Individual Counseling

Short-term individual counseling is an opportunity to talk with a mental health professional at Counseling and Psychological Services regarding concerns or problems, such as feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, academic concerns, substance use, issues with friends and family, or relationship concerns. Counseling sessions last approximately 45 minutes.

Individual counseling is available by appointment for students enrolled in the Columbia Health Program. Students requesting an appointment for individual counseling for the first time will be scheduled for a phone interview with a Counseling and Psychological Services clinician, usually within one to two business days.  These calls are intended to facilitate access to appropriate treatment options. Check CPS Appointments to learn more about phone screenings.

Counseling and Psychological Services serves the entire Columbia student community on the Morningside campus enrolled in the Columbia Health Program.

During Scheduled Clinical Hours

During the first session or two at CPS, counselors work with students to develop a treatment plan that best meets their needs.  While many students are able to achieve their treatment goals through a relatively brief course of treatment on campus, others may want or require more specialized or open-ended services and benefit from an off-campus referral.

Diverse CPS Staff

Students are welcome to request a clinician of their choice. Successful counseling depends a good deal on “personal chemistry.”  If a student feels for any reason that her or his clinician is not a good match, CPS will gladly facilitate a transfer to a different clinician at any time. Students need only ask.

All counselors and psychiatrists at CPS have experience and expertise in working with a full range of student concerns. Most clinicians also have particular interest, experience and/or advanced training in specific practice areas, such as trauma support, eating disorders, LGBTQ concerns, veterans’ issues, and acculturation concerns, among many others. Read brief professional biographies of each of the CPS staff.

Acute Psychiatric Emergencies

Students experiencing acute psychiatric emergencies will be seen without an appointment whenever Counseling and Psychological Services is open.

Students can also be seen, without an appointment, in the CPS drop-in counseling offices.


How do I make an appointment with CPS?

Please call 212-854-2878 to schedule an appointment to speak to a counselor at CPS.

Why does CPS schedule a first appointment by phone?

Students requesting an appointment for individual counseling for the first time will be scheduled for a confidential phone screening with a CPS counselor. The purpose of this conversation is to clarify and assess your needs and explore options for next steps.

Do I need the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan to access services at CPS?

No. You do need to enroll in Columbia Health, which provides access to on-campus medical and mental health services. The Columbia Health Insurance is used to access any off- campus services and resources.

Is the treatment at CPS confidential?

Strict standards of confidentiality are maintained in all of our clinical services. Within Counseling and Psychological Services and Medical Services, clinicians work as a team and consult with one another, as needed. When necessary to insure the quality and coordination of health care, there may also be communication between the two clinical services and other divisions of Columbia Health.

The clinical services maintain secure and private treatment records. These records are not part of students’ educational records and are not available to students’ deans or faculty. To further protect the privacy of students, Columbia Health requires students' written consent to release information about their care.

There are rare exceptions to the right to privacy and to the confidentiality practices described above, such as in situations that pose a threat to life or in which there is reason to believe a child is being abused.

If you have questions regarding our confidentiality policies, please contact  the Assistant Director for Operations, Sara Berger at (212) 854-3101.

Last updated September 26, 2014