Just like many other institutions, Virginia Wesleyan University Counseling Services are offered to the student body and even staff in some cases. Counseling on campus is a confidential and collaborative process between a licensed counselor and the person seeking counseling. The skills that the counselor has and the relationship created helps patients handle their mental health more effectively.
VWU Counseling offers a variety of services to all students and staff of the university who are faced with typical issues such as difficulty adjusting to college, low self-esteem, difficulty controlling temper, tendency toward violence and problems with alcohol and/or other drug abuse, all free of charge.
VWU’s Counseling services is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m – 4:30 p.m. located in Batten 211. Because of COVID-19, Counseling Services has gone virtual, handling most of its cases over Zoom. However, in severe instances, in-person counseling is available. Counselors schedule their own appointments and students can set one up through phone or e-mail.
Counseling Services has a mission to successfully help all of its students successfully achieve growth.
Bill Brown, director of student counseling services since 1999, has a great vision for the department explained in an interview. “At Virginia Wesleyan University, the Office of Student Counseling Services strives to be a highly visible, accessible and effective resource which provides intervention, counseling, and education. Services are provided to encourage appropriate decision making, enhance coping skills and facilitate successful development,” said Brown.
For any students that are trying to receive counseling, there are multiple ways to find it. “Through referral, email, call or walk-in…some students are mandated to receive counseling. Crista Glover does all our scheduling,” said Brown.
Some of the educational programs that are offered include, “Primarily substance abuse prevention programs…Some focused wellness topics…Some on prevention of sexual assault…Some on stress,” said Brown.
Students can meet with any of the counselors on staff. “[There are] full-time positions, one licensed clinician. There is also one part-time clinician, April Christman, and three graduate-level interns, available to see students during the academic year,” said Brown
The counselors are continuing to give their services as more students are seeking their help. With just seven people on staff including two full-time, VWU’s Counseling Services deals with a lot of students. “Somewhere around 450 students…conducted approx. 1700 individual sessions…since the beginning of the pandemic. Most of our services are provided through virtual individual sessions… 99% virtual and 1% face-to-face,” said Brown.
With an increase in students using the counseling services, the department has goals for the future, including adding more staff.
“As the number of students utilizing services continues to grow, our goal is to add another part-time Counselor/Health Educator and ultimately, another full-time clinician to the staff of the Center,” said Brown.
Although the Counseling Services are on campus and available to all students, there are some that had no clue that there was even a Counseling Services department on campus. When freshman Sam Edwards was asked where the counseling center was, he responded, “I didn’t even know we had Counseling Services.”
As more random students were asked about the Counseling Services on campus, it became apparent that many had no knowledge of the services and what was offered.
To get involved with Counseling Services on campus, students can email Bill Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or Crista Glover at email@example.com. For more information about general services the Counseling Services Center offers, students can visit the VWU website at https://www.vwu.edu/campus-life/counseling-services/.
By Nathan Sheirburn