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Students seek counseling and psychiatry services for a variety of reasons, including—but not limited to—difficult life events, depression, anxiety, mood lability, sexual violence or other forms of trauma, grief, stress management, interpersonal challenges, and questions about identity.
You may be referred by the assistant dean, a tutor, or a friend. You may just be curious about mental health services or have questions about whether treatment is appropriate for you at this time. You don’t have to have a crisis or diagnosable mental health condition to make an appointment; students come in to discuss a range of concerns, large and small.
All currently enrolled students (graduate and undergraduate) are eligible to receive counseling and psychiatric services based on provider availability. Additional information is available on the “Eligibility” page.
We do not take insurance at the Counseling Center. All services—counseling and psychiatric—are free to students currently enrolled in classes. There is a $10 (ten dollar) no-show fee for missed appointments without prior notification. You are also responsible for the cost of any prescribed medication.
Please see our Make an Appointment page to find the correct procedures for making appointments.
Due to the demand for counseling services, the Counseling Center has an attendance policy to help ensure that we are able to provide services for everyone who is looking for assistance. Typically, we reserve a weekly spot for you, on the same day and at the same time. We do this because regular attendance for sessions is a crucial piece of getting help with the issue that brought you to counseling. We expect that you will call the health center or directly notify your counselor by email if you need to cancel an appointment. If you would like to reschedule your session for that week, your counselor will make every effort to accommodate, but please know that it is not guaranteed. In addition, you are responsible for coming to your session on time; if you are late, your appointment will still need to end on time. If you are more than 15 minutes late, your appointment may be rescheduled.
Please understand that the time scheduled for your appointment is assigned to you and you alone. If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, we require that you provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice. Cancellation with less than 24 hours’ notice is considered a late cancellation. A no-show occurs when you miss your appointment and fail to provide any prior notification of your absence. No-shows will result in a $10 (ten dollar) no-show fee. We understand that things happen that are out of our control, such as emergencies and serious illness, and they will be considered the exception. If you miss too many appointments, health center staff can provide you a referral to other, off-campus providers for alternative treatment at your own expense.
The Counseling Center is closed when the college is closed/classes are not in session. Therefore, counseling and psychiatric services are not provided on holidays or through school breaks (e.g., winter break, spring break, summer—except for students enrolled in summer classes). It is the student’s responsibility to secure off-campus counseling services, as well as psychiatric coverage for medications and monitoring, during those times. The student should be aware that it often can take several months to get an appointment with off-campus providers, especially psychiatrists, and so should begin the process with ample time.
If you are having a mental health emergency and feel unable to keep yourself safe:
Crisis hotlines can also be extremely helpful in managing a crisis in the moment. See a list of Crisis Support resources.
All counseling and psychiatric services are confidential. Information about you cannot be released without your written permission, except in rare exceptions as dictated by state and federal laws. St. John’s College is a small community, but we are committed to protecting your privacy. Click here to learn more about confidentiality.
As a client of the health center, you have the following rights regarding health information maintained about you:
If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us and/or the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. For further information regarding your rights under this notice or to file a complaint regarding your health information privacy, you may contact the executive director of campus wellness at 410-626-2530. You will not face any retaliation for filing a complaint.
The health center is committed to providing quality healthcare to St. John’s College students. We believe that quality healthcare is a result of a collaboration between the healthcare provider and patient. We encourage you to take an active role in managing your health.
As a patient, you are responsible for:
Clinical staff are often not immediately available by telephone, as we do not answer our phones when with clients or are otherwise unavailable. If you need to contact us, you may leave a message with the front desk or contact us directly by email (St. John’s College emails are on a secure server). We will then contact you as soon as possible, but this may take a working day or two. Please note: Email should not be used for crisis situations. If you are in a crisis or in a life-threatening emergency, please contact a crisis hotline, call 911, or go immediately to your local hospital emergency room.
See provider information and email addresses.
Psychotherapy (or mental health counseling) is a form of treatment aimed at relieving emotional distress and mental health problems. Provided by trained professionals, it involves examining and gaining insight into difficulties faced by individuals.
For more information on therapy and how it generally works, click here.
A therapy intake appointment is a one-time appointment with a counselor where we will clarify your needs and our ability to meet those needs (including counselor availability at the time). The intake usually takes approximately 60 minutes.
By the end of the evaluation, the counselor will be able to offer you some initial diagnostic impressions and may recommend individual therapy, group therapy, a psychiatry referral, and/or referrals to community providers. You should also evaluate whether you feel comfortable working with that counselor moving forward. Some students come for a one-time consultation visit; others come for regular (e.g., weekly) appointments. The anticipated duration of therapy is something that can be discussed during the first visit.
Counselors are licensed mental health professionals with a broad range of interests and experience. Counselors are non-judgmental, objective, professional helpers. They won’t tell you what to do, but they will ask questions, listen closely, and help you to understand what is troubling you in a new light.
Psychotherapy is a collaborative process and requires a very active effort on your part. Students are encouraged to share their concerns, questions, and goals for therapy with their counselor so that, together, they can establish the most helpful approach and treatment plan. In order to be most successful, you will have to work on things we discuss during therapy outside of sessions.
The first session will last approximately 60 minutes and will involve a comprehensive intake evaluation of your needs.
Ongoing counseling appointments are typically scheduled weekly for 45 minutes each, but the frequency—as well as duration—of psychotherapy treatment may vary based on your specific needs.
Psychotherapy has both benefits and risks. Risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness, because the process of psychotherapy often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life. Psychotherapy has been shown to have benefits for individuals who undertake it. Therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress, and resolutions to specific problems; however, there are no guarantees about what will happen. Psychotherapy requires a very active effort on your part. In order to be most successful, you will have to work on things we discuss during therapy outside of our sessions.
If you are a St. John’s College student looking to schedule a new counseling appointment, please go to your Student Health Portal, log in using your mySJC account credentials, and read/complete the “Mental Health Treatment Interest Form” in order for the required paperwork to be sent to you. Once you have completed/signed the documents, we will work to provide you with a one-time counseling intake evaluation based on your stated availability. At this appointment, we will clarify your needs and our ability to meet those needs (including clinician availability at the time). For ongoing services, your assigned counselor will work with you to schedule future appointments.
If you are a current client looking to schedule/reschedule with your SJC provider, feel free to reach out to them directly via email or through secure messaging in the Student Health Portal.
Please see our Make an Appointment page for more information on making appointments.
Groups are open to all currently enrolled SJC students (graduate and undergraduate). You do not have to be a current client of the Counseling Center in order to attend group therapy sessions. Groups are free and unlimited in duration, based on the student needs and appropriateness in the group. Except for designated “pop-in” groups (where students may attend any group session), students must be registered for groups through the Counseling Center ahead of time.
If you have questions about available groups, feel free to stop by the health center, call us at 410-626-2553, email counseling(at)sjc.edu, or—if you are set up with individual services—ask your counselor directly.
Please see our Group Counseling page for more information.
The SJC Counseling Center offers psychiatric care, including medication management services. Your treatment may consist of psychotherapy only, a combination of psychotherapy and medication management, or—in very rare cases—medication management only. If appropriate, our licensed staff psychiatrist will work with you to determine whether psychotropic medication would be beneficial.
Once referred, you would meet with the psychiatrist for an initial psychiatric evaluation, which typically takes about 75 minutes. Thereafter, follow-up appointments are usually 30 minutes. Frequency and duration of treatment is based on your specific needs.
You have the responsibility, if prescribed medication, to keep track of your medication and request refills in a timely manner. Our staff psychiatrist is part-time and requires sufficient time to review and—as appropriate—complete your refill requests.
Any paperwork that needs to be completed by the psychiatrist needs to be done during the appointment times. If you have specific paperwork for the psychiatrist to complete, please schedule an appointment with the psychiatrist and bring the paperwork with you.
Mental illness is a medical condition that can involve changes in emotions, thinking, and/or behavior, as well as imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Like any other medical condition, medication can be highly beneficial in mitigating symptoms of mental illness; however, there are no guarantees about how each individual will respond to treatment. Some risks associated with taking a new medication include side effects and, in more rare cases, severe reactions. Therefore, it is important to attend all psychiatric appointments when scheduled and discuss any concerns with your psychiatrist as soon as they arise.
You must first complete an initial intake evaluation with a St. John’s College counselor prior to meeting with the psychiatrist. The counselor would then be able to refer you to our staff psychiatrist if deemed appropriate. Please note that, on a case-by-case basis, ongoing therapy may be required to see the psychiatrist through the Counseling Center.
If you are already set up with individual psychotherapy, feel free to discuss any interest in psychotropic medication with your counselor, who may then refer you as requested/appropriate to our staff psychiatrist.
Please see more information on making appointments.
Who do I contact if I have questions not answered here?
Please contact Dr. Lopez, senior staff clinician and the administrative lead of the Counseling Center, directly at heather.lopez(at)sjc.edu if you have additional questions or concerns.