Counseling Services
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Counseling Services

counseling services

Counseling Services supports the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of students by providing holistic counseling, consultation, and psychoeducational services. We aim to create a healthy, supportive and compassionate environment that promotes social, personal, and academic growth and development. We advocate for students’ needs by providing student-centered outreach programming, consultation, and collaboration with members of the campus and greater Spartanburg communities.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Wellness Center is staffed by:

  • Bethany Garr, M.S.Ed., LPC — Director of Counseling & Wellness
  • Jacob Parsons-Wells, LMFT — Counselor
  • Melody Juarez

In addition, the Wellness Center regularly hosts interns from the MFT graduate program at Converse and the counseling graduate program at Clemson.

Unless it is an emergency, we strongly recommend scheduling an appointment if you need to see a counselor. There are three convenient ways to make an appointment:

Phone:   864.596.9258

Email:    wellnesscenter@converse.edu

Portal:   my.converse.edu → Student Life → Wellness Center

The Wellness Center is on the first floor of Andrews Hall at the rear of the building.

Monday-Thursday: 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

Friday: 8:30 AM-2:00 PM

Please note: These hours may vary during the summer.

The Wellness Center offers free counseling to all currently enrolled, full-time, traditional undergraduate students. We are not able to offer services to graduate or Converse II students at this time.

All counseling services are fully covered by student health fees, which students pay at the beginning of each semester.

We are able to provide a wide variety of services, including:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Roommate/suitemate mediation
  • Educational programming

The Wellness Center also has a relaxation room that students can visit during regular business hours. It is a quiet, comfortable space that is full of books, relaxation media, yoga DVDs, art materials, and chair massagers.

We are not able to provide alcohol or substance abuse treatment, psychiatric care, treatment for active eating disorders, testing for learning disorders or ADHD, or long-term, intensive therapy.

There are a number of reasons that students may request counseling services, including:

  • Stress management
  • Relationship issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Financial concerns
  • Family conflict
  • Sleep problems
  • Perfectionism
  • Test anxiety
  • Roommate problems
  • Time management
  • Feeling lonely
  • Death of a loved one
  • Feeling unmotivated
  • Career indecision
  • Sexual assault
  • Academic difficulties
  • Homesickness
  • Identity issues

First, counseling is private. Unless someone is in danger, a counselor will not disclose what you have talked about in session. Counselors are also honest—although friends and family may worry that their opinions could hurt your feelings, counselors will provide straightforward feedback in a caring manner.  Last, counselors are trained to help you to understand your thoughts and feelings, and to help you to figure out ways to address your problems.

If you are currently experiencing a crisis, or if you experience an emergency during regular business hours, call or stop by the Wellness Center for a same-day emergency consultation. Our same-day crisis services are designed to assist students who are confronting life-threatening circumstances, current or recent traumatic crises, or severe mental health concerns.  Examples of such issues include:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • the need to be hospitalized
  • thoughts about harming another person
  • recent assault or abuse
  • concern about your immediate safety
  • the immediate safety of someone else
  • knowledge of another person being abused or assaulted
  • hallucinations
  • recent death of a loved one
  • witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event

A counselor is available to meet with students in crisis when not being seen immediately could lead to serious consequences or seriously intensify their existing condition.  If one of the above listed situations applies to you during regular business hours, please contact the Wellness Center to be seen immediately.

If you are experience an emergency during evenings or weekends:

  • Dial 911 for medical and other emergencies
  • If you live on campus and have an emergency, contact your CA or RD and/or call Campus Safety at 864.596.9026.
  • Go to the Spartanburg Regional Emergency Department (101 E. Wood St. Spartanburg; 864.560.6000)
  • Call, text, or chat with a crisis counselor:
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
      • The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress
      • Visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org to chat with a crisis counselor online
      • Call (800) 273-8255 to speak to a crisis counselor
    • Crisis Text Line:
      • The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via the medium people already use and trust: text.
      • Text START to 741-741 to start texting with a crisis counselor.
      • Visit www.crisistextline.org to learn more

Because staff access to voicemail and email may be limited outside of normal business hours, students are discouraged from using these means of communication in the event of a crisis.

There are several options for medication management for students. Students with mild mental health concerns are sometimes able to obtain medication from the Wellness Center’s nurse practitioner. The staff also coordinates referrals to psychiatric providers in the greater Spartanburg area.

If you believe that a friend is dealing with mental health or substance abuse concerns, there are a few options:

  • Make an appointment at the Wellness Center to speak to a counselor about how to talk to your friend about getting help
  • Encourage your friend to come with you to an appointment at the Wellness Center to discuss your concerns
  • Discuss your concerns with your RD, the Dean of Community Life, or another staff or faculty member
  • Fill out a Converse Cares form–you can share your concerns anonymously, and a staff member from the College will reach out on your behalf

If your concerns involve a student’s immediate safety (e.g., if the student is suicidal), please  contact your CA or RD and/or call Campus Safety at 864.596.9026

Please note that, due to ethical constraints, Wellness Center staff cannot reach out to a student who is not receiving services at the Wellness Center. In addition, in order to maintain confidentiality, we cannot give students an update about the status of a student.

When a student speaks with a counselor, that communication is protected by confidentiality. The counselor will not reveal any information about a student to an outside party without her written permission. This consent is separate from the FERPA waiver that some students sign in order for their parents to access their educational records.  If you would like your records to be released to a family member, health care provider, or Converse faculty or staff member, please let the staff know and you will be provided with the appropriate paperwork.

Please be aware that counselors must take action when someone’s life is in danger or when there is an apparent case of child or elder abuse; in these cases, a counselor may need to contact local emergency services, protective agencies, or campus officials.

After completing an Appointment Request Form, we can typically schedule you with a counselor within one week. If you are experiencing a crisis, we will make sure that you receive a same-day crisis consultation (see below for more information on crisis services). During particularly busy times of the semester, wait times may be longer, especially for those students who have constraints on the days and times when they can be seen.

When you first come to the Wellness Center, you will need to complete some forms; we may email these forms to you in advance, or you may complete them here before your session. Once we have received your completed paperwork, you will meet with a counselor for your initial assessment. The initial assessment is different than regular counseling sessions. During your initial assessment, a counselor will ask you questions about the concerns that brought you to counseling, but also about other areas of your life in order to figure out what kind of counseling service will be most helpful to you. Usually, the intake counselor will recommend one of the services at the Wellness Center, and your counselor will help you schedule an appointment to return for the actual counseling sessions. Other times you will be referred to somewhere else on campus or in the community that is a better fit for your needs. The counselor may also tell you about other resources on campus or in the greater Spartanburg area that will be of additional help to you. If it is decided that you will be returning to the Wellness Center for services, be aware that the initial assessment counselor may or may not be the same person you see for your counseling sessions.

Your initial assessment typically lasts 60 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes for paperwork; this paperwork can be completed in advance or in the office before your appointment. Subsequent sessions are usually 50 to 60 minutes long.

The paperwork you complete gives us information about you and helps us to understand what kind of problems you are experiencing. It also protects you and gives you information about your rights as a client.

We work with people with a wide range of concerns, from feeling homesick to more ongoing, serious mental health concerns. Some signs that it may be a good idea to come to counseling are:

  • Your concerns are making it difficult to do what you need to do day-to-day (get up, take care of your basic needs, attend class, perform academically, get along with others, eat, sleep)
  • Something traumatic has happened to you
  • You’ve experienced one or more major losses
  • Your current coping skills don’t work well enough to handle the amount of stress you are experiencing
  • You haven’t felt like or acted like yourself for a long time
  • You are having thoughts of hurting yourself or others

Counseling is not just for those times when you feel bad. Many students find it helpful to talk with a counselor when they are feeling confused or stuck in trying to solve a problem or make a decision. Sometimes even when things aren’t at their worst, you still have a strong sense that they could be better. This can be true for a relationship, your grades, or how you feel about yourself. A counselor can help you figure out what changes might make things better, help you decide whether you are ready to make changes and then help you make them if you are ready.

Even if your issues don’t seem severe or they haven’t been going on for a long time, don’t wait to call–a counselor can not only help to address your concerns, but also prevent them from becoming a more serious problem or affecting other areas of your life. Unfortunately, students often wait for a problem to get really bad before they seek help, and end up having more negative consequences than they would have if they had spoken with a counselor earlier.

Friends, partners, spouses, and family members who are not traditional undergraduate students at Converse are not eligible for individual or group counseling at the Wellness Center. If you would like a friend or family member to support you and attend a session or two with you, you may invite them–just be sure to discuss this with your counselor in advance. However, if there is a need for ongoing family therapy, you and your loved one(s) will most likely be referred to a counselor outside of the Wellness Center.

Depending on the situation, it is sometimes possible to see a counselor at the Wellness Center in addition to another provider. It is not a good idea to see two different counselors at the same time for the same problem. However, if you are unable to see your usual therapist on a regular basis while you are at school, we may be able to work with you during the school year. In addition, some students see a counselor at the Wellness Center for career or academic concerns while seeing a counselor off-campus for more specific mental health concerns. In situations like these, we will often contact your off-campus provider to make sure they agree with this plan, and to obtain any information that may be relevant to your work here.

The counselor you see for your initial assessment (the first appointment) may or may not be the same counselor you meet with for subsequent counseling sessions. The counselor you are assigned to depends on your preference, your schedule, and the issues you wish to discuss. In your Appointment Request Form, you may indicate any preferences that you would like us to keep in mind when assigning a counselor. Once you begin counseling, you will continue to meet with the same counselor each session unless you decide you would like to see someone else or some unusual circumstance prevents your counselor from continuing with you.

We will try to accommodate your requests for seeing a specific counselor or a counselor of a particular gender. However, you may have to wait longer for an appointment than you would if you were willing to meet with the first counselor available. Since the counselor you see for the initial assessment session is sometimes different than the person you will see for counseling, we recommend that you meet with the first available counselor for the initial assessment so you can begin the process of getting help. After the initial assessment session, we can try to honor your counselor preference in scheduling your next appointment.

We understand that sometimes you may not feel comfortable talking with a particular counselor. Counselors are people with unique personalities like anyone else, and sometimes you and the counselor are just not a good match. We would much rather you change counselors than stop coming to counseling altogether if you have not gotten help with your problem. We think it is best if you talk directly with your counselor and let them know you would like to change counselors. We do not get angry or offended when students want to change counselors, though we do often find it is helpful to talk about the reasons you want to change. If it is too difficult to make that request with the counselor you have already met with, you may contact the Director of Counseling & Wellness, Bethany Garr–she will assist you in making arrangements to be transferred to a different counselor.

Due to limited staffing, and because these Converse II and graduate students do not pay a student health fee, these students are eligible for counseling services. However, counselors are available to assist graduate and Converse II students who are in crisis, or those who are looking for a referral for an off-campus provider.

In order to protect your privacy, we require that you sign a form allowing us to share your counseling records with others. The Release of Information form that we require is available here.