Parents & 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 Counseling Service offer?

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 the Counseling Service. 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 Counseling Service.

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 son, daughter, or family member, we encourage you to talk with your student directly. Ask if they could benefit from coming to an assessment session in the Counseling Service. Our Counseling Service 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 to the Counseling Service.

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 Counseling Service, 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 for 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 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, call the Counseling Service at 503-768-7160 during daytime working hours: 8:30 a.m. - noon, 1 - 4:30 p.m. on days when undergraduate classes are in session. (Note that summer hours are 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 Counseling Service

A student’s first appointment with us will typically last about 30-40 minutes. It is called an assessment appointment. The purpose of the assessment 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, 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 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 assessment to help connect with an off-campus provider.

Because we see so many students, we are very busy. Though we always strive to provide an assessment appointment as soon as possible, it can sometimes take a couple of weeks for us to find an available assessment 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. 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 canceling.

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.

What services do you have for students with ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is often referred to as ADD or ADHD. Symptoms can include difficulty concentrating or focusing, being easily distracted, and impulsivity. The disorder may be experienced either with or without symptoms of hyperactivity.

Both counseling and medical interventions have been shown to be helpful with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some students also benefit from receiving academic accommodations for ADHD, such as extended testing time or a reduced-distraction testing environment. At Lewis & Clark, the Office of Student Accessibility coordinates requests for academic accommodations for ADHD, while the Counseling Service provides limited assessment and treatment resources, as well as referrals to community providers.

If a student is interested in talking with a counselor about whether they have potential ADHD, and about potential counseling interventions, they should contact the Counseling Service at 503-768-7160.

Because we have only a limited number of psychiatry appointments each week in the Counseling Service, we are not able to meet the needs of all students who might want to be assessed and treated with medication for potential ADHD. At the outset of each semester, we set aside a certain number of appointments to evaluate students for ADHD. When those appointments are full, we refer students who need ADHD assessment to off-campus providers.  Click here for more information about medication assessment and treatment for ADHD at the Counseling Service.

Other Resources for Parents & Family Members