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Student Life

Health & Counseling Center

Counseling Services

Counseling Services for Students

Welcome to Counseling Services at the University of Denver Health and Counseling Center! Whether you are a new student or have been at the University for awhile, we would like to welcome you and let you know that we are here to support your academic success. Whether you are experiencing a situational problem, a crisis, or have long-standing mental health concerns, we are here to help. Our professional staff includes licensed psychologists and licensed social workers, as well as graduate student staff from both of these disciplines.

Counseling Services is here to support your transition to DU and other transitions in your life as well as support your development and growth. Our services are all confidential and no information is released to anyone without your written consent except in the case of a life-threatening emergency or when it is otherwise required by law.

Please check out all the information about our services on our comprehensive website and if you would like to schedule an initial consultation or speak to a counselor please call us at 303-871-2205. Initial consultations can also be scheduled online at MyHealth.



Why counseling?

People choose to seek counseling for a variety of issues, including:

  • stress or anxiety
  • depression
  • academic motivation
  • career choice confusion
  • eating disorders
  • substance abuse
  • family relationship conflicts
  • financial stress
  • grief/loss issues
  • intimacy, commitment, or relationship issues
  • identity concerns (e.g., ethnic/racial identity, sexual orientation, spiritual identity)
  • thoughts and feelings about suicide or self-harm
  • anger or thoughts of violence

What can I expect from counseling?

  • Counseling is dependent on your unique needs and strengths. Because of this, each counseling experience is unique.
  • If you want to pursue counseling, you must first complete an initial consultation with a counselor.

An initial consultation:

  • Is the first appointment with a counselor
  • Takes approximately 45-50 minutes
  • Is used to clarify your reasons for seeking help and to obtain background information
  • Ends with an agreement between you and your counselor about the best course of action to address your concerns. This may include:
    • Brief individual counseling
    • Group counseling
    • Referrals to other services on campus
    • Referrals to professionals off campus and in the community

Counseling often includes:

  • Learning new problem-solving or coping skills o Increasing self-understanding
  • Exploring life patterns
  • Gaining a better sense of how you are influenced by your surroundings
  • Sessions are typically 45-50 minutes
  • Counseling is provided by licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and unlicensed trainees in these two disciplines under close supervision of our licensed staff.

How can I get the most out of counseling?

Attempt to clarify your goals, and what you hope to get out of the experience

  • Consider how you feel about the counseling relationship
  • Be an active participant
  • Focus on what is most important to you
  • Recognize and express feelings
  • Be patient with yourself
  • Ask questions

What is Group Counseling?

Group counseling is a highly effective means of addressing personal concerns - in fact it has been proven to be equally as effective as individual therapy, and in some cases more effective.  Some groups that are often offered are focused on a particular subject or skill while others are more general in nature. The more general groups (named "understanding self and others") in nature are particularly beneficial if you:

  • Are concerned about how you relate to other people
  • Feel isolated, depressed or anxious
  • Experience discomfort in social situations
  • Lack intimacy in relationships
  • Have family of origin difficulties
  • Are dissatisfied with your friendships or romantic relationships
  • Struggle with low self-esteem and/or low self-confidence

Watch this brief video to learn more about group, how it can help, group myths demystified and more:




Group members and counselors can:

  • Help you obtain support
  • Help you receive immediate, genuine feedback allowing an increase in your awareness of yourself and identification of aspects of your life you want to change.
  • Help you see that you are not alone in your problems
  • Help you resolve your difficulties, learn alternative ways of responding, and develop new ways of relating to others

What does a typical group session look like?

  • A group typically consists of 5 to 8 people who meet face to face with 1 or 2 group counselors to discuss their concerns.
  • Group sessions are confidential: what is discussed in group may not be disclosed or discussed outside the group.
  • Many groups last 8-10 weeks while others continue from one quarter to the next.
  • You can participate in as many groups as you would like, there are no limits to group counseling.

Groups vary in session format.

  • Understanding Self and Others
    • No specific topic for each group session
    • As a group member, you bring any issues to the group you feel are important
    • The primary focus of therapy in the group is on the interactions among you and other group members
      • This is done through disclosure (sharing about oneself) and feedback (giving/getting information about oneself) in order to learn about how we relate to one another and how to feel more connected
  • Support/Theme groups
    • Mix of structured/unstructured activities
    • Providing and receiving support from others around a specific shared issue/common experience
  • Structured skills workshops
    • Focused on a particular topic
    • Sessions may consist of brief lectures by the group leaders, group discussions, and experiential activities

Do I have to reveal all my deepest secrets and feelings to the group?

  • No. You alone decide how much you want to share.
  • Most group members tend to share more about themselves when they feel safe in the group.
  • Members often report getting more out of group when they decide to share more about themselves.

What role do the group leaders play?

Group leaders:

  • Help create and maintain safety in the group
  • Guide and facilitate self-exploration
  • Give feedback and support
  • Provide comments on interpersonal issues in the group
  • Encourage group cohesion

Some leaders take an active role throughout the duration of the group while others tend to give group members more responsibility for self-exploration.

In structured groups, group leaders take a more active role than in the "understanding self and others" group by providing instruction on specific topics related to the group theme.


What is couples counseling?

  • Designed to assist couples with their relationship problems.
  • Can be used to gain insight into each other, to learn new and effective ways of communicating, and how to solve problems.

Am I eligible for couples counseling?

  • One of the members must be a University of Denver student.
  • Married, single, LGBTQI, roommates and housemates are eligible.
  • Couples counseling services are available to couples composed of two individuals, one of whom is a DU student. Non-student spouses or partners are eligible to attend with a DU student.

Who would be our counselor?

  • Your first appointment would be a structured initial consultation with a counselor.
  • You may continue couples counseling with your initial counselor or you may be assigned to a counselor who has a special interest or training in couples therapy. Counseling is provided by licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and unlicensed trainees in these two disciplines under close supervision of our licensed staff.

How much does it cost?

  • Fees are assessed to the University of Denver student in the couple.
  • If both of you are University students, you will work with your counselor to decide whose account will be charged.
  • Fees are dependent on your health insurance and payment of the quarterly health and counseling fee.

What other services for couples counseling are available?

  • We often offer couples counseling or psychoeducational groups. Check the group page for information.
Let's Talk and Drop-In

When and where is Let's Talk?


Let's Talk will be hosted during the 2016 spring quarter in Driscoll Center South, on the lower level next to the Pioneer ID Card office.

DAYS (HELD WEEKLY)                               



1PM - 2PM (beginning 3/21/16)


3PM - 5PM (beginning 3/22/16)


1PM - 2PM (beginning 3/30/16)


3:30PM - 4:30PM (beginning 4/14/16)


WHAT is/ISN'T Let's TAlK?

  • It is easy access to confidential and even anonymous consultations with HCC counselors at different sites on campus (not housed in HCC).
  • It can help provide direction toward solutions and resources to help navigate difficult situations that can pop up.
  • It is free and staffed weekly at specific sites on campus, with regular walk-in hours
  • It is NOT a substitute for counseling, but counselors can help you get connected with appropriate resources to help - counseling is typically provided as 45-50 minute ongoing sessions.  Let's Talk is an informal drop-in service.

Who should visit Let's Talk?

No one will be turned away from Let's Talk but it is best utilized by:

  1. those who are not sure about formal counseling and wonder what it might be like to talk with a counselor
  2. those who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor
  3. those who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it through
  4. students who have a concern about a friend and want some thoughts about what to do.

If I go to Let's Talk, won't everyone find out?

  • No. Let's Talk meetings are confidential.
  • Let's Talk meeting can even be anonymous.
  • If safety is an issue (yours or someone else's), there may be a need to inform other professionals.

What if someone feels suicidal or wants to hurt him/herself? Should he or she go to Let's Talk?

  • If you are feeling unsafe, find a good friend or a family member you trust.
  • Call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and ask to speak to the counselor on call.
  • Call 911.
  • Go directly to the Health and Counseling Center (3rd Floor North Ritchie Center) during our normal hours, where you can get immediate help.
  • Go to a Let's Talk location, and the counselor can help you decide what will be best for you.

What if someone expresses a desire to hurt other individuals? Is Let's Talk appropriate for them?

  • Call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000.
  • Call 911 in the case of imminent danger.
  • A Let's Talk counselor can help you assess these situations.
  • The Health and Counseling Center can also be used as a resource in these instances.

What is the time limit on Let's Talk meetings?

The length of the meeting is determined by a couple of things:

  • If anyone else is waiting
  • The amount of time you need

If you need a lot of time or have many things to talk about, it may be helpful for you to consider scheduling a meeting with a counselor at the Health and Counseling Center.

Can faculty and staff or parents of DU students utilize Let's Talk services?

  • Let's Talk services are primarily for University students
  • We will not turn anyone away from a Let's Talk meeting.
  • If a faculty or staff member or a parent had concerns about a student, Let's Talk would be a great starting place to find some help and resources.

What if appointments at HCC are booked for weeks out? Can I use Let's Talk instead?

  • Let's Talk is not meant to take the place of counseling.
  • If you need immediate assistance with a problem or feel you are in crisis, you can always call the Health and Counseling Center at 303-871-2205.

I am concerned about my friend. Can I bring my friend to Let's Talk?

  • A Let's Talk counselor will be able to talk to you with your friend, or talk to your friend alone.

For questions, please contact the Health & Counseling Center at 303-871-2205.

Crisis and Urgent

IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing a mental health emergency

  • During business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), phone our office at 303-871-2205, and speak directly with a counselor or arrange to come in for a crisis session.
  • When the office is closed, call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and ask to speak to the Counselor on Call. A counselor on call is available free of charge 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • Call 911.

Daytime/Walk-In Crisis Services

  • Walk-in crisis services are available to University students.
  • If you are not in immediate crisis, you may stop in, call 303-871-2205, or schedule online using MyHealth an initial consultation appointment.
  • If you are in crisis and need to be seen the same day, we have a reserved crisis hour from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
  • If you need to, you can walk in anytime during our office hours (8:00 – 5:00 Monday through Friday) and be seen by an on-call crisis counselor.
  • If possible, please call ahead, 303-871-2205, and let us know you are coming.

After-Hours Telephone Urgent Crisis Services

  • After-hours, urgent crisis services are available after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.
  • Call DU Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and provide them your full name and telephone number.
  • A member of our counseling staff will contact you to assess your needs.
  • This service is for URGENT CRISES ONLY, such as:
    • You are unable to stop crying
    • You have thoughts of hurting yourself
    • You have thoughts of hurting other people
    • You have not eaten or slept in a few days (not due to illness)
    • You are unable to go to classes (not due to illness)
    • You are a recent victim of sexual assault
    • You have significant concerns about the welfare of another DU student

Please note that HCC crisis services are not available when the university is closed during the Christmas break. If you are experiencing a crisis at that time, please call Denver Metro Crisis Services at 888-885-1222.

Rape & Sexual Assault

The HCC provides counseling for victims of rape and sexual assault.

Students can also receive support and education from the Center for Advocacy, Prevention, and Empowerment (CAPE).

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Voluntary Counseling Options

Individual Counseling: Solutions & Strategies Support Group

This group is offered on Friday afternoons from 2:30-4:00 p.m. (beginning 1/26/12). Group members are invited to share information about their struggles with substance use and discuss what strategies work/do not work with regard to cutting down or quitting use. Group members can get support and feedback from each other while discussing their use in a confidential setting.

Mandated Counseling Sessions

  • 1 on 1 counseling assessment o assessing for student counseling needs around drug and alcohol and development of an individual gameplan on how to best meet your needs
  • Currently unavailable
  • A BASICS assessment consists of two individual 50 minute appointments with a counselor or health educator. BASICS focuses on information gathering (an intake interview & drink tracking homework between sessions), assessments tools, and written feedback utilizing the aforementioned information obtained. BASICS assessment cost is $100 (this includes two sessions and all of the assessments).
  • E-chug with individual counseling session
  • This session requires that a student go online prior to their scheduled appointment and complete the e-CHUG through the HCC website. The student must print out their "summary" report at the end and bring it in to their session. At the HCC, the student will meet with an Alcohol & Other Drug educator for approximately 50 minutes. This session provides an opportunity for students to explore their motivation for using alcohol and may discuss possible ways of doing so in a less harmful way. Session cost is $50.
  • E-toke with individual counseling session o This session requires that a student go online prior to their scheduled appointment and complete the e-TOKE through the HCC website. The student must print out their "summary" report at the end and bring it in to their session. At the HCC, the student will meet with an Alcohol & Other Drug educator for approximately 50 minutes. This session provides an opportunity for students to explore their motivation for using marijuana and may discuss possible ways of doing so in a less harmful way. Session cost is $50.

Workshops (can be voluntary or mandated)

Drug and Alcohol Risk Management Workshop

  • This workshop is designed to provide students with information about the continuum of substance use from abstinence to addiction, how an addiction develops, risk factors for developing an addiction, and ways to manage risk around substance use.

Family Dynamics Workshop

  • This workshop is designed to provide students with information about family systems where addiction is an issue. Topics of discussion include childhood roles which can develop in an addicted family, risk factors for developing an addiction, communication styles and methods of intervention with addicted family members.

Emotional Coping Workshop

  • This workshop is designed to provide students with information about how to address substance use when there is high pressure to use. Topics discussed will include how to build assertive communication skills, stress management, anger management, and dealing with peer pressure.

Restorative Justice/Community Service

This outcome gives students an opportunity to make amends with any person/organization impacted by their substance use. Restorative Justice and Community Service are individually tailored to each student and each situation.

Tobacco Cessation Program

To be offered eventually. In the meantime, talk to your provider about cessation options.

Community Resources List

Comprehensive list of community resources such as In Patient treatment facilities, Intensive Outpatient treatment, Psychosocial Rehabilitation, private practitioners specializing in drug and alcohol counseling and other services.

Assessment and Psychiatry Testing

Medication evaluations and medication management are available (when referred following an evaluation by the counseling staff) from our psychiatrist, as is psychiatric hospitalization, if necessary.

The HCC offers full assessment batteries for students that include:

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning Disabilities (LD)
  • Combined ADHD/LD
  • Personality Assessments

Prices Ranges from $505 to $1,560; fees are discounted for students with the Health and Counseling Fee.

Please call the front desk at 303-871-2205 and ask whether completing an assessment would be beneficial to you for your personal and academic success.