Individual counseling

We offer short-term individual counseling with an emphasis on improving daily functioning and academic success. Our services cannot realistically meet the psychological needs of every individual. In such situations, we will discuss referral options with the client. All of our licensed clinicians and trainees are "generalists" and work with clients presenting a large range of concerns.

Specialized counseling available

We do have clinicians with specialized training and experience, which allows us to provide services tailored for specific diagnoses, such as eating disorders. We also have more intentionally-focused outreach and service options for groups such as student military veterans, international students, student athletes, LGBTIA+ students and students from diverse ethnic, socio-economic or cultural backgrounds.

  • Eating disorders

    At Counseling Services, we offer specialized services for students who are struggling with negative body image and disordered eating. If you are concerned about the impact that your relationship with food, weight, eating or body image is having on your life, you may schedule an initial appointment to meet with a counselor to talk about your options. Your counselor will help you to determine the appropriate level of care based on what you are currently experiencing.

    Counseling Services offers outpatient treatment for people struggling with disordered eating. We work very closely with the staff at the Student Health Center in order to provide a multidisciplinary treatment team approach. Usually this means that students meet with a counselor for individual therapy, with a physician for evaluation and monitoring of medical health, and with a registered dietician for nutritional counseling.

    Many students who struggle with concerns related to eating and body image also attend group therapy at Counseling Services. We have found that individuals with disordered eating often experience overwhelming feelings of secrecy, shame, and isolation from others. Although it can sound intimidating and scary at first, group therapy offers hope and relief through a sense of community and connection with others who understand.

    Sometimes students need long-term or more intensive care than we are able to provide. When we feel that a higher level of care is needed, we will provide you with referral information to an outside treatment facility or agency. Examples of more intensive care include intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization treatment, or residential treatment. Each of these treatment options are available in Reno, at the Center for Hope of the Sierras.

  • International students

    Studying abroad is a major life transition from home country to host country. It can also be both exhilarating and daunting! As an international student, you will find that living and studying in the United States can open a whole new world of life-enhancing experiences. You may discover many opportunities for professional and personal growth. You may also find that the cross-cultural transition process requires substantial readjustments, and these can often be stressful.

    At first you may face a number of challenges as you adapt to being in a new culture. This may involve a loss of the familiar resources, supports and traditions that were available in your home countries. You may find yourself dealing with homesickness and depression as well as potential language barriers, stereotyping, and discrimination. All of these may affect your social and academic performance. In addition, like all college students, you may experience many other stresses including financial and relationships. If you are facing any stresses in your personal and academic endeavors, we want you to become familiar with the many resources that are available for you at Counseling Services.

    Working with Counseling Services

    We recognize that working effectively with international students requires counseling approaches that are sensitive to differing cultures. We also recognize there may be potential cultural barriers to help-seeking behaviors. For example, in some cultures people may turn mainly to trusted friends and family members for emotional support. These international students may be less likely to discuss personal information with strangers. There may also be some perceived stigmas and misunderstandings associated with "mental health," which could lead a student to avoid seeking counseling. We want to dispel that myth and let you know it is perfectly okay to seek help when you are experiencing psychological distress or feeling stuck. It is neither a sign of personal weakness nor sickness. Many students take advantage of our services to help with personal challenges that are a normal part of life. Receiving counseling may also help support your academic goals. You may improve your confidence as well as learn highly effective coping skills and strategies that you can utilize in all areas of your life.

    Our faculty and staff at Counseling Services are caring and compassionate. We are highly trained in multicultural issues and very respectful of different cultures and perspectives. We are here to help both undergraduate and graduate international students to be personally and academically successful and to make the most of their study abroad experiences. In addition to individual counseling sessions, weekly support groups are offered at both Counseling Services and Intensive English Language Center.

  • LGBTQIA community

    The University of Nevada, Reno Counseling Services welcomes a diverse student body and staff. Our office values cultural empathy and cultural humility, and we stand with each individual of our University community, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, country of origin, and socioeconomic class. We understand that our LGBTQIA+ students may experience unique concerns, compared to their peers, and our counselors are here to provide support.

    Counseling can be a helpful tool when coping with issues of identity, relationships, anxiety, depression, social oppressions, academic stressors, and many other concerns.

    Counseling Services is dedicated to ongoing continuing education on many aspects of culture and identity, including taking part in LGBTQIA+ Safe Zone training and Transgender Mental Health training. We have updated our client paperwork to ask for pronouns and preferred name. Counseling Services has counselors on staff who work closely with the LGBTQIA+ community and who specialize in working with queer and trans students, including offering an LGBTQIA+ Support Group.

    We hope that you will reach out to Counseling Services and the many other supportive resources on campus. Please do not hesitate to contact Counseling Services at (775) 784-4648 to set up an appointment to discuss any issue.

  • Sports psychology

    Counseling Services welcomes student athletes and offers them a variety of services. If you are an athlete, you are eligible for the same services as other students, including initial evaluation, individual therapy and group therapy. We emphasize wellness by encouraging all students to live a healthy, active lifestyle. We believe this is best achieved by finding a balanced life routine with respect to eating, sleeping, physical activity, social and academic life and other meaningful and fun activities.

    Sports psychology consultations

    At Counseling Services, we have an Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP-certified), Nevada-licensed sport psychologist, several well-trained staff and graduate level supervisees providing sports consultations. 

    This consultation focuses on the psychological factors associated with physical performance. In addition to your physical talents, you may want to increase the mental skills that allow you during competition to consistently execute all the behaviors that were practiced so well in training.

    Why sports psychology is important

    Professional athletes frequently speak to the issue of mental skills.

    Shannon Miller, an Olympic Gold Medalist in gymnastics, agrees that mental preparation is the key to success. She says she couldn't have made it to the Olympics on physical ability alone. "The physical aspect of the sport can only take you so far." She goes on to say that most Olympic athletes have excellent physical gifts, train hard, and are exceptionally prepared for competition. It is the mental preparation that separates them.

    Ray Knight, a former baseball player, says "Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary."

    What are these scientifically-validated mental skills that enhance and maintain optimal performance? They involve increasing the powerful motivation that carries an athlete through the pain or discomfort of extended competitions. This motivation must go beyond pleasing family, achieving fame, or big money rewards. They involve quelling the enemies of athletic success, such as excessive anxiety, loss of focus, and fear of losing.

    Techniques such as positive self-talk, arousal regulation, breathing, visualization, goal-setting, and pre-performance routines are important mental skills. When these are learned, you can be more confident during a completion. During the competition, you can stop overthinking, let go of control, and react based on muscle memory to what is happening in the moment. This is the famous state of flow, also referred to as "the zone."

    Any athlete can also struggle with a number of other problems affecting performance such as problems with teammates and/or coaches, body image and eating issues, burnout or overtraining, and injury or rehabilitation issues. An athlete may also have problems beyond those of the sport. These can include difficulties with family, partner relationships, or diagnosed psychological problems. These matters can also be addressed during the consultation.

    Contact us

    For more information you may contact us at (775) 784-4648 or contact Yani Dickens, Ph.D., CC-AASP at (775) 682-8856 or by email at ydickens@unr.edu.

  • Students of color

    Being a college student is an exciting time in your life. As a student of color, you might be one of the first persons in your family or your community to attend college. You might even be inspired to study because you want to contribute financially to your family after college, or so they can be proud of your achievements.

    The reality is that people from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds continue to struggle with stereotyping, discrimination, and economic inequality. This continues to be the case despite people of color comprising almost forty percent of the American population and being increasingly visible in all aspects of American culture. For this reason, students of color might face specific challenges in college beyond the ordinary ones, such as dating, roommates and pressure to do well academically.

    A student of color might feel isolated and different. In some classes you might be the only person of color and might feel pressure to speak for your entire racial or ethnic group. You might experience prejudice from other students or may feel underestimated by some professors. On the other hand, your family and community may not understand the pressures you have as a college student and ask more of you at home than you can handle. Finally, some students of color may have internalized society's negative views about them and that might impact their self-esteem and confidence.

    If you feel affected by any of these issues, counseling can help you stay emotionally healthy, as you achieve your university goals. Do not hesitate to contact the University of Nevada, Reno Counseling Services. Our counselors are from diverse backgrounds and are highly trained to provide services to diverse and multicultural students. We would welcome an opportunity for you to visit us.

  • Veterans

    Transitioning from military life to the academic arena offers new and exciting opportunities. It may also come with its own set of unique challenges. Learning to put aside "survival mode" and the structure of military life to adapt to a more relaxed frame of mind is not always easy. Those who have not experienced the military life may not understand what current or former military service personnel are feeling.

    The transition to college life can sometimes lead to academic, social, physical, relationship and emotional difficulties. It may be difficult to relate to traditional college students. Developing a sense of identity other than that of a soldier may be difficult. Finding importance and meaning in activities that seem trivial, compared to the adrenalin rush of military life, can bring about a sense of boredom. These are common challenges among those transitioning from soldier to student.

    While you are adapting to this new lifestyle, it may be helpful to pace yourself to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the new challenges you are facing. Using a daily schedule to stay organized and adjust to the variety of options and choices you now face may prove helpful to you. You can reduce feelings of isolation and "feeling different" from other students by connecting with other veterans or members of the military on campus who understand your feelings and experiences. Try to limit the use of alcohol and other drugs which can increase feelings of depression, sleep difficulties, relationship, and academic problems. Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise. Finally, try to reestablish an identity separate from your military service by identifying personal values, passions, and hobbies and actively engage in those activities.

    Most military members are able to successfully transition back to civilian life and enjoy their academic pursuits. If problems do occur, they usually diminish as time goes on. However, if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your daily life and functioning, you may want to consider talking to someone. Consider seeking counseling if you are experiencing:

    • Suicidal thoughts or feelings
    • Recurring and intrusive memories and/or dreams
    • Avoidance of anything associated with your military experience
    • Diminished interest in taking part in activities you previously enjoyed
    • Feelings of being emotionally distant or detached from others
    • Feeling suicidal or having recurrent thoughts of death
    • Frequent irritability or anger
    • Hypervigilance or being easily startled by noises or movements
    • Guilt or anger over something that happened while you were deployed
    • Abuse of alcohol or drugs

    Counseling Services is here to assist you. We have counselors who have experience dealing with veterans and military personnel and their particular issues and concerns. Please give us a call or come in to schedule an appointment if you, or someone you are worried about, needs help.

    Veterans Crisis Line

    University of Nevada, Reno Counseling Services has an after-hours crisis line at (775) 297-8315.

    If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line is available. This confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and texting service is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week with professionals trained to deal with issues specific to veterans, military personnel and their families. Call (800) 273-8255 or text 838255.