Counseling center expands student services


Ava Acharya

The sign for the University Counseling Center at Loyola. The center now offers new services to students.

Bryce Oufnac, Staff Writer

This year, the University Counseling Center is introducing new services to focus on more specific issues students may face in modern society, according to Asia Wong, the director of counseling and student health at Loyola’s.

Mental health care is important and often overlooked, especially for students, Wong said, and with new additions to the program, featuring case management, group counseling and drop-in anxiety work, the counseling center hopes to make mental health a priority on campus.

Loyola’s counseling center has always provided free, confidential mental health services to all enrolled students, according to the school’s website. But new additions, available mainly in the form of group processing, hope to continue the center’s mission. The center introduced the Gender Spectrum Support Group and the Substance Use Harm Reduction Group in the fall of 2022, according to Wong. The Everyday Mindfulness group was added last spring. Other group counseling options include the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Group, the BIPOC Identity Processing Group, and the Grief Processing Group.

Wong said that these new groups are in response to student needs. And, the counseling center added an additional counselor in order to meet student needs as well, Wong said.
“We will continue to respond to student needs and requests for additional specialized offerings or increased services,” she said.

DK Kucher, a counseling intern at Loyola, will be the facilitator for the Substance Use Harm Reduction Group. Kutcher said that this group is a space for students who wish to improve their relationships with substances, including drugs and alcohol. The group is entirely confidential, Kucher added.

“This is a group for students who use substances to choose what healthier use means to them through psychoeducation, mindfulness, introspection, and self-directed goal-setting,” they said.

Paolo Roy, a staff counselor at Loyola, leads the Gender Spectrum Support Group. This support group is designed to be a safe and confidential space for students who are transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, gender-fluid, or are otherwise gender non-conforming, Roy said in an email sent to the student body. Roy also said that specific discussion topics are based on what members of the group are interested in talking about, such as exploring gender identity, navigating family issues, and neurodivergence.

Alysse Fuchs, a staff counselor at Loyola, leads the Everyday Mindfulness Group. The group focuses on teaching ongoing mindfulness through meditation, games, movement, visualization, sensory experiences, and awareness building exercises, Fuchs said in an email sent to Loyola’s student body. The group lasts for seven weeks and holds weekly meetings, Fuchs said.

Wong shared that there are four main reasons for one to seek counseling: if someone is feeling, thinking or behaving in a way that they would like to change, if someone wants to improve or change a relationship or relational patterns, if someone is going through a big transition or needs to make a big decision, or if someone is experiencing grief or trauma.

Wong added that the counseling center plans on expanding the services available to students even more than they have in the past couple semesters moving forward.