Counseling Services

Counseling Services provides a safe and confidential space for students to discuss concerns, explore solutions, and foster personal growth. Services are available to all main campus, online, and distance students and include individual counseling, group counseling, consultation and referrals, and outreach programming.

Located in the Cannon Student Center, Counseling Services is open Monday–Friday from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. for in-person counseling. Additionally, virtual services are available to all online and distance students.

Email Director of Counseling Services Marla Gentile to schedule a free appointment. Early morning and evening appointments are available upon request.


Why Students Seek Counseling

Some of the issues commonly addressed during counseling sessions:

  • Adjustment to College
  • Stress
  • Anxiety and Panic
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Feelings of Low Self-worth
  • Relationship or Family Concerns
  • Trauma, History of Sexual Assault, or Abuse
  • Alcohol and Drug Concerns
  • Body Image and Relationship with Food

Benefits of Counseling

Counseling can improve the college experience in multiple ways.

  • Counseling sessions provide a safe and confidential space to discuss issues of concern.
  • Students become more able to cope with their current situation and feel more capable of dealing with future problems as they arise.
  • Students learn to manage their emotions more effectively.
  • Students learn to communicate more efficiently.
  • Students are able to learn coping mechanisms and techniques to lessen stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
  • Students are able to manage their emotions more efficiently and cope with their stressors, allowing for potential academic growth and greater campus involvement.


Many students experience some form of anxiety when making or attending their first counseling appointment. We hope this section will give you some idea of what to expect during your first visit.

At the time of your scheduled appointment, expect to talk with your intake counselor for one hour. During this first hour, we will discuss your current concerns, gather some information about your history, and decide together on a plan of action. Depending on your presenting concerns, this plan may include individual or group counseling, or a referral to resources on or off campus; keep in mind that all you may need is that first appointment to map out a plan for yourself.

Virtual services are provided to students during holiday and summer breaks; however, the student must be enrolled at the college for the following semester.

Please follow the link below to fill out the initial consultation paperwork prior to your appointment. Do not submit information to Counseling Services unless you have already scheduled an appointment. 

Complete initial consultation paperwork


If you are a student who is receiving assistance from Counseling Services, you can count on the counseling staff abiding by professional ethics standards and state and federal laws that protect your confidentiality. Thus, all of the information you share about yourself—including the fact that you have even come to Counseling Services—will be kept confidential. Without your written permission, NO personal or identifying information about you will be released to ANYONE outside of counseling staff, including Lees-McRae faculty or staff, friends, and family members.

Exceptions to confidentiality may apply in the following situations:

  • If your counselor believes that you or someone else is in danger of harming yourself or others, your counselor is legally obligated to inform proper authorities in order to prevent harm from occurring; in such cases, your counselor may also decide that it is in your best interest to contact your family and college officials.
  • If you provide information indicating that a minor or an elderly individual is being abused, your counselor is legally required to notify proper authorities.
  • In rare cases, a court may order your counselor to disclose information about you.
  • If you are under 18 years old, your parents or legal guardian will have to grant Counseling Services permission to work with you. Your parents or legal guardian may also have access to your clinical record until you are 18.



    Individual Counseling

    Work one-on-one with a personal counselor to discuss your concerns and facilitate your personal growth. You and your counselor will work together to define and discuss issues that interfere with your psychological health and wellbeing.

    Group Counseling

    One of the many advantages to group counseling is the means to explore issues in our relationships with others. Group therapy allows individuals to explore their relationship patterns and dynamics in a safe and confidential environment. Groups also offer the chance to experience genuine relationships with others; what one learns about themselves in the group can then be transferred to their life outside the group.

    Consultation and Referral

    If you are concerned about a student and would like more information on how to help or refer them to counseling, we offer consultation services to friends, parents, partners, faculty, and staff. At times, certain mental health concerns may be best served by an entity outside of Counseling Services. We can help you negotiate and seek out these services, which may include but are not limited to psychiatry and medication, eating disorder clinics, nutritionists, or other professionals in community or private practice.

    Outreach and Programming

    Counseling Services and Peer Allies are prepared to present on mental health issues to classrooms and groups. Topics could include stress management, healthy relationships, healthy eating habits, sexual assault awareness, drug and alcohol use, among many others.

Peer Allies

Peer Allies are students with a passion for bringing awareness to mental health, stopping the stigma surrounding mental health, and promoting equity and inclusion. Peer Allies are not Resident Assistants but fellow students who can offer support through stressful times. Peer Allies live in the residence halls and are trained to provide non-judgmental, positive peer support. They host programs and tabling events throughout the year to promote overall wellness.

The Peer Allies program is now taking applications for the 2021–22 academic year. To learn more, contact Area Coordinator Amber Ellington at

2021–22 Peer Allies Application >>

Resources and Emergency Services

Coping with COVID-19

College can be a stressful and difficult time during any semester. However, we are experiencing unprecedented times that may present or increase mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. It is difficult to distance from friends and family, and if one is placed in quarantine, it can be lonely and isolating. Please educate yourself with the institution's COVID-19 resources. You can also refer to the apps and emergency resources listed on this page. Counseling Services staff are here to help you. Please reach out if the pandemic is impacting you or if extra support is needed.

Additional Resources

For after-hours crisis management, please contact the Office of Campus Safety at 828.898.8756, a member of the Residence Life staff, or New River Behavioral at 828.733.5889. In the event of an emergency, a student should be taken directly to the nearest hospital.

Contact Us

Marla Gentile
Director of Counseling Services

John McManus