Davidson College’s mental health counselors utilize a Personalized Care Plan which follows a Stepped Care Model.

This model allows clinicians to meet students where they are and collaborate with the student to provide a tailored care plan to meet each student’s individual concerns, using evidence-based resources and treatments for those concerns and promoting autonomy and empowerment.

This model is not linear. A student does not start at the bottom and move through the steps one by one. After a triage/initial appointment the student will be provided an individualized care plan (ICP) with the most effective and least intensive intervention first. A student is stepped higher or lower based on outcomes and needs.

Explanation of Services & Resources

1. Triage Consultation

The first appointment can be made by visiting the Center for Student Health and Well-Being (CSHWB) when a student is ready to start their support journey, or a student can make this first appointment on-line through their student health portal up to three-days in advance. 

After completing some brief paperwork on the online portal, the student will meet with a counselor for 30-50 minutes. During this appointment the counselor will get a full understanding of the primary concerns and work with the student to establish goals.

Once goals are developed, the clinician will work with the student to determine what level of support is needed for the student to reach their goals. It may be that the student has a bite-sized goal that counselors can provide support and skills in a single session at that first appointment if times allows. This single session may also be scheduled by the clinician.

For other students further assessment is warranted, and that may be provided in that first session, or a follow-up session may be scheduled by the counselor. The goal for this appointment is for the student to walk away with an individualized care plan and possibly a counseling session. If needed, follow-up sessions will be scheduled with the counselor.

2. Referral For Resources On- or Off-Campus

Davidson College has many student support services. Sometimes students are not aware of all the resources, or have forgotten about them since learning about them during orientation. We can guide you to supports and resources that may be able to help you reach your wellness goals.

For example:

  • A student is concerned about academic distress due to feeling behind or procrastinating. A referral to Academic Access and Disability Services (AADR) for academic coaching may be warranted.
  • A student is concerned about their dining dollars running out, and we may refer the student to Lula Bells to assist, or to a dietitian to guide them in using their meal swipes and dining dollars effectively.
  • A student wants weekly therapy for the four-years they are at college. In this situation we would guide the student in finding a counselor in the area to provide this resource.

3. Self-Help Resources and Peer Support

Self-help resources are abundant all over the internet through podcasts, websites, and social media. It can be challenging to know where to turn to help with your specific concern.

Therapy Assist Online Self-Help (TAO)

TAO provides evidence-based psychoeducational content, including over 150 sessions and mindfulness exercises to increase well-being, resilience, and overall behavioral health. Students utilizing the anonymous self-guided path allows students to learn and practice new skills, develop coping strategies in their own time, at their own pace with total privacy. When this is part of a student’s care plan, a clinician will review signing in, and provide some suggestions on getting started. After that, the student is empowered to stick with those suggestions and/or explore the entire platform.

Online Resources

Website, blogs, podcasts, articles and social media posts that provide support for common student concerns are available for self help. The clinician will guide you in finding ones that may be best for your situation.

7 Cups Peer- Support

7 Cups is an online-chat providing 1:1 active listening to support people all over the world. We also have trained active listeners right here in our Davidson student community. All students have free access to sign in and can chat with listeners world-wide.

4. Skill-Building Psychoeducation Workshops and Seminars


Sometimes we need a reminder of how to regulate our minds and bodies during stressful events and these one-time workshops will provide tips and tricks to get through various milestones throughout college (transition, mid-term stress, exam stress). These workshops are single seminars that a student can attend that will help ground the student by reminding them what they may have forgotten, and hopefully provide some extra tips and tricks to manage the intricacies of life at Davidson.

Skill-Building Workshops

CSHWB offers many short-term (3-4 week) workshop series each semester to provide skills and strategies for common concerns that require skill attainment and practice between workshops. Workshops are provided for overcoming anxiety, and depression; body image neutrality through the Body Project; transitioning to college; transitioning out of college (add some from Jasmine here).

5. Group Counseling

CSHWB offers group therapy including support groups (PRIDE; Brown Soap Box) and processing groups for concerns and populations that are best addressed through the discussions guided by counselors. These groups are typically longer than workshops (5-8 weeks).

If a student and counselor decide a counseling group is a part of the student’s individualized care plan the counselor will explain the steps to joining the group, including group screenings. These screenings ensure that the participants are suitable for group therapy and can create an emotionally safe environment for all group participants.    

6. Counselor-Assisted Supplemental Support

Therapy Assisted Online (TAO) with Counselor Check-In

CSHWB is providing TAO self-help to all students on campus. However, TAO also offers short and long courses, and sessions can be assigned and reviewed by a counselor. This is a great way to empower students who are interested in online self-help with guidance of a counselor to provide a specific path on TAO (for example, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, grief and loss, conflict and anger management, social anxiety, interpersonal concerns), to go at their own pace through the sessions, and have brief check-ins with a counselor to discuss how the student is applying the skills to their lives.


CSHWB utilizes Heart Math’s Inner Balance App and sensors to teach students how to regulate stress response in the body. Using the heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback sensor, loaned to the student from CSHWB, students will can learn strategies to sync the mind and body to a calm and focused zone. This is done through classical conditioning, and after 5-minutes twice-daily use, the practice becomes innate, and students will attain autonomy in regulating their stress response.

If the counselor and student agree that this is part of the student’s care plan, the student will sign a borrower’s agreement and will check in with the counselor or case manager by phone or secure message on the health portal once every two weeks. Students can borrow the sensor for up to six weeks.

7. Brief Individual Therapy

This is the step that many students think of when they are seeking counseling services. However, this step does not provide the support and empowerment that many students need, and it requires more time than may be necessary to work through your mental health and wellbeing concerns.

Counselors will work with students to develop a tailored care plan and may recommend steps that are less time intensive and provide more autonomy prior to individual therapy. We know that time is a precious commodity at Davidson, and hope that students are open to developing the most effective care plan. Some students will benefit from brief individual therapy, and this will be the recommendation.

Brief therapy means goal oriented and short-term therapy. There are evidence-based treatments that fit this description for many presenting concerns. When a counselor and student agree on brief individual therapy as part of the care plan, the counselor will either begin the intake during the triage appointment, or schedule the student to return for an intake appointment. Often one of the other steps are recommended to compliment the individual therapy.

8. Off-Campus Referral with Follow-Up

Students who need treatment that is out of the scope of care of CSHWB counselors will be referred for off-campus treatment. CSHWB has a well-developed list of counselors, treatment facilities and psychiatrists through our personal MiResources page. 

During the first appointment, if a counselor and student determine this is the best step, the counselor will connect the student with the CSHWB clinical case manager, and may provide referrals as well. Depending on the concern, the counselor and/or case manager may provide bridging sessions to provide consultation support to students until the student is connected with the appropriate treatment provider.

9. Crisis/Emergency

Students experiencing a crisis should visit the CSHWB and they will be seen immediately. A counselor will enact our crisis protocols which include following up with the student afterwards to continue to support stabilization.

Students should follow the After Hours procedures during non-business hours.