Each year the counseling center serves between 1100-1500 students who come in with a wide range of issues, the most common being anxiety, depression, and interpersonal or relationship concerns. During a student’s first session, the center gathers information about their history, the issue that brought them in, and how they would like to address the problem. Based on this initial assessment, the center makes a recommendation.
The average student at William and Mary is seen for about 7-10 sessions, which is similar to the national average of people attending therapy in general. Whether it is homesickness, academic stress, a personal problem or more serious disorder, speaking to a professional provides a safe space for a student to sort out his or her thoughts.
There are 10 professional clinical staff members, six doctoral trainees, and two support staff at the center. This includes a sports psychologist consultant who works at W&M Hall within the athletic department, and Christine Ferguson, the Mental Health Services Coordinator.
Following is an interview with Warrenetta Mann, the Director of the William and Mary Counseling Center, regarding the services offered to students.
1) How do you think counseling benefits students?
Counseling and Psychotherapy help people by helping them identify the issues and concerns that contribute to their feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. Once you understand more why you feel the way you do, then you can make choices about how to feel better, or you know what to expect and how to manage it if you can’t control it.
2) What services do you offer?
We offer brief individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, crisis intervention and support, and screenings for mental health issues. We also provide consultation to faculty, staff, and students who are concerned about others, or just want to better understand how to help others who may need support. We provide outreach programming to student organizations and other groups that are interested in learning more about mental health issues.
3) What off-campus resources do you work with?
We have an extensive list of private practitioners, hospitals, specialized service agencies, and other resources that we can provide to students depending on what their particular situation requires. We gather regular feedback from students who work with those services in order to make sure that students receiving off-campus help are getting the same quality of service from those providers. We provide ongoing training for those providers and an opportunity for them to come to the College to meet us and learn more about campus life at W&M.
4) Are there more students that come in during exams/other times in the year?
We are pretty busy throughout the academic year. We used to have times that we could predict that would be busier than others, but now students seem to feel more comfortable coming all throughout the year. It makes it challenging to balance all of the things that we want to be able to do, but we seem to make it through every year and are still able to be proud of new accomplishments each year. Our biggest accomplishment over the past couple of years is our partnerships with great student groups who help to get the word out to their peers about what we do, how to reach out for help, and why it is important to support healthy lifestyles for college students. We welcome questions from students and others who are curious about what we do and how we do it.