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The center provides students the opportunity to explore a variety of issues with a professional mental health provider in a confidential setting.
Services, provided free during the academic year, include individual psychotherapy, group therapy, substance abuse counseling, couples’ counseling, psychiatric evaluations, outreach, referral consultation, on-call crisis coverage, and crisis intervention. 

The Counseling Center also provides consultation to faculty and staff who have concerns about a student.

Individual Psychotherapy
Students may be seen for individual sessions with a counselor to address a variety of problem-in-life or mental health issues, including stress management, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, eating or body image issues, adjustment to college, and other concerns common to college-age young adults.

The Counseling Center staff uses a short-term counseling model and most student concerns are addressed in six to seven individual therapy sessions.

However, individual psychotherapy services are based on needs of the student as determined in collaboration with his or her counselor. Psychotherapy services are completely confidential, with a few very rare exceptions (see Confidentiality).

Some students have participated in therapy before coming to college, and are aware of the benefits that can be derived through meeting with a professional who can be more objective in helping them with their concerns.

For those students who have not had any experience with counseling prior to college, there are a variety of concerns that might lead someone to seek psychotherapy, including, but not limited to:

  • Roommate conflicts
  • Recent breakup of romantic relationship
  • Family conflict
  • Stress of school
  • Depression or mood problems
  • Appetite or sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety or panic episodes
  • Problems with making or keeping friends
  • Need for emotional support
  • Bereavement or grief over personal losses
  • Difficulty with managing responsibility or time demands
  • Problems with assertiveness or getting one’s needs met
  • Distress over career choices
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Decision-making problems
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Eating or body image concerns
One of the common misconceptions about psychotherapy is that someone needs to be “in crisis” or “crazy” to come to counseling. Indeed, most people who engage in counseling services here and elsewhere are generally well-functioning people who have a current life-issue with which they need support, or are experiencing a difficulty with mood or anxiety. Counseling is usually most effective when people are not in crisis and have the ability to address their situation proactively or once the crisis is resolved.

Group Therapy
Group therapy is a series of therapy sessions that usually includes five to ten students and one or two group leaders. Groups are offered based on specific campus needs each semester.  

Click here for more information on group therapy.

Substance Abuse Counseling
The Counseling Center offers individual counseling to students who would like to reconsider their use of alcohol and other mood-altering substances.

An evaluation by a licensed New York State Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor allows students to explore their use of mood-altering substances openly and to receive personal feedback about their use of alcohol and drugs in a safe, secure setting. All client information is held in confidence (see Confidentiality).

In addition, a weekly student alcohol and substance abuse support group, facilitated by the Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Education, is offered. One of the benefits of this group is the peer feedback provided by the participants.

The Counseling Center also provides various educational options. These options include hour-long tutorials on alcohol or marijuana; brief alcohol and marijuana screenings, utilizing the eChug and eToke computerized assessment programs; and On Campus Talking About Alcohol (OCTAA), a four-hour program that delineates the differences between high- and low-risk drinking practices. In this program, students self-assess their family history, their tolerance level, and other factors.

More information on substance abuse counseling.

Counseling for Couples
Therapy for couples is offered, when appropriate, to address relationship issues. If a student interested in this modality of counseling is already working with a counselor, he or she can discuss this option.

When relationship counseling would be beneficial, the couple will work with a counselor other than the one currently working with one of the partners. An initial consultation can be scheduled to consider this option by calling ext. 7385.

The Counseling Center staff members are committed to reaching out to the Colgate community to help educate others about psychological topics. We provide outreach programs that reach students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues.

Alcohol and other drugs, eating disorders/body image, study skills, sexual assault prevention, diversity issues, and relationship conflicts are some of the topics that we cover. To request a program, call us at ext. 7385 to talk to a staff member about what we can offer.

Psychiatric Evaluations
A psychiatrist is available for consultations to assess whether a student might benefit from adding medication as a component to the treatment regimen. Assessments take place at the Counseling Center and are offered at no cost to the student.

Referrals for the psychiatric assessment are made through The Counseling Center staff; students interested in a psychiatric assessment should first schedule an appointment with a member of the Conant House staff.

Students will not receive a prescription at this session should medication be recommended. Decisions about the recommendations resulting from the psychiatric assessment are discussed with a Counseling Center staff member subsequent to the assessment.

There may be times when a student would prefer to work with a non-Colgate affiliated mental health provider off-campus. (This may include instances when the level of need for treatment exceeds the resources of The Counseling Center, the specific service is not offered on campus, or the student would just prefer to work with a non-Colgate affiliated provider.) The Counseling Center can often provide names and contact information for connecting with these off-campus providers. Given our rural location, students and parents should keep in mind that, at times, the nearest referral source to meet your specific need may be in Syracuse or Utica, up to an hour from campus. The cost and transportation for meeting with off-campus referrals are assumed by the student.

The Counseling Center provides consultation to students who have concerns about another person or would like to explore therapy options. Consultation hours are held Monday through Friday from 1:30 to 4:30. Consultation requests are managed on a first-come, first-serve basis, however emergencies always take precedence during consultation hours.

The Counseling Center also provides consultation to faculty and staff who have concerns about a student. See our guide on "How to Help Distressed Students."

On-Call Coverage
For emergencies, a Counseling Center staff member is on-call after office hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) and over each weekend. Call Campus Safety at 315-228-7333 and ask for the counselor on-call.