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Overview of Services
For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
Group Counseling & Workshops
Stress management
Consultation for Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students
Crisis Intervention and Emergency Services

Overview of Services

Scope of Care
RIT's Counseling Center provides short-term, time-limited counseling or therapy to students who are experiencing complex developmental, psychological, social, academic, and/or mental health concerns that are interfering with their ability to be successful in school and/or in their personal life. The overall objective is not to uncover and address every issue with which a student may be faced in his/her life but to offer assistance so as to enable the student to continue enrollment in college and to pursue academic, career and personal success. The duration of treatment varies according to students' goals, but counselors work to provide relatively brief treatment or interventions in order to facilitate adjustment, successful functioning, problem resolution, and symptom relief as soon as possible. With regard to severe, chronic, or longstanding mental health problems, our focus is to assist clients in obtaining relief from some of the emotional discomfort and the behaviors and thoughts that can accompany such conditions, rather than to provide long-term treatment.

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students:
Counseling is available for deaf and hard-of-hearing students with counselors who are fluent in American Sign Language. Group therapy is offered when there are sufficient numbers of deaf/hoh students available to meet at a common time each week. Emergency services are available on a walk-in basis during university business hours ( 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) and by calling Public Safety after hours. Career assessment and counseling for deaf and hard of hearing students is offered through the NTID Department of Counseling Services.

How does counseling work?
College Counseling is an information sharing process designed to help you address your concerns, to obtain relief from your symptoms, to come to a fuller understanding of yourself, and to learn effective personal and interpersonal coping strategies. It involves a partnership between you and a trained therapist who has the knowledge, expertise and experience to help you accomplish your individual goals.

What are some common concerns for which students seek help?
Everyone has life situations that may cause some distress at some points in their lives. College students are no exception. Below is a list of common concerns among students seen at the Counseling Center.

Identity Development

  • self-esteem
  • decision making
  • values clarification
  • assertiveness
  • individuation
  • perfectionism

Stress management

  • anxiety
  • anger
  • time management


  • parents/siblings
  • friends/roommates
  • boyfriends/girlfriends/partners
  • addictive relationships


  • sexual orientation/sexual identity
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • pregnancy/abortion
  • rape/sexual assault
  • incest/abuse

Alcohol and other drugs

  • family substance problems
  • alcohol/drug dependency
  • binge drinking

Adjustment concerns

  • homesickness
  • making friends
  • procrastination
  • religious/spiritual concerns
  • serious illness in family
  • loss and grief


  • declining school work or grades
  • withdraw from school
  • decreased motivation
  • decreased concentration
  • test anxiety/speech anxiety/performance anxiety

Eating disorders

  • body image/eating pattern assessment/impact
  • anorexia/bulimia


  • intense sadness
  • ups and downs
  • loss and grief
  • suicidal thoughts

How do I get started in counseling?
To meet with a counselor, appointments can be scheduled in person or by calling 475-2261.

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Group Counseling & Workshops:

The power of groups:
A growing treatment recommendation for many students is one of the Counseling Center's extremely popular workshops or counseling groups. RIT offers students one of the largest group counseling programs in New York State. Research and student testimonials demonstrate that groups are an extremely effective way for individuals to grow and change together.

Students Give Thumbs Up to Group Counseling Program:

  • Group counselors created a safe & supportive environment: 97% agree
  • My group helped me to feel better about myself and to take more effective action: 86% agree
  • I would recommend my group/workshop to other students: 89% agree
  • I would attend group therapy again if needed: 93% agree

What Students Are Saying About Groups:
"Having a safe place to talk with 100% chance of support"

"I enjoyed the amount of learning that occurred during group"

"It was reassuring to know that you could bring up personal problems while in a group environment"

"Knowing I'm not completely alone"

"Seeing that I can be accepted by others helps me to accept myself"

"I liked the feeling of community and having support"

"Support from others who were experiencing similar issues"

"People who say I feel ya"

"Being able to talk things through/receive and give advice"

"Being able to be emotionally open and genuine with other people"

What is group therapy?
Group therapy is a form of treatment that allows participants to learn about themselves and their relationships with others and address personal difficulties that are often shared by some other members of the group. A significant benefit of group therapy includes not feeling so alone with your concerns since others in the group will likely have experienced similar things. Also, the interactions members have with each other in the group will parallel interactions they have with people outside of the group. This allows members to learn about their reactions and practice taking risks with new strategies for interacting with others in the safe environment of the group. These insights and new ways of interacting can then be transferred to relationships outside of the group with the aim of improving them.

How does group therapy work?
Group members meet in a small group weekly with a trained group leader/facilitator. Learning in the group occurs through participation. However, members can also learn about themselves by listening and observing the interactions of others. No one is forced to discuss issues they are not ready to discuss.

Can I be in individual and group counseling at the same time?
Group therapy is often the ideal form of therapy for college students since a primary focus of group is on relationships and understanding and managing feelings. These are common issues for students. Group therapy alone can be a sufficient means of dealing with these issues. At the Counseling Center individual therapy is rarely recommended at the same time as group therapy because there is a risk of confusion and not fully committing to the therapeutic work in the group.

Skills Training Groups

What are Skills Training Groups?
Skills Training groups are derived from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and are designed to assist students in replacing problem behaviors with more adaptive ways of coping with distress. The group is specifically for students who experience emotional dysregulation, chaotic relationships, problems with impulse control, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation, etc.

These groups are psychoeducational in nature and are conducted more like a class than a process group. In the beginning, students are asked to identify behaviors they want to change. In each subsequent session, students learn and practice a new skill. Homework is assigned each week and reviewed in the beginning of the following session. Students complete this group experience when they have satisfactorily changed the behaviors they have identified as problematic.

Skills Group

This group is designed to assist students in replacing problem behaviors with more adaptive ways of coping with distress. The group is specifically for students who experience emotional dysregulation, chaotic relationships, problems with impulse control, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation, etc.

Why would I be involved in a Skills Training group as opposed to a general process group?

Often a person comes to a skills training group to address and change specific behaviors that interfere with their functioning in the above mentioned areas. Unlike the process group, the skills training group provides structure and has a distinct agenda each week. Students who finish the skills training groups may be encouraged to enter a process group to continue to work on their issues and deepen their understanding. In this case, students are better prepared to participate in the process group because they have developed the skills necessary to interact successfully.

Process Group - Understanding Self and Others

Members meet to explore personal problems with others who can offer fresh perspectives and objective opinions. Members support and encourage each other. The group assists students in knowing they are not alone in their struggles. This group functions as a micro-learning lab wherein members can develop rich insights into their own behavior, patterns and styles while practicing more productive ways of interacting with others.


The goal of this group is learning how to manage anxiety symptoms. It is intended for students who experience anxiety in many forms, e.g. panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive traits, generalized anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety.

Social Anxiety - Novice Group

For students who experience anxiety symptoms in social or group situations, including performance anxiety.

Social Anxiety - Continuing group

For students who have been through the Social Anxiety Novice Group and would like to continue work in this area.

Social Thinking

This group focuses specifically on social skill development. It provides an opportunity to learn, share, discuss, and role play a wide variety of topics and situations.

Positive Psychology

For students experiencing Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, depressed mood, general sadness, lack of satisfaction/fulfillment/motivation. The group explores the use of empirically validated, evidence-based habits, mindsets, and thinking processes. The intent of this groups is to help students change negative styles of thinking as a way to change how they feel by focusing on positive emotions and personal strengths.

Graduate Student Interpersonal Connection

An exploration of concerns that may be impacting personal life and academic performance. Adult learners, roadblocks to thesis completion, impact of family, financial concerns, etc.

Sleep Workshop Series

Improving sleep habits. This group eplores barriers to adequate sleep and strategies for overcoming insomnia.

Grief Support: Life After Loss

For students who have experienced the loss of a close friend or loved one.

Eating Disorders Group

For students with eating disorders and related body image issues. This group explores strategies for addressing hypercritical thoughts about self, and negative self-image.

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Stress management series:

A mindfulness-based approach to understanding and managing stress focusing on practical ideas and strategies. Dealing with stress is a major challenge for many college students. Ineffectively managing stress has been identified by many students as a significant cause of academic disruption. There are multiple means of managing stress and it is important for students to identify strategies that feel comfortable to them and to work with those strategies on a regular basis. Other stress management methods offered through the Counseling Center are described below.

Mindfulness Meditation

What is it?
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of careful attention to, and deep engagement in, the experience of life as it unfolds in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation can help us to cultivate, in an intentional way, this invaluable quality of presence in our lives.

These meditation sessions will include basic instruction and practice in mindfulness of breathing.  Both experience and research have demonstrated the value of mindfulness in managing stress and living a more balanced, satisfying life.

When and where are the sessions?
These sessions are held on Thursdays at the Counseling Center. For newcomers to these sessions, an orientation to mindfulness and meditation instruction will begin at noon. Returning meditators are welcome to attend the entire session or to join the group when the practice segment begins, around 12:20.

How do I sign up?
These sessions are free of charge, and are open to all students, faculty, and staff of RIT. There is no need to register, and you may come to a single session or more - each session is basically the same unit of background, instruction, and practice.

Consultation for Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students

Consultation regarding the behavioral and emotional problems of others is available for parents, students, faculty, or staff. While information about current clients is confidential, staff at the Center can offer recommendations after a discussion about the behavior and emotional state of the individual in question. Recommendations might include strategies for approaching the troubled individual and making a referral. Relevant resources on or off campus could also be discussed. Please see Referring Others for more information on recognizing problems and making an effective referral.

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Crisis Intervention and Emergency Services:

What do I do in case of an emergency during the day?
During Business Hours ( 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.), for psychological emergencies contact the Counseling Center at 475-2261 or go directly to Room 2100, August Center (second floor).  If someone is in physical danger, call Public Safety at 475-3333.

What if the emergency is at night or on a weekend?
For psychological emergencies that cannot wait for business hours, call Public Safety at 475-3333 and ask to speak with the counselor who is on call. The counselor will conduct an assessment of what your immediate needs are and make a recommendation to you. This most often includes follow-up at the Counseling Center for an appointment.

Can I send an email?
Do not use e-mail in an emergency situation, since you cannot be assured that a counselor will open it at your time of need. Even in non-emergency situations, care should be used when communicating by email since it is not a confidential form of communication.

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