Faculty and Staff
The Counseling Service at Lewis & Clark provides clinical services to enrolled students. It does not provide counseling for faculty and staff. Lewis & Clark offers support to employees through the Employee Assistance Program. Employees may also access mental health care using the benefits associated with their health insurance.
It’s normal for all of us to act a little unusual at times. But certain behaviors, when they occur frequently, suggest more serious psychological concerns. The following signs are common indications that a student may be facing some difficulty and could benefit from counseling or from your concerned questions:
- Mood: Depression; extreme sadness; hopelessness; anxiety; anger; mood swings.
- Physical signs: Deteriorating grooming habits or physical state; pronounced weight change; signs of substance abuse, such as dilated pupils, unsteady gait, slurred words, or the smell of liquor on breath.
- Performance: Concentration difficulties; unexplained lateness or absences; deteriorating work habits or academic performance.
- Social behavior: Extreme or inappropriate withdrawal or dependency.
- Speech: Irrational or unusually rapid or slow speech; frequent references to problems, or to feeling guilty or worthless; references to death or suicide.
Listen with Genuine Interest:
You don’t have to pry to detect difficulties. Students often signal their distress quite clearly. If possible, find a time to talk privately with the person. Allow sufficient time for the discussion. Point out the specific signs you have observed. Tell the student you’re concerned, and ask for a response. Discourage quick dismissals such as “I’m fine; it’s nothing.” Let the student know you really want to help him/her to get help.
Normalize Getting Help:
You could ask, “Do you know that many students struggle with difficulties? We have professional counselors on campus to help with ________. The Counseling Service is located in Templeton Student Center, next to the Health Service. You can call them at 503-768-7160, or stop by their office to schedule an appointment; or just check out their website.”
Making the Referral:
Most students can be directed to our services via the website, or by calling us at 503-768-7160. If the student seems to be at high risk for suicide or harm to others, it is best to walk him/her over to the Counseling Service.
In our Counseling Service, 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 also offer some limited psychiatry services, which are generally reserved for students who are also being seen in counseling. We take confidentiality seriously and 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). This includes confirming whether or not the student has even had an appointment at the Counseling Service. On average, students receive five sessions from the Counseling Service. If the student you are concerned about would benefit from more sessions or could use some additional resources, both on- or off-campus, we can help them find the resources they need. Contact the Office of Case Management to find out more.
If you think the safety of a student (or someone else at the college) is at risk due to a mental health issue, contact someone at the College immediately. If it’s an imminent crisis, contact Campus Safety at 503-768-7777.
If there is serious concern but not necessarily imminent risk, contact the Counseling Service at 503-768-7160 during daytime working hours: 8:30 a.m.-noon, 1-4:30 p.m. when undergraduate classes are in session. (Note that summer hours are more limited.) If it is outside working hours and your situation cannot wait, contact Campus Safety at 503-768-7777. If you are concerned about a student after hours or are unable to connect with a counseling staff member, please contact our 24-hour crisis counseling service at 503-265-7804.
More information about after-hours support for medical or psychological crises is available here.
Each year we see about 15% of the Lewis & Clark student body, including law and graduate students. Customarily, we see about 20% of undergraduate students in residence.
A student’s first appointment with us will typically last about 30-40 minutes. It is called an assessment appointment. This appointment helps us identify the student’s needs and determine the best plan for addressing those needs. Depending on the situation, we may offer individual, group, or couples counseling on campus, or referrals to counseling off-campus. We can also help with referrals to medication providers. Our focus is on providing primarily short-term individual, couples, and group therapy. Thus, if students need 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 assessment to find a provider off-campus.
Because we see so many students, we are very busy. As a result, while we always strive to provide an initial assessment appointment as soon as possible, it can sometimes take a couple of weeks for us to find an available assessment appointment that matches the student’s schedule. We give students in crisis first priority for services. Students who identify as 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. There are modest fees for consultations with our psychiatry staff, but we provide students with a receipt that they can submit to their health insurance plan. Many (but not all) health insurance plans provide mental health coverage. We also assess a fee ($35) when a student makes an appointment but no-shows without cancelling.
Students who want to schedule an initial appointment should phone our office (503-768-7160) or stop by. Our office is located on the garden level of Templeton Student Center, right next to the Health Service.