"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference." --Virginia Satir

Counselors are available to meet individually with full-time matriculating students to explore a wide variety of issues having to do with academics, personal issues, social interactions, family dynamics, relationships, crisis situations, emotions, and drug and alcohol issues. The counseling staff is interested in helping students find appropriate and effective ways of handling a wide range of situations. A counselor is on call 24 hours a day for emergency services and counseling appointments may be made by stopping by the Center or calling 674-6408.

*NOTE: Part-time matriculating students are welcome to schedule one consultation session to learn of local resources for personal counseling.

Media Policy for Interviews and Photographs/Video Taping

The CAPS Center staff is happy to meet with students interested in the activities and work of the Center and is interested in furthering the learning and professional development of students. Therefore, the following guidelines will facilitate the best experience possible for both the interviewer and the counselor:

  • Due to confidential nature of the counseling profession, no names of student-clients can be given, nor can taping of individual or group sessions with real clients be conducted.
  • In order to be prepared for interviews, counselors need the interviewer's questions at least one week prior to an interview.
  • The interviewer will schedule an appointment with the counselor in order to conduct the interview (This means interviews WILL NOT be granted for students who show up at the Center and expect to do an interview/taping on the spot).
  • Since the credibility of counselors is important, the counselor who is interviewed will need to see any quotes used in an article/publicationBEFORE the article goes to print in order to check for the accuracy of his/her statements. If this request is not adhered to by interviewers, future requests for interviews from students will not be granted.

Mission Statement

The Misericordia University Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS Center) exists to assist university students address personal and developmental issues which hinder their ability to achieve their educational and career goals. Students are assisted specifically through individual therapy, group therapy, consultation services, referral services, psycho-educational programs, and crisis intervention. The CAPS Center staff recognizes and exercises the values and attitudes of mercy, service, justice, and hospitality put forth by the founding Sisters of Mercy and works with students from a holistic perspective - attending to mind, body, and spirit. Students' growth and development is facilitated through respect and non-judgment in light of the professional standards and ethical guidelines of state and national counseling and psychology licensure and accreditation boards.

  1. Provide high quality counseling services to assist students address developmental and psychological issues which hinder their ability to achieve their personal, educational and career goals.
  2. Create and maintain collaborative relationships with departments within the Student Affairs division and be a supportive resource for academic and other university personnel regarding students' psychological health.
  3. Offer a peaceful and aesthetically appealing environment that supports the delivery of services to students in a comfortable and confidential manner.
  4. Utilize ongoing assessment and existing data to develop or modify services.

Meet the Staff

Ryan Bishop

Ryan Bishop, MA, NCC, is an alumnus of Marywood University graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. Prior to this he earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Temple University in Business Administration.

Ryan competed practicum and internship experience at the Counseling and Student Development Center at Marywood University. In addition, Ryan had been a "Big Brother" through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley program. He also volunteered at Saucon Valley Community Center assisting elementary school children in after-school developmental programs.

Ryan enjoys working with young adults in an academic setting as he feels a sense of commonality. After thoroughly enjoying his internship work at Marywood University, he decided to pursue this setting professionally. Ryan works with a variety of mental health issues and is interested in family and relationship concerns, assertiveness, problem solving, gender issues, and identity issues. In his personal time, Ryan finds an annual balance of being an avid skier and snowboarder during winter months and a theme park enthusiast during summer months.


Melissa Reich

Melissa Reich, MA, LPC is an alumna of La Salle University in Philadelphia PA. Here, she earned a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA. Prior to this, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.In 2010, she achieved her professional license in the state of Pennsylvania and became a Licensed Professional Counselor.

After graduating from Penn State, she worked at KidsPeace as a residential counselor for two years. Here, she became aware of her passion for counseling as well as her desire to further her education. It was this experience that propelled her to earn her master’s degree. Following her education, she held several jobs within the field and conducted individual, couples, group and family counseling. Early in her career she worked with young children and their families; however, she ultimately found a passion working with teenagers and young adults.

Later in her career, she entered the realm of drug and alcohol counseling. She worked at Marworth for several years where she worked within an inpatient setting conducting individual, group and family counseling as well as presenting lectures on topics of addiction. Other experiences include working with at risk teenagers in Philadelphia, teaching in Philadelphia school systems regarding the dangers of gambling (gambling prevention specialist), and completing evaluations/assessments at Northeast Counseling.

Melissa has experience working with a variety of issues and a varied population; however, she has special interest working with young adults regarding depression, anxiety, assertiveness, LGBTQIA issues, self-esteem, and mindfulness. Melissa also incorporates holistic health and spiritual principles into her practice, often utilizing essential oils with client’s permission.

Carol Llewellyn

Carol Llewellyn is the Administrative Assistant for the Counseling Center and the Student Success Center. She has been a Misericordia employee for 35 years and has worked in a variety of departments over the years. She has been with the Counseling Center and Student Success Center for 25 years now. In her spare time, when she is not greeting students and directing them to the appropriate resources and/or staff, or keeping all the records and data in order for the Centers, etc., she enjoys golf, reading, knitting, and her 3 granddaughters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are counseling services? Counseling is an opportunity to discuss personal concerns/issues with a psychologist or a professional counselor and explore ways of working through them. Although some students may wish to utilize counseling services over the course of the semester or year, many students may need only one or two counseling appointments to discuss a current situation in order to gain clarity and/or direction. Besides individual counseling, counseling services also include therapy groups, support groups, and psycho-educational groups, as well as consultation and referral services, and crisis intervention.

Who goes to counseling and for what? Many people of all ages and backgrounds access counseling support. Here at Misericordia University, students access support for concerns such as stress, interpersonal conflicts with peers and family, anxiety, depression, grief, identity issues, etc…Any matriculated student may access counseling support.

Where is CAPS Center located? The Center is located on the lower level of McGowan Hall.

What hours is the CAPS Center open? Generally, the Center is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request when necessary. For on-campus emergencies after hours, the counselor on call can be accessed by contacting the Office of Safety and Security at 674-6300 or by contacting a Resident Assistant (if the student lives in a campus residence hall).

Who staffs the CAPS Center? The Center is staffed by a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Professional Counselor who have a Doctorate in clinical psychology and a Masters in counseling respectively. In addition the CAPS Center staff works with various consultants for specific needs, such as an Addictions Counselor and Licensed Nutritionists.

How do I make an appointment? To make an appointment you can call the Counseling Center at 674-6408 or stop down in person and ask Carol, our administrative assistant, for an appointment.

How long do I have to wait for an appointment? You should be able to get an appointment within one week. At times, however, the demand exceeds the number of available counselor hours and so the wait during those times would be approximately two weeks.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can be seen in the Center? The Center has a six-session limit per semester. If needs are such that they require more long-term or more intensive therapy, community referrals will be offered.

What is the cost of counseling services? There is no cost for any counseling service for matriculated students.

Confidentiality/Informed Consent

Welcome to Misericordia University's Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS Center). In order to serve you better we would like to provide you with some information about counseling which will be discussed during your first appointment. If you have any questions, please let your counselor know.

What is Counseling?

Counseling provides an opportunity for individuals to learn to make better decisions, improve personal skills, develop increased confidence, overcome blocks to personal effectiveness, receive assessment and recommendations for treatment for specific psychological problems, and acquire a keener awareness and appreciation of their needs and the needs of others. In a personal interaction with a counselor, a client is helped to explore and express feelings, examine beliefs, and ways of thinking about the world, reflect on patterns of behavior, and work toward making healthy changes.

Your First Appointment

At your first visit, called the intake session, you will be given our standard paperwork to be completed prior to meeting with the intake counselor. This paperwork contains questions on your current concerns and counseling interests and on your family background. Responses to completed questions will help inform the intake counselor as to your reasons for coming. While we believe if you answer these questions your counselor will be better able to help you, please be aware that you can decline to respond to any of the questions listed.

After completing the paperwork, the intake counselor will review your responses and meet with you to discuss your concerns and decide together how counseling services can best help you. These services may consist of individual, couples, or group counseling at the CAPS Center or possibly a referral to an on-campus or off-campus service that may be more appropriate to your needs.

Students whose needs cannot be accommodated within the short-term counseling model this Center uses, or whose needs require an expertise that is not found in the Center, will be referred to community resources. Examples of student concerns that would likely need a different/higher level of care and more long-term care than what is within the role and scope of the Center are:

  • Risk of self-harm or harm to others that cannot be altered by the level of services that can reasonably be provided by the CAPS Center on a timely basis, or is not improved with hospitalization.
  • Chronic severe self-injury/mutilation (e.g. student presents with history of self-injury that has required medical attention and the self-injury is still occurring).
  • Chronic, substantial risk of self-harm or harm to others, or evidence of progressive deterioration, as evidenced by one or more suicide attempts or one or more psychiatric hospitalizations and indication that these concerns are current.
  • Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning, requiring intensive intervention
  • History of treatment that is beyond the resources of the Center and evidence that the need for the previous level of care continues or is likely to be needed (e.g. need for frequent consultation after hours or need to meet more than once a week on a regular basis).
  • A need for medical detoxification and/or medical stabilization.
  • A history of non-cooperation with treatment and indication that the need for treatment is evident currently (e.g. unwillingness to remain on medication for psychotic symptoms).
  • The presence of a significant or long-standing eating disorder with no period of remission, no previous treatment, or that may pose a medical danger.
  • Presence of significant drug and/or alcohol problems such as substance dependence, primary substance abuse, and/or past failed treatments.
  • Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance or other nonacademic purpose.
  • Services to fulfill students' court mandated assessment or treatment requirements.

Students who come to the CAPS Center for services should be able to utilize short-term counseling effectively. The following characteristics suggest that a student may have difficulty doing so and may be better served by a community referral:

  • Coming to the Center because of external pressures to do so by faculty, staff, parents, or disciplinary actions without sufficient evidence of internal motivation that is critical for success in the counseling process.
  • Inability to identify a focus for counseling and lack of ownership and responsibility for identified concerns.
  • Current relevant history or clinical interview that shows a lack of ability to develop a short-term therapeutic relationship (e.g. student is extremely guarded during counseling and cannot open up in order to explore and work on issues and concerns).
  • Clinical assessment that the termination of a short-term therapeutic relationship would be detrimental to the client (e.g. student has history of emotional trauma and/or abandonment that remains currently relevant, and does not seem to have the coping resources to manage major relationship transitions).

Additional Appointments

Beyond the initial assessment, there can be no guarantee that you will be offered additional sessions at the CAPS Center. Continued counseling is available if you and your counselor mutually decide that additional individual sessions would be appropriate and if there is a counselor available to see you. Resources at the center are limited, and it would be impossible for us to meet the on-going counseling needs of all students.

If you and your counselor agree that continuing in counseling is appropriate, you will be assigned to one of the staff counselors for this purpose. This counselor may or may not be the same person you saw for your intake. Counseling sessions are typically scheduled weekly or bi-weekly and last forty-five to fifty minutes. During an early visit with your assigned counselor, you will work on establishing goals for counseling.

Session Limits

In order to provide counseling service to as many students as resources allow, the Misericordia University CAPS Center provides short-term counseling only, limiting the number of sessions a student can receive to 6 per semester. While many students find that fewer than 6 sessions per semester is adequate for their needs, those who find that 6 sessions are not adequate can be referred to community therapists. Exceptions to these limits are occasionally made for clinical or ethical reasons; you and your therapist, in consultation with your therapists' supervisor, will determine whether exceptions can be made in your case if more than 6 sessions are desired or needed.


If you are referred off-campus for counseling services, you will be given the names of several therapists and some information about how to choose a therapist from the community. Please review this information carefully and ask your counselor if you have questions about the referral process. While we try to provide as much helpful information as we can, it will be your responsibility to act upon the information you are given.

Waiting List

When ongoing counseling is desired and no counselor is immediately available, you may be put on a waiting list for individual counseling. We recognize that coming to counseling often takes courage and resolve, and waiting can be frustrating when you are ready to do something difficult and important. Please know that the CAPS Center is doing its best to accommodate as many students as possible with a minimal wait.

Students who are placed on the waiting list are encouraged to inform us if the need for counseling becomes more urgent after your initial appointment.

Cancellations and No Shows

Personal commitment to counseling is crucial for success. We expect you to keep all appointments scheduled with your counselor. If you must miss a session due to illness or an emergency, please call the CAPS Center at 674-6408 to cancel the appointment as far in advance as possible. More than one cancellation during the course of your individual counseling may decrease the total number of sessions which you may have at the Center before reaching the session limit.

If you “no show" for a session without calling in advance, you must call the CAPS Center to reschedule within 48 hours or you may be placed on a waiting list for further services and the no show will count toward your allotted sessions. If you are persistently unable to keep your scheduled appointments, your counselor may discuss alternative treatment options with you that allow for more flexibility. Please note that if you miss two scheduled appointments, we will assume you are not interested in counseling at this time and will close your file. Of course, you are welcome to contact the Center again in the future if the need arises.

Confidentiality and Records

Counseling often involves sharing sensitive, personal, and private information by clients with their counselor. Recognizing this, laws and ethical guidelines require that all interactions with the CAPS Center, including content of your sessions, your records, scheduling of or attendance at appointments, and progress in counseling are confidential. No record of counseling is contained in any academic, educational, or job placement file. While we do keep records of the content of your sessions, in your CAPS Center file, we make every reasonable effort to ensure the security of these files.

Exceptions to Confidentiality

For the vast majority of clients, no exceptions to confidentiality are made. However, there are some exceptions to confidentiality which you should know about before you begin counseling:

  • The professional counselors on the staff at the CAPS Center operate as a team. Therefore, from time to time, your counselor may consult with other counselors or receive supervision from a clinical supervisor. These consultations are for professional and training purposes only and are aimed at providing the best possible care for all clients.
  • You may request, in writing, that the CAPS Center release information about your counseling to persons you designate.
  • If there is evidence that a student poses a clear and imminent danger of harm to self and/or others, a counselor is legally required to report this information to the proper authorities. Appropriate university officials, medical, or law enforcement personnel will be notified to ensure the safety of the student and the community.
  • A court-ordered subpoena can require the CAPS Center to release information contained in records or require a counselor to testify in a court hearing.
  • If the counselor has reason to suspect, on the basis of their professional judgment, that a child is or has been abused, they are required to report their suspicions to the authority or government agency vested to conduct child-abuse investigations. They are mandated to report suspected child abuse if anyone aged 14 or older tells them that he or she committed child abuse, even if the victim is no longer in danger. They are also mandated to report suspected child abuse if anyone tells them that he or she knows of any child who is currently being abused.

Consultation/Faculty -Staff Resource & Referral Guide

Counselors are available to students, faculty, and staff to discuss situations of concern. Counselors will offer feedback as to how to address difficult situations and people. This is done within the bounds of confidentiality.

Symptoms of Student Distress

  • Changes in affect and/or behavior over a period of time
  • Changes in class attendance and/or performance
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying in class
  • Angry outbursts
  • Isolation from peers
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Coming to class high or intoxicated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme activity level
  • Very rapid speech
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response which is inappropriate to situation
  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts)
  • Seeing/hearing things which are not there
  • Talking about suicide or not wanting to be around anymore

How/When to Help

  • Talk to the student and describe the specific behavior that concerns you
  • Avoid judging, evaluating, and criticizing the student
  • Recommend the student access support in the Center when you feel the student's problem is one that you do not feel qualified to handle, that personality differences will interfere with your ability to help, the student is a personal acquaintance, or if you feel you are overwhelmed, pressed for time, or at a high stress level yourself.
  • Offer to make an initial call to the Center on behalf of the student
  • You may walk the student to the Center if your concern is urgent

If you are unsure about what to do about a student, call the Counseling staff and consult about him or her. Counseling and Psychological Services Center(CAPS Center) Located on the lower level of McGowan Hall. Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 674-6408 For Evening and Weekend Emergencies: Contact Safety & Security at 674-6300 for the Counselor-On-Call


GROUPS Group counseling provides an opportunity for students with common concerns to meet in a safe, and confidential setting to address issues that are affecting them. Groups are facilitated by skilled professionals and promote emotional and psychological health. The Center offers groups that fall into various categories: Therapy Groups assist members with changing behaviors, improving relationships, gaining insight, and improving overall healthy functioning. Support Groups serve to unify members around certain common themes by providing information and guidance and general emotional support through the relationships and trust developed over time. Psycho-Educational Groups offer participants information and skills needed to manage behaviors that impact emotional and psychological well being.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN GROUP COUNSELING? In both Therapy and Support Groups, members share thoughts and personal feelings about their own lives and issues that arise in the group. Since participants need to be committed to the group process and sincere about learning and growing as persons, potential members meet with the group facilitator to determine eligibility for participation. Psycho-Educational Groups offer a wide-range of student participation since they are more structured and focus on skill development. No pre-screening is required for these groups. As a participant in any of these groups you can expect to build confidence in yourself and become more aware of the impact you have on others. You will be able to identify and express your feelings more effectively. You will also know that you are not alone as you listen to the concerns of other group members. You will be able to give and receive support.


  • Make the commitment to attend group consistently and for the duration of the group
  • Engage with the group and the process
  • Take risks to share what is important to you
  • Respect group members
  • Participate openly and honestly, and as often as is comfortable for you
  • Share your thoughts and feelings


CAPS Peer Associates

CAPS Peer Associates is the umbrella term for the peer groups sponsored by the CAPS Center. Peer Advocates work as FYE facilitators and focus primarily on first year student adjustment and "HOPE-Healthy Options Peer Educators" is a group interested in promoting healthy living and wellness in such areas as stress, eating, body image, physical health, and self-acceptance. Members of these peer groups receive extensive training in order to serve their fellow students well and so that they can also act as referral sources to the professional counseling staff


Peer Advocates are a group of upper-class trained students whose focus during the fall semester is on the integration of first-year students into the college community, and throughout the entire academic year, on education awareness of all peers on issues relevant to them as college students and as people who live in society and the world. They create and implement programs oriented to education and awareness, service, and advocacy. They also provide a link for students to resources on campus.

H.O.P.E. (Healthy Options Peer Educators)

HOPE members create awareness and advocate for students' overall health and wellness. Members educate and motivate students to practice and achieve an attitude of wellness by promoting the importance of having a sense of purpose and belonging, have a realistic body perception, and having a sense of knowing and valuing themselves. The group is also a resource for positive living as it specifically focuses on such areas as healthy eating, physical health, stress management, and self-acceptance. H.O.P.E. believes that each person is unique and special in his or her own right and that a commitment to body, mind, and spirit will enhance a persons' self-confidence and respect for self, and therefore their ability to live fulfilling and happy lives.

A National Organization with campus chapters that focus on doing fun programs and activities to erase the stigma associated with mental health issues.

On-line Application

Campus Peer Associates Reference Form

On-line Screenings

Self-Help Resources

Community Resources

  • Helpline Services Directory: 570-829-1341 or 1-800-432-8007 [Available 24 hours/seven days a week to obtain information on area resources]
  • Domestic Violence Center: 570-823-7312 Victim's Resource Center: 570-823-0765 (Support for Victims of Sexual Assault)
  • Catholic Social Services: 570-822-7118 Community Counseling Services of NEPA: 570-552-6000
  • Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley: 570-823-5144
  • Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley: 570-822-4126
  • Jewish Family Service: 570-823-5137
  • Local Hospitals:
  • First Hospital of Wyoming Valley: 570-552-3900 - (Psychiatric Emergencies)
  • Geisinger Hospital 570-808-7300 (General Info)
  • Wilkes-Barre General Hospital: 570-829-8111 (General Info)

After Hours Emergencies

Our normal working hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. If you, or someone you know, has an urgent care need after these hours, you may do one of the following:

  • Contact your RA or RD if you are a resident
  • Call the Office of Safety & Security at 674-6300 to reach the counselor on call. **
  • Call the 24-hour Crisis Service of Community Counseling at 570-552-6000.
  • Go to the Emergency Room of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
  • Regarding Sexual Assault, in addition to the above options, you can:
    1. Call a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) member at 570-417-8888 OR
    2. Call the Victims Resource Center hotline at 570-823-0765.
  • Regarding Relationship Violence you can call any of the above or you can call the
  • Domestic Violence Center at 570-823-7312.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line. You can text the word, 'START" 741-741. This resource is also available 24/7.
  • **NOTE: The counselor on-call system is not in operation over holidays, fall/winter//spring Breaks, or over the summer (from post- final exam week until the fall semester begins).

Student Athlete Help Page

Faculty Help Page

The Role of Faculty with Students in Distress

Most students manage the many transitions they experience very well. However, there will always be a minority of students for whom the pressures seem unmanageable. Students who are overwhelmed and who do not have strong coping abilities/skills will not be able to leave their stressors and reactions to them outside the classroom. Their inability to do so is the reason why faculty may observe either changes in behavior or an on-going set of behaviors that point to distress. Since you as faculty are often the most consistent and primary contacts for students, your expressed interest and concern could make the difference of whether or not a student succeeds in college. Your role and responsibility is not to work individually with students who are experiencing emotional distress, but you can play an important role in getting the students the help they need. Students respect their professors and your concern for them and encouragement to access supports available to them can make a big difference in how open they are to doing so. The following Resource and Referral Guide offers you behaviors to look for in distressed students as well as how to help and when to refer students to counseling.

Faculty Resource and Referral Guide

Symptoms of Student Distress

  • Changes in affect and/or behavior over a period of time
  • Changes in class attendance and/or performance
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying in class
  • Angry outbursts
  • Isolation from peers
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Coming to class high or intoxicated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme activity level
  • Very rapid speech
  • Unusual or exaggerated emotional response which is inappropriate to situation
  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech,disjointed thoughts)
  • Seeing/hearing things which are not there
  • Talking about suicide or not wanting to be around anymore

How/When to Help

  • Talk to the student and describe the specific behavior that concerns you
  • Avoid judging, evaluating, and criticizing the student
  • Recommend the student access support in the Center when you feel the student's problem is one that you do not feel qualified to handle, that personality differences will interfere with your ability to help, the student is a personal acquaintance, or if you feel you are overwhelmed, pressed for time, or at a high stress level yourself.
  • Offer to make an initial call to the Center on behalf of the student
  • You may walk the student to the Center if your concern is urgent. If you are unsure about what to do about a student, call the Counseling staff and consult about him or her. The Counseling and Psychological Service Center Located on the lower level of Alumnae Hall Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 674-6408 For Evening and Weekend Emergencies: Contact Safety & Security at 674-6300 for the Counselor-On-Call

Emergency Situations Some of the behaviors listed on the Resource and Referral Guide are ones that indicate an immediate crisis and need immediate attention. They include:

  • Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disjointed thoughts)
  • Seeing and/or hearing things that are not there or are not real
  • Talking or writing about suicide including plans and/or methods
  • Homicidal thoughts communicate either verbally and/or in writing
  • Highly disruptive behaviors (aggressive, hostile, violent threats/behavior)

What To Do

  • Stay calm. Try not to leave the student alone (unless he/she is violent). Find someone to stay with the student while calls for assistance are made.

1) Safety & Security Office at 674-6300
2) University Counseling Center at 674-6408
3) Student Health Center at 674-6276

What Can Students Expect When They Come to Counseling? You can help students feel less anxious about accessing counseling support if you know what they can expect when they come for services and can give them an idea when you refer them. Upon arrival in the Center, students will be greeted by our office manager, Carol Llewellyn. She will invite them to have a seat in our private waiting room and complete the intake paperwork that includes basic information about them and the reason for their coming for services. (They obviously would not have to do the paperwork in an emergency). This paperwork and all paperwork connected to them as clients are confidential and are kept in locked confidential files. Students should know that their files are separate from their school records. All services are free, confidential and private. We may only share information with others with a student's written permission unless we are concerned about their safety or the safety of others. After students complete the paperwork, a counselor will come to the waiting room to meet them and walk them to his/her private office. The first session is called the intake session and the purpose of this session is to review the intake paperwork so the counselor can get a good sense of a student's concerns and issues. The counselor will talk with the student about a plan for addressing these concerns and ask the student if he/she is willing to engage in the counseling process. If the counselor determines that the student's issues are such that the student will need longer more intensive treatment that falls outside of our brief treatment model, we will offer the student some referrals for professionals in the local community. Otherwise, the counselor will schedule a follow-up appointment with the student.

What to Expect Once You Make a Referral to Counseling If you contact the Center for a crisis or emergency situation, we will respond immediately to you by talking with you about a student of concern over the phone and/or coming to the scene and talking with you and the student. Once the immediate crisis is resolved, and we continue to have contact with the student, we cannot talk with you about him/her due to strict laws of client confidentiality. Following a general referral (or an emergency referral) of a student by you, we can ask him/her to sign a release form to give permission to at least let you know that they followed through on your referral, but this option is their personal choice. Confidentiality laws do not preclude us from listening to any new concerns you may have after we begin to see the student but just know that we will be mostly listening since we cannot share details of our conversations with the student.

Disturbing Content in Students' Work Disturbing content can be in various forms, such as in written content in class papers, emails, and art work. It can often include self-disclosure about abuse of self, others, or animals. It may also be in the form of threats or strange content that does not make sense. Writing may be of a dark and/or negative nature. Frequent use of profanity in writing can also indicate disturbed content. Art work may reflect traumatic events and/or violence. Students who exhibit disturbing content may or may not also exhibit strange and/or disruptive behavior in the classroom.

What to Do Seek consultation with your department chair or appropriate department supervisor and the Center before directly addressing the student. You can access a counselor by calling 674-6408 during normal working hours. If you believe the situation is an emergency and you cannot get through to this number, you can contact the counselor-on-call through the Office of Safety and Security at 674-6300. Together we can devise a plan for how to proceed and the counselor will decide if further steps, such as a mental health evaluation, need to take place.

Guide to Classroom Discussion Following a National or Local Tragedy* When a national or local tragedy occurs, everyone deals with these experiences in their own way, but generally people have a need to be together and talk about it to try to make sense of the event. Faculty often wonder whether or not they should say something to their students in the classroom or not, and if they do choose to say something, they wonder what to say. The following suggestions may help:

  • Stay with the student until help arrives.
  • If you choose not to have a class discussion that is fine, but DO acknowledge the event. Students will most likely have a hard time concentrating after a tragedy and may interpret the absence of acknowledgement as insensitivity to the event. This may cause anger in some students. You might also just mention support services such as counseling services and campus ministry are available for those who find themselves having a difficult time.
    1. If you do wish to provide class discussion time:
      Acknowledge the event.
    2. Suggest that it may be helpful to share personal reactions students have.
    3. Provide for a brief discussion of the “facts" and then shift to emotions. People are usually more comfortable talking with facts than feelings, so this approach allows an easier introduction to the topic.
    4. Invite students to share their personal reactions/feelings about the event. Perhaps begin this part by sharing some of yours to break the ice.
    5. If students begin debating about the “right way" to react, you might comment that how people react is highly unique and personal and that there is no “right way".
    6. Often, in the midst of tragedy, people will look for someone to “blame". This is a way of coping and trying to make sense of something that does not make sense. If the discussion gets stuck on “blaming", you might say something like, “It is not unusual to focus somewhat on anger and blame. It might also be useful to talk about our fears".
    7. Avoid trying to help students by trying to explain the meaning of the event. This is not your responsibility and would not be helpful. By their very nature, tragedies are especially difficult to explain.
    8. Thank your students for sharing their thoughts and feelings and remind them again of the support resources on campus available to them. Encourage them to use these resources should they need to talk further and/or one-on-one with someone.
      *This piece was adapted with permission by Joan Whitney, Ph.D., Director of Counseling Center at Villanova University. Faculty Resources and Bibliography
      The Day After:Faculty Behavior in Post 9/11 Classes.
      Teaching Times of Crisis
      Coping with Tragedies

      Huston, Therese A., and Michele DiPietro. "In the Eye of the Storm: Students' Perceptions of Helpful Faculty Actions Following a Collective Tragedy." To Improve the Academy 21(2007): 206-224.

      Kardia, Diana, Crisca Bierwert, Constance E. Cook, A.T. Miller, and Matthew Kaplan. "Discussing the Unfathomable:Classroom-Based Responses to Tragedy." Change 34.1(2002):19-22

      Miller, Katherine. "The Experience of Emotion on the Workplace." Management Communication Quarterly 15.4(2002):57-600.

      Pavela, Gary. "Memorandum to Faculty: Teaching Troubled Students After Virginia Tech." Spectrum Nov.(2007): 4-9.

      Siegel, Dorothy. Campuses Respond to Vilent Tragedy. Phoenix, AZ: Oryz Press, 1994.

Parent Help Page

Welcome to the Misericordia Family!

If this is your first time as a parent of a college student, you and your son or daughter are probably experiencing some good moments and some tense moments in the midst of the transition. This is a natural occurrence as your son/daughter experiences many changes that are occurring simultaneously. As they move toward adulthood, these changes include developing a sense of competence, managing emotions in a new way, moving toward interdependence, developing mature interpersonal relationships, establishing their identity, developing a sense of purpose, and developing a sense of integrity. They also are developing new ways of thinking for themselves and learning to take more responsibility for their choices and decisions. They are developing a sense of their own values and they are learning how to make good decisions in tough situations. The thing is, there is no blueprint for how your son/daughter will develop in all of these areas. They need to find their own way with your support and with the support of all of us who will interact with them here at Misericordia.

What Can You Do?

You can encourage your sons and daughters to get involved in the total college experience for two reasons. First, the more they get involved the more we can get to know them and direct them to appropriate support resources and personnel. Second, by immersing themselves in all that college has to offer, they will get to know themselves more fully as the unique individuals they are and learn how to build on their strengths for a solid long-term approach to life.

What does it mean to get involved in the total college experience? It means getting fully involved on campus by regularly attending their classes, attending tutoring sessions, and talking with their faculty. It means joining clubs and organizations and volunteering in service projects. It means utilizing campus support services, such as counseling services and career services. It means participating in intramurals and athletic events, as well as college-wide events.

Immersion and involvement in ALL of campus life (whether students are residents or commuters) is key to their ability to develop and emerge into young adults. You can help them by encouraging them to get involved and by allowing them to take care of their own responsibilities. This is how independence and success in college and life is nurtured!

Above all, keep the lines of communication open between you and your son or daughter and don't panic! Remember that most of the changes your son/daughter goes through are transitional ones on the way to becoming the young adult that you have raised them to be.

What Can the Counseling and Psychological Service Center (CAPS Center) Offer Students?

The Center offers individual counseling sessions to address any topic or issue that gets in the way of your son or daughter's academic and personal success in college. Some examples of topics often addressed in individual counseling are homesickness, roommate conflicts, relationship issues, depression, general anxiety, test anxiety, eating issues, anger management, stress, substance use/abuse, and self-esteem.

Counseling and support groups are also offered on special topics, such as homesickness, healthy relationships, grief, assertiveness, relaxation and stress management. Other services include consultation and referral services, as well as crisis intervention.

We have a Counselor-On-Call (COC) 24 hours a day for emergencies. The COC can be accessed through a student's Resident Assistant (RA) or Resident Director (RD) or through Campus Safety office at 674-6300. We have a team of trained faculty and staff ready to offer support for anyone affected by sexual assault. They are called the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and are also on-call 24 hours a day. They can be accessed by calling 570-417-8888. Another facet of our outreach to students is through the Campus Peer Associate program. This includes Peer Advocates, HOPE(Healthy Options Peer Educators), and Active Minds. Students in these groups are trained by professionals to be a support and link to campus and community resources. They also provide educational and awareness programs for their fellow students.

How Can the Counseling Center Help Parents?

We are always available to consult with you about concerns you may have about your son or daughter. You can call at 570-674-6408 or 570-674-6366 at anytime. We welcome your contact with us and want to be supportive in your efforts as parents to support your son or daughter.

What about Confidentiality?

Counselors are bound by professional ethics and standards as well as state and federal laws regarding client confidentiality. Therefore, we cannot share the content of any contact we have had with your son or daughter, nor can we even confirm or deny that your son or daughter has been seen in the Center. This applies even if you yourself have made a referral to us for your son/daughter or if your son/daughter has told you that he/she is seeing us. If you want to know about your son/daughter's counseling content, you can always ask him/her if he/she would be willing to sign a Release form so we can talk with you. And even if your son/daughter does not sign a Release form, you may still call us and share your concerns if you believe he/she is in danger. If we do know your son/daughter, your information may be helpful to us in our work with him/her.

Helpful Resources

1.Ten Things College Students Don't Want You to Know

2. Publications on Parenting College Students College Parents of America

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