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Services Overview

The University Counseling Center is committed to supporting short-term and time-effective therapy focused on mental health and wellbeing. Specific and tailored treatment plans and referrals are developed for each client. The following services are offered at the UCC:

Clinical Services

Community Outreach and Prevention Programming


The UCC is a confidential setting under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). To the extent permitted by law, the UCC does not share information about students or anything discussed in session, with the exception of safety concerns, which may override the confidentiality policy. For example, limits of confidentiality include situations that involve imminent risk to a client or another individual, and situations involving elder or child abuse. The UCC encourages students to sign a written release of information form if they would like for the UCC to share information with members of the student’s family or others. The UCC may share attendance and additional minimally necessary information with the other primary Student Care Network offices, including the Office of Student Care Coordination, Student Health Center, and Center for Student Wellbeing for the purposes of care coordination

Scope of Clinical Care

The Vanderbilt University Counseling Center strives to facilitate the development of Vanderbilt students providing psychological interventions to promote the holistic wellbeing of VU students within an ethos of care. The UCC staff is committed to an ongoing dialogue about individual differences in order to work effectively with the diverse student body at Vanderbilt, promoting a safe and affirming space. The UCC has the following essential roles for advancing the educational mission of Vanderbilt University:

  • Providing short-term clinical services that help students achieve their academic and personal goals.
  • Responding to the psychological effects of crisis impacting individual students and the campus community.
  • Educating the campus community about the psychological and developmental needs of students through community-level interventions, including outreach programming and consultation.

Eligibility for Services at the UCC

Services at the UCC are provided to:

  • Vanderbilt University’s degree-seeking students from the time of matriculation until commencement;
  • full-time, non-degree seeking students, including exchange students, during the period of their enrollment

Students who become inactive either permanently (through graduation or withdrawal from the university) or temporarily (through leave of absence or through a withdrawal from a semester) may be granted one or two additional sessions to support the transition of care, if approved by the UCC’s leadership.

Services are not available to consortium students, summer interns, students registered through the Division of Unclassified Studies, or students in ancillary programs, such as “Next Steps” or the VUMC Allied Health programs.

Services at the UCC (including telemedicine services) require a student to be physically present within the state of Tennessee to receive care in order for the UCC to remain compliant with state licensure requirements. Out-of-state students, including those students participating in Vanderbilt University direct enrollment study abroad programs (e.g. through the Global Education Office (GEO), and distance students such as Peabody Online or School of Nursing students, may choose to return to campus for health care. Click here for more information on client eligibility.

Individual Therapy Approach

In order to use its resources most effectively, the UCC utilizes a short-term model of therapy to assist students in addressing issues common in a university setting. Short-term therapy is focused on helping students to resolve or effectively manage specific challenges, or to make a desired change. It is solutions-focused with an emphasis on direct and active interventions to assist a student in achieving specific goals. Short-term therapy promotes a collaborative relationship between the provider and the student. Since challenges vary from student to student, the length of short-term therapy also varies; it is based on goals set by the provider and student as well as an ongoing clinical assessment of the effectiveness of treatment. Some of the issues that are commonly addressed in short-term psychotherapy at the UCC are:

  • Personal issues: anxiety, depression, loneliness, grief, body image, disordered eating
  • Relationship issues: partners, roommates, family
  • Developmental issues: adjustment, transitions, acculturation, identity issues
  • Academic concerns: motivation, performance anxiety, perfectionism
  • Other issues: trauma, assault, alcohol and other drugs

Change of Provider

Our staff at the UCC understand that being connected with your provider enhances your success in treatment. We strive to ensure our students feel supported and engaged with our providers. If you feel a change of provider is needed, we strongly encourage you to first talk to your provider directly. Our providers are supportive to hearing your concerns and meeting your treatment goals and can help identify next steps.

If you are uncomfortable talking with your provider directly, please reach out to our clinical operation team for support. There are two ways to access our clinical operations team:

  1. Email our team at and provide us information about your name and request. Email is not a secure method of communication so be mindful of the information you send.
  2. Send a secure message through our student portal ( to Melissa Porter providing information regarding your request. This method is a secure form of transmission.

For all requests, please provide the name of your provider, the reason for your request, and what you are hoping to achieve. This information is helpful to know what you are needing in a treatment relationship with another provider. One of our team members will reply to you within two business days.

Group Therapy Approach

Group approaches are frequently the most effective way to explore and support changes students wish to make. The UCC hosts a variety of groups in which students gain specific skills and strategies to meet personal goals, explore interpersonal challenges, and gain support and encouragement.

Students can be referred to group therapy after an initial consultation with the OSCC or by their UCC provider. Group counseling is offered at no additional cost, and sessions are offered weekly.  There is no limit on the number of group therapy sessions a student may attend.

Outside the UCC Scope of Clinical Care

Students may present with concerns and/or characteristics that require a different type or level of care than what is within the role and scope of the UCC. In such cases, the student will be referred to a Student Care Coordinator at the OSCC in order to identify, evaluate, and connect with treatment and support options in the community.  The UCC may provide interim support to assess and stabilize the student while the student connects with appropriate community resources. The list below reflects general guidelines and is intended only as a guide:

  • Students for whom a short-term treatment model would be detrimental or inappropriate to the presenting issues or who require long-term and/or more intensive treatment (i.e., higher level of care);
  • Students who need services beyond the clinical expertise of UCC staff (i.e., specialized care or intervention);
  • Students who present a chronic, ongoing risk of harm to self or others, and whose symptoms do not respond to outpatient crisis intervention or require specialized services. This includes students with a history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, chronic suicidality, homicidality, and/or a history of repeated suicide attempts;
  • Students with a desire to be seen more frequently than the UCC resources can provide (e.g., more than bi-weekly on a consistent basis), or on a long-term basis;
  • Students who demonstrate a serious lack of motivation or engagement in treatment and/or are unable to comply with treatment recommendations.
  • Psychological evaluation or assessment for the purpose of employment clearance, adoption proceedings, eligibility for disability benefits, accommodations on graduate school entrance exams or professional licensing exams.
  • Court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements, or documentation for legal proceedings.
  • Documentation letters for emotional support & service animals, or housing accommodations.
  • Urgent Care Counseling hours are Monday through Friday, 10am – 4pm. During this time, students can contact the University Counseling Center (UCC) by calling (615) 322-2571 to to be seen virtually with the on-call clinician.