Counseling Services

We support and educate through the provision of prevention-oriented programming, high quality treatment services, and referral for psychological difficulties that may adversely impact your capacity to fully benefit from your educational experience.

Our office strives to provide an inclusive space that honors the strengths, lived experience, and uniqueness of each individual. Our counselors provide services focused on wellness, growth, and self advocacy, in order to enhance your success at the university and in the larger community.

Getting Assistance

For the academic year, Counseling Services staff will continue to provide both in-person and virtual counseling sessions. Students are able to indicate their preference when they connect to make an appointment.  

Regular hours for the Counseling Services office during the academic year are as follows:

Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During the regular academic year, enrolled students may contact the Counseling Services office through any of the following means:
•    E-mailing
•    Calling 978.665.3152
•    Visiting Hammond 317

An additional resource is Uwill. Uwill is a recognized and reputable student mental health and wellness platform, designed specifically for college students. Uwill offers students free immediate access to teletherapy, a direct crisis connection, and wellness programming through its easy-to-use online platform.

 To schedule teletherapy through Uwill:

  • Create a profile with Uwill.
  • Choose a therapist based on your preferences, including availability, issue(s) of concern, gender, language, and ethnicity.
  • Choose a time that fits your schedule with day, night and weekend availability.

Uwill is private, secure, and confidential.

Uwill also offers students a direct crisis connection. For students experiencing a mental health crisis, help is available 24/7/365, by calling 833.646.1526

In emergency situations, students should contact University Police at 978.665.3111, dial 911, or seek out emergency care at their local emergency room.

During the ongoing pandemic, Counseling Services staff assembled a number of resources that can be accessed remotely (e.g., self-care, mindfulness, relaxation, managing emotional balance during a pandemic).

Below are some additional resources that may be of benefit to you:

  • Call2Talk : 508.532.2255
  • Text2Talk : Text "C2T" to 741741
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800.799.7233
  • Pathways for Change (Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts) Hotline: 1.800.870.5905
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK
  • Trans Lifeline 877.565.8860

Frequently Asked Questions

We provide counseling to Fitchburg State University students. For most students, this means that we meet one-on-one to talk about your concerns. Students often seek counseling for help with issues related to family, relationships, depression, anxiety, grief, or dealing with stressful situations.

We also provide outreach to the Fitchburg State University community, usually in the form of programs or presentations to groups of students in classrooms or residence halls. Sometimes we offer a series of talks that are offered to anyone in the University community. Topics include the following:

  • Stress management
  • Suicide prevention
  • Bereavement
  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship violence issues
  • Alcohol abuse

We are always open to new topics that students are interested in learning about.

Any currently-enrolled Fitchburg State University student can be seen in Counseling Services. Consultation services are available to students, faculty and staff.

Counseling Services is located on the third floor of the Hammond Building, in Room 317. Our hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sessions are arranged by an appointment (i.e., students are invited to call the office at 978.665.3152). In emergency situations, Counseling Services offers an "Urgent Hour," from 2 to 3 p.m. weekdays. During this time, Counseling Services staff make an effort to see students for briefer, problem-focused discussions, when a student is unable to make an appointment.

Call 978.665.3152 or stop by our office in Hammond Room 317.

If it is urgent that you be seen right away, during regular office hours, please contact the office for assistance (978.665.3152). Counseling Services offers an "Urgent Hour" (see above), from 2 to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. "Urgent" visits are usually 15-20 minutes in length, versus a regular appointment, which is typically 45 minutes in length. Please also see Emergencies regarding these sorts of situations.

There is no cost to students for using Counseling Services. However, if you are referred to an outside provider, you will be responsible for the cost of those services (e.g., insurance reimbursement).

Counseling is provided by professional staff members, as well as interns who provide care under the supervision of licensed supervising staff members. A list of current staff members can be found on the Counseling website. Professional specialties vary by staff member.

All visits to Counseling Services and conversations with staff are considered confidential unless you have specifically given your consent for us to share information with a particular person. State law and professional ethics protect your privacy as a client, however there are exceptions to this. In general, all contacts are confidential unless any of the following occur:

  • We determine that you are at risk of hurting yourself or another
  • You inform us of child abuse or elder abuse
  • Under rare circumstance, if a court of law orders that we provide certain information

Please see Confidentiality more information on this topic.

Certainly not. Counseling services are sometimes used by people troubled with a major mental illness or people who are in crisis. However, most of the students we meet with are struggling with the stressors of daily living and are having difficulties coping as effectively as possible. The approach we take is one of health promotion. That is, a student does not have to be in "critical condition" to request our services. When possible, we are just as happy to work with you to prevent a crisis from happening. Counseling can help you improve problem-solving abilities, and assist you in developing flexible coping strategies.

Absolutely. We can assist you to identify if there is a problem, to decide what you should do, if anything, and provide you with support.

You can talk with a counselor about basically anything that is important to you. No problem is seen as too big or too small. The following are examples of issues that students discuss with counselors:

  • Feelings of depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety (including test anxiety)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Family problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability issues
  • Past sexual assaults
  • Substance abuse
  • Family or parental alcoholism
  • Abusive relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • Anger management
  • Loneliness
  • Grief and loss

More Information

Access these pages to learn more about our services and policies.

As a student receiving counseling services, you have a right to privacy and confidentiality, however:

  • A counselor may release confidential information if you have given written consent to do so.
  • A counselor may release confidential information if they have reason to believe that a client is a danger to themselves, or presents a danger to others.
  • A counselor must report any knowledge of abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person, or a person with a disability.
  • In rare circumstances, a court of law or judge may require a counselor to produce confidential information.

Counseling records never become a part of a student's transcript or Fitchburg State University record. All records are securely kept in the Counseling Services Office.

Email Policy

Counseling is conducted in real time, not through email.

The privacy and immediacy of email cannot be assured, therefore we encourage you not to communicate with our office using this method. Although we check our email often, we make no promise concerning when or how often email is read. You have no way of knowing whether the recipient is unavailable due to vacation, illness or other reason. Therefore, your message may not be received and read promptly. 

It is recommended that if you need to make contact with a Counseling Services staff member, you do so by calling the office at 978.665.3152. For general scheduling issues, the email may be used. 

During Business Hours

The Counseling Services Office offers an "Urgent Hour," weekdays from 2 to 3 p.m. The Office is located in the Hammond Building, Room 317. "Urgent Hour" appointments are intended to be brief, problem-focused discussions pertaining to emergency situations, when a student is unable to arrange an appointment. Whereas it's always preferable to make an appointment, Counseling Services staff will make efforts to connect with students during "Urgent Hours," as staff availability permits.

After Business Hours

If You Live On Campus

During the regular academic year, Counseling Services staff provide 24-hour crisis response to the University. Resident students may contact the University Police Department (978.665.3111), or a residential staff member (e.g., a Resident Assistant).

If You Live Off Campus

Contact your usual health care provider (e.g., HMO, clinic, primary care doctor, or therapist), call 911, or proceed to the nearest hospital Emergency Department. Please also refer to the Distance Learners page to learn more about mental health services in your area.

Hotline Numbers

  • Pathways for Change (Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts) Hotline: 1.800.870.5905
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1.800.273.TALK

For over 30 years, the Fitchburg State University Counseling Services Office has offered a graduate training experience dedicated to supporting the personal growth and development of future mental health professionals. 

The training program is open to graduate students currently enrolled in clinically-oriented psychology and counseling programs. The program takes place over the course of the academic year, beginning in late August and ending in the middle of May. Typically, trainees spend 20-22 hours per week in the Counseling Services Office; approximately 10-12 of those hours are spent providing direct clinical service to enrolled students at Fitchburg State University. Trainees will engage in both weekly individual and group supervision opportunities. Trainees are also invited to participate in outreach and prevention-oriented activities of the Counseling Services Office (i.e. suicide prevention, interpersonal violence prevention, etc.). 

Application Process 

We begin accepting applications in December for the following academic year. Interested applicants should please e-mail a cover letter, resume/CV, and two letters of reference to the attention of Amanda Sapienza at

The deadline for applications is February 1. Interviews typically take place in late January and early February, with offers extended to successful applicants in February/March. 

Meet Our Staff

Group photo of the counseling services staff on Fitchburg State sign in front of Hammond
  • Robert Hynes, Ph.D., LMHC, Director/Assistant Dean, Student Affairs
  • Lauren O'Brien, LMHC, Associate Director
  • Amanda Sapienza, LMHC, Assistant Director/Internship Coordinator
  • Nicolette Kolgraf, MA, Counselor
  • Tara Candelmo, MA Counselor
  • Christina DeMalia, MA Counselor
  • Julia Kempster, MA Counselor
  • Kelly Joyce, Administrative Assistant
  • Anna Murray, Graduate Intern
  • Brianna Buckley, Graduate Intern
  • Shannon Jacob, Graduate Intern

Get in Touch