About Counseling Services and the Alcohol and Other Drug Program
We are open Monday to Friday from 9-5 with evening hours twice a week. We provide services from the first day of class to the last day of exams each semester. Emergencies off hours are handled by members of the Resident and Commuter Life staff. If the situation appears life threatening, the student would need to go off-campus to a local hospital for a psychiatric assessment, or a parent or responsible adult would need to come to campus to take the student to the treatment center of their choice. Following a situation of this nature, the student and family then work with the Dean of Students to formulate a return to school plan, if that is possible.
Services are free to all full-time undergraduate students and full-time graduate students in the Forensic Science, Genetic Counseling, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Physician Assistant, and Physical Therapy programs. Part-time students can receive two free consultation sessions and reduced- rate subsequent sessions.
Cynthia Rutherford, MSS, LSW, Director
Jim Walker, MS, Professional Counselor
Christine Coppa, MSW, LCSW
Meghan O’Meara, MA, LPC
Megan Bartlett, MA, Professional Counselor
Two Masters’ Level Counseling Interns
If a student chooses to use Counseling Services, the counselor needs the student’s permission to contact a third party, including parents/guardians. An exception occurs if the student is in imminent danger of hurting him/herself or someone else. In these cases, Resident and Commuter Life staff or Public Safety staff is notified. We work with students to decide the best way of contacting parents/guardians.
Prevention: Transitioning to college is different for everyone. Trying to consider what kinds of difficulties a student might encounter and then planning for how to deal with them is a great idea. Students often come to see us to process the adjustment to a new environment. The top reasons students come to see us are: depression, anxiety, and concerns about relationships, including, family, friends and romantic relationships. Family discussions about the safe use of alcohol are imperative. Students do listen to family members who provide clear information and these conversations prove to be quite protective. Most students do not abuse alcohol, but about 28% *of them come from high school abusing alcohol at least monthly. Fewer students use other substances, but sometimes these can interfere with academic success and students’ mental health. Parents’ role modeling also plays a significant role in what students choose to do. *Data from U. of Michigan Monitoring the Future Study 2008
Pre-existing Conditions: Some students come to school with pre-existing mental health conditions. A student whose condition is stable is more likely to be successful given the new stressors of starting college. The following are almost always helpful (and sometimes essential): 1) working with the treatment provider who is knowledgeable about the condition; 2) entering college with a stable medication regimen; 3) having a treatment plan; 4) working through anticipated difficulties before arriving; and 5) if you are not local, checking with your insurance provider to find out who the providers are in this area. We also have an extensive resource list. Parents/guardians and students need to have discussions about: case management, medication compliance, contingency plans for symptom flare-up, insurance coverage, and the effect of substance use on the condition itself and its interaction with prescribed meds. The management of complex, long-standing cases is often referred to off-campus providers. Counseling Services staff is available to meet with students and families to see how we might assist you.
215-572-2967 or on campus x2967