Talking can help.
Whether it is stress, sadness, relationship problems, or academic trials, sharing your concerns with another person can make a positive difference. Now, just imagine that the person you are talking to has experience in dealing with your issue and may know some solutions. Then talking may really help! And that’s what Let’s Talk is all about.
- What is Let’s Talk?
- When is Let’s Talk?
- Where is Let’s Talk?
- How is Let’s Talk different from counseling?
- What happens in a Let’s Talk session?
- Who should visit Let’s Talk?
- Meet the Let’s Talk Consultants
What is Let’s Talk?
Let’s Talk is brief consultation that is available to all current graduate and undergraduate students at Notre Dame. It is confidential and completely free. Just walk-in during the times listed below because no appointments are necessary! Let’s Talk is a place where you can talk about concerns and receive expert suggestions about solutions and resources or just have someone who listens well and can offer support. No topic is off limits, but common concerns include:
- Difficulty adjusting to school
- Academic concerns
- Family problems
- Financial struggles
- Relationship concerns
Wednesdays (starting August 23, 2017) at 3 – 4 pm
Thursdays (starting August 24) at 11 am – noon
Wednesdays (starting August 23, 2017) in Hesburgh Library, Lower Level Study Room B001D (near the restrooms)
Thursdays (starting August 24) in Coleman Morse, Room 229
- It is a brief consultation (approximately 15 minutes)
- There is no paperwork to complete
- It takes place outside of the University Counseling Center
- No appointment is necessary
- It is free.
What happens in a Let’s Talk session?
The Let’s Talk consultant will carefully listen to your concern, will mostly likely ask you some brief questions, and will work to understand your goal for coming to Let’s Talk. Once your problem and goal are clear, depending upon your needs, the consultant will offer you suggestions for addressing the concern. You are welcome to return to Let’s Talk at another time, but this decision is up to you.
- Students who are not sure about counseling and are trying to figure out what it is like to talk with a counselor
- Students who are not interested in on-going counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor;
- Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom they could talk;
- Students who have a concern about a friend and would like some perspective on what to do.
Limits to Confidentiality
Conversations with Let’s Talk Consultants are confidential, with a few rare exceptions. Consultants may need to share information in an emergency when there is an immediate threat of harm to yourself or to others. Consultants are required by law to report when a minor, elderly person, or someone otherwise incapacitated and unable to act on his/her own behalf is being abused. We don’t want anything to be a barrier to students accessing help. If you have further questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to discuss them with a Let’s Talk consultant.
Although Let’s Talk Consultants are also mental health professionals, Let’s Talk is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and does not constitute mental health treatment. Let’s Talk is for consultation about a specific problem. Most students come to Let’s Talk only once or twice. It is also a place where students are able to have questions answered about formal counseling. Your Let’s Talk consultant can help you determine whether formal counseling would be useful for you.
If you have any questions about Let’s Talk, please contact the coordinator, Megan Brown, Ph.D., at 574-631-7336.
Megan Brown, Ph.D., is a licensed counseling psychologist in the state of Indiana and has worked in counseling and consultation for over 10 years. She is the Let’s Talk coordinator. She says that if she had free time, she would travel the world and learn languages. She has lived in Canada, Alaska, Scotland, France, and the People’s Republic of China. But don’t ask her to speak too much French, and her Chinese is limited to market negotiation. However, with little free time (and money), she is content to meet students from around the nation and around the world and help them have happy and meaningful university experiences. Megan’s areas of expertise include adjustment to new life situations, cross-cultural problems, life balance, relationship problems, increasing happiness, and academic success.
Josephine Dickinson, Ph.D., HSPP, is a licensed psychologist in the state of Indiana and has worked in counseling and consultation for five years. She is the main consultant for the Let’s Talk site in the LaFortune Student Center. Josephine has lived and studied in Spain and enjoys opportunities to improve her Spanish and French speaking abilities. With more time, she says that she would like to do more traveling and learn other languages. Some of her favorite activities include: writing poetry, listening to various genres of music such as jazz and soul, attending local cultural events, and meeting people from all over the nation and world. Josephine’s areas of expertise include individual and group counseling, adjustment issues (broadly defined), and promoting optimal well-being with an interest in integrating alternative medicine into counseling.
Karen Baer-Barkley, Ph.D., HSPP, is a licensed psychologist in the state of Indiana and has worked in counseling and consultation for fifteen years. She is the Let’s Talk consultant at LaFortune Student Center. Karen is a Notre Dame alumna (1985) and was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. Although she has lived in her hometown all of her life, she has traveled abroad on several occasions and values the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and countries. Karen worked in a nursing home setting after graduation while getting a master’s degree at Indiana University. She learned much about life and how to live it from those entrusted to her care. A few years later she started on her PhD at Andrews University in Berrien Springs which had a very diverse culture with students from around the world. She commuted daily to Western Michigan University for her PhD Internships while raising two (or three counting her husband!) boys. Some of her favorite activities include: time with family, friends, pets; reading and being a beach bum. Karen’s current areas of clinical interest include adjustment issues, ADHD, and depression.
Maureen A. Lafferty, Ed.D., HSPP is a licensed psychologist who worked in residence life and counseling centers at universities in West Virginia, Virginia, New York, and other areas of Indiana before landing at Notre Dame in 2001. She is originally from the “mountain state” of West Virginia but has adjusted to the corn fields of the Midwest. She appreciates being part of the local South Bend community, despite the “bracing” winters, and also enjoys spending time near Lake Michigan and taking advantage of the cultural opportunities in Chicago. She provides counseling and consultation at the UCC while also coordinating a nationally-accredited training program for doctoral psychology interns. Maureen was raised to believe that we can all make a difference and has a longstanding commitment to social justice, particularly related to issues of gender and sexuality. She has been active both on and off campus in supporting marginalized groups. She believes that it is important for all voices to be heard and affirmed in the ND community.
Susan Steibe-Pasalich, Ph.D., HSPP grew up in the busy city of Baltimore, Maryland, and was the first person in her family to attend college. She received her undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Ottawa in Canada. Sue believes in the power of education, but also in importance of being inspired and nurtured and lifted up by all those people in our lives who journey along side us. Sue has a long history of working with college students and assisting them in arriving at solutions to their problems. She has learned that many times the answers to problems lie within the person, and other times it might just be a matter of shifting perspectives or locating the appropriate resources. She welcomes students to use Let’s Talk in ways that work best for them.
Amy Spanopoulos, LCSW, LCAC is a clinical social worker in the state of Indiana since 2004. She shared her belief that joy exists all around us. “Joy isn’t only experienced celebrations like birthdays, graduation; but also, in the everyday moments. Admittedly, when we feel sad, worried or angry it’s more challenging to follow this belief. However it’s in these moments when it’s most important to notice and reflect. One can experience a full shift in the body’s energy. The pace of breathing slows, tension in muscles falls away and the ability to be fully present in the moment is enhanced. Joy is all around.” It’s with this lens that she approaches “Let’s Talk.”
The University Counseling Center at Notre Dame is deeply indebted to the counselors at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Cornell University who pioneered and modeled Let’s Talk and made it such a successful service at Cornell. Sharon Meir, Psy.D. and Matt Boone, L.C.S.W. of CAPS were generous and inspirational in sharing the concept and name of Let’s Talk with the UCC. Their support and consultation on starting Let’s Talk at Notre Dame was invaluable.