OU Counseling Center offering free therapy sessions to students for 2021-2022 Academic Year, among other new initiatives

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Maggie Willard

The OU Counseling Center (OUCC) is offering free therapy sessions to OU students.

Gabrielle Abdelmessih, Campus Editor

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the OU Counseling Center (OUCC) will be offering free therapy sessions to OU students.

In the past, students were offered six free sessions and had to pay $12 a session for the next nine sessions.

Currently, based on a short-term model, a student may partake in up to 15 free therapy sessions.

After that, if recommended, students may continue working with an OUCC counselor or will be referred to a recommended provider in the surrounding community. Counselors work with students on a case-by-case basis, so if students have any concerns regarding the session cap, it can be addressed.

“We know that with everything students have been through and are still going through for the past 18 months, mental health resources are going to be more critical than ever,” said Dr. David Shwartz, psychologist and director of the OUCC. “Anything we can do to remove barriers to people getting help in this coming year, it’s always important, but more critical than any year before.”

It is important to point out that the therapy sessions are confidential and counseling is provided by licensed psychologists or interns supervised by licensed psychologists.

“It is just like confidential counseling you would get anywhere else,” Dr. Shwartz said.

In addition to counseling sessions, the OUCC also offers a broad range of mental health services including more affordable psychological and psychoeducational testing for students who may be concerned that they have a learning disability, outreach, and crisis intervention.

“We really try our best to never let finances become an obstacle for students who need services,” Dr. Shwartz said. “If someone can’t afford that, please still reach out to us because we have an emergency health fund and there are things that we can do.”

Additionally, the OUCC is also introducing some new initiatives for the 2021-2022 Academic Year, including a full-time Group Coordinator Position—the first of its kind at the university.

“Groups are such an important resource to have available to students. It’s one more way to meet the needs of students, especially during a time when more students are struggling than ever before.” Dr. Shwartz said. “We are going to be offering a variety of groups. A specific focus of the position is to really try and reach out to students that are in communities that are the most marginalized and most under-represented, like BIPOC communities, the LGBTQ+ community, veterans and students with disabilities. These are the groups we are really trying to reach out to specifically, but we’re also going to have some general groups for anyone who is an OU student.”

The OUCC will also be offering workshops and groups surrounding the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health.

For more information regarding free therapy sessions and OUCC services, please visit their webpage.