West Chester University of PA - PASSHE Center City Campus
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: jpirrung@uarts.edu

Pronouns: he/him/his


Jason has worked in social services for nine years, primarily providing case management to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. His therapeutic approaches include strength-based, person-centered, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. In addition to these theories, Jason believes in the transformative relationship between people and their environments, including the incorporation of art, cultural history, and diverse learning. Prior to his work in social services, Jason was a freelance film-maker and writer.



Liz Green, MSW candidate
Clinical Social Work Intern

Temple UniversityCollege of Public Health - School of Social Work
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: eligreen@uarts.edu

Pronouns: she/her/hers


Liz is a candidate for her Masters in Social Work at Temple and has worked in community based arts for ten years, using expression as a way to celebrate our lives and better understand one another. Her therapeutic approach is strengths-based, person-centered, and sometimes uses narrative therapy tools to help people understand their own life story. She believes that the creativity and imagination of the students at UArts is their strongest tool for managing their mental health.



Lauren Mirzakhalili, MSS candidate
Clinical Social Work Intern

Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work & Social Research
Phone: 215-717-6630
Email: lmirzakhalili@uarts.edu

Pronouns: she/her/hers

As a social worker in training, I believe in recognizing and tapping into everyone's unique individual strengths. I try to live social justice values in my work, school, and non-professional life. I am an avid reader and enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction works. I love working with the talented, thoughtful students at UArts. 

Meet UArts Counseling Staff

Abe Zubarev
Abe Zubarev

Director of Counseling

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Individual Counseling


At the student's first visit to the UArts Counseling Center, information and consent forms will be filled out prior to the session. During the first appointment, the Staff Therapist and/or Clinical Trainee (under supervision) will begin to assess the student's needs and to determine the most effective interventions for treatment. Options may include counseling at the Center and/or a referral to a higher level of care.

Counseling sessions are completely confidential, and due to ethical and legal restraints, cannot be shared without written permission from the student. Exceptions to confidentiality involve situations where there is cause to believe that there is danger of harm to self or others.

Weekday Walk-In Hours: Initial Meeting

Counseling starts with a 15-20 minute in-person walk-in/triage screening session with a UArts Counseling Center staff member. In Triage, we assess the nature and urgency of the students' concern to arrange the most appropriate next step to help.

When you contact the Center (either in person or by phone), you will be scheduled for this 15-20 minute in-person triage screening appointment. You will be asked a variety of questions, will have the opportunity to discuss your personal situation and ask questions.

Please come in person to to set up a first screening appointment.

During this private consultation, the student has the opportunity to discuss his or her concerns. If further services are indicated, the staff therapist or clinical intern/trainee may recommend  individual counseling at UArts, suggest further evaluation, or refer the student to other services on or off campus. Sometimes, students find that this initial consultation meets their needs and requires no further services.

At the end of this meeting, appropriate options will be reviewed with you. These could include an appointment for an initial meeting to pursue short-term counseling at UArts and/or referral to other resources on campus or in the community. Crisis and urgent situations are addressed as needed and may involve collaboration with the UArts Public Safety staff if emergencies occur.

Individual Therapy

Short-term individual counseling may be offered to help students navigate life stressors and to gain a deeper awareness about the basis of their concerns and the need for problem-solving skills. For issues that would be better resolved through longer-term individual counseling, a referral to a therapist community may be recommended.

UArts offers short-term counseling. If a student is interested in a longer term therapy relationship, we can help by offering referrals to outside low-fee and sliding scale therapists and advise on arranging services in the community. Keep in mind, however, that no student is ever turned away and that length of treatment at our Center is determined on a case-by-case basis.


Group Counseling


Support Groups
Each semester UArts Counseling may offer a variety of therapy groups. Therapy groups are a form of counseling, focusing on developing insight and behavior change. Five to eight group members  (who all must be current UArts students) meet with one or two group therapists once per week for 1.5 hours throughout the semester. The starting dates will vary and enrollment is free. Group therapy provides a unique opportunity for small groups of students to meet and share common concerns, explore difficulties and learn new skills. Depending on student need and attendance, we can offer support groups to UArts students pertaining to specific populations as well as specific concerns (i.e., LGBT students, social skills training, stress management, art therapy groups, etc).

How Do I Join a Group?
If you are already working with a therapist at UArts Counseling, express your interest to your therapist and a referral can be made. If you are not currently utilizing our services, please come in for a triage walk-in screening and a referral to a group (either forming or for the following semester) can be made. This screening will help to determine if a group may be helpful to the student and also to assess if enough students on campus are interested in a particular group to be offered. Once a group forms, it is usually closed to new members until the following cycle. During group sessions, members discuss issues of concern and offer support and feedback to each other. Confidentiality is strictly respected.


NOTE: Students should not pursue services at UArts Counseling for the sole purpose of obtaining a letter of support relating to Educational Accessibility (i.e. academic accommodations) and/or class absences. UArts Counseling does not provide letters at the time of an initial consultation and cannot provide documentation regarding a student's mental health without a history of services at UArts Counseling during the specified time period. If necessary, students are encouraged to seek letters of support from individuals directly involved in their care such as past or present psychological/psychiatric providers or medical doctors and practitioners.

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A part-time consulting Psychiatrist is availabe during the academic year at the UArts Counseling Center to help students who may benefit from or need medication management.  Psychiatric services are available on a limited basis for UArts students and these services are limited to those who do not have adequate insurance coverage to receive such services off campus in the community. Students must be referred to a our on-campus psychiatrist  by a member of the UArts Counseling staff and any student working with the doctor must also be working with a Staff Therapist or graduate trainee to assist with treatment.

What to Expect From Your First Visit
If a UArts Counseling staff member has referred you to see our psychiatrist, then you will be scheduled for an initial one hour evaluation. It will consist of a diagnostic interview after which the doctor will discuss with you recommendations. We help students with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, and psychosis among others. 

If medication is initiated as part of your treatment plan as agreed upon by you and your doctor, you will be scheduled for regular follow-up visits to determine how you responding to treatment. These visits average 15 minutes and occur approximately every 2-4 weeks until your symptoms have improved and you are stabilized on medication. Meanwhile, you should be pursuing counseling in conjunction with medication given that the two work best together.

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Outreach: Workshops & Events


UArts Counseling will work closes with the Office of Student Life to suggest, promote, and engage in educational programs to the UArts community. Outreach work allows UArts Counseling, in conjunction with Student Life, to promote health and wellness by serving a larger number of students than would otherwise be possible. For example, during Orientation events events can address a wide variety of topics, from homesickness, safe sex and responsible partying to suicide prevention, drug/alcohol awareness, and programming to educate about acquaintance rape and sexual violence. UArts Counseling staff also participate on University committees to address issues such as diversity, social justice and LGBTQ concerns.

JANUARY Mental Wellness Month
National Drug Facts Week (Jan 26-Feb 1)
FEBRUARY National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 22-28)
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Sexual Health Education
MARCH Self Harm Awareness Month
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
APRIL Alcohol Awareness Month
National Alcohol Screening Day (Apr. 11)
Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Day of Action (April 1)
National Autism Awareness Month
MAY Mental Health Month
National Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week (May 4-10)
JUNE LGBT Pride Month
PTSD Awareness Month
JULY; National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month  
SEPTEMBER Suicide Prevention Month and Week, Sept. 6-12
National Recovery Month
OCTOBER National Bullying Prevention Month
National Depression Screening Day, Oct. 8
Depression & Mental Health Screening Month
Mental Illness Awareness Week, Oct. 5-11
World Mental Heal Day, Oct. 10
ADHD Awareness Month
LGBTQ History Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
NOVEMBER Mental Health Wellness Week
International Survivors of Suicide Day, Nov. 22
Transgender Awareness Month
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
National Stress-Free Family Holiday’s Month
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Dec. 3


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Internships: Clinical Social Work, Counseling and Creative Arts Therapies (Art, Music & Dance/Movement Therapy)


The Clinical Training Program at the University of the Arts provides experience in a wide range of mental health issues and treatment approaches among college student populations. The UArts Counseling Center is committed to a multidisciplinary training approach and is open to advanced graduate students in Clinical Social Work, Counseling and Creative Arts Therapies.

UArts Counseling Center Internships and field placement opportunities enable the acquisition of necessary competencies for mental health treatment in college and university counseling centers with the emerging adult population. Internships are typically 21 hours/3 full days per week. The interns are trained in developing the following skills: interview assessment, ongoing short-term solution-focused counseling, case conceptualization, consultation, emergency assessments and crisis intervention, as well as triage, case management, possible groups and developing outreach programming for health and wellness in Student Affairs. Other training activities include: weekly Counseling staff meetings, weekly individual supervision and group supervision, as well as case presentations and didactic seminars.

There is also a Creative Arts Therapies track (currently in development) in which graduate students who are studying Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Dance Therapy will have an opportunity to gain valuable experience in counseling with our unique artistic student population.

The UArts Counseling Center currently works with select graduate programs directly to recruit interns for our programs. If interested, please contact your graduate program field coordinator to inquire further. Unsolicited applications will not be accepted.