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Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

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 appointment or speak to a counselor please call us at 303-871-2205. Initial consultation appointments can also be scheduled online at MyHealth.

We offer therapy in English, Arabic, and Polish.


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 any modality of counseling (group, couples, or individual), you must first complete a same day access appointment or brief screen with a counselor


  • Is one way to access mental health services through the HCC
  • Takes approximately 15-20 minutes
  • Is first-come, first serve so there may be a wait depending on demand
  • Is used to clarify your reasons for seeking help and connect you with the services that are best suited to your concerns. They may include:
    • Group counseling
    • Brief individual counseling
    • Couples counseling
    • Referrals to other campus partners/services
    • Referrals to medical services or medication management
    • Referrals to community-based professionals off campus
  • CANNOT be made online (just come to HCC-Ritchie between 2PM-4PM M-F)
  • Is free


  • Is another way to access mental health services through the HCC
  • Takes approximately 45-50 minutes
  • Is used to clarify your reasons for seeking help and connect you with the services that are best suited to your concerns. This may include:
    • Group counseling
    • Brief individual counseling
    • Couples counseling
    • Referrals to other campus partners/services
    • Referrals to medical services or medication/management
    • Referrals to professionals off campus in the community
  • Collects more information than a same-day access appointment
  • CAN be made online or by calling 303-871-2205

Counseling often includes:

  • Learning new problem-solving or coping skills
  • 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 groups and workshops will be offered during the 2020 SPRING QUARTER?

*3/31/2020 - Update on group counseling and workshop services*

The HCC has decided to offer certain groups and workshops for the Spring 2020 quarter via Zoom meetings.

The following will be offered during the spring quarter (see flyer for descriptions/times):

  • Graduate Student Support Group
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (interpersonal effectiveness) Group
  • ACT Workshop (multiple sections)
  • ADHD (for anyone struggling with focus/concentration issues) Workshop
  • COVID-19 support group for those experiencing anxiety/health-related anxiety around this pandemic
  • COVID-19 support group for those directly impacted by the virus (i.e. have tested positive, have family/friends who have tested positive)

Feel free to contact Dr. Anand Desai (group counseling coordinator) with any group-related 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.
  • ALL groups/workshops are free for DU students.

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 (closeness)

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

How do we get started?

  • Couples Intake appointment CAN be made by calling 303-871-2205
  • Both participants must attend initial appointment.
    • DU Student's will need to complete associated forms through their MyHealth portal.
    • Non-student spouses or partners should complete the couples intake form and return it to the HCC prior to (by fax or email) or at the appointment time.

Who would be our counselor?

  • Requires a brief screen or same day access appointment first with a counselor
  • If couples therapy is indicated as the needed treatment, you will then begin treatment 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
  • You may meet with two counselors once couples treatment begins

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
Let's Talk

When and where is Let's Talk during the 2020 WINTER/SPring QUARTERS and SPRING SEMESTEr

*3/13/2020 Update on Let's Talk services*

Due to concerns rising around COVID-19 the HCC is temporarily suspending Let's Talk services currently held at Sturm School of Law and planned to be held at the LEP offices for Spring semester/quarter. As we receive information about when DU plans to move online coursework back into the classroom, we will resume our Let's Talk Services.

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 are 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.
  • Call the Health and Counseling Center at 303-810-2205

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
  • They are typically 15-20 minute consultations

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 for students, staff and faculty
  • 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
  • You can always use our same-day access services

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 a student or are with a student who is experiencing a mental health emergency:

  • During business hours (Monday and Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday 9:00am - 5:00pm, & Wednesday and Thursday 8:00am - 7:00pm), call 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 303-871-2205 to speak with the Counselor on Call.  The Counselor on Call is available free of charge 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • Call 911.

Same-Day Access 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 an initial consultation appointment online using MyHealth.
  • If you are in crisis and need to be seen the same day, we have a reserved crisis block of time from 2:00pm - 4:00pm Monday - Friday.  Please present to the HCC during that time.
  • If possible, please call ahead at 303-871-2205 and let us know you are coming.

After-Hours Telephone Urgent Crisis Services

  • Urgent crisis services are available after-hours on weekdays and all day on weekends
  • Call the Counselor on Call at 303-871-2205.
  • You will be connected with a licensed provider who can assist you with the crisis you are experiencing.
  • 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 have experienced some form of gender violence, including sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment.
    • 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 844-493-TALK(8255).

Gender Violence

The HCC provides counseling for victims of gender violence, including sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment.

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

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Mandated Counseling Sessions

  • 1-on-1 counseling consultation
    assessing for student counseling needs around drug and alcohol and development of an individual game plan on how to best meet your needs. Session cost is $0 for students who have both the DU Student Health Insurance Plan + the Health and Counseling Fee (HCF), $20 for students who have HCF only, and $50 for students who have neither. 

    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 $0 for students who have both the DU Student Health Insurance Plan + the Health and Counseling Fee (HCF), $40 for students who have HCF only, and $100 for students who have neither. This includes two sessions and all of the assessments.

    assessment consists of two individual 50 minute appointments with a counselor or health educator. CASICS focuses on information gathering (an intake interview & marijuana tracking homework between sessions), assessments tools, and written feedback utilizing the aforementioned information obtained. CASICS assessment cost is $0 for students who have both the DU Student Health Insurance Plan + the Health and Counseling Fee (HCF), $40 for students who have HCF only, and $100 for students who have neither. This includes two sessions and all of the assessments.
    The mission of the CHOICES program is to educate college students about the effects of alcohol on their behavior, to promote self-evaluation of drinking patterns and to facilitate the acquisition of effective coping strategies so that students can make informed decisions and reduce their alcohol-related risk and harm. Students discover for themselves that their expectancies don't match their actual experiences with drinking and that the consequence of excessive alcohol use may be incompatible with many of their academic and social goals as well as their future desires. We administer CHOICES as a one-time, 90-minute group workshop for students referred to us by the office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for sanctions related to alcohol misuse. There is no cost for CHOICES.

For more information on costs visit this page or call the HCC at 303-871-2205.

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)

This group is for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviors. MBRP practices are intended to foster increased awareness of triggers, destructive habitual patterns, and "automatic" reactions that seem to control everyday life. The mindfulness practices in MBRP are designed to help members pause, observe present experience, and bring awareness to the range of choices before each of us in every moment. Ultimately, members will be working towards freedom from deeply ingrained and often catastrophic habits.

View MBRP group time and location under "Groups" on this page.

Tobacco Cessation Program

Talk to your provider about cessation options. View resources for tobacco and vaping cessation here.

Community Resources List

Comprehensive lists 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:

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.

Coping with Loss

If you have lost someone to suicide, the feelings can be overwhelming and can seem unmanageable. For survivors of suicide loss, there is no one way to best handle the tragedy of suicide, but there are tools available that can help you cope with your grief. Check out our Coping with Loss section to learn helpful tips on taking care of yourself, things you’re likely to face in the first few days after a loss, and additional resources for loss survivors.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide affects millions of people each year. While there is no single cause to suicide, it most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Fortunately, everyone can play a role in suicide prevention. If you are suffering an emotional or suicidal crisis, know that there is hope and help is available. Visit our Suicide Prevention section to learn what you can do to keep yourself safe and steps you can take right now to get yourself back on track and living mentally well.

If you are concerned about a friend who may be in emotional crisis or thinking of suicide, learn how to talk with them, what to watch for, risk factors, warning signs, and what to do by visiting the When Someone is at Risk section. If a friend or family member has experienced the death of a loved one from suicide and you want to help but don’t know how to go about it, learn how you can help