Belmont University is committed to providing professional counseling through the Office of Counseling Services. This essential program equips students to manage life transitions as well as serious emotional issues. Our goal is to help students choose healthy coping skills. Our confidential services are provided at no cost to students with specialized attention to college students' unique needs. In addition to direct therapeutic services, Counseling Services provides training to faculty and staff to help ensure the Belmont community is aware and attentive of the scope of mental health needs in a college environment. Students in turn directly experience a sense of community that values safety, personal integrity and care. Counseling Services’ primary focus is on general and emergent care of mental health concerns. While clinicians possess a wide range of specializations, Counseling Services is not intended for long-term, chronic therapeutic treatment.
About Counseling Services:
- The Counseling Services clinical staff is comprised of: three full time therapists and eight contracted therapists. The average years of clinical experience are 22 years. In addition, this experienced staff is fully licensed and some clinicians hold more than one professional degree.
- Counseling Services is available for guidance and support in establishing care in the Nashville community for students with long-term care needs. We recommend that families identify caregivers in the Nashville area and schedule a student’s appointment prior to his or her arrival to ensure that gaps in care do not develop. For students that require monthly maintenance of medications, we recommend families transfer care to a psychiatrist in the Nashville area.
- Counseling Service’s professional affiliations include the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (AAMFT), the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (EDCT), and the Nashville Psychotherapy Institute (NPI).
- Counseling Services benefits from a partnership with Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, which affords students VIP treatment and expedited care through the Emergency Department. This partnership also affords Counseling Services and students improved access to follow-up resources allowing many students to maintain their enrollment following a mental health crisis.
What we can do for you:
The Office of Counseling Services is the psychological equivalent of a family medical practice. It is important to recognize that Counseling Services is not intended to treat complex, chronic disorders. Of course we will help students who clearly require or request such treatment by aiding in obtaining services off campus.
Initial consultation and evaluation of concerns is offered to every student. Subsequently we provide treatment when we are able to do so within the limits of our staff’s expertise and referrals to those who will benefit from a wider scope of services. Students who need more long-term, specific, or comprehensive care are referred to a variety of clinical practitioners, specialists, and treatment facilities in the community.
In certain circumstances, we will contact a parent directly. Among these are:
- If a student has threatened or attempted suicide, a Belmont Counseling Center staff person or a Belmont administrator will notify the parents and discuss the incident. In some cases, the university may require the student receive treatment at home.
- If a student is admitted to the hospital for alcohol or drug problems, we may request the student receive treatment at home.
- In the case of a student returning home for treatment, the university will require the student to provide a statement from the treating professional that a return to college is safe and appropriate.
How to Find a Local Specialist:
Students who have a treatment team at home (psychiatrist, therapist) and/or who are on medications to treat an emotional disorder should replicate that team in Nashville by looking at the Counseling Services website for needed resources. The Counseling Services staff is happy to collaborate with you about needed referral recommendations. Entering freshmen and transfer students needing such services have found it very helpful to contact local psychiatrists or treatment facilities as soon as their admission has been approved. Waiting to establish care until school begins can create delays in care. Scheduling ahead of the peak times in a city with several Universities avoids a distressing delay when an emergency happens.
We believe that it is also vitally important for students to be compliant with the medication routine they have established at home. Often the excitement and freedom associated with entering a college or university interrupts this routine which could lead to a medical and/or emotional crisis.
Finally when a student returns home for holidays or extended breaks it is critical to follow up with his or her home doctor and/or therapeutic team so that continued care is assured. Make sure that releases of information are signed in both locations so that the student’s therapeutic team in Nashville and at home can communicate in the event of an emergency.
Note: The student and/or student’s family is financially responsible for off campus psychiatric services or specialized treatment.
Who can Benefit from Counseling
Just about anyone can benefit. No problem is too big or small. Listed below are just a few examples of some common concerns which bring students to Counseling Services:
- Symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression
- College adjustment issues such as homesickness, academic problems, and long-distance relationships
- Interpersonal difficulties, including roommate conflicts, family problems, romantic relationship concerns, problems with assertiveness, and other issues
- Bereavement and grief related to the loss of a loved one (such as relationship breakups, deaths, parental divorce, or other major losses)
- Questions/confusion about identity, self-image, sexuality, gender, or religious concerns
- Concerns about body image, food, eating, or weight, as well as treatment for eating disorders
- Experience with sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, abuse, or other trauma
- Thoughts of suicide, death, or hurting others
- Behaviors that can be harmful to you, like drug or alcohol abuse or cutting
When to Seek Counseling
Our counselors are trained to intervene or provide support for a countless number of issues. While counseling might be helpful in numerous situations, there are some conditions in which we would strongly encourage you to seek counseling services:
- You are unhappy on most days or feel a sense of hopelessness
- You worry excessively or are constantly on edge
- You are unable to concentrate on your schoolwork or other activities
- You are unable to sleep at night or constantly feel tired
- You have experienced a change in your appetite or your weight
- You have experienced a loss (e.g., a relationship breakup, a parent's death)
- You have increased your use of alcohol or other drugs (including cigarettes)
- You feel overwhelmed by what is going on in your life
- You are having thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else
Counseling services are provided at no cost to students. Counselors can assist you with a variety of concerns. Problems range in intensity from mild distress to severe and chronic psychological disorders. Examples of complaints that students bring to us include:
|Adjusting to College Life||Homesickness|
|Alcohol & Drug Concerns||Self-Esteem Issues|
|Family Conflicts||Spiritual Struggles|
The Counseling Center office is located located on the second floor of the Gabhart Student Center, adjacent to the Beaman Student Life Center.
Making an appointment is a simple process. Contact the office at 615-460-6856. The first appointment is called an intake and will last between 15-30 minutes. If you wish to schedule further appointments, they will last between 50-60 minutes. We are open Monday through Friday, 8 am- 4:30 pm. Students can leave a confidential voicemail at anytime, and it will be returned as soon as possible during office hours. Students can also drop by to set up an appointment.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience
Define your goals.
Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to write a list of events, relationship issues, or feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. Self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly.
Be an active participant.
This is your counseling experience, so be as active as you can in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the counselor and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.
Be patient with yourself.
Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns, and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time, so change can be difficult and slow at times.
Ask questions about the counseling process, any methods used by the counselor, or about any other services offered. Your counselor is there to assist you.
Follow your counselor's recommendations.
Take the time between sessions to complete any activities suggested by your counselor. Counseling is intended to improve your life in the "real world," so making efforts to try out and practice new behaviors, approaches, or ways of thinking could be a crucial element to the success of your counseling experience.
If you are in severe crisis, Belmont Security can be reached at (615) 460-6911. You can also call the Nashville Crisis Center at (615) 244-7444. They have trained counselors available to help.