The Wellness Center Student Counseling Services offers short-term individual and group counseling and psychotherapy, couples counseling, consultation and referral services, and a variety of programs and workshops relevant to graduate student life. These include help in overcoming obstacles to writing the dissertation, and workshops on topics from time management to mindfulness meditation. Our services are confidential, and they are available free of charge to matriculated students registered at The Graduate Center and the Craig Newmark School of Journalism. For those who are ineligible for our services (i.e. temporary students, visiting scholars, non-degree/non-matriculated students, and students registered at other CUNY campuses, please feel free to visit our resources page.
We can help to address problems such as depression and anxiety that interfere with living and working productively. We can also help with issues specific to the demands and expectations that go along with graduate student life. Our counselors seek to understand each individual's unique circumstances and needs, and we respect individual and cultural differences. We are continually looking for ways to respond most effectively to the needs of the Graduate Center community, and invite you to explore our website to learn more about what we do.
**The clinical staff at The Student Counseling Center are well aware of the ongoing and persistent stressors impacting our student population today. The divisive socio-political environment along with the many tragic terrorist attacks, mass shootings and natural disasters have made it difficult for all of us to employ self care in our everyday lives. However, chronic stress can be exhausting, insidious and dangerous to our physical and psychological health. We urge you to take steps to care for yourself and your loved ones during this stressful time in our history - http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/chronic-stress.aspx **
Student Counseling Services is a division of the Graduate Center’s Wellness Center. We have two important missions. The first is to support and enhance the wellbeing and success of graduate students at the Graduate Center through excellent psychological counseling, and referral services, outreach, and education, and through research in these domains. Our second mission is to provide excellent clinical training to student mental health clinicians.
The Wellness Center is committed to respecting the dignity and person of all members of our community. We seek to maintain inclusive, mutually respectful attitudes and behavior in relation to others, regardless of difference. We recognize that difference may be immutable or changeable, and may be found in cultural, ethnic, religious, intellectual, ideological, political, sexual, gender, disability, and other domains. These differences make up our individual identities, and are essential to a complete university community of individuals with unique perspectives and backgrounds.
The Graduate Center’s Student Counseling Service at the Wellness Center rejects all acts of hatred and reaffirms our commitment to students of all faiths, racial groups, nationalities, immigration statuses, genders, sexual orientations as well as political parties.
For those who wish a safe space to talk, The Graduate Center’s Student Counseling Service at the Wellness Center has appointments available for confidential and supportive counseling. Feel free to stop by room 6422 or call 212-817-7020. You can also find information and request services on our website by downloading the Request for Services form.
The Student Counseling Services office is open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. throughout the academic year. We are not open on weekends, evenings or holidays. Reduced hours apply in July and August. Individual sessions are typically 45 or 50 minutes long, couple sessions are 60 minutes long and group sessions can range from 60 to 90 minutes.
To make an appointment, stop by the Wellness Center, Room 6422, to fill out a Request for Services form. Appointments are then made based on the student's availability indicated on this form. You may wish to download and complete a Request for Services form beforehand. All Requests for Services are confidential. You may also fax the form to us at 212.817.1602. For your convenience, you may e-mail the form to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, however, that e-mail is not secure.
Alternatively, students may come in during a walk-in hour on Mondays 2:00pm-3:00pm.
Download Request for Services form
Students may come in without an appointment on Mondays 2:00pm-3:00pm. A staff member will see you for a brief consultation, listen to your concerns and determine which services would best meet your needs. For walk-in hours, please come to the Wellness Center main office, Room 6422 during the designated time with your student i.d. (must have the current semester's validation sticker).
All information shared with the clinicians and staff at Student Counseling Services is confidential within the Wellness Center and will not be released without your written consent, except as noted below. There are specific and limited exceptions to this confidentiality which include the following:
1. When there is risk of imminent danger to yourself or to another person, the clinician is ethically bound to take necessary steps to prevent such danger;
2. When there is suspicion that an individual under 18 years of age or a seriously impaired individual is being abused or maltreated, the clinician is legally required to inform the proper authorities;
3. When a valid court order is issued for medical records, the clinician and the agency are bound by law to comply with such request;
4. When otherwise required by law or statute.
The records of the Center are not part of your academic records.
Note: Verbal consent for limited release of information may be necessary in special circumstances.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Positions
The Student Counseling Services will not be offering postdoctoral fellowship positions this year.
Predoctoral Fellowship Positions
Our staff includes 6-7 Predoctoral Fellows who are advanced Doctoral students in Clinical and Counseling Psychology programs in NYC. The Predoctoral Fellows work part-time providing short-term psychotherapy to Graduate Center students. Together with our core staff, they co-lead workshops and groups. As part of their training, they also participate in case conferences and reading seminars, and are supervised by senior staff and our outside supervisors.
Our Fellows are supervised by SCS staff members, and by outside supervisors who volunteer their time. All of our supervisors are licensed clinical psychologists or psychiatrists, and most are also graduates of advanced training programs in psychotherapy.
All of the clinics listed below are staffed by licensed psychologists and social workers who have received, or are participating in, advanced training. These clinics have sliding scale fees determined by income and student status. There is typically an initial intake appointment followed by assignment to a therapist for ongoing psychotherapy.
If you are interested in seeking mental health services outside the Wellness Center Student Counseling Services, we are available to help you with referrals to agencies, clinics or private practitioners. If you prefer to make contact with outside services directly, below are some recommended centers.
National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP)
250 West 57th St.
Individual psychodynamic psychotherapy, neuropsychological testing, career counseling. Also has a program for treatment of trauma through EMDR therapy.
Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy
1841 Broadway, 4th Fl.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy, family and couples therapy, treatment for trauma, eating disorders, gay and lesbian affirmative psychotherapy services, artist treatment service.
William Alanson White Institute
20 West 74th St.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as range of specialized services including eating disorders, compulsions and addictions, trauma response, bipolar discussion group, and more.
Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy
137 East 36th St., Suite #4
Private group practice providing individual, group and couples therapy with a cognitive-behavioral orientation as well as psychological testing and assessment.
Weill- Cornell Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy Clinic
425 East 61st St., PH
Hospital-based outpatient cognitive behavioral therapy clinic staffed by doctoral level trainees.
Locations on upper west side, lower east side and midtown manhattan
Offers a range of medical and mental health services at low cost.
The Village Institute
20 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1E
The Village Institute is dedicated to providing high quality, affordable mental health care and related services, and to promoting the education and training of effective, creative psychotherapists.
Emergency Psychiatric Services:
Bellevue Hospital ER
462 First Ave. at 27th St.
New York Presbyterian Hospital ER
525 East 68th St. near York Ave.
St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital ER
113th St. and Amsterdam Ave. (St. Luke’s)
59th St. and 10th Ave. (Roosevelt)
We have scoured the web looking for sites that will be pertinent and useful to graduate students. Here are our top choices, with brief descriptions:
Websites specifically for graduate students:
A wealth of information on topics from surviving the stress of graduate school to applying for jobs in specific fields.
News on current issues in higher education, as well as suggestions for graduate students and job seeking advice.
Articles, e-mentors, crisis line, survival kits all specifically geared toward graduate students.
Association for Support of Graduate Students website. Tips on doing the thesis/dissertation, links to online bulletin for thesis writers, articles and resources for graduate students.
Discussion, advice and support for students trying to finish their dissertations.
General mental health and wellness websites:
Mental health information and resource center for university students.
Virtual pamphlet collection providing information on a wide range of mental health issues.
Information and response to questions on wide ranging health and wellness issues.
Prescription Drug Information, Resources and Links
Link to prescription information on The Graduate Center CUNY Student Health Services page.
Assisting Students in Distress
Faculty and staff members are often in a unique position to identify and help students who are in distress. Sometimes students cannot or will not turn to family or friends. A student may view you as a trustworthy person in whom to confide. Your expression of concern may be a critical factor in saving a student’s academic career or even their life. The purpose of this page is to help you recognize some of the symptoms of student distress and identify specific options for interventions and referrals to campus resources. The Wellness Center is available to assist you with these situations and to consult with you on how to intervene with a student.
Along with the ordinary life stressors, graduate students can struggle with their own special challenges that coincide with early, middle and later adulthood. These include adjusting to a new environment, effectively managing academic transition times, dealing with career path issues, handling financial and family responsibilities, and maintaining productive relationships with faculty and students. The stress can overwhelm their capacity to cope. Students may feel alone, isolated, and even hopeless when faced with academic and life challenges. These feelings can easily disrupt academic performance and may lead to dysfunctional coping and serious consequences such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and/or attempts, self-injury or other mental health concerns.
Tips for Recognizing Students in Distress
All of us at some time in our lives may have had challenging days, feel sad, depressed, and/or upset. Significant distress experienced over a prolonged period of time, however, may suggest a more serious problem.
Students experiencing a more serious problem may exhibit behaviors which may not necessarily be disruptive to others, but may nevertheless indicate something is wrong and signal that assistance is needed. These behaviors may include:
• Change from consistently good grades to poor performance.
• Change in class attendance or unexplained absences.
• Changed patterns of interaction that are unusual or markedly different, i.e., avoidance of participation, marked anxiety when called upon, domination of discussions, etc.
• Changes in other characteristics that may indicate that the student is having trouble managing stress successfully include poor concentration; fatigue; sad mood; decreased interest in activities, etc.
Students in moderate distress may exhibit behaviors that indicate significant emotional suffering. These students may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help. Behaviors may include:
• Repeated requests for special consideration, such as deadline extensions, especially if the student appears uncomfortable or highly emotional while disclosing the circumstances prompting the request.
• New or repeated behavior which pushes the limits of decorum and interferes with effective management of the immediate environment.
• Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses which are obviously inappropriate to the situation.
• Other characteristics that suggest the student is having trouble managing stress successfully may be depressed mood, lethargy; falling asleep in class; very rapid speech; marked change in personal dress and hygiene.
Severely distressed students exhibit behaviors that signify an obvious crisis and necessitate emergency care. These problems are the easiest to identify. Examples may include:
• Highly disruptive behavior (e.g. hostility, aggression, violence, etc.)
• Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech; unconnected, disjointed, or rambling thoughts.
• Loss of contact with reality (hearing or seeing things which others cannot see or hear; beliefs or actions greatly at odds with reality or probability).
• Stalking behaviors.
• Inappropriate communications (including threatening letters, email messages, harassment, incoherent communication, etc.).
• Overtly suicidal thoughts (including referring to suicide as a current option or in a written assignment).
• Threats to harm others.
How Can I Help A Distressed Student?
Faculty and staff are not expected to monitor students’ behavior, nor are they expected to be clinicians. However, you may be the first contact for a student in distress and to provide an early opportunity to respond with the eventual help the student needs. As a “point-person” for the student’s care, just by asking a few questions that could lead to your making a pain relieving or life enhancing referral for the student. If you feel at all uneasy about what to do, seek consultation. When you set up a time to talk with the student, try to arrange it when you will not be rushed or interrupted. Keep your own safety in mind when you interact with a student who is in distress. Consultation can help you decide whether you or others should initiate a discussion with the student.
• Reach out: Extend a genuine statement of interest in and concern for the student. Be calm and matter-of-fact in your approach. State clearly in behavioral terms what you have noticed that has led to your concern (e.g., “I’ve noticed that you’ve been absent from class lately, and I’ve been concerned. How are you doing?
• Listen: Listen in a non-judgmental fashion. Support begins with understanding. Students in distress often feel very vulnerable and are sensitive to real or imagined criticism.
• Empathize: Try to understand the student from his or her perspective.
• Normalize: If appropriate, reassure the student that many college students feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
• De-stigmatize counseling: Take the anxiety out of seeking help. Reassure the student that counseling is here for students because graduate school is a time for growth and development which can sometimes be challenging. You can affirm that seeking professional help is a positive and responsible thing to do, a sign of strength in reaching out for available resources.
When Should I Refer A Student To Counseling?
It is time to refer the student to counseling when…
• You don’t know how to help the student.
• You feel that the student’s circumstances are overwhelming.
• You feel unable to provide all the support the student needs.
• You feel that you have reached your limit or have exhausted your ideas on how to help.
• The student’s struggles leave you feeling helpless and anxious.
• You feel angry or intimidated by the student’s comments or behavior.
• You are spending large amounts of time on the student’s problems.
Whenever you are in doubt about making a counseling referral, consult with a supervisor, colleague, or mental health provider. You may call Student Counseling Services at 212-817-7020 Monday-Friday between the hours of 9 and 5 to talk to a therapist. The therapist will be able to discuss your concerns and identify appropriate resources. You may not have to give the student’s name in order to receive consultation that might be instrumental for resolution.
A student whose behavior has become threatening, violent, or significantly disruptive may need a different kind of approach involving campus security. You may want to call the Security office at 212-817-7777 and/or the Student Affairs office at 212-817-7420 for consultation.
From University of California at Irvine Counseling Center: www.counseling.uci.edu
Robert L. Hatcher, Ph.D.
is the Director of the Wellness Center. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and has received its award for Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Training and Education for his extensive work in training and education in professional psychology. He has made influential contributions to psychotherapy research, particularly related to the therapeutic alliance. He is on the editorial boards of three major journals in the field. He is past president and president emeritus of the Association of Psychology Training Clinics, and serves on its executive committee.
Arielle Shanok, Ph.D.
is Deputy Director of the Wellness Center for Student Counseling Services. She has been trained in dynamic, family systems, interpersonal, supportive, cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies; her approach is integrative. She has published articles and book chapters in the areas of psychotherapy effectiveness, gender, money and adolescent pregnancy. Her approach is compassionate and strength-focused.
Nicole Benedicto Elden, Psy.D.
is Assistant Director of the Student Counseling Services . She has been trained in dynamic, interpersonal, supportive, cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies. She has been involved in research in psychotherapy techniques and graduate student development as well as schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis. Her interests include cross-cultural and minority identity formation, interpersonal and relationship issues and adjustment to life transitions.
Michelle Chu, Psy.D.
is a Mental Health Service Corps psychologist. She uses an integrative therapy approach that includes elements from cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Her special interests include relationship issues, multicultural identity development, emerging adult development, and interpersonal process groups.
Inez Strama, Psy.D.
is a Supervising Clinical Psychologist at the Wellness Center. She has been trained in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral, trauma-informed, and group therapies. Her approach is integrative, with an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship. She has conducted research on the identity formation, acculturation, and class mobility experiences of 1.5-generation immigrants. Her interests include intersectionality, mindfulness meditation, clinical supervision, group psychotherapy, and trauma-informed care.
is a Clinical Fellow at the Wellness Center and a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the City College of New York. He approaches therapeutic work through a psychoanalytic, humanistic and existential lens, seeking to identify not only his clients' difficulties but their strengths and resources (internal and external), collaborating with them to find meaning, respite and growth.
is a Clinical Fellow at the Wellness Center and a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Long Island University in Brooklyn. She has received training in psychodynamic and behavioral therapies, and has particular interests in interpersonal issues, identity, and adjustment to life transitions. She seeks to approach therapy in an integrative way that is customized to client needs.
Serena Tchania, M.A.
is a Clinical Fellow at the Wellness Center and a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the City College of New York. She approaches therapeutic work primarily through a psychoanalytic lens, focusing on how clients' earlier experiences with significant others inform their experiences of themselves in the present. She believes in a client-driven, humanistic approach that respects the individuality of each person and focuses not only on their difficulties but also their strengths and unique personal narratives. She aims to encourage growth by helping clients become more independent, secure and satisfied with their lives.
is a clinical fellow at the Wellness Center and a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at The City College of New York. Her therapeutic lens is primarily psychodynamic, and she views work with clients as collaborative in the here and now. She has has worked with adults, adolescents, children, and couples, and incorporates elements of mindfulness and breathwork into sessions. Her aim is to help clients locate elements of resiliency, hope and agency through moments of suffering.
Cheri Daniels, M.S.
is the Administrative Coordinator of the Wellness Center. She is a CUNY alumnus of the School of Professional Studies, where she received her M.S. degree in Business Management and Leadership. She also holds a B.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has over 15 years of administrative experience.
is a College Assistant at the Wellness Center. She assists the Administrative Coordinator in managing day to day tasks of the Wellness Center.
is a College Assistant at the Wellness Center. She assists the Administrative Coordinator in managing day to day tasks of the Wellness Center.