Counseling Services

The mission of Colby Counseling Services is to foster the well-being of all students within a respectful and confidential environment through a range of psychological counseling, consultation, and outreach services.

While every student can experience some level of distress while at Colby, concern arises when that level of distress begins to impact their academics, interpersonal relationships, physical health and safety, and day-to-day functioning. While not exhaustive, here is a list of some of the more common warning signs of problematic levels of distress:

  • Withdrawing from activities, including social
  • Skipping classes and not turning in assignments
  • Significant changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Depressed mood
  • Chronically elevated anxiety/stress
  • Hopeless and/or negative comments
  • Irritability and/or angry outbursts
  • Impulsive or dangerous behaviors
  • Engaging in self-injury
  • Comments about suicide or suicide gestures or attempts

For immediate or emergency care, please call 207-859-4490 and press “0” to reach the on-call counselor.

Explore our Services

    Individual Counseling

    Individual counseling helps students address issues causing emotional distress and those which may be interfering with their personal goals and/or academic success.

    Colby students have the opportunity to meet with a professional counselor to address such issues as stress and anxiety, relationship concerns, adjustment difficulties, depression, self-esteem, eating and body image concerns, and a variety of other emotional and developmental issues.

    Individual counseling sessions are approximately 50 minutes in length and typically occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

    Group Counseling

    Groups are facilitated by professional counselors and give students the opportunity to interact with peers who may be struggling with similar issues or concerns. Groups help students to realize they are not alone and that they can give and receive help and support in healing ways.

    Some examples of current and past groups include a grief support group, meditation group, break-up support group, LGBTQ and questioning students support group, and a skills-based anxiety-reduction group.

    Meditation Group

    This weekly meditation group is on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. at Rose Chapel and is facilitated by Counselor Jing Ye. The group provides a supportive environment that promotes individual meditation and mindfulness practice. Meditation is a time-tested method to learn about the individual self and mind through the most direct experience. Meditation practice evokes peacefulness and the ability to let go of our egocentric mind and distorted conceptions, which are misleading and create disturbances in our emotional and physical lives. If you have suggestions for a new group, please contact our office and ask to speak with a counselor about your idea. We would love to hear it.

    Consultation

    Counseling Services offers assistance to faculty, staff, parents, students, and others who are concerned about the emotional well-being of a Colby student(s) or who are concerned more broadly about psychological issues on campus.

    Consultation involves talking with a professional counselor about those concerns and developing a plan to address them.

    Crisis Intervention

    There is a counselor on call to handle mental health emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week while school is in session. In addition to emergency situations, our on-call counselor is available to students who would benefit from more immediate attention when waiting until the next day or until their next scheduled appointment won’t provide the support needed.

    Please note that the same support is available to students who are living and/or working on campus during semester breaks and over the summer.

    To reach Colby’s on-call counselor, call 207-859-4490 and press “0”.

    Examples of emergency situations include:

    • Concern for the safety of self or others, e.g., active suicidal or homicidal thoughts
    • Recent physical or sexual assault
    • Experiencing auditory or visual hallucinations
    • Having a severe reaction to psychiatric medication

    The following 24/7 resources are available for students as well:

    • Crisis and Counseling Centers Crisis Line (local): 1-888-568-1112
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    • Maine Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Line: 1-800-871-7741
    • Call or go directly to MaineGeneral/Thayer Emergency Department: 207-872-1000

    While Counseling Services does not offer psychiatric consultation or medication, we can make referrals to Health Services for students interested in psychiatric care. Health Services contracts with a local psychiatrist and also employs a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) to provide psychiatric consultation/medication management for students.

    Students who are interested in a psychiatric consultation and who are working with a counselor in Counseling Services can request a referral from their counselor to one of the practitioners listed above. A release of information form will need to be signed at that time allowing the student’s counselor to communicate with providers at Health Services. Students not affiliated with Counseling Services may also request an appointment by contacting Health Services directly at 207-859-4460 or may request an appointment in person by visiting Health Services on the second floor of the Garrison-Foster Building.

    If a medication is prescribed, the student is responsible for the cost of the medication, which is often covered, at least in part, by health insurance.

    Additionally, students who have been prescribed psychiatric medication by a home physician and who are interested in medication management on campus should make an appointment with a medical practitioner at Health Services. Practitioners can help with routine refills and/or questions about students’ medications. If needed, a student can be referred to the psychiatrist or PMHNP for further consultation.

    Educational Workshops

    Counseling Services offers the Colby community a variety of programs on mental health-related topics. Groups and individuals who have requested workshops in the past include athletic teams/coaches, CAs, faculty/staff, and student-led clubs and organizations. Possible topics include meditation, anxiety and stress reduction, how to help a friend with eating and body image concerns, grief/trauma, and improving sleep, to name only a few. If you are interested in arranging a workshop on these or other topics, please contact our office at 207-859-4490 or counseling@colby.edu.

    Trainings

    Counseling Services provides trainings on mental health-related topics for faculty, staff, and students who are often responsible for providing support to other members of the Colby community. Trainings typically focus on how to recognize warning signs and effectively respond to others who are struggling with emotional concerns.

    Summer Support

    Even with the more relaxed pace over the summer and a fraction of students present on campus, mental health issues can still arise. It is important for students living and/or working on campus over the summer months to know what mental health resources are available locally should help be needed. This is particularly important because campus mental health resources are not available to students in the same ways they are during the academic year.

    The Counseling Services office is closed during the summer months, generally from late May until late August. As a result, our office is not available to provide on-going counseling for students over that span of time. However, the director is available for routine, non-emergent consultations and to assist with providing referrals for local mental health services.

    For urgent mental health concerns, our on-call counselor is available to provide brief support for students who are living and/or working on campus over the summer. Students can reach the on-call counselor 24/7 by calling Counseling Services at 207-859-4490 and pressing “0”. If on-going counseling is needed, referrals to local resources will be provided.

    For questions, routine mental health consultations, and assistance with referrals, please email Eric Johnson, director of Counseling Services, at eric.johnson@colby.edu.

    Local Mental Health Referrals:

    • Health Psych Maine: 207-872-5800
    • Rebecca Lovitz, LCSW: 207-228-2741
    • Todd MacFarlane, LCPC: 207-215-6442
    • MaineGeneral Mental Health and Substance Abuse (including medication) – 877-777-9393

    FAQ About Counseling Services

    Colby students seek counseling for a wide variety of emotional health concerns, from transition and relationship concerns to concerns about depression, anxiety/stress, and eating and body image, to name only a few. We encourage students to seek counseling when emotional health concerns are negatively impacting their academics, personal relationships, physical health and safety, or any other aspects of their day-to-day lives.

    If you believe counseling could be helpful to you in any way, we encourage you to connect with our office. Know that if you decide to seek counseling, you are not alone. More than 40 percent of Colby students seek individual counseling through our office over their four years on campus.

    Our services are free for all Colby students.

    Confidentiality is a critical component in the formation of a trusting therapeutic relationship. Information regarding a student’s counseling, including whether or not they have been seen in our office, cannot be released to anyone outside the Counseling Services office without prior consent of the student. Confidentiality in the counseling relationship is regulated both by law and professional ethics. The exceptions to confidentiality include: when a person is in imminent danger of harming themselves or another person; when there is suspected child or elder abuse; or when there is a court order requiring disclosure of counseling records.

    Your first appointment is called an intake and we will ask you to fill out a few electronic forms on an iPad upon your arrival. This will take approximately 10 minutes.

    Following the completion of your paperwork, you will sit down with your counselor to discuss the concerns that brought you in, as well as other current and background information that will help your counselor better understand you and your presenting concerns.

    You and your counselor will then work together to identify a plan for moving forward. This will take approximately 50 minutes.

    Ongoing counseling appointments are typically scheduled weekly, or every other week, and include you working together with your counselor to address the concerns that brought you in and/or other concerns that may surface along the way. While we don’t adhere to strict session limits, our counseling work with students is designed to be shorter term and solution focused in nature.

    We do not provide distance counseling for students who are studying abroad or who are away from campus during extended breaks. There are a number of ethical, legal, and clinical reasons for this, including our strong belief that a student is best served through in-person meetings with a professional counselor.

    While we are not able to provide ongoing distance counseling, our office is available for consultation around how to proceed with addressing your concerns, including help with identifying off-campus providers. With your permission, we can also communicate with your off-campus provider to facilitate your transfer of care.

    For students studying abroad, or thinking about studying abroad, visit Colby’s Off-Campus Study website for additional information about mental health support abroad.

    Make an Appointment

    Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic year. To schedule, call Counseling Services at 207-859-4490 or visit our office (Room 205, Garrison-Foster Building) during regular business hours.

    We accommodate requests for initial appointments as soon as possible, usually within 5-7 days depending on staff and student schedules. Whenever possible, we will do our best to honor requests for specific counselors, including gender preferences.

    Making an Appointment

    Schedule an appointment by phone or in person during the office hours listed above.

    Cancelling and Rescheduling Appointments

    Cancellations and reschedules can be made by phone or in person as indicated above. We respectfully request that you notify us 24 hours in advance, if at all possible. This allows those appointment times to be utilized by other students.

    Referring a Student for an Appointment

    While we are happy to assist concerned others (parents, faculty/staff, peers) with referring a student to counseling, we require students to contact us directly to schedule their own appointments.

    Online Self-Help Library

      About the Library

      Feel free to browse our Online Resource Library, which is sorted by topic.

      This information is provided as a means to encourage participation in your health and well-being and is not intended to replace consultation with a licensed professional.

      College Transition

      First-Gen Students

      Eating & Body Image Concerns

      General Mental Health

      Grief

      Healing Racial Trauma

      LGBTQ

      Sleep

      Suicide Prevention