The Counseling Service

Our Mission

At the BMC Counseling Services we strive to enhance the wellbeing of students by facilitating their emotional, interpersonal, and intellectual development. We listen carefully to concerns students have about their lives and provide emotional support, impart life skills, and encourage self-reflection; all with the purpose of empowering students to navigate their way toward greater autonomy and effectiveness.  This is accomplished by providing counseling, advocacy, psycho-education, and referral services to students. Counseling Service staff work diligently to create a safe environment that is inclusive and welcoming of all BMC students. Additionally, we serve as consultants to the greater campus, promoting an informed, prepared and safe community.

Counseling Services

The Counseling Service provides services designed to promote the academic, personal, and social growth of students. The college years are times of accelerated growth, significant challenges and considerable stress. It is normal, even expected that students will encounter difficult or stressful events. However, when students use the resources available to them, there is a much greater chance of success and overall well-being. Counseling services are available to Bryn Mawr College undergraduate, graduate and Post-Bac students during the academic calendar year. The Couseling Service offers individual, group, and general support services by qualified mental health professionals. Students in need of long term support may be referred to an appropriate community provider. Each year, approximately a third of our student body comes to the Counseling Service to talk to a counselor.

Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and student. Whether this is your first or fifth time here, we encourage you to share with your counselor any questions you have about the Counseling Service or the therapy relationship, including how therapy works and how it can be useful to you.

The Counseling Service has a variety of counselors with different styles and a wealth of experience. Many students return to the Counseling Service over the course of their BMC years and sometimes choose to see a different counselor. We understand this need for choice and flexibility; each counselor has something unique to offer at a particular time.

We hope you will find your contact with the Counseling Service helpful. Students are invited to share any suggestions or concerns they may have, feel free to use the suggestion box located in the Counseling Service waiting area or you can choose to speak to one of our staff directly.

Students come to counseling with concerns such as:

  • procrastination
  • loneliness
  • body image worries
  • anxiety
  • lack of self-confidence
  • eating problems
  • abuse issues
  • roommate issues
  • family problems
  • problems in intimate relationships
  • questions about gender/sexual preferences
  • depression
  • cultural concerns
  • achievement conflicts
  • concenrs about use of alcohol or drugs

The Counseling staff approaches psychological issues from the perspective that psychological health and well-being is affected by one's personal history and current environment. The aim of the service is to assist students in developing healthy, fulfilling relationships and increasing enjoyment in productive working and learning.

Counseling FAQ's

What is counseling? How is it different from just talking to friends, family or other people who work at Bryn Mawr College?

Counseling takes place in the context of a helping relationship in which the counselor and the student work together to resolve a problem, change behavior or foster personal growth and awareness. Although students may have a number of helping relationships with friends or family, the counseling relationship is different in a number of ways:

  • The counseling relationship is not reciprocal. The counselor’s job is to focus on the student's concerns and offer their support and encouragement. This is the student's time to focus on themselves. 
  • The counselor is a trained professional who has spent several years learning about different ways to help students resolve their particular problem.
  • The counseling relationship is confidential. Whereas with friends or family, you might hope that they will respect your privacy, a counselor is ethically and legally bound by confidentiality. Unless the student is an immediate danger to themselves or others, their conversations with a counselor will be private.
  • You can depend on the counselor to meet you at your set appointment times.

How long does the counseling process take?

There are times when a student may have a very specific question or concern that can be resolved quickly in one or two sessions. Sometimes, this is not the case and it may take a longer time to build a trusting relationship with the counselor and to resolve the problem. The student and the counselor can talk over what the goals for counseling are and how long it will take to achieve these goals.

How do I make an appointment?

Dial the Health Center at 610-526-7360 between the hours of 9am-4pm Monday-Friday when school is in session and request to make an appointment with a counselor. Usually students are offered appointments within a week from the time they call. In the event a student needs to cancel or change their appointment, they must call 24hours prior to their appointment to cancel.  All cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to the respective appointment will be assessed a $20.00 late cancellation fee.

Do I have to have a serious psychological problem to use the Counseling Service?

No, you don't have to have a "problem/crisis" to make an appointment to talk with a counselor. The counseling service is a place where students can discuss issues around stress, life transitions, developmental needs, gender issues, family problems, interpersonal conflicts, loneliness, eating and body image issues, anxiety, depression, procrastination, and achievement conflicts. Counselors will help you determine what kind of follow-up you need and can provide you referral information.

Additionally, support and psychoeducational groups may be offered throughout the year on a variety of issues, depending on student interest.

Will anyone be told that I have come in for counseling?

No. The counseling staff considers it essential that confidentiality be strictly maintained. Each of the Counseling Services staff is bound by legal and ethical guidelines to protect your privacy. It is the student's decision whether or not to discuss her use of the Service with family, friends and college personnel. However, if a student threatens harm to herself or others, a counselor may be obligated to seek a higher level of care for her, or to contact family members or others to help provide protection. If such a situation arises, counselors will make every effort to fully discuss the requirements with the student before taking any action and will limit any disclosures to what is necessary in their professional judgment.

Can I email a counselor?

Email communications can be intercepted in transmission or misdirected. Therefore, it is the Counseling Services' policy to obtain informed consent from a student to communicate with that student the minimum necessary information regarding counseling appointments.  Sensitive clinical information should not be included in any email transmission. In the event that a student requests sensitive information via email communication, the counselor will encourage the student to call the Counseling Service to arrange a phone conversation or office visit to discuss the matter.

What about counseling emergencies?

In the case of a life threatening emergency, call Campus Safety at 610-526-7911.

When the Health Center is closed and you have a counseling concern that cannot wait until the Health Center reopens at 9am, contact ProtoCall Services at 610-526-7778 to speak with the On-Call Counselor.

The Health Center is open Monday - Friday from 9am - 7pm and Sat/Sun from 9a-2pm. During these times, if you have a counseling issue, dial the Health Center at 610-526-7360 and a nurse will help you get connected to the On-Call Counselor. The On-Call Counselor will help you come up with some strategies to manage your problem and discuss follow-up.

How many times can I see a counselor?

Counseling services are available to currently enrolled Bryn Mawr College undergraduate, graduate and Post-bac students during the academic calendar year.

  • Each undergraduate student can receive up to six free sessions. The six free sessions will be used for assessment, treatment planning and possibly appropriate referral. 
  • All graduate and post bac students can receive a free initial consultation with a counselor in the Counseling Services for appropriate referral to community mental health providers.

If I need to see a counselor/psychiatrist more than six sessions, how much does it cost?

Counseling services are fully covered.  As always, the first six sessions in the Counseling Service are free.  Thereafter, sessions are $75.00.

  • Students who have insurance through their parents can submit the receipts for counseling visits beyond their sixth session to their primary insurance for reimbursement.
  • Students who do not have insurance through their parents can submit the receipts for counseling visits beyond their sixth visit to the college plan for reimbursement.
  • International students can submit the receipts for counseling visits beyond their sixth visit to the college international insurance plan for reimbursement.

No student is ever denied needed service because they can not afford payment. If you have questions, please discuss them with your counselor or the Counseling Director. 

When is consultation with the college psychiatrist helpful?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has advanced training in all aspects of mental health. Your therapist might suggest you schedule an appointment with the college psychiatrist for several reasons. The most common reason is that you want to know if medication might be helpful in relieving your symptoms. For example, many kinds of depression and anxiety symptoms can be safely and effectively treated with medication. Students also consult with the psychiatrist to better understand complicated symptoms or for the evaluation of self-destructive urges. It is always completely up to you whether or not you want to consider medication. The psychiatrist is happy to discuss pros and cons of different options and to answer any questions you have. Students who do decide to try medication see the psychiatrist regularly to assess how well the medication is working for you while also continuing to see your therapist for regular psychotherapy appointments.

Counseling Services Staff

Counseling Services Director

  • Reggie S. Jones, MSS, MLSP, LCSW

Psychiatrists

  • Eileen Bazelon, MD
  • Sara Kulleseid, MD

Counselors

  • Katherine Donner, MSW, LCSW, BCD
  • Shobhi Kanal, MSS, LCSW
  • Jill McElligott, MSS, LSW

Drug & Alcohol Counselor

  • Michael Blanche, MSS, LCSW

Post Graduate Clinical Fellow

  • Marta Ludwig, MSW, LSW

Graduate Clinical Social Work Interns

  • Erin Clouthier
  • Emma Bergman

Psychiatric Residents

  • Muhammad Khalid Zafar, MD
  • Maria Elena Aguilo-Seara, MD
  • Ben Boswell, MD
  • Amir K Ahuja, MD

Counseling Resources

Useful Links

Anxiety

Body Image/Disordered Eating/Eating Disorders

Depression

Drugs and Alcohol

Gender/Sexuality

Grief/Bereavement

Physical and/or Sexual Assault

Stress Management

Suicide

Virtual Self Help Pamphlets