Cal Poly Counseling Services promotes the development of holistic student emotional health. As mental health professionals, we serve the campus community through advocacy and the provision of confidential, accessible services.
Message from Counseling Services
Who comes to Counseling Services? Just about everyone. Athletes, student leaders, RA’s, WOW leaders, your Chemistry lab partner, your roommate, your best friend. We work with a range of students from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds; all gender and sexual identities; students who want to talk about a new relationship or a recent break-up; homesickness; anxiety; suicidal thoughts; substance misuse; and difficulties with academic performance. We also see students with painful, abusive life experiences they’ve never talked about before. Rather than advice-giving, we offer a particular kind of listening and an expertise in human development, along with strategies to support your personal, social, and emotional growth. You might be surprised how much talking with a professional can help. Our services are free, confidential, and available to all currently enrolled students. We look forward to working with you.
Getting Started at Counseling Services
If you are in crisis, come in to Counseling Services and you will be seen immediately during normal business hours. If you are in crisis after normal business hours, please call us at 805-756-2511 (main line) and select option “2” to be immediately transferred to a live person with whom you can discuss your concerns.
Any enrolled student may contact Counseling Services at 805-756-2511 during business hours to schedule an initial appointment. At the initial appointment, we will review your current situation and determine how best to meet your needs, either through short term individual, couples, group counseling or a referral off campus.
In an effort to provide high quality professional services to Cal Poly students, Counseling Services now offers an innovative program specifically tailored to provide quick and useful tools without overburdening the busy schedules of Cal Poly students. After completing the initial paperwork and first meeting with a therapist, most students are enrolled into the RIO (Recognition, Insight, and Openness) program. At the completion of RIO, you have the opportunity to meet with a therapist to review your experience and collaboratively discuss the next steps in your change process.
If the intake counselor determines that you would benefit from longer-term counseling or counseling requiring a specific expertise not available at our center, we will work with you to find local counselors with the necessary expertise who accept your insurance plan or who provide low cost services.
Because Counseling Services is funded by student fees, there are no additional charges at the time of service.
Individual, Couples and Group Psychotherapy
RIO (Recognition/Insight/Openness) is a 3-week psychoeducational seminar designed to help students clarify their concerns and develop a clearer sense of what they would like to change in their lives. It is offered each quarter starting week 2, with the last RIO groups starting week 8 (so that they are finished before Finals Week). Instead of traditional group psychotherapy, RIO is a curriculum-driven workshop series with structure and specific learning objectives. Participation is strongly encouraged but personal disclosure is not required. The seminar was designed to respect students’ individual privacy while still providing ample space to begin building skills through experiential training opportunities. All participants will receive a workbook to accompany exercises within the seminars in addition to instructions for modest assignments between seminars. Students may participate in RIO more than once if they are interested in doing so.
Individual Counseling is available to currently enrolled Cal Poly students who meet certain criteria, such as urgent and/or serious mental health concerns. Note that students who do not meet these criteria will be provided with a referral to off-campus providers. Self-care tips while you are waiting for your first appointment.
Couples Counseling is also available, as long as both of the partners in the couple are currently enrolled Cal Poly students. Couples can be married, polyamorous, or dating, and of any sexual orientation.
Group Counseling consists of meetings of small groups of currently enrolled students who share a similar concern. A wide variety of groups are commonly offered each quarter, focusing on specific topic areas such as friendship and relationship issues, stress and anxiety management, eating concerns, dealing with the loss of a loved one and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender topics.
Currently enrolled Cal Poly students are eligible to use Counseling Services.
Students that have chosen not to enroll for Summer Quarter, but are registered for the following Fall Quarter, may be seen in Counseling Services.
For couples counseling, both partners must be currently enrolled Cal Poly students.