Counseling and Psychological Services

Interior room with a couch and lounge chairs
Interior room of Counseling and Psychological Services, a suite inside of Dascomb Hall.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Counseling and Psychological Services provides short-term therapy, psychiatry, group programming, consultation, and community referrals. Services are free, as the center itself is funded through tuition.

We offer a hybrid model that allows the student meet in person or virtually.

To make an appointment, students should call (440-775-8470) or stop into the office during office hours.

We offer the following services:

If you have not been to the center before, you will be set up with an initial 20 minute appointment with a counselor. The intention of this appointment is to gather information on your unique circumstances, goals, and needs. We will collaboratively determine the level of care or support needed and identify the next appropriate steps. This may include scheduling you for an intake for short-term counseling or psychiatric services at Counseling and Psychological Services and/or can include helping you to connect with referrals on campus and off campus (long-term therapy, specialized care, or a higher level of care).

If individual counseling at the center is the service that is most appropriate for you, you will be set up with an intake with a counselor. Together you will identify therapy goals for your work together and create a plan to work towards your goals. The style and approach of each therapist varies (see the Staff page for information on each provider). If you have a preference for working with a specific provider or a provider with specific identities; you can indicate this at the initial appointment.

Our same-day crisis services are designed to assist students who are confronting life-threatening circumstances, current or recent traumatic crises, and/or serious emotional distress. During a same-day crisis assessment, a counselor will briefly meet with you to discuss your situation and work with you to stabilize the situation. 

Examples of crisis issues include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts about harming another person
  • Recent assault or abuse
  • Concern about your own safety or the safety of another
  • Strange experiences, such as hearing voices or seeing things that no one else hears or sees
  • Coping with serious illness, death, or dying
  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event

The above are just some examples. There may be other situations that you may experience as placing you in a crisis.

By seeking crisis services, you understand that a crisis is a situation in which not being seen immediately could lead to serious consequences or seriously aggravate a person’s health or well-being.  Seeking these services indicates that you believe that your situation is a crisis that cannot wait for a scheduled appointment.

During the academic year our crisis hours are Monday through Friday, 11 am - 12 pm. No appointments are needed, just check-in at the window.

If you are experiencing a crisis outside of our crisis hours, please inform the front desk. We will make sure that you are connected with a licensed clinician for crisis support. 

Oberlin College has contracted with University Hospitals of Cleveland to provide psychiatric services for Oberlin students. Alex Wang, MD and Matthew Newton, DO are board certified psychiatrists with a strong interest in working with the college-age population and hold office hours in Counseling and Psychological Services part time during the academic year.

At Oberlin, the psychiatrists work in conjunction with staff psychologists in Counseling and Psychological Services and to provide a holistic approach to treatment. It is our goal to provide quality mental health care and services by assessing each student’s individual needs and determining the best way to meet those needs.

What to expect from a visit to the psychiatrist

A visit to the psychiatrist is often focused upon considering the role of medication in treating the problem presented. An initial visit usually takes 40 to 45 minutes. If you have been referred, the psychiatrist will often have received preliminary information from your referral source, including visits with a psychologist at Counseling and Psychological Services. 

Typically, follow-up visits with the psychiatrist are brief (10-15 minutes), and focused on an evaluation of the effectiveness of medications prescribed to treat your condition.

For many issues and problems, groups can be extremely helpful.  In groups, students have the advantage of speaking with others who have similar concerns and experiences; significantly lessening the feelings of isolation often accompanying the problem.

Group members make a commitment to keep everything in the group confidential. 

Some groups are structured like classes or workshops while others are more "process oriented".  It is always important to remember that the benefits of group reflect an individual’s investment in it.

While group members are not pressured to participate beyond their comfort levels, the group will encourage its members to be as active as they feel ready to be.

Workshops are skills-focused groups that create a space for students to develop coping resources, build a more effective relationship with emotions, foster healthy relationship skills, and receive validation and support in processing past and current experiences.

For more information about the types of groups the center offers, as well as a description of specific groups offered each semester, see the program description.

Sometimes couples experience short-term or ongoing problems that are challenging to overcome on their own. While individual therapy can be a good way to address individual concerns and underlying issues, couples counseling looks at what's going on in "the system."

It is often more effective for the couple to meet with a therapist together, so that the therapist can get a sense of what the dynamics are between the partners, to hear something about the background and concerns of each person, and to better understand what the goals are for each person and the couple as a unit.

The therapist can often help partners communicate with each other, and help clarify or expand upon what may have been difficult to convey (which might be adding to the couple's difficulties). Many couples experience considerable relief at getting the support and feedback counseling can provide.

Couples counseling can be thought of, too, as a place to do some assessment of the system, a place to begin to see more clearly what is the cause of distressing symptoms and problems.

Counseling and Psychological Services can provide educational programs to support student development and enhance skills in living. We offer workshops, lectures, and discussion groups on a variety of topics, some of which include:

  • stress management
  • assertiveness training
  • eating disorders
  • exploring cultural or racial identity
  • conflict resolution
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • test anxiety
  • procrastination 
  • perfectionism

 To request an educational program, call us at (440) 775-8470.

Connect with our Multicultural Specialist, Dr. Maya Akinfosile, if you would like to collaborate or know more about programming/outreach focused BIPOC students and other marginalized identities.

While maintaining confidentiality, Counseling and Psychological Services staff is available to consult with concerned others about issues with direct or indirect impact on student development and well-being. Students can seek consultation if they are concerned about their own well-being or the well-being of another student, such as a roommate or a friend.

If you are concerned about a student and don’t know what to do, you can call the center to consult with a staff member about next steps and resources.  However, in the absence of imminent danger to self or others, we are unable to mandate counseling as well as confirm or deny a student’s participation in counseling services.

See our Referral Guide for more information. 

If you would someone from the college to reach out to a student of concern directly, you can contact Campus Safety at (440) 775-8444, the Dean of Students office by calling (440) 775-8462 or reach out to Student Support and Outreach.  This program is available to students, faculty, staff and others who wish to refer a student who may be struggling or in need of additional support.  The Student Support Request form is available online.

We provide counseling and support for students concerned about alcohol and drug use. This is a good place to start when looking for direction or help. Students in need of a court-ordered assessment or treatment for dependency will be referred to alcohol and drug services certified by the state, located in Elyria, or to an agency near a student’s hometown.

See Community Resources page for additional resources.

The Oberlin College Counseling and Psychological Services Statement on Diversity and Inclusion 

The values of diversity, inclusion, and equity are at the core of our profession and the services we provide at Counseling and Psychological Services. As a center we respect, support, and embrace differences in identity. Counseling and Psychological Services is dedicated to making our care accessible to all students and our staff is committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and affirming environment that embraces the richness brought by the intersections of gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual and or affectional orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious and spiritual orientation, socioeconomic status, immigration status, as well as a host of other personal and social characteristics that comprise individual identity.

These values structure our services and our commitment to fostering a healthy campus community that supports individual well-being and academic success.

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