Mission and Scope of Practice

Counseling Services Faculty and Staff

Mission Statement

The mission of Counseling Services is to provide psychological services to University of Nevada, Reno students to support and facilitate their personal and academic success and development. Counseling Services also develops and offers prevention and consultation services to assist the university community in maintaining a safe and supportive educational environment.

Diversity Mission Statement

The University of Nevada, Reno Counseling Services acknowledges, accepts, and embraces diversity in its multiple forms, including but not limited to ability, age, cultural identity, ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, and religion. We are committed to providing a safe, affirming, accepting, and empowering environment in our relationships amongst our staff and trainees as well as our clients, the university, and the community as a whole.
Counseling Services provides education and training in multicultural competence and humility to practicum students, doctoral interns, postdoctoral fellows, and our professional staff. Counseling Services also provides services and training opportunities that encourage and educate the university community on the importance and value of multiculturalism and diversity in mental health and psychological practice.
In addition to addressing the psychological needs of our student clients, Counseling Services also serves the university community, including:

  • Providing consultation to university community members on mental health issues and concerns 
  • Facilitating supportive outreach/debriefing to the university community following tragic or critical incidents involving students or staff
  • Providing prevention and health-awareness programming to improve academic performance and enhance the overall campus milieu
  • Conducting training on mental health matters and concerns to a variety of university departments and paraprofessionals
  • Providing training and supervision in psychological services to qualified pre-professional university students and post-doctoral residents, increasing the reach of our services and well as educational opportunities for students

Goal of Service

Counseling Services operates within a short-term or intermittent model of individual treatment, in order to maximize our resources in meeting student counseling needs. The primary goal is to improve students' resilience to distress and their repertoire of coping strategies as they navigate through their university experience, empowering them to overcome barriers to their success. After an initial appointment with a counselor, a treatment plan is created, outlining a plan for the type of counseling, approximate number of sessions, and any referrals to be made. The history and complexity of the presenting issues, as well as the short and long-term goals of counseling, are primary considerations in creating the treatment plan. In many cases, individual sessions are one part of a larger plan that may include group counseling, skills training, psychological assessment and/or referrals within the University or the community.

Issues commonly addressed through brief individual or group counseling:

  • Academic-related issues ( motivation, perfectionism, interpersonal communication, self-discipline )
  • Mood or self-esteem (depression, anxiety, self-esteem, social anxiety, self-destructive behaviors)
  • Relationship issues (conflicts, communication, break-ups, assertiveness, etc.)
  • Adjustment (dealing with transitions, new life circumstances, etc.)
  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma, sexual assault

Issues or needs usually addressed through referral (sometimes with interim counseling or consultation while appropriate referrals are arranged):

  • Long-term weekly psychotherapy
  • Couple and family counseling
  • Addictions (including gambling) and substance abuse treatment
  • Sexual functioning/dysfunction
  • Chronic pain management
  • Chronic suicidality 
  • Psychotic symptoms* without medical stabilization
  • Eating disorders **without medical stabilization
  • Clients who exhibit progressive deterioration in psychological functioning, or in which more intensive treatment than weekly individual counseling sessions is clearly needed
*Psychotic Disorders. Students stabilized through medical treatment of psychotic disorders may be provided intermittent individual or group treatment to provide support for their academic progress and monitoring of symptoms. In such cases, it is required that:
  • Clients continue psychiatric/medical treatment
  • Clients are not chronically suicidal or self-harming
  • Clients understand and agree that they will be referred for more intensive care if they exhibit evidence of progressive deterioration in functioning or if they become non-compliant with treatment planning.

**Eating Disorders Treatment. Students seeking treatment for eating disorders will be required to obtain a medical evaluation through the Student Health Center to determine if they are medically stable. The interdisciplinary Eating Disorder Treatment Team will evaluate and determine the appropriate level of care (i.e., frequency and duration of sessions) and make needed referrals if it is determined that the client is medically unstable or unwilling/unable to comply with treatment planning.

Services that Counseling Services does not provide*:

  • Court-mandated counseling services (i.e., anger-management or substance abuse), forensic or custody evaluations
  • Counseling or assessment services required by employers, government agencies, or academic departments
  • Documentation of psychological conditions for purposes such as special academic, employment, travel, or housing accommodations (i.e., emotional support animals), except when the student making the request is, or has been, a Counseling Services client, and available clinical records and information are sufficient, in the opinion of the clinician, to do so.
  • Neuropsychological evaluations
  • Individual counseling initiated only for course credit
*Some services are outside our scope of practice, require very specialized providers, or may interfere with our ability to meet our many requests for service (e.g., counseling only for course credit).

As space allows, there is no limit for involvement in therapy or support groups, or in workshops and outreach activities. When such services are limited in space, new clients will be given priority over those who may be opting to repeat or continue with services they have already received.
Because of the high demand for our services, we urge our clients to contact us 24 hours in advance to cancel a scheduled appointment. Repeated "no-shows" may result in termination of that service.