FAQs - Counseling Services - Christopher Newport University

Counseling Services


If the specific question you have is not below, please contact us.

We offer a variety of services, including:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Consultation to students, staff and faculty
  • Outreach/prevention programming
  • Emergency response
  • Referrals to community providers
  • Center for Honor Enrichment and Community Standards (CHECS) sanctioned appointments

Currently enrolled, full-time and part-time students are eligible for services at OCS.

Please call us at (757) 594-7047 or visit our office to make an appointment. Our reception staff will help you schedule your initial appointment with one of our therapists.

You will be asked to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your initial assessment appointment to fill out paperwork. You will then meet in-person with one of our clinicians to discuss your concerns. The clinician will talk with you about what to expect from the counseling office and gather information.

At the end of this appointment, you and your therapist will collaborate on what services best meet your needs. OCS offers student-focused brief therapy, which typically means that student concerns are addressed within the course of the semester. If you continue in therapy at OCS, you will be scheduled with an individual therapist. Your assigned individual therapist may or may not be the same as the person you met for your initial appointment.

In general, your initial appointment can be scheduled within a few business days. We make every effort to see students as quickly as possible based on the needs of the student. If you are in crisis, please tell the front desk staff so they can appropriately address your concerns.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call University Police at (757) 594-7777. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency that is not life-threatening OCS will work to meet with you as quickly as possible. We are in the office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency outside normal business hours, please contact University Police.

There is no specific session limit. Counseling at OCS is based on a student-focused brief therapy model in order to best meet the needs of all currently enrolled students.

There is no charge for currently enrolled CNU students.

Counseling is confidential. Therapy is most beneficial when a student can be direct and honest with a therapist, without fear that personal information will be shared. OCS adheres to professional ethical standards and state and federal laws regarding confidentiality, which means that we do not release information about a student without that student's written permission. Exceptions include when a student is in imminent risk of harm to self or others, cases of child/elder abuse or where otherwise required by law (e.g., court order). We value your privacy and will do our best to discuss any necessary disclosures with you. OCS records are not part of your academic record.

No. Unless you have signed a written release of information for OCS we cannot speak to anyone about your services here at OCS.

Yes. If you prefer an off-campus provider or would be better served by long-term therapy, our staff can help you identify services in the surrounding community. You can also check with your insurance provider’s website to find local therapists.

Psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors all work in the mental health field.

  • A psychiatrist possesses a medical degree (MD) and can prescribe medication
  • A psychologist has earned a doctoral degree (doctorate of philosophy in psychology (PhD) or doctorate of psychology (PsyD) and provides talk therapy
  • A therapist is a general term that can be used to refer to anyone providing talk therapy. This may include psychologists, licensed professional counselors (LPCs) or licensed professional social workers (LCSWs) who have earned a master’s degree.

OCS includes psychologists, LPCs and LCSWs who work collaboratively to provide mental health services for CNU students. At our office, all therapists provide the same level of treatment regardless of their degree.

Our office works collaboratively with a consulting psychiatrist who can prescribe medication, if appropriate. To access student-focused brief psychiatric services students need to work with their OCS therapist to determine if or when psychiatric medication might need to be considered.

If you and your therapist determine that longer-term psychiatric service is best, we may assist you with connecting to a psychiatrist in the community. In all cases, we work with you to determine the best approach for your personal needs. If you are interested in initiating services locally (in the Hampton Roads area), we can assist you with finding a local psychiatric provider or you can refer to the community provider list.

Students, faculty, staff and parents may choose to schedule a consultation with one of our clinicians to discuss best ways of supporting your loved one. While you cannot counsel your loved one or force them to go to counseling, there may be ways to talk with them about your concerns and share resources on campus or in the surrounding community. We can provide perspective and support in these situations.

If you are a faculty member expressing concern about a student, please contact us or submit a Captains Care Referral.

There are many reasons why people seek therapy. Some people want to learn more about themselves, some want to improve their overall well-being and others are having a hard time getting through the day.

We welcome any student who is interested in the process. In certain circumstances, we might highly recommend therapy. If you feel as though your personal relationships, academic performance or overall well-being is being impacted, therapy could be particularly helpful. If you have thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or other people, please see our emergencies response page for more information.

If you still have questions about whether therapy is right for you, please call for a consultation with one of our therapists. We can tell you about the process and help you weigh the factors impacting you decision.

We are committed to providing a safe and confidential space for survivors of sexual assault. Please see our sexual assault response page for more information.

Our trained professionals will not share the information you discuss with any departments on or off campus. We are committed to providing confidential support. You do not have to report an incident in order to receive services at our office.

We do not currently offer assessment for ADHD, psychological diagnoses or other learning disabilities. Please see our community provider list for testing and assessment needs.

The office of Student affairs has a student disability support specialist who can assist you with these matters.

Jacquelyn Barnes, student disability support specialist, can be reached at (757) 594-7160 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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