Let's Talk

Let's Talk Logo 2

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.

  1. What is Let’s Talk?
  2. When is Let’s Talk?
  3. Where is Let’s Talk?
  4. How is Let’s Talk different from counseling?
  5. What happens in a Let’s Talk session?
  6. Who should visit Let’s Talk?
  7. 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:

  • Stress
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty adjusting to school
  • Academic concerns
  • Family problems
  • Financial struggles
  • Relationship concerns

When is Let’s Talk?
Mondays (starting September 10, 2018) at 1- 2 pm

Wednesdays (starting August 22, 2018) at 3 – 4 pm
Please note: Let’s Talk is canceled for Wednesday, November 28, 2018 & December 12, 2018

Thursdays (starting October 25, 2018) at 11 am – noon

Where is Let’s Talk?
Mondays (starting September 10, 2018 ) in Fitzpatrick Hall, Room 258
Please note: The room for December 3 will be Room 257 in Fitzpatrick Hall

Wednesdays (starting August 22, 2018 ) in Hesburgh Library, Lower Level Study Room B001D (near the restrooms)

Thursdays (starting October 25, 2018) in Duncan Student Center, Interview Room 580.

How is Let’s Talk different from counseling?

  • 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 most 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.

Who should visit Let’s Talk?
Let’s Talk is open to all current Notre Dame students. However, Let’s Talk is best suited for the following people:

  • 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.

Please remember:
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, Amy Spanopoulos, LCSW, LCAC, at 574-631-7336.

Meet the Let’s Talk Consultants


Josephine Dickinson, Ph.D., HSPP, is a licensed psychologist in the state of Indiana and has worked at the UCC for nine years. Prior to working at Notre Dame she was a therapist at The Ohio State University’s counseling center. Growing up in a rural “rustbelt” town taught her the value of hard work and the need for further education; thus, fostering her love for being in a university environment and helping students achieve their goals and aspirations. Josephine enjoys working with all students, particularly those of diverse backgrounds and appreciates the integrating multiple perspectives in 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.

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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.

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Gabrielle Pointon, M.S., is a psychology intern currently obtaining her doctorate from Indiana State University. She grew up in nearby LaPorte, so is very excited about coming back home after being away at college for 9 Years. Gabrielle believes there is great power in interpersonal interactions, whether those interactions are with a counselor, family member, or friend. She approaches Let’s Talk in a way that allows everyone to feel heard and understood. She has fallen in love with the university environment because of how difficult it is to make the adjustment to college and loves being able to see students grow through their time at Notre Dame. When she is
not at the UCC, Gabrielle can be found having fun at home rolling around on the floor with her husband and infant daughter.

Amy Spanopoulos

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.”

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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.

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.

See Also:
Consultation Services & Programs
Inner Resources Room