The Student Counseling Services team can help address problems such as adjustment and acculturative stress, depression, anxiety, identity issues, and relationship issues that interfere with living and working productively. We can also help with issues specific to the demands and expectations that go along with graduate student life, such as dissertation and thesis writing difficulties.
Our counselors seek to understand each person’s unique circumstances and needs, taking into account individual and cultural differences.
Make an appointment to speak to a counselor and determine which services will best suit your needs.
Explore our Services
Typically 10-12 sessions of short-term counseling. Sessions are 45-50 minutes long.
Individual counseling (sometimes called “psychotherapy” or “therapy”) is a process through which you work with a counselor in a non-judgmental, supportive, and confidential environment to explore your feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, to work through challenging or influential memories, to create and work towards personal goals, to learn to engage with others in a more fulfilling way, etc.
Graduate student life is rife with changes, new challenges and stressors. Our counselors integrate various interventions derived from psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, family systems, and multicultural orientations of therapy.
*We have temporarily suspended couples counseling while operating remotely, but please contact us if you would like assistance locating a couples counseling referral in your area*
Typically 10-12 sessions of short-term couples counseling. Sessions are 50-60 minutes long.
Your partner does not have to be a student at The Graduate Center in order for you to request couples counseling here. Many couples experience difficulties in communication about a range of issues. The stresses and responsibilities of graduate school can sometimes trigger or exacerbate tensions in a relationship. Our counselors integrate various interventions derived from interpersonal, emotion focused, cognitive behavioral, family systems, Gottman method, gestalt, and multicultural couples therapy.
Group Counseling and Academic Support Groups
Group Counseling: Typically groups of 4-8 members meeting once weekly throughout the academic year. Sessions are 60-90 minutes long.
Group counseling can be one of the most effective tools for addressing issues common among graduate students. It is an opportunity to meet with one or two group co-facilitators and four to eight other students who are struggling with similar issues. It can be a powerful experience, as it allows you to see that you are not alone in your problems. Group counseling gives you a chance to tell your story in a safe space, feel supported and understood by others, hear how others have dealt with the same issues, and/or give and receive feedback to one another. Often, people find that the feedback that they get from group counseling helps them to gain perspective and be more effective in their academic and personal lives.
Academic Groups: Typically groups of 4-6 members meeting once weekly throughout the academic year. Sessions are 60-75 minutes long.
Academic groups provide graduate students, with the help of one or two co-facilitators, the opportunity to explore and address, with fellow students struggling with similar issues, specific topical areas that may be affecting their academic work, including in their roles as instructors and researchers.
Wednesdays 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. via Zoom
This group is for individuals looking to expand their awareness of themselves in relation to self and others. The focus is on themes such as trust, intimacy, and boundaries. If you struggle with interpersonal patterns such as not knowing how to communicate your needs/feelings, putting others’ needs ahead of your own, and/or shying away from getting close to people, then this group might be for you. It is a unique opportunity for honest (& sometimes challenging) exploration of personal and interpersonal process in an emotionally supportive environment. It is also an opportunity to practice new ways of being in connection with yourself and others.
Facilitators: Dr. Inez Strama, Supervising Clinical Psychologist for Student Counseling and Rozita Alaluf, M.A., Clinical Fellow
This group is not currently running, but please request services if you are interested in alternative sources of support.
This is a group for master’s students working on their theses & capstone projects. Students from all programs, at all stages in the process, are welcome. You are not alone! This is a space for you to give and receive emotional peer support during a time in your academic journey that can often feel lonely and isolating. You may also benefit from the accountability, learn practical strategies, and hear how others are navigating the process. This is NOT a peer writing and/or editing group.
Facilitator: Dr. Inez Strama, Supervising Clinical Psychologist for Student Counseling
Mondays 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. via Zoom
This is a group for doctoral students working on their dissertations. Students from all programs, at all stages in the process, are welcome. You are not alone! This is a space for you to give and receive emotional peer support during a time in your academic journey that can often feel lonely and isolating. You may also benefit from accountability, learn practical strategies, and hear how others are navigating the process. This is NOT a peer writing and/or editing group.
Facilitators: Dr. Inez Strama, Supervising Clinical Psychologist for Student Counseling and Irena Curanovic, M.A., Clinical Fellow
Wednesdays 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. via Zoom
This is a group for graduate student parents. It’s hard enough to manage the usual stress of graduate student life. Juggling parenting and all your other responsibilities on top of that? What a challenge! You are not alone!
Facilitators: Dr. Nicole Benedicto-Elden, Assistant Director for Student Counseling and Sophie Schiff, M.A., Clinical Fellow
Thursdays 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. via Zoom
This group addresses the unique stresses graduate students often face, including multiple responsibilities, academic pressure, concerns about the job market, and financial responsibilities. These stresses exist alongside the potentially exciting challenge of developing identities as new scholars in students’ chosen fields.
In this group, students are also welcome to discuss life issues outside of school such as family of origin issues, friendship and romantic relationship dynamics, stressors of living in New York, etc.
Facilitators: Dr. Arielle Shanok, Deputy Director of Wellness Center for Student Counseling and Kendell Doyle, Clinical Fellow
Fridays 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. via Zoom
Graduate school can be exciting and exhilarating; it can also be a source of stress. For graduate students who identify as LGBTQ, there may be additional stressors connected to the academic and social demands of graduate life. Do you worry about coming out in your classroom or department? Or do you worry about being out, even before you open your mouth? How do you manage instances of homophobia or heterosexism in school? How do you nurture and sustain your personal relationships, while facing the very real pressures of academic life? What are the ways in which the multiple dimensions of your identity (sexual orientation, gender, class, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation) intersect, and how does this come up in the context of graduate school?
Facilitators: Dr. Arielle Shanok, Deputy Director of Wellness Center for Student Counseling and Jiaqi Li, LMSW, Clinical Fellow
Wednesdays from 10:00am to 11:00am via Zoom; target start date is October 5th.
Have you been feeling physically exhausted or emotionally fatigued? Are you having trouble concentrating or finding it difficult to maintain your academic workload? Do you notice yourself ruminating about certain interactions, wondering if they were racially charged? Do you ever have the feeling that you do not belong in your graduate program? Being a Black-identified graduate student can be a disorienting and marginalizing experience.
For many, the heightened focus on race and race relations has exacerbated existing historical challenges and posed additional obstacles for Black-identified students to navigate within graduate school. You might find yourself feeling isolated and questioning how you will be able to navigate this journey alone. This group is an academic support space designed to offer Black-identified students the space to process thoughts and feelings, get feedback and support on their experiences, and develop organization skills and self-care strategies, all while building community.
Facilitators: Dr. Daam Barker, Community Supervisor for Student Counseling and Elisa-Cameron-Niang, LMHC, Clinical Fellow
Friday afternoons, time TBD for Fall 2022 semester, via Zoom
Being an Asian-identified graduate student can be unique experience for a variety of reasons. If you are an Asian international student, you may be grappling with a vastly different culture and academic setting and grapple with questions such as how do I interact with the faculty? How do I make friends and network? What does critical thinking even mean? Being an Asian-American, you may notice yourself ruminating about certain interactions, wondering if they were racially charged? You may be feeling physically exhausted or emotionally fatigued. For any Asian graduate student, at times you may feel isolated or alone, seeking community and support.
For many Asian graduate students, recent events have exacerbated existing challenges and posed entirely new obstacles within their graduate programs. For example, fear and anxiety may now be present for some due to the anti-Asian discrimination and assaults exacerbated by COVID-19. You may find yourself feeling isolated and questioning how you will be able to navigate this journey alone! This group is an academic support space designed to offer Asian-identified students the space to process thoughts and feelings, get feedback and support on individual and collective experiences, develop organizational skills and self-care strategies, all while building community.
Facilitators: Dr. Nicole Benedicto Elden, Assistant Director for Student Counseling and Tingyun Tseng, M.A., Clinical Fellow
Thursdays 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.via Zoom
Congratulations! You’re the first in your family to go to graduate school. And yet...
Navigating graduate school as a first-gen student can be complex. This group offers an affirming space for you to build community, support each other, and share your feelings about this unique experience. Themes may include: managing the impostor syndrome and self-doubt; learning and perhaps challenging the unwritten rules of academia; juggling financial stress and work-life balance; feeling misunderstood by family, professors, or peers; identifying strengths associated with being a first-gen student and translating them into action and empowerment. Join us!
Facilitator: Dr. Inez Strama, Supervising Clinical Psychologist for Student Counseling
This group is not currently running, but please request services if you are interested in alternative sources of support.
The Grief Support Group is for graduate students who have lost a loved one in recent years and would like a supportive space to grieve. We know how hard it can be to carry on with your many roles and responsibilities after a major loss. Setting aside time to grieve with others who understand can help you heal. In the group, you will be invited to speak about your loved one (at your own pace), about the impacts of the loss and about navigating the broad range of feelings and physical sensations that can be present. There is no one right way to grieve and we will honor the range of ways that each member is journeying through their loss. While there are many kinds of losses that bring up grief, this group is specifically for those whose loved ones have passed away.
Individual Academic Consultations
Typically 3-4 sessions, focused on academic issues.
We offer academic consultation, which provides graduate students the opportunity to explore and determine what may be getting in the way of their academic work. Examples of issues commonly brought to academic consultation include procrastination; time management; balancing academic and life responsibilities; writer’s block; dissertation and thesis issues; and difficulties with advisers and/or cohort and committee members.
Workshops and Supportive Spaces
Student Counseling Services is offering a series of virtual workshops, supportive spaces, and on-demand videos on topics relevant to the pandemic, racial injustice, and other issues that affect graduate students. These have included topics such as COVID-19 grief, COVID-19 related discrimination, racial battle fatigue, self-care, and coping with loneliness, uncertainty, and change. Previous workshop and supportive space topics have also included procrastination, stress management, mindfulness, the imposter syndrome, navigating microaggressions, getting what you need from your advisor, and more.
See below for descriptions of recently offered workshops, or check our schedule for upcoming workshops including:
Mindfulness Strategies as You Ease into the Semester
September 7, 2022 - 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Facilitator: Beej Christie Karpen, SEP, IFS-L1, MBSR-Q
Strategies for Managing Stress in Graduate School
Date: October 24th, 2022 (Monday)
Time: 10:00am to 11:30am (1.5 Hours)
Facilitators: Elena Podell, LMSW and Ryan Savino, LMSW
Empowering International Students in a Challenging Sociocultural Climate
November (exact date and time TBD)
Facilitators: Dr. Vivi Hua & Leecey Cameron, LCSW
This workshop aims to empower students to manage their levels of procrastination in graduate school. Students will develop a better understanding of the different types of procrastination and the factors that maintain these behaviors. Students will also learn useful techniques and strategies to overcome procrastination activities.
Are you feeling “burnt out” from writing your dissertation? Are you rethinking your commitment to your dissertation topic? Do you feel disconnected from the excitement you once felt about the work that you do?
If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions, this workshop is for you! Join us to rediscover your passion for and reclaim your commitment to your research. There, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your experience, meet others sharing in your struggle, and refresh your perspective.
Within this workshop, graduate students will learn about the concept of race based trauma and the corresponding mental health symptoms that they might be experiencing while operating in the world with their numerous minority identities. The workshop will speak about race-based trauma in the context of current events such as the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and COVID-19. The facilitators will provide tools to assist in gaining awareness about the impact that race based trauma has on the mental health of BIPOC individuals, and will offer coping mechanisms as a means of reducing distress and receiving increased support within their personal and educational community. The workshop will also speak to the ways in which allies and confederates can be supportive of their friends/family members/colleagues/etc. of color who experience race-based trauma within their daily lives. Students will have the opportunity to discuss, process, and connect on their experiences within a safe space.
COVID Got You Overdrinking?
Whether overimbibing is new for you or it’s an old habit flaring up as a result of boredom, uncertainty, anxiety, fill-in-the-blank, the good news is, you can learn to reduce your drinking to healthier levels by practicing some mindful drinking techniques.
Join Beej Christie Karpen of Insight Out Coaching in this 90-minute experiential workshop. Beej, a Certified Coach, holds a Certification in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, a modality of working with addiction and habit change that empowers the client and includes moderation as a viable goal. Beej is the creator of Conscious Drinking 101: A 4-Session Group Coaching Workshop.
This workshop is centered on the experiences of BIPOC graduate students.
Imposter syndrome is pervasive among graduate students and characterized by students’ belief that they are undeserving of being in graduate school and a feeling that they are “a fraud.” This often leads to anxiety and depression which makes completing an advanced degree even more daunting. This is particularly salient for some BIPOC graduate students who enter graduate school already feeling that their experiences are not represented by the faculty who teach them and fearing that they will further be underestimated, misunderstood and marginalized. The presenters will discuss how race-based trauma, including racial battle fatigue, police brutality, and intergenerational trauma, compound the challenge for students from these marginalized groups. Participants will have the opportunity to personalize the information presented by discussing strategies to reduce and manage the negative impact of the Imposter Syndrome.
There is no question that we have been experiencing a pivotal, paradigm-shifting time for the world, and collectively we will be experiencing its ripple effects for years to come. The collective grief and anxiety of a global pandemic and the impacts of pre-existing conditions such as racism and systemic oppression cannot be underestimated. We have been continually called in and challenged to be in deep and radical relationship to the nature of impermanence. To meet this call, we must lean into practices that can support our moment-to-moment experience. In this experiential workshop you will learn the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation and how to work with whatever arises within your internal experience and to meet the moment with more ease and spaciousness.
Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Does it feel like you’re always somewhere else, ruminating about the past or worrying about the future? Are you engaging in behaviors to manage stress that you would like to change?
Mindfulness is a practice of learning to attend to the present moment with more acceptance. It is a systematic way of slowing down, observing one’s reactions, and relating to experiences with greater ease and compassion. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance well-being by reducing the impact of stress and helping people cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, mindfulness can be applied to managing urges and cravings to use substances or other problematic behaviors such as self-injury and overeating.
In this workshop you’ll learn simple yet effective techniques for reducing stress, anxiety, and the sense of being overwhelmed from a whole-body perspective. We’ll look at how sleep, diet, time management, self-care, communication, meditation, and breathing practices can help improve mood and calm your nervous system. You’ll come away with easy tools to implement in daily life and to help you get through the holidays and finals season with a little (or a lot) more peace of mind.
Does your adviser seem to be avoiding you? Are your adviser’s expectations of you unclear or do they seem unrealistic? Is your adviser really the best fit for you? Your relationship with your adviser is vital to your success and well-being in grad school. This workshop will address: how to choose an adviser, how to build and maintain a working relationship with your adviser, and what to do when problems occur.
Where does your stress live? In your shoulders? In your impatience with loved ones? In between you and a good night of sleep? This workshop will provide strategies to help you identify and manage the unavoidable stress of graduate student life. Ways of moderating perfectionism, a common contributor to stress in grad students, will be addressed.
Virtual Self-Help Resources
Wellbeing Video Series
We encourage students to explore our Wellbeing Video Series for virtual workshops on a variety of mental health topics. "Self Care for Graduate Students" is a great place to start, as Eva Jo Meyers, M.A shares self-care themes, insights, and coping strategies. Watch here or click below to see the other videos in this series.Browse wellbeing videos
We help our students with referrals to outside clinicians and agencies who may be able to address and treat issues that are beyond the scope of our center (e.g., medication management, long-term challenges or chronic mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD). We have an extensive network of vetted local providers that we update on a regular basis.
Please note that you must present your student I.D. with a validation sticker for the current semester in order to be eligible for services.
If you are ineligible for our services (e.g., temporary students, visiting scholars, non-degree/non-matriculated students, faculty and staff who are not students, and students registered at other CUNY campuses), please visit our Resources page or our Crisis/Emergency Information which may assist you.