Psychological Services

Service Overview

Welcome to Psychological Services at the USF St. Petersburg campus Wellness Center. Please use this page as a resource to understand more about our work and how we can serve you.

IMPORTANT PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE UPDATES FOR FALL 2021:

  • In accordance with USF’s Safe Return Plan, we are pleased to once again offer in-person options for select psychological services. Masks will be required to receive in-person services and you will be screened before entering the Wellness Center Suite.
  • For those who would prefer ongoing telehealth services, we will continue to offer all of our services through this modality. We strongly encourage all initial appointments take place through our telehealth platform to maximize health and safety precautions. For more information about this option, please see our Telehealth Policies and Procedures page.
  • Counseling services are primarily appointment-based. To schedule an appointment, please call our main line at (727) 873-4422. We also offer some on-demand services from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm for urgent needs or emergencies from (See On-Demand Section Below).
  • To request accommodations for any Wellness Center services and/or programs, please contact us directly

Description of SERVICES

All currently enrolled USF students are eligible for counseling and psychological services. Students can be assured of privacy and professional treatment within ethical and legal guidelines. Staff members in the Center are licensed and experienced mental health professionals from the disciplines of clinical psychology, counseling psychology and social work. Psychological trainees, under the supervision of licensed professionals, also provide services in our center.

Stepped-Care

We take a stepped-care approach to providing mental health services. Stepped-care offers a variety of options that vary in both client self-direction and treatment intensity so we can tailor services to each client’s personal needs, preferences and availability. Additionally, regular monitoring of outcomes permits us to step-up or step-down the intensity of treatment to better fit the unique circumstances of each client.

Please continue browsing the information below and continue reading to learn more about this approach and the different options available to our clients.

Stepped Care Model

Self-Driven Treatment

“Chart your own course with our help”

This step offers the greatest opportunity for clients to exercise independence and to use their existing strengths, skills, and resilience to tackle the concerns they face. We have access to many digital resources that offer education and support to students as they leverage those existing capabilities to pursue personal goals. We will also be able to support clients in understanding more about wellness and other success services on campus.

Ideal for individuals who:

  • Are seeking resources on (or around) campus to gain support
  • Want to learn more about mental wellness and coping strategies
  • Tend to prefer self-directed or independent activities/practices
  • Are naturally interested in self-actualization, growth or personal development

Examples of services on this step include:

  • TAO Self-help
  • TogetherAll
  • Suggestions for e-health, m-health and other apps
  • Planning for use of established resources in the student’s life 

We typically do not schedule follow-up services on this step, instead, we practice watchful waiting, allowing students to engage these resources and leaving the door open for additional support if desired or needed. 

Focused Services and Consultation

“Only a few meetings to help build a plan”

This step blends our client’s natural autonomy with a very brief series of meetings with a provider to problem-solve, brainstorm, and make a plan that our clients can then begin to follow as they pursue their wellness goals. The various options on this step tend to be narrow in scope – some help clients change health behaviors; others may address unique issues that are getting in the way. We have a high degree of flexibility to support students on this step.

Ideal for individuals who:

  • Are struggling with a specific conflict, problem, or challenge
  • Have a concrete goal (or set of goals) they need support achieving
  • Would like to receive guidance or recommendations about solving a problem
  • Prefer a shorter period of service with a high level of benefit

Examples of services on this step include:

Under most circumstances, the follow-up appointments on this step are fewer in number (1-4 meetings), may be shorter in duration (30 minutes), and can be spaced further apart in time (once every 3 to 6 weeks) to fit client needs.

Guided Treatment

“Take a deeper drive for broader change”

This step allows students to engage in more time-intensive psychotherapy to help develop new insights, outlook, and behaviors that can be especially helpful when students struggle with more long-term issues. Both Individual Counseling and Group Counseling comprise these options, and these approaches tend to require a higher degree of time commitment and additional work between appointments.

Ideal for individuals who:

  • Are noticing mental health problems are getting in the way of day-to-day life or wellness
  • Have noticed that their usual ways of coping with their concerns are not working as well
  • Are feeling more uncertain about what they want to change in their life
  • Prefer to have a more intensive series of interactions with a provider

Examples of services on this step include:

  • Individual Counseling
  • Interpersonal Group Counseling

We follow a short-term model; individual counseling sessions require at least one hour, often bi-weekly, and Group Sessions meet for 90 minutes once a week. Between meetings, students are often provided experiential activities, exercises, or practices to help support their goals.

Care Coordination

“Let us connect you to the best care”

This step is designed to help students find the right kind of service outside our center. For students whose concerns fall outside our scope of service, who are seeking specialized services, or who desire psychological services in a long-term capacity, often find that having input in the process can be helpful. In many of these circumstances, getting connected to the right kind of treatment outside of our center can prevent any additional discomfort or distress.

Ideal for individuals who:

  • Are experiencing particularly severe or highly disruptive psychological symptoms
  • Have been feeling the need for on-going care that may continue over several years
  • Are looking for options that allow for multiple appointments in a week.
  • Plan to leave the university and are needing support in the community

Examples of services on this step include:

  • Referral assistance and bridging services
  • Coordination with Student Outreach and Support for care management

No matter what your needs, we have the right resources and referrals to get you there. We can support this process both within our office and as a part of a team that can include other professionals on campus.

Our goal in this stepped-care model is to offer the most effective, adaptive, and responsive services to help you feel your best, thrive on a personal level, and succeed throughout your time at USF. Your input and preferences in this approach are highly important. We welcome continued conversations about how we can best meet your needs and we look forward to working with you.

Call us today at (727) 873-4422 to set up your first appointment!

Additional Service Information

On Demand Sessions

Students needing support with urgent issues may contact our office between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm to connect with a provider. We provide designated on-call times during the day and students will be able to access those appointment times on a first-come first-served basis. If students initiate contact outside these times – or if these times are unavailable – we will make every effort to ensure they can speak to a licensed professional same-day. Regardless of the timing of the session, the clinician and the student may collaborate on follow-up appointments to best fit the needs of the student.

On-demand sessions will be available in-person and through our telehealth platform. If you wish to be seen in person, you will need to present to the Wellness Center suite and wear a mask throughout your visit. If you would like an on-demand session via telehealth, simply call our main line and our front desk staff will assist you.

Psychological Testing & Screenings

The Wellness Center maintains a comprehensive library of psychological tests assessing personality characteristics, behavior patterns, coping skills, and career interests. Testing can also be used to help screen for specific problem areas (e.g., substance abuse, eating disorders). Services include the administration, scoring, and interpretation of tests.

These testing and assessment services enhance the effectiveness of other services in the Center by providing objective information about students. Psychological testing can help you and your clinician better understand your concerns. Psychological testing may be recommended to help focus the goals of counseling, to clarify difficulties, or to target specific problems areas. Testing may be needed during the course of your treatment or may occur as a separate service.

FREE ONLINE SCREENINGS

Mental health is a key part of your overall wellness. Brief screenings are the quickest way to determine if you or someone you care about should connect with a mental health professional – they are a checkup for your mental health. This program is completely anonymous and confidential, and immediately following the brief questionnaire you will see your results, recommendations, and key resources. The following screenings are available:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol abuse

ULifeline provides a free, confidential self-test that screens for thirteen of the most common mental health conditions that college students face. This screening does not provide a diagnosis, but identifies problems that could be impacting thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The screening process also provides information on these conditions and how to reach out for help. You can also take the screening for a friend or family member that you are worried about.

SPECIALIZED ASSESSMENT SERVICES

The Wellness Center provides access to neuropsychological testing for the assessment of ADHD, Learning Disorders, or other more specialized types of testing, upon consultation. If you are interested in this service, please call to schedule an initial appointment with a counselor to determine referral needs.

We are unable to provide other specialized assessment services (i.e., forensic matters, academic accommodations, eligibility for services, fitness for duty, etc.). If you are looking for such assessment, our staff can provide you with referrals in the community. Please call (727) 873-4422 (option 2) to schedule a brief consultation with a counselor to receive referrals.

Strengths Coaching

The Gallup Strengths philosophy centers around the belief that focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses results in more effective and meaningful professional and personal experiences. We thrive and grow in environments that allow us to use our strengths. We are truly at our best when we engage in our strengths!

If you have taken the Strengths Finder assessment and would like to learn more about your Top 5 Strengths, you can schedule an individual coaching appointment at the Wellness Center. This one-hour session will provide you with an in-depth exploration of your strengths, how you use them, and even help you create an action plan to use your strengths to their fullest potential!

If interested, please call the Wellness Center at 727-873-4422 or email Dr. Anita Sahgal, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach, for a coaching appointment. You will be asked to send Dr. Sahgal a copy of your Top 5 Strengths profile report at least one week prior to your scheduled coaching session. This service is available for USF St. Petersburg faculty/staff/students only.

Consultations

The Wellness Center is available to provide psychological consultations to students, faculty, staff, parents, and administrators. Mental health consultations assist University constituents in identifying and dealing effectively with students manifesting emotional and/or behavioral problems. These services also contribute to an effective learning environment by facilitating early intervention.

If you are looking to consult with a counselor, please call (727) 873-4422 (option 2) to make an appointment for a brief consultation or request to speak with any available counselor if this is an urgent matter.


WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT?

All of our psychological services are designed to meet your needs and help you reach your goals. At your first appointment, you will have a chance to speak with one of our licensed providers about what you are looking for and will learn a little about how we can help get you there.

As noted above, starting on June 28, 2021 (first day of Summer B), we will resume offering select services in-person. Group counseling will remain virtual until further notice. Students who wish to receive services in-person will be required to wear facial covering while in the Wellness Center suite. We will also continue to offer all of our services via telehealth for students who prefer this option. For more information on the specific steps in this process, please see the Telehealth Policies and Procedures page.

During your virtual session, your provider will not only ask about your needs, but will also discuss what treatment options are available to you. There is no one way that students receive services, and your preferences are important as we develop a plan to help you meet you goals. After this session, you will receive treatment recommendations and will be able to schedule follow-up sessions, as desired. Students whose needs fall outside the scope of our services are assisted with appropriate referrals to community resources.

If you need to cancel an appointment, please notify the Center at least 24 hours in advance. If you do not arrive for an appointment or fail to cancel an appointment at least 24 hours in advance a No-Show fee may be assessed. Continued late cancellations and missed appointments may also impact eligibility for services. Please arrive on time for your appointments and check in at the scheduling desk. Arriving late may result in cancellation of the appointment. Your therapist will also convey respect by keeping appointments or notifying you if changes need to be made as soon as possible.

PLEASE NOTE: the center cannot provide excused absences for medical or psychological illnesses. However, if you are seeking documentation regarding your receipt of services in our office, that documentation can be provided.