Counseling Services provides group and individual counseling, crisis intervention, and psychological evaluations for students, as well as prevention and consultation services for the University community.
Counseling Services can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include difficulty with friends, roommates, or family members; depression and anxiety; sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs.
We are also available to assist students in making difficult decisions, resolving relationship issues, dealing with academic pressures, coping with feelings of depression and anxiety, and other personal concerns. Call 570-450-3027 or 570-450-3160 or stop by Suite 105 Physical Education Building or Suite 105 in the Butler Building to schedule an appointment. Confidentiality in individual and group therapy is strictly respected.
While most of the services are scheduled on an appointment basis, there are crisis situations that require immediate or same-day intervention. For example, crises might include consideration of doing harm to oneself or others, experiences a sexual or physical assault, having someone close to you die recently, or the experience of atypical sensations such as visual hallucinations or hearing voices.
Counseling and Psychological Services offers crisis intervention services during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In order to arrange for a crisis intervention appointment, the student should alert Counseling Services to the nature of the crisis at the beginning of their conversation. Students will be seen as soon as possible.
At times where a student feels they need crisis services after office hours or on weekends:
- Students are encouraged to call Penn State Crisis Line 877-229-6400 or Northeast Counseling at 570-455-6385 or 911
- Students can also text the 24/7 Crisis Text line. Text “LIONS” to 741741.
What can a student expect at Counseling Services?
A student's initial interview with a professional staff member is generally arranged by scheduling an appointment. It may be helpful for you to know that basic counseling services are free of charge to Penn State students.
Students can schedule an appointment by calling 570-450-3160 or by visiting Counseling Services in the Physical Education Building, Room 105, between the hours 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our administrative support assistant will arrange for the student to meet with the counselor as soon as possible.
In urgent or crisis situations, an immediate or same-day intervention may be required. For example, a crisis might include consideration of suicide, experiencing a sexual assault or feeling overwhelmed and disoriented from severe panic. In order to arrange for a crisis intervention session, you should alert the Administrative Support Assistant to the crisis nature of the situation to ensure an immediate appointment.
Prior to the first visit with the counselor, the student will be asked to complete background information forms. During the initial interview, the counselor and student begin an assessment of the student's needs and the ways in which Counseling and Psychological Services or other services might be able to help. Except in rare situations where disclosure is legally mandated, all services at Counseling and Psychological Services are confidential.
What happens after the first session?
If the student and intake counselor agree that further counseling is appropriate, the student and counselor review the available options at Counseling Services, at other clinics on campus and with service providers in the community to arrive at a tentative plan for additional services.
In many cases, students opting for treatment at Counseling Services would continue to engage in individual counseling or if appropriate attend a group. The groups include general interpersonal therapy, groups for students from alcoholic and dysfunctional families, groups addressing depression or stress management, groups for students recovering from eating disorders or substance abuse. There are also support and discussion groups for students from underrepresented groups including gay, lesbian and bisexual students and students from racial and ethnic underrepresented populations.
Finally, some students may leave the initial interview feeling able to handle their problems on their own. Students can always return to counseling if they want to explore whether additional services would be helpful.
Online assessment and self-help
WellTrack provides a confidential, online and self-guided platform to provide you with information and tools to help better understand and deal with stress, anxiety and depression. Visit WellTrack to create an account and get started with your self-assessment and treatment.
Consultation is available if you are concerned about a friend or fellow student
If you have decided to help a student at risk, you may still have questions about how to best handle the situation. The counselor would be happy to help you:
- Assess the situation, its seriousness and the potential for referral
- Learn about resources, both on and off campus, so that you can suggest the most appropriate help available when talking with the student
- Find the best way to make the referral
- Clarify your own feelings about the student and consider ways you can be most effective
- Discuss follow-up concerns after the initial action or referral (Please note that due to confidentiality requirements, we will be able to talk about the student's specific situation or their contact with us only if the student has given us written permission to do so.)
- A student whose behavior has become threatening, violent or significantly disruptive may need a different kind of approach than a student who is open and willing to seek help. Students who pose a serious danger to themselves or others can be evaluated by a county crisis worker to determine if involuntary hospitalization is indicated to protect the students or other's life and safety.
Consultation Services for faculty and staff:
- Initial student interviews and assessments
- Group therapy
- Structured psycho-educational groups
- Discussion and support groups
- Short-term individual counseling
- Crisis intervention
- Psychiatric/Medication referral services
- Educational programs and activities
- Referral services