12.1.3. Counseling Services

The Oglethorpe counseling center’s mission is to support the personal growth and satisfaction of all students in order to enhance their full participation in the University’s educational experiences.  The counseling center provides a variety of services to meet the specific needs of each student.  Programs are designed to empower and motivate students to focus on issues relating to health and wellness.  The counseling center upholds the Code of Ethics and Conduct of the State Board of Psychologists, based on foundations of confidentiality, integrity, and embracing and affirming differences.

Students come to the counseling center for a wide array of concerns.  The most common issues that bring students to counseling are anxiety, depression, and relationship issues (with friends, romantic partners, roommates, professors, parents or others). Other concerns include homesickness or adjustment to college, identity issues, controlling the use of alcohol and other substances, body image or eating problems, sleep disturbance, grief, and low self-confidence.  Students may utilize counseling services on campus for a limited number of sessions or be referred out to a specialist for long-term counseling.

The director of counseling services, who is a licensed psychologist, runs the center and coordinates all services.  The other therapists are at various stages of completing graduate degrees in psychology. The graduate student therapists are supervised closely by either the director or another licensed mental health professional.

Counseling at Oglethorpe is a collaborative process that involves the development of a unique, confidential, helping relationship.  In these relationships, therapists are facilitators who help their clients understand their own feelings, behaviors, relationships with others, and environments more accurately. Students are encouraged to examine their own values and priorities and to make choices that align with these priorities.

Services include:

  • Individual Counseling: The Oglethorpe student meets one-on-one with a mental health therapist to discuss emotional concerns that are interfering with the ability to thrive academically and socially or to maintain a sense of well-being and pleasure. Individual therapy is generally time-limited, although there is no stringent limit on the number of sessions provided.
  • Group Counseling: A group of students meets with a counselor regularly (usually weekly) throughout the semester to discuss personal concerns. Group members provide each other support and help coming up with ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge. Talking and listening to others also helps put problems in perspective. Members realize they are not alone, that others also struggle. Hearing how others handle situations can help clients develop new strategies for tackling issues. Some groups deal with general concerns and personal growth while others have a more specific focus.
  • Workshops/Outreach: Like group therapy, a workshop is a group of students meeting with a trained facilitator or counselor. Workshops usually meet one time for 2-3 hours and address a specific issue, such as panic attacks, procrastination, time management, or nurturing healthy relationships. Workshops and presentations can be arranged for classes, clubs, residence halls, and Greek organizations.
  • Consultation: Consultation with counseling center staff is available for anyone who is concerned about a student’s emotional well-being. Consultation is provided to students, staff, faculty or parents who are concerned about an OU student. Counseling center clients may find it helpful for the counseling center to consult with accessibility services, athletics, or specific faculty in order to coordinate services for the client. Counseling center staff will not reveal a student’s status as a counseling center client without permission from the student. The counseling center staff also consults with faculty and staff in other areas of the University about topics related to mental health, such as suicide prevention, how to access services, understanding specific mental health issues like depression, and neurodiversity.
  • Referral: Any student who needs more regular and ongoing services than the counseling center can provide or who needs services the center does not provide will be referred to area providers. Note: Each student is responsible for the cost of any services obtained off campus.
  • Eligibility: All currently enrolled Oglethorpe students are eligible for individual and group counseling. Georgia law requires anyone under age 18 to have written permission of a legal guardian (usually a parent) to receive ongoing services. Students under age 18 may be seen without parental permission in case of emergency for one session in order to assess the need for services.  All members of the Oglethorpe University are eligible for consultation.
  • Confidentiality: All clients of the counseling center who are over age 18 have the right to expect confidentiality of their records and sessions. Counselors are legally bound to maintain rights to privacy and will not disclose information of any kind without the client’s expressed written permission, except in circumscribed situations specified by Georgia law. Exceptions to confidentiality are situations in which the therapist is concerned that a client may be in imminent danger of serious harm to self or others; client disclosure of an ongoing situation of abuse; neglect or exploitation of a minor child or an incapacitated adult; and court order signed by a judge. Counseling records are not included in a student’s academic record and are not available to parents or University faculty or staff even with FERPA release. (See Sec. 3.8. for an explanation of FERPA guidelines.)
  • Cost: All counseling center services are free.
  • Psychiatry: Oglethorpe University does not provide psychiatry services. Students in need of medication evaluation will be referred off campus at their own expense.

For additional information go to www.counseling.oglethorpe.edu.