Students benefit from Counseling Services move to Lafene, director says

K-State's Counseling Services are now located in room 101 of Lafene Health Center. The organization offers counseling and therapy to currently enrolled students. (Hannah Greer | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State University’s Counseling Services have experienced an overall smooth transition since the move to Lafene Health Center last May, but Daniel Larson, director of Counseling Services, said students don’t always know how to find their way.

“Sometimes students will go to the front doors of Lafene,” Larson said, “but they’ll just send them downstairs where we are located. The only confusion is sometimes they go through the wrong doors.”

Since the move, the Counseling Services office has more space and private settings, including larger rooms. The new office has two large group rooms, whereas the old location — now the second floor of the English building — had one group room and a conference room.

In addition, Lafene Health Center and Counseling Services have been able to collaborate with each other more effectively due to the physical proximity.

“It’s easier now,” Larson said. “If a patient is upstairs with Lafene and the doctor thinks we may serve them better, they can just send them down to us, and we can do the same.”

Larson added that it is easier for students to access both Lafene and Counseling Services at one time instead of trekking across campus for one or the other.

At the beginning of a given semester, Larson said Counseling Services doesn’t have a wait time of more than a week. But as classes continue, wait times are subject to grow longer.

“From the start of the semester to midterms, you can usually get in within about a week,” Larson said. “But once it’s midterms, you can see anywhere up to three weeks.”

Busier times for Counseling Services include the months of October and April due to stress from midterms and upcoming finals, Larson said.

Larson added that even during busy times, Counseling Services aims to see students within two weeks if possible.

Each year, the number of clients and appointments at Counseling Services has a tendency to increase. This is especially true for the fall semester, Larson said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s correlated to the move necessarily,” Larson said, “but I can say this past fall semester did seem to have more sessions than the previous year. We see roughly 600 distinct students each semester. Once we run the numbers, it comes out to us seeing about six percent of the K-State student body.”

This doesn’t only account for individual visits. Counseling Services also offers group and couples therapy sessions, stress management courses and academic anxiety therapy.

Students typically start off in individual sessions, but may be asked to join a group therapy session by their assigned psychologist.

“Group sessions don’t have more than six to 10 people,” Larson said. “Anymore than that, it can become overwhelming and students may not be as inclined to share in discussion.”

The Counseling Services office employs eight full-time psychologists, two part-time psychologists, three pre-doctoral interns and three practicum students. They are currently searching for two more full-time psychologists.