Counseling Services

UPDATE TO SERVICES - Effective May 17, 2021

In these uncertain times, it is normal to experience increased feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.  As the university continues remote instruction over the summer, the Counseling Center will be offering limited virtual counseling services to current students.  All services will solely be online to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty. 

If interested in mental health services, students should call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301) to schedule a triage appointment.  If your call is not answered, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. 

Triage appointments will be occurring via phone and students will be sent an email with forms to complete. These forms must be completed in order to participate in the triage phone call. 

During the triage session, students will discuss their concerns and options for counseling moving forward.  Options may include: short-term online counseling via Zoom Health with a Counseling Center counselor or obtaining off-campus referrals for longer-term or specialized counseling via our referral specialist (Janelle Silbert; jsilbert@wcupa.edu).  If students know they are solely interested in off-campus referrals, they can contact Ms. Silbert directly. 

Please be advised that due to licensure rules, we may be limited in our ability to provide online counseling to students who will be located outside of Pennsylvania. 

If a student is experiencing a life-threatening mental health emergency during business hours (Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 4 PM) and they need to talk to someone immediately, please call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301).  Students in crisis are able to come to the Counseling Center office, we ask to please call before entering so that health and safety measures can be taken.

A mental health emergency is defined as:

·         Suicidal thoughts with plan and intent

·         Homicidal thoughts with plan and intent to harm another

·         Survivor of a recent traumatic event (e.g., victim of a mugging, sexual assault, recent death)

·         Experiencing hallucinations (visual or auditory)

We will also continue to provide virtual outreach services.  If a class or student organization is interested in an online workshop or training, please contact our outreach coordinator (Liz Carper; ecarper@wcupa.edu).

  • If you are experiencing a mental health emergency:
    • Call 911
    • Crisis Text Line: text “HOME” to 741741
    • Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
    • Domestic Violence Hotline: call 1-800-799-7233 OR text “LOVEIS” to 22522
    • Crisis Resources by County

 

Counseling Center Charges

  • There is no charge for counseling appointments with the Counseling Center Counselors.
  • Psychiatry
    • Initial Assessments with a psychiatrist is $20.
    • Ongoing Psychiatric appointments is $10.

No Show or Late Cancellation Appointments

A charge of $10 will be assessed if you schedule an appointment in the Counseling Center for individual counseling, case management appointments, and psychiatrist appointments and then do not show up for the appointment. There is a $25 charge if you no show or cancel late for an Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment. 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

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 if 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.

Group Counseling

Each semester a number of Counseling Center counselors 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.

Group Counseling is a form of treatment that focuses on the interpersonal relationships and social interactions that are a fundamental part of a group experience. Groups meet at regularly scheduled times and typically consist of 6 to 8 members.

The process of "counseling" takes place as group members interact with one another and explore problems with everyone in the group; members gain insight into their own patterns of behaviors while still offering support to others.

The Counseling Center strives to provide a safe and comfortable place on campus where students can work through their problems. An added benefit of group counseling is that it inherently helps students who struggle with social interactions. Most groups are comprised of students from different majors, backgrounds, and life experiences but all of this adds to the wealth of insight that can be gleaned when group members come together to share and focus on problem resolution.

  • Fall 2021 Therapy Groups
    • Navigating Relationship Groups - Mondays: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
                                                                Tuesdays: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
                                                                 Wednesdays: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

    Are you concerned about your relationships? Social anxiety? Family issues? Asking for what you need? Figuring out who you are? These weekly groups will offer a safe, confidential place to discuss these issues, with other students. The leaders will facilitate group discussions to help participants better understand themselves and their relationships with others.

    • Women's Group - Thursdays 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm 

    This group will focus on the shared experience of women-identified students who are survivors of past emotional, physical or sexual traumas that have affected the way they view themselves, their confidence, and their ability to trust others.  In a safe, supportive, and confidential environment, the group leaders will facilitate participants’ awareness of the lasting impact of unresolved feelings of past trauma.   Ways to strengthen self-esteem, bolster resilience, modulate the intensity of emotional expression, and manage safe interpersonal boundaries will be discussed.

    • Stress-Less: What to do when life is a mess - Thursdays 10:00 am - 11:30 am

    This group is designed to help students learn effective ways to manage emotions and counterproductive behaviors. Through experiential activities and discussion this group will teach participants how to manage life with competence and confidence in the areas of relationships, stress and emotion management and the struggles of everyday life.

    • RAMS Group: Responding to Addiction with Mindfulness-based Strategies - Mondays 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

      This group is for anyone who is struggling with substance abuse or other addictive behavior and would like a safe, supportive and confidential space to talk, connect with others, and learn.  The group leader will facilitate conversations that focus on recognizing abuse and dependency, identifying ways unhealthy behaviors become addictions, and learning how to use mindfulness-based strategies as a way to safely and effectively cope with stressors.  (*R.A.M.S. is not a substance abuse treatment group or 12-step support meeting.  Please contact the Counseling Center or visit our website’s resources page for information about these services

  • 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

FAQs

  • What are the goals of group counseling?

    The goals of group counseling are grounded in the basis that it is a group and there are more individuals with different levels of experience in attendance to share in the process. The Counseling Center believes that groups provide a unique means of resolving conflict and problems because group members:

    • Both provide and receive support
    • Gain understanding and explore possible outcomes
    • Practice interpersonal skills in a safe setting
    • Receive feedback on how they are perceived by others
    • Enhance their problem-solving skills
    • Decrease social isolation
    • Develop better communication skills
    • Improve their emotional expressiveness
  • Why Group Counseling?

    Many personal problems are interpersonal in nature. Typically, personal problems stem from past and current relationships or from the patterns of relating to one another that are unique to the individual. Group counseling offers the rare opportunity to better understand how people relate to one another and provides an opportunity to receive specific feedback in a supportive setting.

    Many students report effective and quick results as a result of being a group member. The group leader(s) also set the stage for trust and safety in the group. Once an individual experiences that safety in that setting, it is easier to recreate it in other aspects of one's life, such as in classes, in work, in one's living situation, with family members, with friends and with an intimate partner.

    5 Benefits of Group Therapy  

  • How often do groups meet?

    Groups typically meet weekly, on a scheduled day and time, and run for an entire semester. The group leaders ask for the student's commitment for the entire duration of the group so members will feel a sense of cohesion and safety, knowing who will be there and who they can count on weekly. Students have reported that the greatest progress was attained when they attended all scheduled sessions.

  • Are there any costs associated with group counseling?

    There is no cost to attend groups and there is no limit in group sessions for students! 

 

Workshops

***Dates and times TBD***

  • Return to College Workshop
    • This is a 3-session workshop series for any students who are struggling with or need support with returning to college following a year of remote instruction and living. Students can anticipate having a space where they can talk with counselors and their peers about their experiences of being back on campus. Students will receive support, learn strategies for stress management, and experience a sense of community through the workshop series. Students can join one or all three of the workshops on Zoom by signing up beforehand.
  • Self-Compassion Workshop

    • This workshop will consist of 3, 50-minute Zoom sessions that will introduce students to the practice of self-compassion. Self-compassion helps us to hold our emotional pain with greater equanimity, relate to ourselves with greater warmth and kindness, and decrease our sense of isolation in the face of psychological suffering. This practice can be particularly helpful for those of us who struggle with harsh self-criticism in response to perceived failures or inadequacies. This workshop will provide an overview of what self-compassion is (and what it is not) and will introduce a variety of practices for cultivating this capacity, including guided meditations, visual imagery, and short journaling exercises. This workshop is open to all students.

    • Section 1: Wednesday, September 22, 29 & October 6, 3-4 PM

    • Section 2:Thursday, October 14, 21, 28, 1-2 PM

  • EVERYbody Workshop
    • The EVERYbody Project is a 2-part workshop series that focuses on body image and eating concerns from an inclusive, social justice-oriented perspective. The workshop is aimed at helping students to challenge deep-rooted societal messages we receive about appearance, attractiveness and beauty, our bodies, and weight. Diversity within cultural appearance ideals and the individual and collective impact of pursuing exclusive appearance norms are explored. This is an inclusive body image program that recognizes that eating and body image concerns affect everyone, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, ability status, and size. Registration is open to all students. 8-10 maximum. Students must attend both sessions. 

  • All About Anxiety Workshop
    • All undergraduate and graduate students are invited to a workshop designed to learn more about anxiety. This will include learning to recognize symptoms of anxiety within themselves. The workshop will help students to understand the ways in which thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are intertwined. Students will be provided with a toolkit of resources to use in addressing anxiety symptoms. Students can sign up for this virtual Zoom workshop through RamConnect.

    • This workshop will be offered twice in the Fall 2021 semester to gauge interest level. The workshop will be held on a Monday evening in September and a Monday evening in November (specific dates to be determined).

    • It can also be requested as an outreach through the Counseling Center by student organizations, faculty, and staff.

Crisis Intervention

During the Work Day (Monday - Friday, 8am-4pm)

Students who are in urgent need of mental health assistance may call or walk into the Counseling Center and indicate that they are experiencing a mental health emergency.

Click here to help distinguish what is a mental health emergency.

After Hours or When Classes are Not in Session

The mental health crisis service may be accessed by contacting 

Public Safety Office: 610-436-3311 or
Valley Creek Crisis Intervention: 610-280-3270

Psychiatric Services

The Counseling Center has a consulting psychiatrist 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 counselor and may not be accessed independently.

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.

  • 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.

 

Consultation

Counseling Center counselors 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. counselors in the Counseling Center will listen to your concerns and assist you in finding ways to deal with the presenting situation.

How to Make a Referral to the Counseling Center

Encourage the student to come to the Counseling Center's Triage Hours. During the Fall and Spring semesters, students come through our Triage hours (Monday - Friday, 1-3pm) to get connected with counseling services. If it is during Winter or Summer Session, the student can call to make a triage appointment.

If you are concerned about the student's safety, you can call the Counseling Center to consult with a counselor or walk the student over to the Counseling Center. It can be helpful to call ahead if you are walking a student in crisis over, in order to give the office a heads up.

The Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 4:00pm when classes are in session.

Any life-threatening mental health emergencies that occur after-hours are handled by contacting Public Safety at 610-436-3311.

Outreach

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

  • Coping with Stress
  • Communicating More Effectively
  • Dealing with Differences
  • Coping with Eating and Body Image Concerns
  • How to Help a Student in Distress
  • 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 several 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 they are 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). While we do our best to accommodate as many requests as possible, there are times when the volume and timing of requests is simply more than we can meet, given other clinical demands

Drug & Alcohol Counseling

We have a Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselor on campus in the Counseling Center. 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.

Due to demand and limited resources, the AOD 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 and Other Drugs: Wellness Promotion Programs & Services

    The Office of Wellness Promotion provides educational programs and services that encourage students to explore their use of alcohol and other drugs through personalized feedback assessments, brief screening and intervention programs, wellness coaching, and a variety of educational programs and events. 

 

 

 

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