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Counseling Services

At Ottawa University, we support your academic success and overall health. We know that students often experience a range of stressors that can impact learning and well-being. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health concerns, ​ or could benefit from effective strategies, there are free and confidential resources available to enrolled students through the Counseling Center. To learn more, call 785-229-1081 or email

Although Counseling Center staff are working on site, services may be provided via telehealth for the if needed in order to reduce risk of exposure for all. To access services please call the Counseling Center main number (785-229-1081) or email the office at Our Office Coordinator will assist you in connecting with one of our experienced staff clinicians. Our office hours for the semester are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Third-party consultations are always available for faculty, staff, family members, and students who are concerned about an OU student. Please call or email the office for assistance.

Our emergency on-call service is available to assist with crises and situations of overwhelming acute distress. Call the main Counseling Center number at 785-229-1081 to connect with the appropriate emergency resource.

Coping Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Black Mental Health and Support



Addictive Behaviors and Recovery


Self-harm / Self-injury




Time Management

  • Toggl App - Time Tracker
  • Offtime App - Able to Block the Use of other Apps
  • App - Concentration Music
  • FocusMate App - Accountability Buddy to Ensure Work Gets Done
  • Todoist App - To-Do List

Grief and Loss


Holiday Stress

Race-Related Stress

Body Image and Eating Concerns

Stress and Anxiety Management during the Job Search Process

LGBTQ+ Wellness and Support

When to seek counseling:

There are a variety of concerns that can be successfully addressed by consulting with an objective individual who is experienced in assessment and treatment and is bound by confidentiality. These include:

Confusion about life decisions

Concern about family and relationship to family

Problems in peer and romantic relationships

Concern about sexuality

Worry about stability and balance

Symptoms such as anxiety or depression that are interfering with academic and social functioning

Preoccupation with body image and eating

Concern about use and abuse of alcohol and/or other substances

Feedback from others that behavior is problematic and needs to be addressed


For counseling services to be most effective, respecting the confidentiality of students is fundamental. All interactions with the Counseling Center, including content of your sessions, your records, scheduling of or attendance at appointments and progress in counseling are confidential within the staff of the Center. Counseling Center records remain at the Center and are not a part of the college record. Please note that we contract with an outside agency, ProtoCall Services, to provide a portion of our after-hours on-call coverage. For continuity of care and to help ensure appropriate management of potential emergency situations, we exchange risk-related information with this agency, as necessary. Their records are also confidential.  Information can be shared with other parties only in the following circumstances:

A student requests or consents for information to be given to another party

A student presents a serious, immediate physical danger to self or others

A student reports current abuse of a minor, elderly or disabled person

 A student's record is mandated by a court of law

Counselors encourage students to ask about confidentiality concerns.

Making an Appointment:

We ask that students coming to the Counseling Center for the first time come in during the walk-in hours, if possible. Walk in hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 am to noon and Tuesday/Thursday from 1 pm to 2 pm. Appointments can be made from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, by stopping by the Counseling Center, located on the first floor of the administration. The first mutually convenient open appointment time will be offered. Situations involving safety-related risk will be given highest priority and will always be offered a same-day appointment. When appropriate, students who are in high distress but who are not experiencing a safety-related emergency may be offered immediate contact with an on-call clinician. For emergencies that occur after hours and on weekends, when the university is in session, please call 785-229-1081 to access the appropriate resource.

How to Refer Others:

If you are concerned about the emotional well-being of a student with whom you have contact, the most direct approach is to share your concern with that person by giving them concrete feedback on the troubling behaviors. If she/he agrees that there is a problem and wishes to do something to address it, you can then remind her/him that the Counseling Center is available to offer assistance. You may even offer to accompany the student to an initial appointment if doubt or discomfort about using the Center is expressed. If you are unsure about ways to proceed in making a referral, you may consult with one of the Counseling Center staff members, who will help you plan a strategy.

Q. Where is the Counseling Center?

We are located on the first floor of the Administration Building. We are open from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. during fall and spring semesters. Walk in hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Tuesday/Thursday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Q. Who is eligible for services?

Direct clinical services (i.e., individual consultation and therapy appointments, skill-building workshops, emergency services) at the Counseling Center are available to fully enrolled, matriculating residential students of Ottawa University who reside in Kansas. Referral assistance and third-party consultations regarding students of concern are available to all members of the OUKS community. For assistance during the summer, please call the main Counseling Center number at 785-229-1081 to connect with an appropriate referral resource.

Q. How do I make an appointment?

We ask that students coming to the Counseling Center for the first time come in during the walk-in hours, if possible. All students coming to the Counseling Center for the first time are asked to provide contact information and are asked to share a bit about their presenting difficulties. This helps us connect you to the appropriate resource provider and serve you in a timely manner. To schedule a follow up appointment, you can call our front desk (785-229-1081) or email to schedule a time to come in.

Q. What happens in individual consultation with a clinician?

 In your appointment, the clinician will work with you to develop a clear understanding of the immediate concerns that have led you to seek support, will help prioritize your goals, and will help you develop some concrete strategies for addressing the most pressing of these. By the end of the session, you will have some tools and strategies to put into action that help reduce your distress and shift your presenting concern in a positive way.

If your concern is ongoing or part of a larger set of difficulties, you and your clinician will discuss resources that might be helpful beyond the initial consultation appointment. These might include one of the skill-building workshops offered at the Center, open-ended treatment with a local mental health clinician, or returning to the Counseling Center for additional “one-at-a-time” consultation appointments as needed. We might also encourage you to use other campus resources, like the Adawe Center and peer tutoring.

Q. What happens in skill-building workshops?

In our skill-building workshops, four to six students meet once a week for three weeks with one of the Center’s staff clinicians. The goal of the workshops is to help students better understand the concerns that led them to seek support, and to learn and practice in-session some tools for better managing these concerns. The workshops differ from group therapy in that they are less about exploration and more focused on helping student develop concrete strategies for reducing their distress and coping more positively with their concerns. No pre-screening is required.

Q. Are there session limits at the Counseling Center?

Working on a case-by case basis in a “one-at-a-time” consultation model helps us to provide services to as many students as possible while also maintaining a reasonable wait time for appointments. Our walk-in hours provide same day access to care, and our average wait time for an initial appointment is typically just a few business days. Students are sometimes referred to community therapists if more open-ended treatment is needed.

Q. What if I get referred to the community?

If a student requires ongoing, longer-term, or more specialized care than the Counseling Center can provide, we will offer referrals to clinicians in the community who can provide that care. If you are referred to a clinician in the community, you will need to use your health insurance or pay out of pocket for that care. We will make every effort to ensure that referral fits your clinical and practical needs. If the referral is not working for you, for any reason, you are encouraged to contact the Counseling Center to discuss other referral options.

Q. How does confidentiality work?

We take your confidentiality very seriously. We will not disclose any information about you, including the fact that you have come to the Counseling Center, to anyone without your permission. In rare and very specific cases, we may be ethically and/or legally obligated to break confidentiality. Exceptions to confidentiality include:  if we judge that you are at imminent risk for seriously hurting yourself or someone else, if you tell us about any current instance of child or elder abuse or if we are court-ordered by a judge to disclose records. Please note that we contract with an outside agency to provide a portion of our after-hours on-call coverage. For continuity of care and to help ensure appropriate management of potential emergency situations, we exchange risk-related information with this agency, as necessary. Their records are also confidential.  If you have more questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to ask your clinician.

Q. What emergency services are available at the Counseling Center?

Same-day appointments are always available for any student who is experiencing a risk-related emergency. Situations that would qualify for an emergency appointment include: (1) concern about one’s own safety due to suicidal thoughts or threats from others; (2) having thoughts of seriously harming another person; (3) hearing or seeing things that others are not (that is, difficulty with reality testing); or, (4) experiencing a recent physical or sexual assault. If you are experiencing one of these situations, please come to the Counseling Center immediately and ask for an emergency appointment. If the office is closed, please proceed to Campus Safety.

The Counseling Center also has after-hours emergency services available by telephone anytime the office is closed. Students can connect with these services by calling the Counseling Center main number (785-229-1081). Students who are concerned about the safety of a peer are also welcomed to use our on-call services or to request a same-day emergency consultation.

Please note that all fully enrolled students are eligible to use emergency services while they are attending classes. This includes students who are receiving treatment from private clinicians. Students who are away from campus (e.g., on leave, on semester break, or studying abroad) should call 9-1-1 or go to their local emergency room for assistance.

Q. I'm worried about a friend - where do I go for help?

The Counseling Center is available for third-party consultation to anyone (faculty, staff, family member, or student) who is concerned about the safety or well-being of a student. To schedule an in-person third-party consultation, please call or stop by the office. If the situation is a safety-related emergency, please indicate this so we can respond appropriately.

Counseling Center Core Principles

We believe these principles are at the heart of every effective clinical interaction. Individually and collectively, we strive to make sure that we adhere to these principles. They shape our interventions as clinicians, our interactions as colleagues and our liaison, consultation and outreach to the larger OU Community.


Students who come to the Counseling Center are typically in some kind of emotional pain, distress or confusion. We strive to provide an empathic, nonjudgmental environment where we listen to students carefully and without preconceptions and where students will feel heard and validated.


Effective mental health interventions always involve good collaboration between clinicians and clients. We strive to ensure that our clients are equal participants in their therapy, that they understand their treatment plan and that the relationships between students and Counseling Center staff are open and respectful. We also strive to maintain effective teamwork within the Counseling Center and to collaborate effectively across campus with other student services, with faculty and with parents.


As clinicians, we take our responsibility to provide expert care seriously. We take responsibility for our continued growth as professionals. We are open about our professional credentials and training and we use consultation services as needed and appropriate.

Respect for Autonomy

We respect that the students coming to the Counseling Center are emerging adults, who are taking responsibility for seeking help to solve their problems. We believe that treatment is there to help students provide their own answers and solutions to their questions and problems. We encourage students to work with us to meet their goals and to assume responsibility for their current lives and future direction.

Sensitivity to Difference

We understand, appreciate and celebrate the differences that exist between individuals at OU. We are committed to ensuring that the Counseling Center is a welcoming and safe space for all.


Our staff recognizes the importance of privacy and safety as the basis of effective therapy. We take student confidentiality very seriously. We do not share information about students seeking help at the Counseling Center with anyone without written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality are rare and specifically mandated by law and professional ethics. We make sure to review confidentiality during our first contacts with all students and are available to answer any questions about confidentiality as they may arise in the course of treatment.

The college years are a time of challenge and growth for students. Students at OU develop a greater sense of independence, encounter differing worldviews, examine and reconsider their personal and cultural values, forge meaningful relationships, and navigate through the myriad opportunities and dilemmas of a stimulating new environment—all while meeting the challenges of a rigorous liberal arts education. Along the way, they will also be negotiating new relationships with you, their parents and loved ones.

We can provide some general suggestions and inform you about some of our services and about how mental health confidentiality works once a student is legally an adult. Ultimately, however, we would like to emphasize that every child will experience his or her own unique set of challenges and adjustments, just as every parent will have different expectations for and reactions to their child's college experience. Please do not hesitate to contact us at the Counseling Center if you have specific questions or concerns about your student at Ottawa University.

While college students change in many new and often unexpected ways throughout their time at OU, there are certain predictable rhythms to the academic year and to the course of an undergraduate education. It can be helpful for parents and families to be aware of these markers.

Angela Mitchell

Angela Mitchell

Director of Student Mental and Health Services


Emily Reimer

Emily Reimer


Telephone: 785-248-2320

Liz Vaughn

Liz Vaughn

Graduate Assistant - Counseling Office Coordinator

Telephone: 785-229-1081

Counseling Center
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Facilities and Services for Students with Disabilities
Reasonable accommodation for persons with known disabilities will be made in accordance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. No person with a known disability will be intentionally excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination under any University policy, program, service, or in relation to employment because of a disability. University programs and facilities are intended to be accessible to persons with disabilities as required by law.

Ottawa University offers a wide range of accommodations and services for students with disabilities.
Examples include extended testing times, accessible parking, accessible housing, interpreters for the deaf. Students wishing to receive an accommodation for a disability should contact the Disabilities Services coordinator at their campus. Students will be assisted in completing the request form and advised on the medical documentation required for an accommodation to be made. The file of the materials submitted by the student will be kept confidential. Only those employees required to know of a student’s disability will be privy to this information.

More details regarding disability services can be found at

What were you wearing?

Content Warning

Sweats and Tshirt

"I think sweats and a t-shirt. I went to his place
to study. I couldn't process what happened.
He was a worship leader at his church."

- University Student


"Pajamas. Pajamas when I was 8, 9, and 10.
Pajamas when I was 13. Pajamas when I was 17.
The dark is my biggest fear to this day."

- University Student

sweat shirt and jeans

"It was February, so I was wearing an over-sized
sweatshirt and jeans. We were drinking and the
friend who hosted the party told me I needed to
stay over because I was too drunk to drive. The
next day, I woke up in his bed with no pants on."

- University Student

cheer uniform

"The first itme I was wearing sweats and a
t-shirt. The second time, I was wearing a cheer uniform.
He ripped the buttons and I had to get it altered afterwards.
I hated cheer after that and quit before the season was over."

- University Student

black converse, skinny jeans and a tan blouse

"I was wearing black converse, black skinny
jeans, and a tan blouse. We were sitting with
friends at a bar. He kept trying to put his hands
down the front of my pants. I didn't know what to do,
so I escaped to the bathroom. When I got out, he was
waiting for me and pushed me into the men's room."

- University Student


"Probably a little sundress, that's what I always
wore. I was four years old. The worst part was it
was from my brother, my own family member."

- University Student

tshirt and jeans

"A t-shirt and jeans. I was totally drunk after
my first college party my freshman year. He
shouldn't have taken advantage of me being
messed up like he did."

- University Student

basketball shorts and jersey

"Black basektball shorts and a blue Grant Hill jersey.
I was 11 years old. He groomed me. I had just moved
to town and he was a popular kid at school. He said
he'd make sure I never had another friend at school
if I told anyone. I didn't tell anyone for 10 years and
when I did, they asked why I wasn't strong enough to
fight him off or if I really wanted it, but never what I
was wearing."

- University Student

khaki shorts and tank top

"I was wearing khaki shorts and a cotton tank top.
He convinced me to come back to his house with him
after a lame date. I was told by a friend to keep the
clothes I was wearing in case I decided to report it.
They are still in a bag hidden in my closet."

- University Student

bra and underwear

"I was wearing a black bra and grey cotton underwear.
It was night swimming with a friend. I thought we
were friends. I've always wondered if what
I was wearing changed it at all."

- University Student

pink fuzzy sweater and navy pajamas

"I was wearing an over-sized pink fuzzy sweater and
navy pajama shorts. He was tall, strong, drunk and
refused to take no for an answer. I've never felt
safe on campus again. These experiences have
made me feel like I have no value to anyone
outside of being an object."

- University Student

jeans and blue t-shirt

"The first time, I was wearing jeans and a blue t-shirt.
The next time, years later, I was wearing jeans and a
blue t-shirt. I wear blue sometimes when I kickbox
or when I need to be assertive. Even today, I am
wearing blue, because they don't get to take my
voice, my favorite color, or my ability to say no
and mean it. These are mine."

- University Student

Thank you to the survivors who have shared your experiences with us

About the Illustrator

Faith Maddox is a Sophomore at the University of Kansas studying English and Creative Writing. She has been a Peer Educator at SAPEC since May of 2019. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master's degree in either Social Work or Education. Instagram: @faaithica.

History of the Project

The “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013. Created by Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert, the project was inspired by Dr. Mary Simmerling’s poem, What I Was Wearing. To learn more about the history of this project, visit sapec,

What I was Wearing Poem by Mary Simmerling


The poem "What I Was Wearing" inspired this gallery, but it did not give voice to the question, “What were you wearing?” This myth is one of many pervasive narratives utilized to blame survivors and justify perpetrators. The What Were You Wearing installation was not the first or the last to address these specific issues. There are multiple other projects that have addressed this common rape myth.

Recent individuals and projects include; but are not limited to:

Christine Fox (2014)

Kathrine Cambareri (2016)

University of Oregon (2019)

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