Available Services

At University Counseling Services (UCS), we offer many types of short-term services at no charge to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students only. Students enrolled through the Tseng College of Extended Learning may obtain a referral form from the Tseng College in order to receive services at UCS.  The following list describes the types of counseling and consultation we provide so that you can find what will best suit you.

RIO (Recognition/Insight/Openness)

RIO is a 3-week psychoeducational workshop series designed to help students learn quick and useful tools and develop a clearer sense of what they would like to change in their lives.  RIO is a curriculum-driven workshop series with structure and specific learning objectives, with each workshop building on material from the preceding one(s).  Participation is strongly encouraged but personal disclosure is not required. The workshops were designed to respect students’ individual privacy while still providing ample space to begin building skills through experiential learning opportunities. All participants will receive a workbook to accompany exercises within the workshops.  Students may participate in RIO more than once if they are interested in doing so.

Individual counseling

Individual counseling is provided by our diverse team of professionals who offer assistance to students experiencing concerns that interfere with their academic work and/or personal lives.  At UCS this service involves brief counseling for students who work collaboratively with a counselor utilizing a short-term treatment model.

Our approach to counseling emphasizes setting goals and working to achieve those specific goals in a brief time period with the assistance and support of a caring professional. The goals of short-term treatment may be to prevent small problems from becoming big ones, to intervene quickly in a crisis or to help students to return to their usual level of functioning as soon as possible.  Brief, short-term, counseling is most effective with students who have specific goals, the capacity to solve their own problems with some assistance, and are ready and willing to work to create change.  If a student's concerns or situation require longer-term therapy, referrals will be provided for off-campus resources.

Alcohol and Other Drug Counseling

UCS is mindful of the support needs that enrolled CSUN students may face when struggling with substance use. Any enrolled CSUN student experiencing concern about their substance use who would like to meet with someone to discuss these concerns can schedule an intake appointment with Dr. Steve Silver, UCS' Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor.  This can be done by contacting UCS at (818) 677-2366, option 1 and requesting to do so.  At your intake appointment, Dr. Silver will conduct a general clinical assessment of functioning with a focus on substance use. He will then discuss recommendations with you based on level of use and impairment.  Sometimes this includes meeting with Dr. Silver for a small number of sessions to address concerns, while other times it includes recommendations for other levels/types of support, including professional treatment (residential/inpatient, outpatient programs, individual therapy in the community, etc.), peer support (12-step support groups), and other supportive services (sober livings, etc.).

While Dr. Silver specializes in this area, all other UCS counselors are able to assess substance use and any other concerns in order to provide a treatment plan. Please keep in mind that, although these services and UCS urgent care walk-in appointments are available, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, related to substance use and any other circumstances, dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room rather than contact UCS.

Students Returning from Treatment

UCS also aims to support students returning to the CSUN campus whom have completed a substance use disorder treatment program off-campus.  Although many substance use disorder treatment programs provide after care referrals, any enrolled student seeking post-treatment support is welcome to schedule an intake appointment with Dr. Silver to discuss appropriate next steps in their recovery and well-being. 

ExCEL Individual counseling

Experience Confidence and Enjoyment in Learning (ExCEL) is individualized counseling designed to help you enjoy your learning opportunities at CSUN. Remember when you were a kid filled with curiosity and a love of learning? Remember when nothing would get in your way of leaning how to ride a bicycle, master a video game or put together a difficult puzzle? We would like to help you rediscover that enthusiasm, curiosity and confidence in learning through ExCEL. Learning does not have to be experienced as a tedious and boring activity. Learn how to enjoy and have more confidence in your learning journey at CSUN.  Our counselors have found that a significant percentage of college students have a difficult time enjoying their learning opportunities while in college. Many students have experienced "mini" academic traumas before they enter college that reduce their confidence to learn new and difficult material. Enjoyment and confidence in learning are two important variables in achieving academic success. Your confidence and enjoyment in learning can be increased.

If you are interested in any other ExCEL services, please visit the ExCEL website through the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.

Couples counseling

Couples counseling at UCS involves brief counseling for couples (as long as both members of the couple are currently enrolled CSUN students) who work collaboratively with a counselor on mutually agreed-upon short-term goals, such as improving communication and problem-solving skills.   Please note that students who do not meet these criteria will be provided with referrals to off-campus providers.  

Please inform the receptionist that you are interested in making an initial Intake for a couple. Keep in mind that both members of the couple will need to complete the UCS counseling forms.

Group counseling

UCS offers a wide variety of therapy groups and psycho-educational workshops each semester that address issues common to university students.  They provide a safe environment for you to learn more about yourself and others, as well as learn new ways to deal with challenging issues. Some groups focus on special themes like anxiety management, relaxation, overcoming shyness, overcoming procrastination or academic success. Other counseling groups are more general and assist participants in resolving a broad range of personal issues, including low self-esteem and relationship issues. A brief screening appointment with the group leader(s) may be required prior to becoming a member of some of our therapy groups.  Most groups are offered at UCS.

Refer to the groups and workshops page for a complete listing of current groups offered and/or come in or call us to learn more about our groups and workshops.

Psychiatric consultation

Psychiatric services are available to students interested in medication evaluations, medication follow-up and consultations. Students must complete an initial intake appointment with a UCS counselor to discuss their concerns and needs before they can be scheduled to see one of our psychiatrists or psychiatric residents. During your initial Psychiatric Consultation appointment you will be evaluated to determine the most appropriate treatment.  Students who begin a medication regimen can continue to meet with the psychiatrist periodically for follow-up appointments until the student is referred to a community provider.  

Urgent care assistance 

UCS counselors are available to assist students with urgent situations, emergencies, or serious crises related to psychological concerns during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday).  If you are in crisis or have an urgent concern, come in to UCS and you will be seen by one of our Triage Counselors in a timely manner.  If you are in crisis or have an urgent concern after regular business hours, please call our main line at (818) 677-2366 and select option “3.”  You will be immediately transferred to a live crisis counselor with whom you can discuss your concerns.  In the event of an extreme mental health emergency or life-threatening situation, it is recommended that you call 9-1-1, campus police, or go to the closest emergency room, for assistance.

Please see our Urgent Care page for more information. 

Case management services 

Case management services are designed to identify and meet a student’s mental health needs that may be impacting their daily functioning.  The goal of case management is to assist students in obtaining the appropriate services to enhance both their academic and personal well-being.  Case management services may include:  navigating the university and community resources; referrals to off-campus providers; and coordinating and monitoring referrals with outside providers.

Session Limits

UCS utilizes a brief, short-term model of treatment for individual and couples counseling.   Many students are helped in just a few individual sessions.  On-going groups and workshops are also offered to students, and there is no limit on the number of group and/or workshops sessions a student may have.   If a student’s concerns or situation require longer-term therapy, referrals will be provided for off-campus resources.


UCS staff members are required by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of clients.  Counseling records are kept separate from all academic, administrative, disciplinary, and medical records.  No information about a client’s contact with UCS is released without the knowledge and written consent of the client, except in situations where disclosure is mandated by law.  Legally mandated exceptions to confidentiality include:  

  • If I present a serious danger to myself unless protective measures are taken.
  • If I present a serious threat of violence to another person or property.
  • If there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of minor children (persons under age 18), dependent adults (persons over age 18 who are in the legal custody of another person), or elderly persons (65 years of age or older).
  • If there is reasonable suspicion that I have engaged in preparing, selling, accessing, streaming, downloading, viewing, and/or distributing material of a minor engaged in "obscene" acts, including modeling the act or posing for a video, painting, or drawing of an obscene act; this includes "sexting" involving a minor (AB1775; effective 01/01/2015).
  • If I am determined to be gravely disabled (as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, and am unable to provide for basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter).
  • If a valid subpoena is issued for my records, or my records are otherwise subject to a court order or other legal process requiring disclosure.

You will have an opportunity to speak with your counselor about any questions you have concerning confidentiality.  Keep in mind that we will not release information to parents, professors or any other outside parties unless the client asks us to communicate that information and provides prior written consent.

Neither the fact that a student seeks counseling nor any information about the sessions will appear on their student academic record.