Fall & Spring Semester Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8am-4pm, 4-6pm by appointment only
If interested in mental health services, students should call the Counseling Center (610-436-2301) or come to the Counseling Center to schedule a triage appointment. Triage hours are Monday-Friday, 1-3pm. We encourage students to schedule their triage appointments earlier in the day, as the appointments are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis and tend to fill up quickly. 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 either be sent an email with forms to complete or complete the forms in the office. 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 individual counseling (either virtually or in-person) with a Counseling Center counselor, group therapy at the Counseling Center, or obtaining off-campus referrals for longer-term or specialized counseling via our referral specialist.
Please be advised that due to licensure rules, we may be limited in our ability to provide virtual counseling to students who will be located outside of Pennsylvania.
If a student is experiencing a 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) or come to the Counseling Center office in Lawrence 241.
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)
Other resources if you are experiencing a mental health emergency:
- Call 988
- Crisis Text Line: text “HOME” to 741741
- Domestic Violence Hotline: call 1-800-799-7233 OR text “LOVEIS” to 22522
- Crisis Resources by County
There are various reasons why you might want to refer a student for counseling . Some examples include:
- The student's problems are interfering with their academic work and experience in your class.
- The student's well-being is suffering, they are struggling socially, with self-care, in school, etc.
- Observations of the student's personal behavior raises concerns.
- When you believe a student's problems go beyond your own experience and expertise.
- When you feel uncomfortable helping a student with some issue.
Students experience stress differently and sometimes their concerns can be relatively transient. If you are uncertain or have questions on how to respond to a situation, consult with a counselor in the Counseling Center about how to evaluate the situation and follow the most appropriate steps.
When encouraging a student to seek counseling:
- Summarize to them what you are hearing from them and how you understand their difficulty (For example, "It sounds like you are feeling really overwhelmed by all of your stressors and it's making it difficult to get to class.").
- Talk about resources and how the Counseling Center may be helpful (For example, "I have found that other students who felt that way have been helped by talking to a counselor at the Counseling Center.").
- When talking about counseling, it is important to keep in mind some of the concerns a student may have to the idea and be ready to discuss them.
- It can be helpful to explain what happens when they come to the Counseling Center and that counseling is confidential (parents/family/friends won't know and it doesn't show up on their transcript!).
NOTE: Limits to confidentiality include danger to oneself or others, in which case proper authorities must be notified for the student's safety.
- There is no charge for counseling appointments with the Counseling Center Counselors.
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.
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.
Spring '24 Therapy Groups
- Navigating Relationship Groups - (in person)
- Mondays: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
- Tuesdays: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
- Wednesdays: 2:00 pm - 3:30 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.
- Exploring Queer Identities Group - Thursdays 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm (in person)
This group is designed to provide a safe and confidential place where LGBTQ+ students can create connection and offer support to one another. Students will be able to share their experiences navigating coming out to themselves and others, coping with heteronormativity and cisnormativity, processing difficulty family relationships, and celebrating queer identity. This group will be led by a non-binary, queer therapist.
- Women's Group - Thursdays 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (in person)
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 Group - Fridays 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm (in person)
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.
- Grief Group - Tuesdays 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (in person)
This group is designed to provide a safe and confidential place where students can discuss their experiences related to significant losses in their lives. Co-facilitators will guide sessions and encourage students to support one another while processing emotions associated with grief and loss.
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
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.
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!
During the Work Day (Monday - Friday, 8am-4pm)
Students who are in urgent need of mental health assistance may call or come to 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:
National Crisis Lifeline: 988
Valley Creek Crisis Intervention: 610-280-3270
Public Safety Office: 610-436-3311
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
You can submit outreach requests here: https://form.jotform.com/220254985831056 .
For questions about outreach programs you can contact: CCoutreach@wcupa.edu
Click to find out more about our outreach initiative, the Humanity & Resiliency Project
* This initiative aims to foster the resilience of West Chester University students, faculty, staff, and the overall campus community by encouraging connecting with each other through shared humanity or vulnerability.
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.