Campus Adds Second Counselor To Its Ranks
by Alicia Reinersman
Transylvania University’s on-campus counseling service faced a problem last year: Student demand for counseling sessions became nearly unmanageable.
“It got to the point to where I was seeing as many students as (the number of) hours I worked in a week,” said Dr. Georgeann Brown, who has been the service’s only on-campus counselor for four years. “It was getting difficult to provide adequate care and meet the demand.”
As a result, Transy has hired another counselor. Kathy Susman, of Huntington, W.Va., is a certified psychologist with autonomous functioning, meaning that she passed the necessary exams to practice independently. In the past 20 years, Susman has worked in a variety of settings, including community, hospital and private practice.
She has helped people deal with various issues relating to stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, gender issues and more.
According to Brown, she and Susman have already seen an improvement in their ability to meet the students’ needs.
“This year, we’ve been able to accommodate students’ schedules better, and we’ve been able to get them in (the office) right away,” she said.
Prior to Susman’s hiring, Transy had a contract with Growth Resources for off-campus counseling. Problems were raised when Growth Resources relocated its offices. The increased distance caused fewer students to utilize Growth Resources’ help. Instead, students began staying on campus for counseling.
According to Brown, she began seeing between 80 and 100 people per year. Typically, she would deal with cases pertaining to anxiety, depression, stress, eating disorders and relationship problems.
Dr. Michael Covert, the associate dean of students, was one of many people that became aware of the pressure being placed upon Brown. To ease the situation, he said, Transy decided to use additional money to get another part-time counselor rather than funding off-campus services that were not being used.
Now that Brown and Susman are teamed up together, they want more students to be aware of their services, and they want them to feel relaxed.
Both Brown and Susman stressed the notion of normalizing counseling. Students may request sessions for any reason, and they should not be hindered from doing so. Many people pursue counseling for issues relating to anxiety and depression; however, there are multiple reasons why they seek help. Susman and Brown are willing to talk about anything.
“We want students to feel comfortable in coming to counseling services and recognize that, for any issue, our services are available to them,” Susman said.
Susman and Brown share a common goal: They want to help people as best they can.
Most importantly, the counseling sessions are always confidential and free of charge for everyone. Anyone can be seen as many times as needed since Brown and Susman do not impose a limit on the amount of sessions.
To guarantee a session with either Susman or Brown, it is best to schedule an appointment. To do so, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-281-3682. The counseling office is located in the back office suite of the Campus Center.