Counseling Service

Celebrating Diverse Life Experiences

The University of Maryland Counseling Center is committed to providing culturally-sensitive services to the campus community and developing the multicultural capacities of its staff. Given the diversity of our student population, help-seekers come to the counseling center with varied experiences specific to their racial and ethnic group membership, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, religious affiliation, national origin, and/or disability status. We strive to provide services and programs that are inclusive and give voice to these varied experiences by providing a safe place to be heard, appreciated, and accepted. Staff members in the counseling service have expertise in providing therapy, campus outreach, and consultation that welcomes and celebrates human diversity.

Diversity Statement

The University of Maryland Counseling Center is committed to providing culturally sensitive services to the campus community and developing the multicultural capacities of its staff. Given the diversity of our student population, help-seekers come to the counseling center with varied experiences specific to their racial and ethnic membership, gender, sexual identity, social class, religious affiliation, nationality, and/or disability status. We strive to provide services and programs that are inclusive, and give voice to these varied experiences, by providing a safe place to be heard, appreciated, and accepted.

We celebrate the rich diversity that exists in our campus community. As the University’s Strategic Plan for Diversity states, "living and working in a community that accepts and celebrates diversity is a joy and a privilege that contributes to the vitality and excellence of the educational experience." As a community, our lives are interconnected and we benefit when we encourage awareness, tolerance, respect, acceptance, understanding, and an appreciation of our differences and similarities. By fostering these processes, our hope is that students, faculty, staff and others in our community will broaden their scope of awareness, develop empathy for different perspectives and life experiences, challenge stereotypes and biases, and serve as models for civility and social justice.

We are a Counseling Center staff with extensive experience providing support services to individuals of varying social identities and backgrounds. We have learned, only through an awareness of oneself as a cultural being can one hope to help and understand others. To enhance our knowledge and skills, the Center routinely engages in a broad array of continuing education programs, trainings, and ongoing research in these domains. Furthermore, training for interns, externs, and practicum students in the areas of diversity and multicultural education is integral to the Center’s values and mission.

Our commitment to diversity is an ongoing and open-ended journey. There are many opportunities at the University of Maryland and in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area to learn and enrich one’s intellectual, social, and cultural knowledge and experience. By taking advantage of these learning opportunities, one can truly experience and enjoy all that our world has to offer.

Drop In Hour: Safe and Inclusive Support

Safe and Inclusive Support
(Fall and Spring Semesters)

The Counseling Center is a safe and inclusive space where counselors provide support to students from underrepresented populations. Recognizing that stigma about seeking counseling and unfamiliarity about the counseling process prevents some students from getting the help they need, the Counseling Service makes requesting time with a counselor easier to specific student populations.

Free unscheduled time with a counselor is available to students of color, LGBT students, international students, and veteran students during the times listed below. Please note that students will be asked to complete several brief surveys prior to meeting with a counselor within an hour of arrival.

Population Time Days of the Week Therapist
International Students Foreign-born Students 3 - 4 pm Monday - Friday International Ally
Rainbow Walk-In LGBT 3 - 4 pm Monday - Friday LGBT Ally
Students of Color Racial and ethnic minorities 3 - 4 pm Monday - Friday Therapist of Color
Veteran Students US military (active duty and veterans) 3 - 4 pm Monday - Friday Veterans' Ally

Culturally-Responsive Counseling

Individual Counseling

Whereas all counselors are capable of providing culturally-responsive care, students may request to be paired with a therapist of a preferred background, such as race or gender. Students seeking religious- or LGBTQ-affirming counseling may also inquire about working with therapists who might include religion and sexual orientation issues in treatment.

Group Counseling

Group treatment can be an affirming and supportive space for students with shared identities and backgrounds. In the past, the following groups have been offered to support students:

  • Graduate Women’s Group
  • Women of Color Group
  • Circle of Sisters (Black/African American Women)
  • LGBTQIA Support Group
  • Men’s General Therapy Group
  • International Student Support Group
  • Graduate Diversity Discussion Group

View the Group Schedule for identity-based groups currently being offered.

Culturally-Informed Outreach Programming

Counseling Service staff offer programs and presentations for students, faculty, and staff addressing the intersection of mental health and social identity. Examples of diversity-related outreach topics include:

  • Understanding Eating Disorders and Gender
  • Depression among Black/African American Women
  • First in the Family to Attend College
  • Coping with Race-related Trauma

When difficult diversity-related or sociopolitical events occur, students, faculty, and staff may have a difficult time understanding and responding to these situations. Addressing these issues can be emotionally-challenging, and individuals may find it difficult to have meaningful discussions about these topics. Counseling Service staff members can assist UMD community members in talking through these difficult topics by coordinating a facilitated conversation. Facilitated conversations are informal dialogues that assist all involved with understanding their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the difficult topic. A facilitated conversation may result in increased self-knowledge and more empathy for others. Topics may include the following:

  • Race/Racial Identity
  • Racism
  • Gender/Gender Identity
  • Sexism
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Homophobia
  • Disability Status
  • Social Class
  • Religion
  • Sociopolitical issues

To request an outreach presentation or facilitated conversation, please submit a Counseling Services: Outreach and Consultation Request.

Resources

Race/Racism

Taking Action Against Racism
Resources and activities for acting through the media or in higher education

Intergroup Resources
Activities and readings pertaining to the multiple dimensions of racism

RACE – The Power of an Illusion
PBS’s online resource to the popular video series that details the history of race in America

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender
The American Psychological Association definitions of terms related to gender and sexual orientation

The Trevor Project
A safe space for LGBTQ individuals in times of crisis.

Understanding Prejudice
Web-based resources for understanding gender and sexual orientation

Religion

The Spiritual Life of College Students
A national report on the religious and spiritual patterns among college students

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
A compilation of resources related to evolving religious diversity in America

Social Class

Raising Awareness of Class Privilege Among Students
A brief primer from the American Association of Colleges and Universities on the complexity of discussing social class

About Class
Frequently asked questions about social class

Where Are You in the Class System?
A series of thought-provoking questions to stimulate your thinking about social class in your life

Generational Status

First Generation College Students
The feelings and perspectives of students who are the first in their families to attend college

Discrimination

Understanding Prejudice
Exercises and demonstrations for understanding discrimination and bias