Scope of Care

The Scope of Our Clinical Services

The Counseling Center strives to facilitate the development of CofC students by providing psychological interventions to promote the holistic well-being of our students. We have three essential roles for advancing the educational mission of College of Charleston.

  1. Providing clinical services that help students achieve their academic and personal goals.
  2. Educating the campus community about the psychological and developmental needs of students through community-level interventions, outreach programming, and consultation.
  3. Responding to the effects of crisis impacting individual students and the campus community.

We provide short-term, goal-focused therapy. Many students are seen for one visit, while the average treatment length is 5 to 6 sessions within a year. If you regularly see a professional for counseling in your home community, our recommendation is that you continue services with that provider, if possible. Weekly, specialized, or intensive clinical services that require meeting beyond identified short-term goals are outside the scope of our services. Should you desire such services, we recommend receiving care from a mental health specialist in the Charleston community.

A Short-Term Model

The Counseling Center utilizes a short-term, goal-focused therapy model to assist students who are experiencing concerns and needs that are interfering with their ability to be successful in school and/or with their individual personal growth, functioning and adjustment. In a given year, the average student is seen for 5 or 6 sessions. Session length, however, is based on need. The overall objective is not to uncover and address every issue with which a student may have faced in his/her life or to provide continual maintenance for chronic psychiatric disorders. Rather, our objective is to facilitate adaptation, adjustment and resilient functioning in order to enable the student to continue enrollment in college and to pursue academic, career and personal success with minimal disruption or delay.

Services within the Counseling Center

In order to meet significant student demand and use its resources most effectively, the Counseling Center utilizes a short-term individual therapy model and group therapy. Working together, the therapist and student determine the number and type of sessions that are needed for the student based on the nature of the student’s concerns and available resources. In addition to being the best treatment option for many presenting problems, group therapy may allow a student to receive more long-term services than would be available through individual therapy.

Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed in short-term counseling at the Counseling Center are:

  • Personal Concerns: Stress, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, low self-esteem, grief
  • Relationship Concerns: Romantic relationship, roommate problems, family problems, social life
  • Developmental Concerns: Identity (e.g., personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity), adjustment to college, healthy lifestyle choices, decisions, life transitions
  • Substance Use: Concerns related to alcohol or other drug use/abuse
  • Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, academic difficulties
  • Other Concerns: Effects of trauma, sexual assault, abuse, concerns from childhood or adolescence, body image, food preoccupation, disordered eating      

Individualized Treatment Goals

The therapeutic approach utilized by the Counseling Center is flexible, individualized, and driven by the specific treatment goals identified between the student and clinician as well as by ongoing monitoring of measures to determine the effectiveness of treatment and the levels of recovery or improvement. Based on an individual therapy intake, the next level of treatment is determined.

Severe or Chronic Mental Health Issues

With regard to severe, chronic, or longstanding mental health problems, our focus is to assist students in obtaining relief from some of the emotional discomfort, behaviors, and thoughts that can accompany such conditions and to facilitate coping with said conditions. The focus is not on providing long-term, intensive or curative treatment but connecting them to off-campus and community resources.


Please visit the Student Health Services webpage if you have any questions regarding illness and other medical concerns.