Veterans’ Concerns

All of the professionals at Counseling and Psychological Services are dedicated to fostering personal wellness and development among student veterans and military personnel. While many soldiers will make a successful return to civilian life, we recognize that student veterans face unique challenges when entering or returning to an academic setting.

Below are therapists who may be especially good matches for student-veterans. Please note that when a student’s situation is urgent and a particular counselor is not immediately available, it is generally not wise to delay seeking assistance. It is best to initiate treatment with a counselor who is more immediately available; students are always welcome to transfer to a different counselor at a later date.

Consider making an appointment when experiencing one of these frequently reported concerns:

  • Difficulty relating to traditional college students
  • Developing an identity as a scholar after living as a soldier
  • Relationship concerns
  • Struggling with feeling safe on campus (e.g., being easily startled or overly vigilant)
  • Negotiating the structural and procedural nuances of higher education
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Recurring, intrusive memories or dreams of combat
  • Diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Feeling emotionally distant or estranged from others
  • Problematic use of alcohol or other substances
  • Excessive guilt or anger
  • Questions about future directions

Some members of the Veteran's Concerns team (Colitz, Goldfield, Hittson, Johnson, Pollock, Rush, and Vitti) offer drop-in counseling, providing an opportunity to talk with a clinician without an appointment. Note that hours and locations are subject to change, so always check the website before heading to an office. Sessions are first-come, first-served.

Veterans' Concerns Team

For the past two years at Columbia, Andrew has helped returning veterans anticipate, prepare, and adjust to the demands of academic and social life on campus. Andrew has supported veterans, on both an individual and group level, in improving coping skills such as managing anxiety and depression, effective communication in relationships, dealing with anger, and tolerating frustration as well as time management and difficulty with procrastination.

Anne has been closely involved with campus veteran groups for the past 10 years. As the CPS liaison to the School of General Studies, she recognized the importance of developing resources at CPS for student veterans. Anne continues to learn about the needs of returning veterans and enjoys working with this group of students regarding academic and personal concerns.

David spent three years training at Veterans Administration hospitals in New York City. While working at those hospitals, he aided veterans with a variety of concerns including adjustment to civilian life, medical issues, relationship problems, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a clinician, David is committed to aiding veterans as they navigate their academic, social, and personal efforts within the Columbia Community.

Adam first began working with veterans during his doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Veterans Administration Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition to providing therapy to individuals, couples, and groups, Adam has specialized experience in blind rehabilitation and hospice and palliative care, and in collaborating with primary care physicians to provide holistic health care. He has provided services to veterans facing trauma, combat, functional loss, rehabilitation, chronic health conditions, sexual and relationship concerns, and adjusting to civilian life. Adam has also provided services sensitive to the needs of veterans of color and the LGBTQ community.

Yaniv served in the Israeli army before immigrating to New York. He brings experience and sensitivity to his work with military veterans, who sometimes grapple with the transition to civilian life, especially with traumas related to military service, as well as with a sense of otherness and the challenge of bridging their experiences in the military with their current lives as students among non-veteran peers.

James first began working with veterans during his internship at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. His clinical work primarily focused on substance use disorders, providing individual, couples, and group counseling services to a diverse population of predominantly OEF/OIF/OND and Desert Storm veterans. In particular, James developed a strong interest in treating co-occurring trauma and substance use disorders among combat veterans. James also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical health psychology and addictions at Veterans Administration Connecticut Healthcare System/Yale School of Medicine in West Haven, Connecticut.

Much of Susan's career has been spent working with veterans and their families. In her 10-year tenure in the Veterans Administration system, she became intensely interested in the concept of moral injury as a central trauma of exposure to war and combat. She is very interested in the use of meditation practice and its byproduct—mindfulness—and her work includes a focus on these avenues for cultivating a deeper relationship with suffering and trauma, and for developing coping skills in dealing with the emotional, psychological, and behavioral consequences of trauma. For the last five years, Susan has been a group facilitator at Omega Institute’s annual veteran’s retreat, hosted by a Vietnam veteran who is also an ordained Zen Buddhist monk. She continues to cultivate a meditation practice, and in her personal time, works with a foundation focused on peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution. She often incorporates these practices and ideas in her work as a clinical psychologist. Susan also has special interest and experience in helping people cultivate a healthier relationship with alcohol and other substances.

Support Groups

When there is sufficient student interest, Counseling and Psychological Services also offers a Veterans Support Group.