Chatham University

Counseling Services

The Counseling Services at Chatham University offers a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental space to work through difficulties that students might face. Counseling Services is committed to helping students' personal growth and development to maximize the benefits for each individual's educational experience.

Our mental health professionals at Counseling Services are available to all registered students during the academic semesters at no charge. Intake assessments, brief counseling, consultation and referrals in the community are offered for full time students. Part-time students are eligible for intake assessments, consultation and referrals in the community. All registered students are welcome to participate in our educational and preventive theme-oriented workshops. Faculty and staff may benefit from consultation and external referrals regarding personal issues.

Please call us at (412) 365-1282 if you would like to discuss these matters further. In case of an emergency or a situation in which health or safety are threatened, please call Public Safety at (412) 365-1111. In case of a psychological emergency, please contact 911, Re:Solve Crisis Network at (888) 796-8225 or the Emergency Room at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at (412) 624-1000 or (877) 624-4100.

Counseling Services

Counseling Services provides caring support, short-term individual counseling, and brief psychotherapy free of charge. During counseling, students can openly discuss issues that will help their developmental growth so the maximum benefit can be derived from the college experience. Our goal is always to help and to guide students toward clarity, authentic happiness and maximum success in their educational journeys.

Individual Counseling

To schedule an appointment please call (412) 365-1282. Fall and spring term office hours are 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m., Monday-Friday.

Short-term individual counseling and brief psychotherapy is available to full time registered students during academic semesters. We encourage students experiencing personal, social, family, or academic concerns to contact us with relevant issues that they may not wish to share with family or friends. Brief counseling sessions provide an opportunity to freely explore any personal issues. Some common issues that students discuss in sessions are related to adjustment to college, interpersonal relationships, depression, anxiety, fears, lack of motivation, stress, sexuality, body image, and eating difficulties.

We welcome students to our confidential and private environment and provide services to all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or disability status.

Referral Services

Referrals for chronic issues and/or medication control to mental health professionals/mental health agencies in the local community are provided for those students in need of long-term and specific care. Intake assessments are provided to thoroughly evaluate the nature of difficulties presented.

Students currently involved in treatment with an external psychiatrist, psychologist, or any type of therapist are strongly encouraged to remain in treatment with their mental health professional or to obtain comparable treatment locally in order to maintain continuity of care.

Counseling Services can be reached at (412) 365-1282. In case of an emergency, during times that our offices are closed, please contact Public Safety at (412) 365-1111. In case of a psychological emergency, please contact 911, Re:Solve Crisis Network at (888) 796-8225 or the Emergency Room at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at (412) 624-1000 or (877) 624-4100.

Crisis Walk-in Services

Normally an appointment is required to meet with a counselor. However, when a student is in distress and needs to speak with a counselor urgently, walk-in services are available during regular office hours. Students who are currently in treatment with an external mental health professional are strongly encouraged to contact their treatment team in times of crisis for continuity of care.

Concern for Others

If you are a student, faculty, or staff person concerned about a student, learning how to recognize and respond to signs of distress or symptoms of a mental health crisis is a step you can take. Booklets with detailed recommendations and information for both students and faculty/staff concerned about others are available at both Counseling Services and the Office of Student Affairs. Also, you can schedule a consultation appointment with a counselor at Counseling Services at (412) 365-1282 during office hours to discuss what you are seeing, your concerns, and how to navigate the relationship with the student as well as manage your own anxiety regarding what you can and cannot do. If you believe that a person is a danger to themselves or others, and you are on campus, please contact , Public Safety at (412) 365-1111 or (412) 365-1230. If you are outside of campus, please call the Emergency Number for the City of Pittsburgh by dialing 911.

Counseling Services Staff

  • Elsa M. Arce, Ph.D. – Director, Counseling Services/Licensed Psychologist
  • Perry Henschke, Ph.D. – Staff/Licensed Psychologist
  • Ryan Mest, Ph.D. – Staff/Licensed Psychologist
  • Lei Wang, Ph.D. - Post Doctoral Psychology Resident
  • William Jones, Jr. – Administrative Assistant
  • Jennifer Morse, Ph.D. - Executive Director of Counseling & Wellness

Graduate Counseling Trainees for 2019/2020

  • Louis Lamanna, MA - Doctoral Level Trainee, Clinical Psychology - Duquesne University 
  • Sean Leadem, MA - Doctoral Level Trainee, Clinical Psychology - Duquesne University
  • Adina Rubin-Budick, MA - Doctoral Level Trainee, Clinical Psychology - Duquesne University
  • Hannah Tolley, BA - Master Level Trainee, Social Work - University of Pittsburgh
  • Adela Waton, BA - Master Level Trainee, Social Work - University of Pittsburgh

Hotlines & Resources

+ Crisis Services

Re:solve Crisis Network

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic: Emergency Room
381 O’Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 624-2100

+ Drugs and Alcohol

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
(212) 870-3400

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
(888) 425-2666

Gateway Rehabilitation Center
5818 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 697-0928

Greenbriar Treatment Center
1928 1/2 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 421-4311

Narcotic Anonymous
701 Smithfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 391-5247

National Drug Information Treatment & Referral Hotline
(800) 662-HELP (4357)

National Association for Children of Alcoholics
(888) 554-2627

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
3811 O’Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 624-2100

+ Domestic Violence/Violence

Center for Victims
24-hour Crisis Hotline
(866) 644-2882
(412) 482-3240
3433 East Carson Street, Suite #300
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
(412) 687-8005

Women's Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
(412) 687-8017

Youth Crisis Hotline
(800) 442-4673

+ Eating Disorders

Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
(412) 765-3004

Compulsive Eaters Anonymous (CEA)
(724) 942-5132

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention
(800) 931-2237

The Renfrew Center
Address: 201 N Craig St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 684-7000

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic: COPE Clinic
Address: 3811 Ohara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 624-2100

+ Grief

The Compassionate Friends, Inc.
(877) 969-0010

Ursuline Services
(412) 683-0400

+ Rape/Sexual Assault

Nationwide RAINN National Rape Crisis Hotline
(800) 656-4673

Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR)
81 S 19th St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 684-7000
1-866-END-RAPE (363-7273)

+ Suicide

National Suicide Hotline
(800) SUICIDE (784-2433)

JED Foundataion

American Foundataion For Suicide Prevention a specific video related to Suicide Prevention

The UPMC-Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic (Option for an immediate need to contact a local hospital in Pittsburgh, PA):

+ Support Blogs





+ Veterans

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Veteran Services, Health and Well-Being, Mental Health

Veterans Crisis Line
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Pittsburgh Medical Centers

Real Warriors
(866) 966-1020

Additional Resources

Breathing Exercises

Conflict and Resolution

Mindfulness & Yoga

Procrastination & Time Management

Stress Management

Test Anxiety

Educational Workshops

Specific theme-oriented workshops are provided by Counseling Services to help students learn how to cope with personal issues which may interfere with their academic work. Topics include:

  • Balancing Time Perspective in Pursuit of Optimal Functioning
  • Balancing Your Needs
  • Body Image/Self Awareness
  • Connecting to Campus Culture
  • Doing Better, Feeling Worse: The Paradox of Choice
  • Effective Interventions
  • Emotional Intelligence in Practice
  • Encouraging Self Esteem
  • Fostering the Future: Emotional Resilience in Practice
  • Healthy Body; Healthy Mind
  • Healthy Boundaries
  • Healthy Human Internet Connections
  • Improving Communications Skills
  • Improving Test Taking Skills
  • Managing Your Feelings
  • Memory Myths
  • Mindfulness & Meditation
  • Moving Toward Authentic Happiness: Know, Build, and Use Your Signature Strengths
  • On Being Assertive
  • On Speaking Your Mind Eloquently
  • Promoting Domestic Balance
  • Taking Care of Your Stress
  • The Power of Empowerment
  • Time Management
  • Transition into Adulthood

A minimum of four attendees is needed for these workshops to be conducted. Requests for additional topics of interest will be considered.

Types of Mental Health Professionals

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor usually has a degree in social work, counseling, psychology, or psychiatry. Proper certification should be displayed. This type of counselor typically works in a drug treatment center or family services agency.
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has a master or doctoral degree in counseling, and a professional license as a counselor by the State in which they work.
  • Marriage Counselor or Family Therapist (MFT) has a masters or doctoral degree in marital and family therapy.  Proper certification by the State should be demonstrated.
  • Pastoral Counselor a priest, rabbi, or minister with a Bachelors or Masters degree in Divinity with training in psychology or counseling to enable them to identify mental health problems and make appropriate referrals. A Certified Pastoral Counselor (NCPC) has a masters or doctoral degree in a mental health discipline and may provide counseling.
  • Psychiatric Nurse or Clinical Nurse Specialist is degreed in nursing either as a registered nurse (RN) or has a bachelors or masters in nursing (BSN/MSN) who has specialized training in caring for and treating psychiatric patients. Certification should be demonstrated.
  • Psychiatrist can be a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO) who has completed a residency in a psychiatric facility and is board certified. A psychiatrist is the only mental health professional who can prescribe medication and medical treatments.
  • Psychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology (PhD/PsyD), education (EdD), or Counseling (PhD/PsyD). A psychologist requires a license from the State Board where they work. In the majority of States, only doctoral-level professionals can be licensed, and may be named psychologists.
  • Social Worker has a bachelors (BSW), masters (MSW), or doctoral (DSW/PhD) degree in social work. To practice therapy, social workers need be licensed by their State Boards.

Choosing a Mental Health Professional

When selecting a mental health professional in your community, you might find the task to be challenging. Here are some questions you can ask yourself about a professional to determine if that individual is the right one for you:

  • Does he/she have the education, certification, and license to treat you?
  • Does he/she accept your health insurance?
  • How much will you have to pay out-of-pocket?
  • How soon can you have an initial appointment?
  • Does he/she have office hours that fit your schedule?
  • What type of treatment approach does he/she use?
  • What kind of experience does he/she have with your type of problem?
  • What is his/her cancellation and rescheduling policy?
  • Can he/she be reached between appointments if necessary?  If so, how?
  • Does he/she limit the practice to a specific type of client or problem/disorder?  (For example:  couples, children, grief, eating disorders)
  • Do people you trust recommend him/her?
  • What type of client does he/she feel they work best with?
  • What is expected of you during treatment?
  • What can you expect of him/her during treatment?
  • Is the location of the office convenient?

Are You Satisfied With Your Treatment?

When in counseling it is important for you to be satisfied with the treatment you are receiving. It may be difficult to determine if you are satisfied with the level of care you are getting if you are new to counseling, so consider asking yourself these questions to help you objectively evaluate your treatment:

  • Am I comfortable with my counselor?
  • Do I trust my counselor?
  • Does my counselor understand me?
  • Does my counselor respect me and my opinions?
  • Have my counselor and I discussed and agreed on specific treatment goals?
  • Can I change my treatment goals at any time?
  • Am I making progress toward my treatment goals?
  • Is the treatment helpful?
  • Does my counselor behave in a professional manner?

If I am not satisfied with my treatment, what can I do?

  • Openly discuss your concerns with your counselor if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, ask to speak with his or her supervisor about the problem to work toward a resolution.
  • Ask to change counselors or for help to find another counselor.
  • If the counselor's conduct has been unethical or illegal, please report this information to the Director of Counseling Services immediately.