At University Counseling Services (UCS), we offer many types of short-term mental health services at no charge to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students enrolled through the Tseng College. The following list describes the types of therapy, counseling, and psychiatric services available at UCS.
UCS offers innovative Wellness Workshops specifically tailored to provide quick and useful tools to help our busy CSUN students with some of the more common presenting concerns (e.g., anxiety, stress, depression). After meeting with a therapist for the Initial Evaluation appointment, many students are first enrolled into one of our series of three (3) Wellness Workshops: RIO (Recognition, Insight, and Openness); Anxiety Toolbox, and Getting Unstuck. At the completion of one of our series of Wellness Workshops, students have the opportunity to meet with their Initial Evaluation therapist again to review their experience in the Wellness Workshop and discuss their needs, goals, and resources for their continued growth.
UCS utilizes a short-term therapy model for individual therapy. Students work collaboratively with a specific therapist to identify and address concerns that may be interfering with their academic functioning and/or personal lives, and work towards resolution of such concerns.
There are a wide range of concerns that lead students to seek out individual therapy. Some of the concerns include:
- Mood instability
- Academic performance (e.g., procrastination, test taking anxiety, attention, writer’s block, etc.)
- Identity (e.g., cultural, LBGTQIA+, religious, etc.)
- Family concerns
- Financial stress
- Relationship problems
- Suicidal thoughts
- Body image and/or disordered eating
- Alcohol and/or other drug use
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 initial evaluation 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 initial evaluation 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 therapists 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 is 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 initial evaluation appointment with Dr. Silver to discuss appropriate next steps in their recovery and well-being.
UCS utilizes a short-term therapy model for couples therapy. Couples therapy is available only if both partners are currently enrolled CSUN students and both members of the couple are able to collaboratively work toward mutually agreed upon short-term goals. These goals could include improving self-awareness and insight, communication and problem-solving skills, and/or modifying dysfunctional behavior (e.g., non-blaming). Students who do not meet the criteria for short-term couples therapy at UCS will be provided with referrals to off-campus providers for open-ended couples therapy and/or individual therapy for one or both members of the couple. In some cases, it may be advantageous for one or more individuals of a couple to engage in individual therapy to address their own individual unresolved issues before participating in couples therapy with their partner.
UCS offers a wide variety of psycho-educational workshops, therapy groups, and support groups, each semester that provide a safe space to address issues common to university students. There are many benefits to group treatment such as connecting with others with shared experiences, gaining personal awareness and insight, improving interpersonal skills, learning ways to reduce distress, expressing feelings, engaging in mutual support, and resolving a broad range of personal issues. A brief screening appointment with the group leader(s) may be required prior to becoming a member of some of our therapy or support groups.
Refer to the groups and workshops page for a complete listing of current groups offered or call us to learn more about our groups and workshops.
Students must complete an Initial Evaluation appointment with a UCS therapist to discuss their concerns and needs before they can be referred for an assessment and consultation with our psychiatry staff. Following this assessment, our psychiatrist will help you understand their recommendations and treatment options.
Urgent care/crisis services
Urgent care/crisis counselors are available 24/7 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) please call (818) 677-2366 and select Option 1
- Outside of regular business hours, please call (818) 677-2366, Option 3.
- 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 university and/or community resources
- Basic needs (e.g., food, housing, etc.)
- Disability resources
- Financial resources
- Health insurance
- Immigration resources
- Intimate partner violence resources
- Referrals to off-campus ongoing counseling/therapy or specialized mental health treatment (e.g., addiction treatment, eating disorder treatment, etc.)
- Coordinating and monitoring referrals with off-campus providers
UCS utilizes a brief, short-term model of treatment for individual and couples therapy. Many students are helped in just a few individual sessions. A student may only work with a therapist for a session or two to problem solve, explore and process, and learn new skills and resources, to address their concerns, while another student may benefit from additional sessions of therapy due to the severity or complexity of their presenting concerns. And, yet, another student may work with a therapist briefly to focus on an acute concern and then transition to a higher-level of care or more specialized services off-campus to address more chronic, or ongoing concerns.
There is flexibility within our short-term therapy model to try to best meet the needs of individual students. This includes decisions about whether to schedule weekly or biweekly sessions, transition a student to group treatment after some number of individual sessions, or refer a student for a psychiatric consultation. Students may be referred for UCS group treatment (psychoeducational groups, support groups, therapy groups), which do not have session limits. If the therapist determines that a student would benefit from specialized treatment or a higher level of care than we are able to provide in our short-term treatment model, they will work closely with the student to connect them with such services; this includes referrals to mental health providers and/or agencies in the community who accept the student’s insurance or who provide low cost services.
UCS staff members are required by law and professional ethics to protect the confidentiality of clients. Therapy 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 therapy 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 therapy and/or psychiatric services at UCS, nor any information about the services provided, will appear on their student academic record.