Counseling Center

Michael Peterson, Director of Counseling in the Minneapolis campus

Our caring staff provides confidential services including short-term counseling, consultations, and referrals to community resources at no cost to students.

Explore your counseling options below, or if you prefer to discuss options with someone directly, contact us at 651-690-6805. 

If you are currently in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Counseling Options for Students

Do you need help getting through a difficult time? Confidential one-on-one counseling sessions are available at no cost to currently enrolled students throughout the year. Individual counseling is a process of self-discovery and growth where a trained professional helps you with problems related to personal, emotional, social, and mental health concerns. In the counseling session, you'll collaborate with your counselor to define problems you wish to address and to work toward solutions to these problems.

Request an appointment during J-Term

The Spring 2020 request form will be posted the week of January 27th.

Our regular counseling schedule for spring semester will commence on Monday, Feb 3rd. Our after hours telephone help line can be accessed any time our office is closed by calling our office number (651-690-6805) and pressing 1 when prompted.

View the Client Bill of Rights

If you've already had an appointment this academic year and simply want to schedule a follow-up appointment, please call 651-690-6805 or stop by the office to schedule a follow-up appointment. If you choose to stop by to schedule, please keep in mind the first fifteen minutes of every hour have higher desk traffic with students checking in for appointments.

Who is eligible?
Students currently registered and enrolled at St. Catherine University, attending classes on either the St. Paul or Minneapolis campus and able to physically attend sessions in our office can make an appointment for an individual counseling session. Students who are not currently enrolled (alums and/or students taking a leave of absence) are welcomed to contact us via email at for information regarding community referrals.

How many sessions are available to me?
The Counseling Center specializes in short-term counseling. On average, students use 5 sessions per academic year. Appointments are typically scheduled weekly or bi-weekly; decisions about frequency and length of counseling are discussed with your counselor.

If you need long-term counseling (more than 8 sessions per academic semester) we can help identify therapists in the community who can provide this. We also offer assistance in referral to specialized counseling programs such as eating disorder or chemical dependency treatment.

What can I expect?
The first appointment with your counselor will be an exploration/assessment session. Your counselor will ask you about the current issues that are bothering you as well as any relevant background information. Your counselor will give you feedback and suggestions about what might be helpful for you as you face your issues including recommendations for any continued counseling.

Who will know?
Counseling Center Staff maintain professional standards as defined by state law. You will receive our written Privacy and Confidentiality policy at your first appointment; your counselor will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you might have.

What if I need to cancel?
Counseling services are in high demand. If you are unable to keep an appointment, please call to cancel as soon as possible, preferably at least 24 hours in advance. This allows us to use the appointment time for another student who is waiting to see a counselor.

Group counseling is available to current students at no cost. There are no session limits. Whether you want to overcome challenges, improve relationships, connect with others, or learn how to manage stress, anxiety, or depression, group counseling is a powerful tool for growth and change. Registration is required.

If you haven’t been to the counseling center before or are not currently seeing a counselor individually, you must attend an initial appointment before beginning group. The counselor you meet with during this appointment will give you more information about the group you’re interested in and help you with next steps for joining the group. To schedule an initial appointment, call 651-690-6805 or fill out an online scheduling form. If you are already connected with a counselor at our center, ask them to give you more information on joining group.

Spring 2020 Group Opportunities

  • You’ve Got This! Mindful Strategies to Strengthen Well-Being
    4-session psycho-educational group offered multiple times throughout the semester
    Tuesdays, 12-1 p.m.
    This group is a series of four skills-based workshops focused on building coping skills for managing life’s ups and downs. The sessions will emphasize mindful practice for calming the mind and body, skills for relating well to thoughts and emotions, and strategies for improving communication and connection. Each session is led by a different counselor at our center.
  • Support for Survivors of Sexual Violence
    Thursdays, every other week, 4-5:30 p.m.
    This is a support group focused on healing and coping with any and all experiences of sexual violence. For students of all identities seeking a safe place to confirm that you are not alone in your reactions and/or feelings. In this group, the focus will be on discovering others who can understand.
  • Interpersonal Process Group
    Wednesdays, 4-5:30 p.m.
    Want to improve your relationships or feel better about yourself? Interested in connecting in a deep and meaningful way with other students? Are you noticing a pattern in your relationships that you’d like to change or understand better? Would you like honest feedback about how you relate to others? This group will provide a safe, supportive space to explore your feelings, connect with others, and practice new behaviors that can ultimately lead to more fulfilling relationships. Rather than focusing on past events in individual group members’ lives, these groups typically concentrate on what is occurring in the here-and-now of the group (i.e., feelings, thoughts, and reactions concerning what is happening in the group). The goal is to gain awareness of how you relate group members and understand how these patterns reflect how you relate with others in your life. Learn more about interpersonal process groups from the Colorado State University Health Network.

What is group counseling?
A counseling group is usually comprised of 5-10 people who meet face-to-face with one or two trained facilitators and learn or talk about what is concerning them most. Members listen to each other and sometimes provide each other feedback. The content of group sessions is confidential members agree not to identify other members or their concerns outside of group.

What is the difference between psycho-educational groups, support groups, and process groups?
Although all counseling groups provide members with a few shared benefits—including the perspectives of multiple people on one member’s concerns, feeling less alone, and opportunities to help others—the goals of psycho-educational groups, support groups, and process groups are quite different.

  • Psycho-educational groups provide members with information and skills. Members learn more about a topic related to mental health, often increasing understanding of their own mental health concerns. Members are also often taught helpful skills that they apply to their mental health concerns outside of the group context.
  • Support groups help members cope with a shared concern or topic. Members find that when they discuss the unique issues related to the shared topic, they feel less isolated and better able to move through daily life as a result. Members may also benefit from strategies other members have used to cope with the specific topic area.
  • Process groups help members change interpersonal patterns that contribute to mental health concerns. First, members become aware of the impact that their behavior has on others. Then, with the help of the group, members practice new ways of interacting that better meet their relational needs outside of group.

How effective is group counseling?
Group counseling has been proven effective in helping people deal with a broad range of issues from mild adjustment and developmental concerns to severe or chronic mental health concerns. It has been shown to be as effective as individual counseling, and for some issues, it is even more effective than individual counseling.*

*eg Burlingame, Fuhriman, and Mosier, 2003

What are common reasons for joining a group?
Group counseling is often the most effective treatment for interpersonal concerns, anxiety, social skills, eating disorders, and life adjustment. It is also helpful for depression, self-esteem issues, perfectionism, grief, trauma recovery, and substance use.

What can I expect if I join a group?
If this is your first experience in a counseling group, you probably have some apprehensions—most people do. Walking into the first session is sometimes the hardest part about group. The primary goal of any group is to help establish feelings of safety and trust. Some members will be ready to open up about their concerns early in group, others may need more time. Each group member’s pace and readiness for sharing is respected. Members tend to quickly develop deep and supportive connections with each other and learn to improve their ability to connect with (and care for) themselves and others.

Leaders and members will help each other to face challenges (particularly those that brought them to counseling) and to make the changes they desire. It is usually a difficult thing for group members to say goodbye at the end of a term, due to how much they have valued each other and valued the work they have done together.

What if I’d like to join a group that the center does not currently offer?
Please let us know! We are always interested in new ideas for meeting students’ needs.

Crisis Counseling Appointments

Need urgent counseling help? During fall and spring semesters, one hour each day is set aside for crisis counseling for students who have immediate counseling needs: Monday through Friday, from 2-3 p.m.

To ensure that you have adequate time to meet with a counselor, please plan to arrive in the first half of the scheduled crisis counseling hour. If you arrive later than half past the hour, please be aware that the counselor may not be able to meet with you. The counselor will, however, make every effort to get you scheduled for another time slot.

Off-Campus Crisis Resources

If you are currently in crisis and need to talk to someone right now, please contact one of these resources or go to your nearest emergency room.

  • The Walk-in Counseling Center, located in Minneapolis and also offering services at both Family Tree Clinic and Neighborhood House in St. Paul, offers free, anonymous counseling for more immediate and/or urgent needs. No appointment needed, hours and locations listed on their website. Reachable via phone at 612-870-0565.
  • Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health, located in St. Paul, offers an alternative to visiting the emergency room during a mental health crisis and offers 24/7 crisis phone support 365 days/year: 651-266-7900

Crisis Phone Lines

Mobile Crisis Units

Additional Services

We provide referrals for students who are interested in learning more about mental health resources in the surrounding community. This might include private practitioners, intensive outpatient programs, or specialty treatment centers.

Please note: our center does not provide assessment or documentation for attention deficit disorder or emotional support animals. Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss referral ideas for off-campus resources.

We offer access to the SMH Online Screening Program, a free and confidential online screening for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Take a screening

Our staff psychologists offer consultation to faculty, staff and students who are looking for advice or information about how to help another individual coping with mental or emotional health issues.

Specific ways we can help include providing information about specific mental health issues, identifying possible resources in the community, or suggestions regarding how to talk to the individual about seeking help from a mental health professional. Please call our main office to inquire about a phone or in-person consultation.

For students who are interested in exploring psychiatric medication options, psychiatry services are available at the St. Kate's Health and Wellness Center.

Looking for an off-campus therapist? You can find a local therapist (whether you're in St. Paul or out of state) through Psychology Today's database. Simply put in your zip code to find therapists within a certain radius of where you live.

We are not able to make recommendations using this system since we do not have personal knowledge of their skills. For this reason, we encourage you to also look through APA's tips for choosing a therapist to help you determine whether any given therapist might be a good fit for you.

Off-campus counseling suggestions


St. Paul Campus

Monday–Friday,  8 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–4:30 p.m.

Minneapolis Campus

Main office hours: Tuesdays, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; other hours available as needed. Counseling appointment times may vary. To set up an appointment, please contact the counselor directly at 651-690-7767 or