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 stress, feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, academic concerns, substance use, issues with friends and family, or relationship concerns. Counseling sessions generally last approximately 45 minutes.

Feeling stressed? Make an appointment to talk with a mental health professional at Counseling and Psychological Services.

Individual counseling is available by appointment for students who have paid the Columbia Health and Related Services Fee. Students requesting an appointment for individual counseling for the first time will be scheduled for a phone interview with a clinician, usually within one to two business days. These calls are intended to facilitate access to appropriate treatment options.

Phone Appointments

  • Insure that students in crisis have face-to-face appointments without unnecessary delay
  • Allow us to match students with an appropriate professional on the Counseling and Psychological Services team for in-person counseling
  • Allow us to assess whether students might benefit from one of our many group therapy options
  • Allow us to assist students in need of referrals to connect with off-campus resources as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Provide an opportunity for our counselors to direct students, when appropriate, to self-care resources and to provide initial recommendations for managing stress or related issues

CPS encourages students to access our services by scheduling a brief initial phone conversation—call 212-854-2878. Typically, these appointments are scheduled within one business day. In this conversation, we will discuss your concerns and help you determine the most appropriate treatment options.

Depending on your needs, you can access services through two drop-in options. Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis:

Problem-Solving drop-in

One time conversation to talk about an everyday life concern impacting your emotional well-being. Students meet with a mental health professional to gain clarity and find ways to address a problem.  Among the typical problems discussed in these sessions are relationship problems, adjustment to campus life, career concerns, acculturation, or anxiety about academics.  These sessions are not intended for students currently working with a CPS counselor, nor as a substitute for traditional counseling.

Visit the Problem-Solving drop-in page for hours and locations.

Urgent Mental Health Concerns drop-in

Walk-in session if you are experiencing high levels of distress.

Mondays—Thursdays from 6—9pm at the CPS office on the 5th floor of Lerner Hall. Check-in closes at 8:30PM.

When CPS is closed, or as alternative to Urgent Mental Health Concerns drop-in, phone support is available 24/7 by calling CPS at 212-854-2878.

During Scheduled Clinical Hours

During the first session or two, counselors work with students to develop an individualized treatment plan that best meets students’ needs. While there is no specific limit on the number of sessions at CPS, services are focused on short term care designed, for example, to help students improve coping skills, better manage distress, resolve immediate problems or meet near-term personal goals. Many students are able to achieve treatment goals through a relatively brief course of therapy on campus, while others may want or require more specialized or open-ended services and may benefit from an off-campus referral.

Diverse 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 their clinician is not a good match, CPS will gladly facilitate a transfer to a different clinician at any time. Students need only ask.

The Counseling and Psychological Services team supporting Columbia University students (March 2019).

All CPS counselors and psychiatrists have experience and expertise in working with a full range of student concerns. Most clinicians also have particular interest, experience, or advanced training in specific practice areas, such as trauma support, eating disorders, sexual and gender concerns  and acculturation concerns, among many others.

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, during drop-in hours.