View Text Only Version

Counseling & Psychological Services

Counseling Services

Contact Us  

Counseling & Psychological Services

Address:
Lawrence Center, Second Level
705 S. New Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-2301
Fax: 610-436-3114


Email: wcucc@wcupa.edu

Counseling Services

Counseling Center Charges

  • Ongoing Psychiatric appointments will have a charge of $10.
  • Initial Assessments with either of the psychiatrists will carry a $20 charge.
  • There is no charge at this time for counseling appointments with the Psychologists and Doctoral Trainees.

No Show or Late Cancellation Appointments

A charge of $10 will be assessed if you schedule an appointment in the Counseling Center with any of the providers and then do not show up for the appointment. To avoid this charge, please call to cancel your appointment (giving 24 hours' notice) if you find that your needs have changed or that you cannot make your scheduled time.

Individual Counseling for Personal Problem Solving

Personal Counseling consists of a one-to-one counseling experience where the focus is upon:

  • resolving personal conflicts,
  • resolving conflicts with others, and
  • improving your expertise at making personally meaningful choices.

It may also help some people to avoid decisions which restrict their personal growth and undermine their well-being.

Note: The Counseling Center ascribes to a brief therapy form of treatment. Once you have had a triage appointment and been assigned to a counselor, you will work in conjunction with that individual to determine your level of need. Having well-defined goals in therapy often leads to better treatment outcomes.

Individual Vocational Counseling

Vocational counseling consists of a one-to-one counseling experience that focuses upon your choice of major and vocation. Vocational choice is most solid when it is the outgrowth of understanding yourself. Such understanding requires time and thought and involves identifying your own style, values, interests, and abilities. Psychological testing as well as discussion often enhances self-understanding.

Group Counseling

Each semester a number of Counseling Center psychologists and doctoral-level trainees lead (or co-lead) groups. The groups vary depending on the needs of the students and the special interests of the group leaders. In the past, groups have been offered with a particular focus on stress and anxiety, relationship issues, problem-solving groups, and loss and grief issues. View our current list of group counseling services offered for more information.

Benefits of Group Counseling

  • Groups are a powerful means of growth and change because students who face similar issues not only provide support and insight for their peers in the group, but they also benefit from the tremendous understanding and encouragement they receive from others.
  • Group members are privy to different perspectives and viewpoints that they may not have considered.
  • Many students tend to shy away from groups, preferring individual counseling, thinking that that's the quickest and safest way to resolve their issues, but the opposite is true for most students. Those who have pushed past their apprehension have reported the group experience to be beyond their expectations.
  • While individual counseling sessions tend to be short-term, there is no limit to the number of group sessions a student can have.

Please read the Group Counseling FAQs or call the Counseling Center at 610-436-2301 for more information.

Crisis Intervention

Counseling Center Psychologists provide mental health crisis services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when classes are in session.

During the Work Day

Students who are in urgent need of mental health assistance may walk into the Counseling Center and indicate that it is a potentially life-threatening emergency.

After Hours

The mental health crisis service may be accessed by contacting Campus Police via the Public Safety Office (610-436-3311); the responding officer will then contact the counselor on call.

When Classes are Not in Session

If a mental health emergency arises, calls should be directed to:

  • Valley Creek Crisis Intervention: 610-918-2100
    469 Creamery Way
    Exton, PA 19341-2508

Psychiatric Services

The Counseling Center has two part-time consulting psychiatrists available to assist in evaluations and follow up where medication may be necessary as an adjunct to counseling. This service is available to students who are in an on-going counseling relationship with a department psychologist, intern, or practicum student and may not be accessed independently.

Students Stable on Medication Prescribed by a Physician at Home

Students who are stable on medication prescribed by a physician at home are advised to remain with that treating physician. In the past, parents and students have expressed concern that they can't get home frequently enough, so they prefer to see a psychiatrist on campus. Our experience has been that students have done extremely well in working with physicians at home and are usually relieved to find that there are several breaks each semester. With proper planning, students can continue to work with the doctor at home who knows their history and has been following their treatment.

Students Engaging in Therapy with the Counseling Center

For students who are engaging in therapy with a Counseling Center psychologist or trainee and who find they need a psychiatric assessment, there is a twenty dollar ($20.00) charge for an Initial Assessment with the psychiatrist. Subsequent appointments with the psychiatrist will carry a ten dollar ($10.00) charge. As with all appointments at the Counseling Center, if you schedule an appointment and fail to show for it or cancel with less than 24 hours' notice, you will be assessed a No Show/Late Cancellation charge of ten dollars ($10.00). To avoid having this "Health Center Hold" on your account, you may pay with your RAM Card or with a check at the Counseling Center Front Desk. We are unable to accept cash or credit cards.

Students who have completed their short-term therapy at the Counseling Center but are still in need of medication must transfer that to a private provider (outside psychiatrist or PCP). The student may work with our Case Manager to find a provider but medication management is up to the student after the therapy terminates at the Counseling Center.

Consultation

Counseling Center psychologists are available to consult with faculty, staff, and students via phone. On occasion, university community members call out of concern for another student's mental health. Psychologists in the Counseling Center will listen to your concerns and assist you in finding ways to deal with the presenting situation.

Finding a Mental Health Provider

At times, individuals call for assistance with finding a mental health provider in the area. The Counseling Center maintains a Referral Guide that is updated on a fairly regular basis, so referrals to other mental health professionals can be provided. It should be noted that students who have insurance would do best to contact the Membership Benefits and Services number on the back of their insurance card and locate providers who are in their network.

Outreach

Counseling Center psychologists and psychological trainees often present workshops or educational programs on campus. In the past, topics have included:

  • Coping with Stress
  • Communicating More Effectively
  • Dealing with Differences
  • Eating Disorders
  • How to Help a Troubled Student

WCU Outreach Mission Statement

Outreach services are an integral part of the activities conducted in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. Our outreach services aim to serve the campus community as a whole by extending our clinical and educational services beyond the walls of the Counseling Center. We offer a variety of outreach services to the university community with the goal of creating and maintaining a healthy, psychologically-minded student population. Our outreach services allow the provision of deliberate, systematic, and creative psycho-educational programming with a multicultural and developmental perspective on prevention, wellness, and student self-help. Such efforts allow us to work collaboratively with students, staff, and faculty across campus to ensure student engagement and success.

Our programming is geared towards providing:

  1. Support
      1. We are able to come to classes or be present at events and meetings, etc. in order to provide support and care to the WCU Community. We also have the Dog Therapy Program; we have three certified therapy dogs - each dog comes monthly to Sykes Student Union to visit with students. Also, upon request and with sufficient advance notice, our therapy dogs can be present at other campus events/programs.
  2. Education
      1. We are able to provide workshops to classes, organizations, meetings, and events. Examples of workshop topics we have presented include stress management, improving communication, resiliency building, and conflict resolution.
      2. For Faculty and Staff, we offer Campus Connect training. Campus Connect is a gatekeeper training program that teaches others how to: (1.) Recognize warning signs and risk factors of suicide; (2.) Assess the level of risk for someone in crisis; (3.) Ask someone if he/she is thinking of suicide; and (4.) Refer someone to the appropriate resources. Suicide prevention is a community responsibility — the more we know and can look out for one another, the safer the community becomes.
      3. In addition to Campus Connect, we offer a program geared towards students called Peer to Peer: Talking about Mental Health (P2P). This is a peer-led program that encourages students to discuss mental health issues and provides tools for providing assistance.
  3. Advocacy
      1. The Counseling Center works to promote mental health services, both on campus and in the WC community, along with raising awareness on mental health issues and reducing stigma. Some examples of our advocacy work: Our annual "Checkup From the Neck Up" Screening Day, attending classes to speak about our services and mental health, participating in the Green Light Day, etc. We are happy to collaborate with other offices, groups, and organizations on promoting mental health awareness and advocacy.

Outreach requests are available to students, faculty and staff with sufficient notice (at least two weeks).

Drug and Alcohol Counseling

There is a full-time Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor on campus in the Counseling Center, Ms. Katie Bradley. Students who are motivated to reduce their alcohol or drug consumption are allowed one-on-one sessions with this counselor. As with all counseling services, interested students should come to the Counseling Center during one of the posted triage times for a brief assessment.

  • Any student who schedules an Initial Assessment with the alcohol counselor and fails to show for the appointment will be assessed a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) charge.
  • Due to demand and limited resources, the alcohol counselor will not meet with students who have been court-ordered.
  • Those students who have been court-ordered to receive an assessment and/or treatment must use resources outside the school. We will not provide verification of therapy for mandated treatment. Please meet with the Case Manager for assistance.

Alcohol Awareness Education

The Student Health and Wellness Center's Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Information page describes programs and information sources concerning consequences of alcohol use as well as strategies for avoiding dangerous situations. It also provides information on Alcoholics Anonymous groups and "E-chug" (a web-based alcohol check-up) that gives personalized information about alcohol use.

Identifying Distress

Signs of Distress

At times, faculty members may take note of changes in a student's behavior or in one's appearance. Some of the signs that a student may be experiencing distress include the following:

  • Changes in attendance, decline in one's academic performance, or failing to follow through on assignments and tests.
  • Changes in behavior: becoming withdrawn and less involved in the class or becoming more aggressive and disruptive, more pressured speech.
  • Changes in appearance: decline in hygiene, weight loss or weight gain, evidence of lack of sleep.
  • Appearing very agitated or hyperactive, easily frustrated.
  • Difficulty concentrating, both in the classroom and as evidenced on tests.
  • Becoming more grandiose, self-important and inflated self-esteem.
  • Becoming tearful or emotional for no apparent reason.
  • Excessive involvement in activities that may have harmful consequences (e.g., excessive shopping, gambling, drinking, smoking).

Depression to Suicide

Almost everyone reports having days when they just feel "down" - nothing in particular but just an overall feeling of blah-ness. But when students experience long-standing periods of depression, without proper treatment, this can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair and result in suicidal thought or intent. Some of the signs of depression may include changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, increased physical complaints, trouble concentrating, changes in mood, as well as a decreased interest in activities that once gave the student pleasure. With prompt and proper treatment (therapy and, in some cases, medication) depression can easily be treated. However, when left untreated, the symptoms can worsen and result in suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Some of the risk factors for suicide include:

  • Previous suicide attempts by the student
  • Having a friend or family member who has committed suicide
  • Having an overriding preoccupation with death
  • Making suicidal threats or comments
  • No future orientation; basically, having given up on one's future
  • Giving away treasured items
  • Having a plan for committing suicide
  • Having a means for carrying out the plan
  • Having the belief that suicide is the only way to escape the pain and hopelessness one feels.

Frequently, an individual's risk for suicide may be heightened when one is coming out of a depressed state. This is the time when professionals are most concerned that the individual who once was suicidal and had seriously contemplated suicide now feels he/she has the energy necessary to do so. Monitoring a student who has been severely depressed is an ongoing process, until one senses that the individual can guarantee safety and is showing marked signs of progress and improvement in one's emotional state.

Violent Behavior

Warning Signs

Typically, students who act out violently have problems controlling their feelings and behaviors and are more likely to be impulsive. Some of the warning signs of violence include the following:

  • Frequently losing one's temper
  • Vandalism: disregard for others' property or possessions
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Threatening or planning to intentionally hurt others
  • Purposefully hurting animals
  • Carrying a weapon
  • Gang membership
  • Bullying or having been a victim of bullying
  • Frequent problems with authority
  • A history of discipline problems
  • An inability to recognize others' feelings or rights
Back to top of page.