Parents and Family

For many students, college is a wonderful experience where they have the time of their lives. But sometimes college is more challenging, and even the best of students can become overwhelmed.

Keeping students healthy and safe so that they can be successful in their studies is a team effort. When students need assistance, we have many resources on campus to help them feel better and get back on track.

What services does the Student Counseling Center offer?

In our Student Counseling Center, we offer primarily short-term individual, couples, and group therapy. Our counseling staff consists of licensed mental health clinicians and doctoral practicum clinicians who are supervised by our licensed staff. We take confidentiality seriously; we follow APA (American Psychological Association) ethical guidelines on confidentiality. Please be aware that due to confidentiality guidelines, we generally cannot divulge information about a student’s counseling contacts to any third party unless the student signs a release of information (ROI). Without this ROI, we cannot even confirm whether or not the student has had an appointment at the Student Counseling Center.

What should I do if I am concerned about my family member?

Owing to these confidentiality restrictions, if you’re concerned about the behavior or emotional status of your child or family member, we encourage you to talk with your student directly. Ask if they could benefit from coming to a consultation at the Student Counseling Center.  Our Student Counseling Center staff generally rely on students to make the first contact with us, rather than reaching out to them. Why? If we contact a student at the request of family, there is a risk that the student will perceive our outreach as intrusive and unwelcome. We have found that the more effective strategy is for someone who knows the student to refer him/her/them to the Student Counseling Center.

We do offer consultations to parents and family members who are concerned about their student. If you are worried about the mental health of your student, and you’re not able to move things in a positive direction by talking with your student and/or referring them to the Student Counseling Center, you are welcome to call our office during our business hours (8:30 a.m. - noon, 1 - 4:30 p.m. on days when undergraduate classes are in session) at 503-768-7160 to schedule a consultation with one of our professional staff.  Please note that summer hours are limited.  If you have a concern outside of our business hours or are unable to connect with a counseling staff member, please call our 24-hour crisis counseling service at 503-265-7804.  

What if the situation is an emergency?

If you think the safety of your family member (or someone else at the college) is at risk due to a mental health issue, contact someone at Lewis & Clark immediately. If it’s an imminent crisis, contact Campus Safety at 503-768-7777.

If there is serious concern but not necessarily imminent risk, call the Student Counseling Center at 503-768-7160 during daytime working hours: 8:30 a.m. - noon, 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. on days when undergraduate classes are in session. (Note that summer hours are more limited.) If it’s after hours and your situation cannot wait until business hours, contact Campus Safety at 503-768-7777.  You can also call 503-265-7804 to speak with a mental health consultant who supports our 24/7/365 crisis counseling line.

If your family member lives in a residence hall, you may also contact Campus Living staff. Their business office number during work hours is 503-768-7123.

More information about after-hours support for medical or psychological crises is available here.

Access to services in the Student Counseling Center

A student’s first appointment with us will typically last about 25-30 minutes. It is called an initial consultation. The purpose of the consultation appointment is to help identify student needs and determine the best plan for addressing those needs. Depending on the situation, we may offer individual, group, or couples counseling on campus; referrals to other on-campus resources; and/or referrals to counseling off-campus. We can also help with referrals to medication providers. Our focus is on providing primarily short-term and intermittent individual, couples, and group therapy. Thus, if a student needs more lengthy treatment than we can offer, or more intensive treatment (e.g., for an eating disorder or substance abuse problem), we will likely be working with them after the consultation to help connect them with an off-campus provider.

Because we see so many students, we are very busy. Though we always strive to provide an initial consultation as soon as possible, it can sometimes take a couple of weeks for us to find an available initial consultation time that matches the student’s schedule. We give students in crisis first priority for services. Students who identify themselves as being in crisis are generally seen within 24-48 hours, depending on their needs. Students who experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of wanting to harm someone else should always contact us right away.

Counseling services are free of charge for currently enrolled undergraduate, law, and graduate students. However, we do assess a fee ($35) when a student makes an appointment but no-shows without canceling.

Students who want to schedule an initial appointment should phone our office (503-768-7160) or stop by. Our office is located in Odell Hall Lower Level, office #012, on the undergraduate campus.


Other Resources for Parents and Family Members