Counseling services at Penn State Wilkes-Barre are free and confidential for students. The Counseling Services office provides individual, couples and group counseling.
There are many different reasons that students seek out counseling services. Counseling services can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include difficulty or conflicts with friends, roommates, or family members; stress, depression and/or anxiety; sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs. We are also available to assist students in making difficult decisions, resolving relationship issues, dealing with academic pressures, and other personal concerns.
Counseling Services welcomes all students and embraces a philosophy respectful of diversity. We are supportive of students’ gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, cultural and religious backgrounds, and abilities. We are committed to helping all students deal with discrimination and identity issues.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment or request more information, contact our campus counselor, Sarah Luvender-Newman (570-675-9282 or [email protected]). Confidentiality is strictly respected.
Counseling Services is typically open from 8:00 am–5:00 pm Monday through Friday. The counselor works on an appointment basis; in addition, in most instances the counselor is able to respond to a mental health emergency during those hours. If a particularly urgent situation (for example, suicidal thoughts or sexual assault) presents itself during counseling office hours, a student can contact our office and report the need for immediate attention. We will then make every effort to respond promptly. However, crisis situations do not always occur during office hours.
Other options for mental health crisis situations are listed below. These emergency services, staffed by mental health clinicians, are designed for students to access when Counseling Services is not open:
- 24/7 Penn State Crisis Line (call 877-229-6400 or text “LIONS” to 74141)
- Help Line: Luzerne County Crisis Intervention (dial 211 or 800-423-8007)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255)
- Victim’s Resource Center — Sexual Assault Hotline (570-823-0765 or 866-206-9050)
- Domestic Violence Service Center (570-823-7312 or 800-424-5600)
In addition, the police are available to respond in emergency situations:
- Lehman Township Police Department (dial 911 or 570-675-1483)
- Penn State Wilkes-Barre Police Services (570-675-9111)
Individual counseling is offered to help students gain a deeper understanding of the sources of their difficulties. These insights are then translated into plans for action that the student can carry out in his or her daily life. For issues requiring psychiatric services (medication evaluation and management) an appropriate referral to a community provider will be recommended.
At times, problems in relationships lead to stress and disruption in students’ lives. Couples counseling is an option when at least one partner is a full-time student. Married, unmarried, and LGBTQ+ couples are all welcome.
Both Pennsylvania law and professional codes of ethics emphasize the importance of confidentiality in a counseling relationship. However, law and ethics also emphasize the sanctity of life and the protection of individuals. Confidentiality may be breached if the counselor has reason to believe that the client may pose a threat to him/herself or to others. Confidentiality must also be breached if the counselor has reason to believe that a child is the victim of sexual or other forms of abuse, or if the counselor is required to testify in a court of law.
Release of Information
Professional ethics concerning confidentiality prevent us from even acknowledging that we work with a particular individual. Therefore, if you wish for the counseling staff to confer with your family members, instructors, or other concerned individuals, you must sign a “Release of Information Form.” A signed “Release of Information Form” will offer guidelines concerning with whom we may discuss your situation and will outline any limits on such discussions. Of course, a release is not mandatory if confidentiality must be breached (as described in Confidentiality above).
Referral Information for Faculty and Staff
Consultation with Counseling Services is available Monday–Friday from 8:00 am–5:00 pm by phone or appointment. Consultations are available for students, faculty and staff or any concerned person who wishes to talk with Counseling Services about a student suffering from emotional stress, counseling referrals or other issues. If a consultation is needed outside of normal business hours, please contact the Penn State Crisis Line at 1-877-229-6400.