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 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.
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.
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 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.
Gender Affirming Care
Our diverse team of mental health professionals at UCS are committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment that is respectful and supportive. We are committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary students at CSUN receive gender-affirming care and resources that support their mental health, well-being, and academic success.
Services Provided by the Gender Affirming Care Team
Letter of Support
If you are seeking a gender affirming medical procedure, such as surgery, and require a letter of support, our team at University Counseling Services (UCS) is happy to help. The first step is to call UCS at 818.677.2366 , Option #1 to schedule an initial evaluation. When you schedule the appointment, please inform the person who answered the call that you are seeking an assessment for a letter of support and would like to meet with a member of the Gender Affirming Care Team. You will not need to give details about the procedure you are seeking when calling to schedule the appointment.
Perhaps you may be seeking a brief and informal yet confidential conversation with a counselor that is different from and shorter than an individual counseling session? Maybe you’re not sure if you’re ready to schedule a counseling session at UCS? You can check out ‘Let’s Talk’, where a UCS counselor who is LGBTQIA+ identified is able to meet with you one-on-one at the Pride Center! No appointment needed. The counselor can assist with initial problem solving, mental health and related resources, or just providing brief support if you may need to vent.
- When: Tuesdays 3-4pm
- Where: The Pride Center (2nd Floor of the Sol Center, University Student Union)
It is not always possible to anticipate when we may be in-need of urgent mental health support due to experiencing a crisis or other significant mental health concern. For this reason, UCS offers crisis walk-in sessions Monday through Friday 8am-5pm. These brief sessions do not require a pre-scheduled appointment. In addition to UCS’ 24/7 24/7 crisis line (listed below), there are multiple crisis lines available 24/7 that specifically provide support sensitive to the Queer and Trans communities:
- University Counseling Services: (818)677-2366, Option #3
- The Trevor Lifeline: (866)488-7386
- Trans Lifeline: (877)565-8860
The Gender Affirming Care Team counselors have experience supporting Trans, Gender Nonbinary and Gender Expansive individuals. To schedule an appointment with one of our counselors, contact University Counseling Services (UCS) at (818)677-2366, Option #1 and request an initial evaluation.
UCS offers a wide variety of therapy and support groups as well as coping skills workshops. All of our groups and workshops are welcoming to Queer, Trans, and Gender Nonbinary students! Two of the groups we offer provide spaces specifically to support the mental health needs of the LGBTQIA+ communities. Our LGBTQIA+ Support Group is inclusive of any students who wish to provide and receive support as well as to explore and discuss sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Our Transgender, Gender Nonbinary and Gender Expansive Support Group is a safe and supportive space designed to connect and affirm students navigating gender identity.
Sometimes students are in-need of getting connected with one or more services, including those that are off-campus. Whether this means assistance with navigating insurance or identifying and scheduling with mental health and/or medical providers, we can help! For support with case management, call (818)677-2366, Option #1 and ask to schedule an appointment with a member of our Gender Affirming Care Team. Based on your needs, we will determine the best way to link you with next steps, resources and referrals.
Gender Affirming Care Team
Pat Alford-Keating (she/her/hers)
Greetings Everyone, I am Pat Alford-Keating, a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ Communities. I value our wonderful trans, non-binary, gender expansive (TNBGE) students. I am privileged to facilitate UCS’s TNBGE Support Group, as well as Let’s Talk in the Pride Center. As an out, bi psychologist and ally to TNBGE communities, I have served the LGBTQIA+ communities in a variety of ways (letter-writer for trans-identified students, advisor to LGBT student groups, co-chair of vice president’s advisory group on LGBT, and creator of LGBT mentoring programs). When teaching graduate students, I routinely enlisted brave panels of non-binary presenters to help educate future mental health professionals. I abhor the targeted oppression of the TNBGE community. Though a different verse of the same song, I too know the pain of discrimination, hate, and rejection. Nonetheless, I have built a full, happy, productive life, and I believe you can too. If we meet in the future, I hope you will find me to be warm, understanding, and genuinely caring about you.
Dan Alonzo (he/him/his)
Hello, CSUN! My name is Dan Alonzo, and I am a Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist who has worked with the Queer and Trans Communities for more than 30 years. Having grown up in a traditional Mexican household in Texas, I experienced first-hand the stress of growing up different than others in my family, school, and neighborhood. I struggled throughout my youth to come to a place where I felt comfortable within my own skin as a cisgender gay man. Professionally, I have worked at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where I worked with Trans youth who were homeless or dealing with HIV. I have also worked with the Trans community as a clinician, supervisor, and trainer at various counseling centers, including a center run by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Currently, in my private practice, I continue to work with Trans individuals and couples who are seeking a safe environment to explore their identities and relationships. I am proud to be a part of the Gender Affirming Care Team!
Amy Rosenblatt (she/her/hers)
Hi Matadors! My name is Amy, and I am a Licensed Psychologist and LGBTQIA+ Liaison within University Counseling Services (UCS) at CSUN. As an out gay, cisgender female, I am passionate about providing LGBTQIA+ support and advocacy, including centering inclusion and equity efforts for those with multiple intersecting identities. CSUN has become a sort of home for me where I have the privilege of being my authentic self while addressing the mental health of our students, and I care deeply about uplifting the needs of our Transgender, Nonbinary and Gender Expansive students so that they too can be their authentic selves. For the past 10 years, I have served on the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee (that includes professionals from many different departments at CSUN) and more recently, I began serving on another committee dedicated to advancing Trans student support. In previous years, I co-facilitated ‘T-Time’, a discussion group for Transgender and Gender Diverse CSUN students. If you’re interested in gaining a sense of community and supporting/being supported by your LGBTQIA+ peers, you might consider joining the LGBTQIA+ Support Group that I offer at UCS. This group has always included and will always include Trans and Gender Diverse students. Whether at UCS or within the larger CSUN campus community, I hope to have an opportunity to connect with you!
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.
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
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.
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.