AC Counseling Center
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss
The Albright College Counseling Center was formed to be a place where you are helped to grow as an individual and ultimately become more effective in your everyday life. The counseling processes provided are designed to help you address concerns that may be interfering with your personal growth, development or academic potential, including, but not limited to, adjusting to college life, stress and time management, anxiety, depression, family and relationship problems, crisis intervention and addiction. It is important for you to realize that the counseling process involves a relationship between you and a trained counselor who has the desire and willingness to help you accomplish your individual goals, come to a greater understanding of yourself, and learn effective personal and interpersonal success and coping strategies. It is important for you to know and understand that your counselor wants to be there for you and has your best interests in mind.
- Crisis: Call 911 or Security at 311
- Need to talk?
- Berks Talkline 11-11 M-F/11-7 S-S 610.374.8255
- Grief Hotline 9am – 5pm M-F: 800–260-0094
- 24 Hour Emergency Numbers:
- Alcohol Hotline: 800-252-6465
- Gambling Hotline: 800-848-1880
- Narcotics Anonymous: 610-374-5944
- Poison Center: 800-222-1222
- Rape/Partner Violence: 610-372-9540
- Suicide: 911 or 610-236-0530
- SAFE Berks: 610-373-1206
About the Counseling Center
Where is the Counseling Center located?
The Counseling Center is located in the white building behind the Gable Health Center, which is on the corner of Linden and Richmond Streets.
What type of services does the Counseling Center provide?
The Counseling Center provides a variety of free and confidential services that are available to all full-time day undergraduate, graduate, and ADP students at the Reading site. As a student visiting the Counseling Center, you can and should feel assured that your counselor(s) have only your best interest in mind, and that they are there for YOU. The services we provide include:
- Individual and relationship counseling
- Group counseling
- Consultation for students, faculty and staff
- Limited psychological screenings for students (such as depression, alcohol and eating disorders)
- Referrals to community providers
- Appointments with professional counselors to discuss personal and emotional concerns, regarding (not all are listed):
- Substance misuse
- Eating Problems
Does the Counseling Center do any type of awareness or programming events?
The Counseling Center provides programming relating to the mental health of the campus community. Topics include dealing with stress, creating and developing healthier relationships and lifestyles, protecting oneself from sexual assault, learning how to communicate effectively, coping with depression, stress management, among others. In the fall, there is a campus-wide mental health screening day focusing on depression, anxiety and suicide prevention. Alcohol awareness information and screenings are provided in the spring semester. You are encouraged to contact the director with ideas for additional programming ideas.
Who can use these services?
A free and confidential consultation is available to all currently enrolled full-time day undergraduate, graduate, and ADP students at the Reading site. The initial appointment is for screening, assessment and establishing a plan. Our model is a brief therapy model with students receiving a maximum of eight sessions. If your issues are determined to require a more lengthy process you will be referred to off-campus health, mental health, or substance abuse professionals. If so, you are responsible for their charges.
Will anyone find out if I use these services?
Yes, you do have to make an appointment for counseling services so that your counselor is able to give you his/her full attention. Appointments can be made Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. During the academic year, appointments can be made by calling the Gable Health and Counseling Center secretary at 610-921-7532, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1:30 – 5 p.m.
Meet Our Staff
The Counseling Center is comprised of a diverse staff of helping professionals who dedicate their time to helping Albright College students like you. Please take a look at your counselors and what they have to offer you.
- Dr. Brenda Ingram-Wallace, Director
- Alex Lesko, LSW
- Dr. Jan Sebes
- Stephanie McDonough, MA, LPC
- Dr. Peggy Seibert
Grief and Loss Resources
The New Normal After Loss
Grieving individuals are not working to return to normal; they are working toward establishing a new normal.
Heather Servaty-Seib, PhD & Deborah J. Taub, PhD
Authors, Training Faculty Members and Resident Assistants to Respond to Bereaved Students
- While counseling has been shown to have a positive impact on the retention rates of all college students, only 10% of college students seek counseling services. (Bishop & Brenneman, 1986; Gallagher, 2004, 2010).
- Students are not likely to complain to physicians about grief but instead about symptoms like insomnia, lack of motivation and an inability to concentrate (Janowiak, Mei-tal, & Drapkin, 1995).
- Today’s college students are 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts 20 or 30 years ago (Konrath, O’Brien, & Hsing, 2010).
- Studies indicate that bereaved individuals who receive adequate support experience lower levels (both in intensity and incidence) of anxiety or depression, fewer psychosomatic and autonomic symptoms, and decreased use of alcohol, tobacco, and tranquilizers (Parkes, 1975, 1979, 1981).
- Research shows that group work is one of the most effective approaches to helping the bereaved (Harvey & Miller, 2000; Price, Dinas, Dunn & Winterowd, 1995; Shapiro, 1994; Worden, 1991; Zimpfer, 1991).
- Loss support groups allow people to share common problems and provide mutual aid, thus helping the bereaved to develop a community and new social support systems (Janowiak, Mei-Tal, & Drapkin, 1995; Price, Dinas, Dunn & Winterowd, 1995; Zimpfer, 1991).
- Benefits from support group involvement have been found to include improved emotional, mental, and physical stability during and after participation (McCallum, Piper & Morin, 1993; Thuen, 1995; Zimpfer, 1991, Yalom & Vinogradov, 1988).
College Grief Information
- Between 35% and 48% of college students have lost a family member or close friend within the last two years. Between 22% and 30% of college students have lost a family member or close friend within the last year (Balk, 1997; Wrenn, 1999; Balk, Walker & Baker, 2010).
- 18.4 million students were enrolled in American colleges in 2009 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). That equates to more than 4.5 million college students who are grieving.
- 8.6% of college students’ academic performances have been affected by the death of a family member or close friend within the last year (Servaty-Seib & Hamilton, 2006).
- Research shows that a student’s GPA significantly decreases during the semester of loss, providing empirical support for the assertion that bereaved students are at risk for declined academic performance (Servaty-Seib, 2006).
- For 10% to 15% of the bereaved, a debilitating and prolonged form of grief can pose severe long-term risks for psychological and physical health (Ott, 2003; Prigerson & Maciejewski, 2006).
Helpful Tips for Grieving College Students
- Talk about your loved one who died with friends, family and/or a professional.
- Grief is truly a journey, requiring time and energy. It is a very unique process and it doesn’t have a set amount of time.
- Pace yourself. Grief can be hard and tiring. It takes a lot of energy to feel so intensely. Allow yourself plenty of time to do normal everyday activities. Try not to over-schedule yourself, you don’t need the added stress. Rest when you can and need to, it’s not a sign of weakness.
- Try to resist the temptation to “throw yourself” into work, school or other diversions. This leaves too little time for the grief work you need to do for yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Give yourself time and space to begin your grief journey. Get enough rest. Eat healthy food. Give yourself a break.
- Resist the temptation to use alcohol or drugs. These can interfere with the grieving process or cover it up – not take it away.
- If you are religious, contact your place of worship and utilize offered services.
- Talk to others who have experienced the death of a loved one. People who have been through grief can empathize with and help support you, and vice versa.
- The grief process is an individual experience. Some people like to talk about things while others prefer to grieve by “doing” something. Do what feels right for you.
- Express your grief. The best way to work with your grief is to let it out. So how do you let out your emotions? Do you: Cry, scream, and yell? Do you: express your feelings through music, art, poetry, or journaling? Some express themselves with only one or a few trusted people, while others chose to make a display of expression. Do what feels right for you.
- Focus on your health. Grief can be a great stress on your body and mind. It can upset sleep patterns, lead to depression, weaken your immune system, and highlight medical problems. See your doctor if you are worried about your symptoms.
- Consider getting professional help if you feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or helpless. Seek professional help if you have suicidal thoughts. Grief therapy doesn’t have to be long-term. Even if you don’t see yourself as the kind of person who would go to therapy, it may be beneficial.
- Grief tends to go at it’s own rate, so allow yourself time to grieve. There is no right way and no time limit!
- Be patient. There may be days where you feel great, but there may also be setbacks. Don’t expect to “Get over it” or have a deadline in mind. Reminders can trigger emotions – both physical and emotional. This is not a sign of weakness. Instead, your mind and body are telling you that your grief journey isn’t done.
- Create your own ways of memorializing your loved one. Celebrate their life in whatever way feels right to you. Try supporting a cause they believed in, start a scholarship, plant a garden, make a donation in their name, etc.
- Have a little fun. Do something to make you laugh and/or smile. Many may find this difficult to do at first, but it is wonderful medicine for the grieving soul.
Guidelines for Helping Someone Who is Grieving
Friends often ask themselves questions such as: What should I do? What should I say? Am I doing the right thing? What can I do better? Here are some suggestions for helping the person in grief.
- Take some kind of action. Make a phone call, send a card, give a hug, attend the funeral, help with practical matters (e.g., meals, care of children).
- Be available. Allow the person time so there is no sense of “urgency” when you visit or talk.
- Be a good listener. Accept the words and feelings expressed, avoid being judgmental or taking their feelings personally, avoid telling them what they feel or what they should do.
- Don’t minimize the loss and avoid giving cliches and easy answers. Don’t be afraid to talk about the loss (i.e., the deceased, the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, the disability, etc.).
- Allow the bereaved person to grieve for as long or short a time as needed. Be patient, there are no shortcuts.
- Encourage the bereaved to care for themselves. They need to attend to physical needs, postpone major decisions, and allow themselves to grieve and to recover.
- Acknowledge and accept your own limitations. Many situations can be hard to handle, but can be made easier with the help of outside resources — books, workshops, support groups, other friends, or professionals.
Below is a list of counseling resources available in the Reading area. The Albright College Counseling Center is not endorsing these practices over any other. Students are welcome to select counseling resources of their own preference. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive.
Links to Available Counseling Resources in the Reading:
- Reading Health System
- Berks Counseling Associates
- Family Guidance Center
- Beyer Psychological Associates
- Callowhill Family Therapy Center
- Creative Health Services
- Berks Counseling Center
- Northwestern Human Services
- Progressions Companies
- Trauma Counseling Services
Philadelphia Area’s Closest Impatient Facility
Links to Psychological Disorder Information & Quizzes:
- Anxiety Disorder Quizzes:
Body Image/Eating Disorders
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Self Harm/Self Mutilation
- **Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 800-784-2433 or 800-799-4889**