Academic mastery, social relationships, and participation in the University community can provide fulfilling experiences that contribute to personal and professional growth and wellness. However, at times these positive experiences can be interspersed with feelings of distress and self-doubt when students are confronted with the many demanding pressures in your lives, both academic and personal. The recognition of growing intellectual and emotional resources can sometimes be mixed with an awareness of needed personal development.
If you believe that there is room for improvement in your personal effectiveness and resilience in some areas of your life, a psychological consultation may help you work toward such improvements. You may notice that you have certain patterns of thinking and behavior that interfere with your success with and the enjoyment of certain endeavors. If so, you should consider making an appointment. The Staff at the Counseling Center understand these challenges and are here to support your growth and development, help you restore balance, build strength, gain emotional resiliency and increase your personal well-being.
Young adulthood, the traditional age of undergraduate students, is a time of momentous change and development. Perhaps you are living away from home for the first time, experiencing your first significant romantic relationships, trying to adjust to a new city and peer group. Such change can be both exhilarating and confusing. Often questions of “Who Am I?” and “Where Do I Belong” and a wide variety of surprisingly intense experiences are typical of this developmental stage.
Graduate students have often successfully negotiated the earliest years of adulthood, but are now addressing the tasks of increasing their personal identity and creating an image of their ultimate place in our larger society – both personally and professionally. Challenges of partnership/marriage, parenthood, new financial independence and stress, perhaps returning to school after a long time in the working world can bring new pressures and stress and shock to your identity. Combine that with the often competitive graduate programs and it can be a challenge to maintain a sense of competence among our intellectually talented peers and faculty.
AVAILABLE COUNSELING SERVICES
- Individual Counseling
- Couple's Counseling (*both individuals need to be SMU students)
- Crisis Intervention
- Mental Health Consultation
- Outreach & Presentations
- Health Screenings
- Local 12-Step Groups
- Off-Campus Referrals
- Students: Short-term personal psychotherapy is available at no charge to currently enrolled students, up to 10 sessions per calendar year. Individual sessions are available focusing on such problems as interpersonal relationships, identity, sexuality, dependence/ interdependence, study worries, examination anxiety, and stress management, as well as other personal problems. Short-term work focuses on resolving specific problems. Referrals to community resources are made as appropriate.
- Faculty & Staff: Counseling staff are available to provide facutly and staff with a variety of services including consultations about students you may be concerned about, classroom presentations and other mental health outreach needs.The staff at the counseling center are not able to see Staff and Faculty members for personal counseling services. Staff and Faculty can obtain personal counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as part of their employee benefits or directly through their private health insurance benefits.
COMMON STUDENT TOPICS OF CONCERN
- Academic Difficulties
- Adult Children of Alcoholic and/or Dysfunctional Families
- Addictive Behaviors
- Career Planning & Decision Making
- Childhood Trauma
- Eating & Body Image Concerns
- Family, Peer & Relationship Concerns
- Homesickness & Transition
- Life Balance
- Sexuality - LGBTQ Concerns
- Rape or Sexual Assault
- Resolving Personal Problems
- Stress Management
- Time Management
The counseling center staff values the privacy of all clients and do not release information without the student's written permission, except in cases of imminent danger to self or others, child/elderly abuse, court order, or otherwise required by law. Counseling records are not part of academic records and no one has access to them except the counseling center staff.
All currently enrolled SMU students are eligible for up to 10 counseling appointments per calendar year. Your first appointment will provide you with an opportunity to talk confidentially with a counselor about your immediate concerns. By the end of the appointment, your counselor will be able to offer you some initial impressions of what resources or services would be most helpful for you.
- Students at the OAKLAND campus can make initial intake appointments by contacting the Health & Counseling Center at (510) 869-6629.
- Students at the SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA and SACRAMENTO learning centers can access mental health services either on the Oakland campus or through the Sutter Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which will connect you with a provider in the community. Through EAP students will also receive up to 10 sessions per calendar year, free of charge. Please contact (800) 477-2258 to learn more about Sutter EAP.
AFTER HOURS CRISIS
The Counseling Center staff does not provide after hours crisis intervention. If you need immediate mental health assessment or care after hours, during weekends or holiday breaks, you may choose from the following options
- Contact the Sutter EAP 24/7 line at 800-477-2258. Identify yourself as an SMU student.
- Call 911, go to your nearest hospital emergency room
- Call a Local or National 24-hour crisis support hotline.
In any of these situations you are encouraged to also call the Counseling Center at (510) 869-6629 as soon as possible to alert the staff that you are need in of help.
FINDING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES OFF-CAMPUS:
In non-emergency/crisis situation, you can also contact your health insurance to obtain a list of mental health providers available in your area. Please refer to this "Finding an Off-Campus Mental Health Provider" guide to help you with this process.
We are also fortunate in the SF Bay Area to have a large volume of local counseling centers and clinics that can see individuals and couples for a sliding scale/low fee. At these centers you will often be seen by an intern/trainee who is supervised by a licensed mental health professional. If interested in this option, please see this "SF Bay Area Lower Fee/Sliding Scale Counseling Center" Guide ti find a center near you.
COUNSELING CENTER STAFF:
The Oakland counseling center is staffed by two licensed clinical psychologists and one extern/trainee:
3rd year doctoral student from JFK University