by Lacy Nguyen|Staff Writer
Over the past several years, the Whitworth University Counseling Center has had a increase in the number of counselors to meet student needs. The staff began with two counselors and now has six.
Student Life, President Beck Taylor and director of counseling Monica Whitlock recognized that more counselors were needed for students on campus.
“Monica, who is our director, came on staff starting three years ago, and at that time there weren’t many [counselors]; there was just her and Pam [Oswalt, former counselor] who were on staff,” Whitworth counselor Emily Soucineck said.
The counseling center underwent remodeling this past summer.
Counseling did help a lot last year. I grew in the places I felt like I needed to.”— Rachel Reynolds, sophomore
“We recently renovated the building and added another office to make sure we could accommodate the counselors that were on staff,” Soucineck said.
Due to the retirement of counselor Pam Oswalt last week, the counseling department is adjusting to her absence.
“It hasn’t been decided yet, but Monica… has let us know that we still will be able to fill those hours,” Soucineck said. “So whether or not that’s allocated among the rest of us staff so that we are working more hours per week, or having Monica hire somebody with those hours [has yet to be determined].”
The Whitworth counseling center allows students 10 free counseling sessions per year. However, other options are available if students need more.
“If a student is looking for more long-term counseling, then what we do is we have multiple conversations with that person about connecting them to another provider in the community,” Soucineck said. “We help them figure out who their insurance covers, [and] what their insurance covers. We are happy to help walk them through that process.”
Another option for students is to go to the Marriage and Family Therapy Center in Tacoma Hall. Sessions are provided by graduate students obtaining their degrees. All sessions at the clinic are free and unlimited.
Students may make an appointment by calling or walking into the health center. The staff have made it a priority to have students seen within a week or two after they come into make an appointment.
“I was seeing Pam every other week for a couple of months,” sophomore Megan Fox said. “When she retired, I stopped going, but I didn’t really have any other problems getting appointments with her every other week.”
Many students have felt that going to counseling has helped them improve their mental health.
“Counseling did help a lot last year. I grew in the places I felt like I needed to,” sophomore Rachel Reynolds said. “I started seeing Pam this year, and counseling overall is helping me realize problems that I didn’t know I had.”
The counseling center will continue to offer its services throughout the year with 10 free sessions to any student.
“I probably never would have gone to counseling unless it was an option that was free,” Fox said. “I think a lot of people think they don’t need counseling and I would fall into that. But just having that option when I was stressed to go talk to somebody was really nice.”
To make an appointment with the counseling center, students can go to Schumacher Hall or call (509) 777-4450.