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No More Waitlist: New CWS Director Dispels Misconceptions, Recruits New Staff

CWS at Fall Fest | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian

As of October 2023, new Counseling and Wellness Services Director Dr. Barb Marsh has taken the reins in revamping CWS and intensifying current mental wellness efforts with new staff and transparency.

A new philosophy

Marsh possesses experience in behavioral health care, working in the field for 25 years. Originally with Youth and Family Services, community mental health agencies and substance abuse disorder agencies, Marsh applied for the director position because of a desire to work in higher education. 

“I really love working with students, and I thought it would be a great opportunity, and I really love the idea of working within the higher education area,” Marsh said.

As CWS Director, Marsh’s responsibilities involve overseeing all of the counseling services at Wright State University, including prevention and outreach efforts across the campus.

Intensified prevention efforts include increasing peer mentor training, increasing awareness of CWS and reducing the stigma of mental wellness. This is in combination with University President Dr. Sue Edwards’ new policy of mandating that all staff and faculty be trained in mental health first aid.

Counseling and Wellness services and misconceptions

Marsh clarifies that there are few current misconceptions about CWS operations.

One is the perception that CWS has a waitlist. There is currently no waitlist for appointments. By scheduling over the phone, walking in or checking online, students may be seated for their first appointment in as little as a few days. This accessibility has especially ramped up in the last month and a half.

The second is the perception that CWS limits the amount of individual therapy sessions that a student can partake in. Marsh states while CWS focuses on the Brief Therapy Model, which traditionally utilizes a maximum of six sessions, students may take part in more sessions if they wish.

Counseling and Wellness Services currently offer a myriad of options for counseling and therapy. 

“We offer a warm, relaxed and confidential place to talk things out. You may find that there are no simple answers to your problems; however, talking to a therapist can result in finding new ways to look at problems as well as identifying suggestions and possible solutions,” the CWS website reads. “Often, just talking with someone who asks the right questions is all that is necessary to relieve stress and find answers.”

Services include individual, couple and group therapy, as well as psychological assessments.

Issues worked through in therapy may include family conflict, sexual abuse, eating disorders, career indecision, time management, depression and more.

Students may submit a preference to race and/or gender when assigned to a counselor.

An initial intake appointment determines reasons for seeking counseling and the development of a treatment plan.

Expanding staff and care

“I think there’s really a lot of opportunity to be able to expand our service delivery. We are now trying to do what we can to integrate care,” Marsh said. “We’re also looking at expanding our assessment services, our psychological assessment services, in the future.”

CWS is well-prepared in taking on seven new full-time staff and 12 student trainees from master’s all the way to Ph.D. students. Full-time staff are licensed psychologists and/or counselors. All of these staff members were recently hired, providing a brand new slate for CWS.

Therapists-in-training are required to record their sessions with students only for the purpose of assisting in their training under the guidance of a licensed psychologist or counselor.

“Our guiding philosophy is really putting our students first and making sure that we are meeting the needs for students, making sure we have accessibility for students and making sure that students are involved in the decision-making,” Marsh said.

Marsh encourages students to call or email CWS with feedback on services. Additionally, CWS welcomes students currently in or out of crisis to use its services.

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