The Counseling Center firmly believes in the importance of attention to the “whole person” in the educational process. The center aims to assist students in clarifying and accomplishing personal and academic goals, offering:
- Brief counseling and referral services for individuals who may be experiencing psychological or emotional difficulties
- Programming focused on the developmental needs of college students to help them maximize the benefits of their academic environment and experiences
- Consultation with faculty, staff, and parents regarding mental health concerns of students
- Mental health resources from internal and external sources
All individual and group counseling services will be offered in person or virtually (through a telehealth platform) based on need and access. If you are sick with any sort of illness, make arrangements to meet with your counselor virtually and do not come to the center.
Acknowledging, understanding, and actively taking steps to address the emotions and mental health challenges the pandemic may be producing is an important step in coping with any potential psychological impacts. Major changes in your daily schedule and social interactions (like working or taking classes from home) can feel isolating and may increase feelings of distress. The Counseling Center has provided some updates to services as well as some resources you may find useful during this time.
The Counseling Center strives to practice all therapeutic services with respect and mindfulness to a student’s multiple identities. Counseling Center staff recognize that students experience violence, discrimination, bias, and exclusion related to their identity. These experiences can impact mental health and need to be seen and validated within the counseling process. Staff engage in ongoing training and consultation to increase competency working with the needs of specific groups. We also welcome feedback to improve services to ensure all students feel safe accessing them.
The Counseling Center staff members maintain their professional mental health licensure in the state of Utah or receive direct clinical supervision by a licensed staff member. All Counseling Center staff are experienced professionals equipped to work with students with a wide range of needs. Staff approach all clients from a trauma-informed lens respectful of intersecting identities. Counseling Center staff utilize the following therapeutic modalities:
- EMDR therapy
- Internal family systems
- Somatic informed
- Motivational interviewing
- Feminist multicultural
Staff and Counselors
Director of Counseling
Common mental health concerns students manage include depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, and academic concerns. Referral services are available for faculty and staff.
The Counseling Center offers 15 free individual counseling sessions per academic year (fall and spring semester) to students currently enrolled in at least 1 course.
The Counseling Center staff utilize a brief, client-centered, solution-focused approach to counseling. This approach emphasizes a focus on strengths and the establishment of specific treatment goals. Counselors work with students to develop effective problem-solving and healthy coping skills. Referrals to off-campus clinicians/agencies will be provided when appropriate.
The center is only able to meet with students who are physically located in the state of Utah. If you need a referral, email Erin Gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for resources in your area.
New Counseling Clients
If you are interested in individual counseling, email the center (CCfrontdesk@westminsteru.edu) to get set up for an intake appointment.
Established Student Clients
If you met with a counselor in the center during the Spring 2022 or Summer 2022 semesters, and you are currently enrolled in classes, email your counselor to see if you are eligible for telehealth services.
Groups are offered based on student interest. Some groups require a meeting with the facilitator prior to joining to assess if it is a good fit. Contact the Counseling Center (801.832.2465 or CCfrontdesk@westminsteru.edu) to inquire about joining groups or for more information.
Group counseling services are available at no cost to registered students.
Group Wellness Sessions Groups
A supportive space to exchange emotional support, learn selfcompassion skills, process experiences with personal and global community grief and discuss how to build more compassionate spaces in our world. The group will utilize a mix of conversation, guided meditation and creative exercises.
Structure and Focus:
- Practice self-compassion skills with guided meditation
- Explore emotions utilizing art, writing and other creative outlets
- Exchange emotional support through conversation
- Day and Time: Fridays, 10–11:30 a.m. and 12:30–1 p.m.
- Location: Counseling Center
Prioritize your well-being and join the Counseling Center's We Thrive Group. Come give and receive support. This space fosters self-exploration, well-being, and community. This group is open to non-binary, genderqueer and female identifying individuals.
- Day and Time: Wednesdays, 10–11:30 a.m.
- How to Register: Email the Counseling Center (email@example.com)
Foundations of Well-being is a co-curriculum series of workshops designed for college students to connect, engage, and experience a supportive learning environment aimed to foster a broad scope of life-enhancing skills. All Westminster students are welcome to attend. No registration is required.
Earn extra credit or points toward a class grade! Students that attend a workshop may be eligible to receive extra credit in a co-curriculum course. Please check with your professor’s course curriculum to see if they credit or extra credit for attendance/participation in a Foundations of Well-being workshop.
Through this initiative, Westminster seeks to normalize a culture of wellness and cultivate opportunities for students to build community, connection, and support by linking students’ well-being to their studies.
- Day and Time: Fridays, 12:00 p.m.
- Location: Gore 132
Join us for mindful practices every Tuesday, with an alternating mindful focus. A space to practice guided mindfulness with Allyson McGuire starting Jan. 10. A chance to practice mindful stitching with Yvonne Francis starting Jan. 17.
The Counseling Center aims to provide short-term counseling support for students. Counselors can also write letters to support students in a variety of ways:
- Housing exemption
- WPATH for students seeking surgical intervention for gender transition
- Support for students seeking accommodation through disability services
Students must engage in at least 4 individual counseling sessions to receive an advocacy letter.
If you or your counselor conclude that your situation requires longer-term work, your counselor may recommend a referral to an outside counseling agency or other options. Students with long-standing concerns or require intensive case and crisis management needs may not be served adequately by our brief therapy model. In these cases, a counselor will work with you to find appropriate referrals to community agencies specializing in specific mental health concerns.
The Counseling Center offers assessment, early intervention, support, and counseling for those struggling with their own or someone else's alcohol/drug abuse problem. Referrals to off-campus clinicians/agencies will be recommended when appropriate.
More help is available from College Drinking, Changing the Culture, which shares myths and facts about alcohol, access to a BAC calculator, and discussions around the consequences of drinking.
The Victim-Survivor Advocate provides free, confidential, and trauma-informed support services to students who have experienced interpersonal violence (e.g., domestic or dating violence, sexual assault or rape, sexual harassment, stalking).
For support, contact Stephanie Nolasco, Victim-Survivor Advocate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victim-Survivor Advocate Services
Westminster believes in empowering you to make informed decisions around your healing and justice. The Victim-Survivor Advocate will assist you in navigating any resources, processes, and services that feel relevant and helpful to you:
- Education: Be empowered by learning how trauma impacts your life and well-being. The advocate can provide you with information on the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual impacts of trauma and help you explore strategies to address these impacts.
- Support: If you decide to report your assault to law enforcement or to Westminster’s Title IX Office, the advocate can provide you with information about those reporting processes.
- Referrals: The advocate can help connect you to campus and community resources, including counseling/mental health support, medical/testing services, and legal/justice services.
If you need additional resources related to sexual assault, please reference Westminster’s Title IX policies and information.
Westminster University’s approach to integrated wellness empowers you to live a healthy life, develop confidence, and create your community on campus. Through prevention and intervention programs, you will learn a holistic approach to well-being that will help you discover health, happiness, purpose, and form connections on campus. This program encompasses the 7 dimensions of wellness: social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, environmental, and financial.
All inquiries, discussions, and services are confidential. Knowledge that you are receiving counseling services, as well as the specific content of your counseling and assessment, is confidential.
Adherence to Ethical Guidelines
The Westminster Counseling Center adheres to the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association, and Utah state and local laws. GRAMA and FERPA govern Counseling Center records, and we generally seek to be compliant with HIPAA standards. The center maintains clinical records in a confidential computerized client management system. The center retains a hard copy of some records maintained in secure and locked files.
No one outside of the Counseling Center may have access to counseling information without your prior, express, written permission except for the following, required by law:
- A counselor reports suspected or known abuse, neglect, or exploitation of children or disabled adults
- Cases of imminent danger to self or others to secure your safety or that of others
- A valid subpoena or court order is issued
- Your counselor may consult with other providers within the Westminster Counseling Center about your situation to provide the best care possible, or for training purposes
The Counseling Center is an excellent resource for counseling-specific needs, but additional external resources are available to help you explore various topics surrounding self-help, prevention information, and coping during a pandemic. These external resources provide supplementary information; however, the Counseling Center is not responsible for any content on other websites.
- College Drinking, Changing the Culture: learn myths and facts about alcohol, access a BAC calculator, and explore discussion of consequences of drinking.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: learn detailed information about anxiety and depression, including symptoms, access online videos and brochures, and read others' success stories.
- “What is depression?” (National Institute of Mental Health): learn what depression is, signs and symptoms of depression, types of depression, and treatment options.
It’s completely expected and appropriate to experience fear during situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also important to know how to manage overwhelming anxiety and keep perspective as the situation unfolds.
The following are resources and tips provided by the Jed Foundation:
- “Talking to Kids About a Coronavirus Crisis” (Child Mind Institute): a resource on how to talk to young people about COVID-19.
- “Supporting #RealCollege Students During COVID-19” (Hope Center): an outline of resources for supporting college students during this crisis.
- “Preparing for COVID-19” (American College Health Association): a guide to help college health staff and campus administrators address COVID-19 on campus.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) database (WHO): a webpage sharing information on travel, media resources, and research on COVID-19.
- “7 science-based strategies to cope with Coronavirus anxiety” (Jelena Kecmanovic): outlines 7 ways to strategize and cope with COVID-19 anxiety.
- “5 Tips for Managing Stress” (JED Foundation): a resource created by self-care experts sharing ways to get adequate sleep, eat well, and engage in exercise, among other tips for practicing good self-care.
- Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders: get detailed information about eating disorders as well as treatment options.
- National Eating Disorders Association: get easy access to help and support, as well as information and a variety of ways to get involved.
- University of Georgia Health Center: get tips for managing stress as a college student.
- Life Values Inventory: a free values clarification and personal development program
- ULifeline: take a quick mental health test from a self-evaluator, which identifies common mental health issues; learn more about mental health issues and the warning signs of emotional distress and suicide; and access emergency contact information and on and off-campus resources.
- Wholehearted Inventory: learn about how you present yourself to the world and notice the areas of strength to live your desired life.
Taking Care of Your Body
Engage in Routine Exercise
You don’t need a gym to get exercise. Some easy ways to get exercise include:
- Free yoga videos on YouTube and other websites
- Going outside and getting fresh air by walking, running, riding your bike, or hiking (while being sure to follow social distancing guidelines)
Get Good Sleep
- Consider investing in a white noise machine or exploring free white noise apps for your electronic devices.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Take time to cook healthy food that you enjoy and increase your water intake.
- Be mindful of increased drug and alcohol consumption being used to cope with stress and boredom.
Build a Routine
Try to maintain consistency in your life as if you were going to work and/or school like you normally would. Some things that may help with this include:
- Writing out your schedule on a board or paper and displaying it prominently
- Going to bed at the same time each night and setting an alarm to get up at the same time each morning, trying to follow the usual routine you did while learning or working on campus
- Creating a diversified list of activities and schedule intentional down time to reflect
- Taking breaks from screens to refrain from being online all day
Address Fears and Doubts
- Practice letting go of the things you cannot change.
- Accept your emotions and reach out to trusted people for support.
- Take a break from social media and the news about COVID-19.
Reflect and Engage in Resiliency Activities
- "Coping With Mental Health During COVID-19 Pandemic” (Amanda McNab): article featuring pointers from Amanda McNab, LSCW, a clinical staff development educator at University of Utah Health and Crisis and Diversion Services.
- Greater Good:
Sometimes it can be difficult for friends and family to know what to do when a loved one is experiencing difficulties with mental health. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources that can provide information and support to those who want to help.
Friends and Family
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a helpful outline of what friends and family can do to assist their loved one, including:
- Ways to offer support
- How to talk about mental health
- What to do if you are asked for help
- Ways to get immediate assistance for your loved one
Parents and Caregivers
- What to look for
- What to do
- How to talk about mental health
- How to support your child
- How to get help for your child
- Self-Injury Outreach and Support, a nonprofit outreach initiative: read personal stories, information about coping and recovery, and support for loved ones.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
- Seattle University's Counseling and Psychological Services: information about suicide prevention, myths, warning signs, and additional resources
- American Association of Suicidology
- Out of the Darkness Walks: information about the annual walk to raise awareness and funds that allows the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss
- “If You Are Thinking About Suicide, Read This First”: from Metanoia, a community service by the nonprofit Psych Central Community Connection
Find a Therapist
If you are local and would like to access a therapist in the community, you can find therapists through Psychology Today.
You can also find therapists through the LGBTQ-Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild of Utah's free online directory.
If you are under self-quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19 or are located outside the state of Utah and you would like access to online counseling services, you can access teletherapy sessions (services that do cost money per session) through the following online providers: