OU-Tulsa Student Counseling Services
While pursuing a professional career, OU-Tulsa students and medical residents may sometimes feel overwhelmed with academic demands, personal responsibilities, social conflicts, and emotional distress. To improve the quality of students’ lives, OU-Tulsa Student Counseling Services offers psychological services for individuals, couples and groups.
If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or another person, you should immediately call 911, OU-Tulsa Police (if on campus) at 918-660-3333, or COPES at 918-744-4800.
Requesting an Appointment
Virtual Services Continue
OU-Tulsa Student Counseling Services will continue to offer Telehealth services in the interest of individual and public safety during an ongoing pandemic and to make such services easier to access amongst our student and medical Resident populations. Each telehealth appointment remains fully private and 100% confidential, just like an in-person session.
To request an appointment, please call OU-Tulsa Student Counseling Services at 918-660-3109, or email us at TulsaCounseling@ou.edu.
For new intake appointments, all of the required paperwork must be filled out electronically in advance of your appointment. One of our team members will provide you a link to the paperwork once an initial intake appoitnment has been scheduled.
A unique, confidential link to the appointment will be emailed to your OU/OUHSC email account just a few minutes before your appointment. Please bear in mind that if our staff member's prior session is running slightly over, the emailed link may be delayed slightly. If you believe you have an appointment and do not see a link to your session within 5-10 minutes after your scheduled time, please call Student Counseling Services at 918-660-3109 or OU-Tulsa Student Affairs at 918-660-3100.
Core Service Areas
Individual counseling involves one to one sessions with the psychologist and begins with an intake appointment at Student Counseling Services. During the initial appointment, you complete paperwork and also have ample time to discuss your concerns. Counseling helps you resolve your immediate concerns, typically with weekly sessions to help maintain focus. Depending on individual needs, other scheduling intervals might be suggested or requested. The psychologist will help you develop a plan that best addresses your particular concerns.
Common issue addressed in counseling sessions include:
- Decision making
- Interpersonal relationships
- Career choice
- Poor academic performance
- Grief, loss, bereavement
- Adjustment issues (e.g., changes in relationships, marriage, employment, children)
- Transitions to new living/working environments (country, culture, state, city, university)
Student Counseling Services are available to all students enrolled at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa and all medical residents. These are prepaid with the counseling fee assessed with each semester's enrollment; there are no additional charges for counseling sessions. OU-Tulsa faculty and staff are ineligible for counseling services through this office. Student spouses and dependents are ineligible for counseling services except when seen with an OU student in couples or family counseling.
Couples counseling is available for two people involved in an intimate relationship who want to address relationship difficulties. Only one of the two members of the couple needs to be a student or resident at the university to be eligible for these services. Couples counseling involves identifying problem areas, resolving issues of conflict, and learning more effective means to communicate with one another. Both married and unmarried couples are eligible for counseling services.
Many people have concerns with social anxiety, problems establishing friendships, maintaining inttimate relationships, difficulty asserting themselves, ineffective communication skills, feeling of low self-esteem, and experiences with grief and loss. Meeting weekly for approximately 1.5 hours, counseling groups are facilitated by a psychologies and use the support of others to explore effective resolutions to issues. Groups are limited in size and are available for fixed amounts of time each semester. When relating to others is a primary concern, or when life events such as divorce or death create distress, group counseling can be helpful.
During your Student Counseling Services intake appointment, you and the Counselor might explore whether your goals are compatible with the goals of current or future counseling or support groups. You might choose group counseling if you and the psychologist agree that your needs are better addressed through group participation than through individual counseling. Concerns of counseling groups might include: assertiveness training, overcoming shyness, establishing friendships, improving communication skills, boundaries in personal and professional relationships, dealing with depression and anxiety, sharing grief and loss. Support groups could include 12-step programs for alcohol and substance abuse, smoking cessation, or establishment of healthy dietary habits.
Participation in group counseling requires status as an OU student or medical resident. Please feel free to call our office at 918-660-3109 if you have questions regarding group counseling.
Our Student Counseling Services staff is available to consult with students, faculty, and staff who might have questions about mental health issues, the counseling referral process, or other related concerns.
Upon request, our Counselor is available for individual, group or classroom consultation. Our staff can discuss issues with students, faculty and staff, assist with crisis situations in person or by phone, and provide referral information and recommendations regarding situations or events. Privacy and confidentiality will be in full compliance with all ethical guidelines, State and Federal laws, and HIPAA.
Scheduling is flexible during the typical work week. Programs or workshops may include:
- ADHD support strategies
- Anxiety and depression
- Boundaries in personal and professional relationships
- Death, grief, bereavement, loss
- Developing character strengths
- Dissolution of relationships
- Helping friends in distress
- Keys to effective communication
- Mindfulness, meditation and mental health
- Professional ethics for mental health practioners
- Self-care and stress management
- Sexual abuse in children and adults
- Study skills
- Warning signs of an abusive relationship
Topical presentations and skills workshops can be designed for you, your department, your academic class, or your student group by contacting us at 918-660-3109 or by email.
Recognize Stressful Triggers
- Lifestyle choices
- Negative self-talk
- Mind traps
- Stressful personality traits
- It is important to note that much of our stress is self-generated
- Physical Environment
- Social Interactions
- Major Life Events
- Daily Hassles
Recognize Individual Symptoms of Stress
- Cold extremities
- Flushing or sweating
- Muscle aches/Stiffness
- Heat palpitations
- Chest pains
- Abdominal cramps
- Frequent colds
- Decrease in memory
- Decrease in concentration
- Mind racing
- Going blank
- Loss of sense of humor
- Nervous habits
- Increased eating
- Physical violence
- Short temper
7 Tips for Daily Stress Management
1. Keep a Positive Attitude
- Much of our stress is generated by negative self-talk (internal dialogue)
- Negative self-talk can damage your confidence, harm your performance, and cause emotional problems
- Replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk will improve your self-confidence, decrease stress, and improve overall well-being
- Repeat positive phrases to yourself such as: "I can do this," "I can achieve my goals," "People will like me for who I am," "I am in control of my life," "I learn from my mistakes," "I am a good and valued person," etc.
2. Utilize Relaxation Strategies
- Deep Breathing
- Focus your attention on your breathing
- Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale slowly through the mouth
- Concentrate on deep breaths in and out
- Visualize health and relaxation flowing into your body when you inhale, and all stress and tension flowing out when you exhale.
- Create a mental image of a pleasant and relaxing place in your mind.
- Involve all your senses in the imagery: see the place, hear the sounds, smell the aromas, feel the temperature and the movement of the wind.
- The more intensely you use your imagination to recreate the relaxing place, the stronger and more realistic the experience will be.
- Enjoy the location in your mind and know that you can return to that place at any time.
- Use this positive imagery to relax yourself during times of stress, anxiety or anger.
- Meditation & Mindfulness
- Learn to focus uncritically on one thing at a time, which will help to decrease obsessive thinking.
3. Eat a Well-balanced Diet
- Caffeine - stimulant that induces "fight or flight" response
- Alcohol - depletes body of B vitamins that help you cope with stress
- Nicotine - most ex-smokers report feeling much more relaxed on a general basis
- Sugar - Sugar-rich foods raise energy in the short term and cause "crashes"
- Releases neurotransmitters that increase feelings of happiness and decrease depression and anxiety
- Improves muscle tension, sleep, self-image and overall health
5. Manage Your Time
- Set priorities with a to-do list
- Mark tasks according to what is most pressing or essential and then work your way down the list to tasks that realistically can be put off
6. Make Time for Personal Activities and Hobbies
- Don't neglect yourself
- Set aside a quiet time each day
- Always make time for fun activities/hobbies that you enjoy
7. Use Your Support System
- Talk with your partner, friends, and family
- Don't bottle your feelings up inside
- Spend time with positive, supportive people
- Join a social group
OU-Tulsa students can feel overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time. As a result, many students suffer from excessive stress, anxiety, and worry, which can interfere with sleep. Research shows that sleep enhances learning and retention of studied material. Listed below are some tips that may help establish healthy sleep habits.
Some factors contributing to insomnia include:
- Medical illness such as head injuries, hyperthyroidism, asthma, hypertension, coronary artery disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, headache, low back pain, seizures, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease, kidney disease and thyroid dysfunction, and perimenopause.
- Psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and thought disorders.
- Medication and drugs such as alcohol, narcotics, amphetamines, caffeine, Resperdine, Clonodine, certain antidepressants, steroids, L-dopa, Theophylline, nicotine, as well as withdrawal from these substances.
- Sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus, periodic leg movements in sleep, phase advance sleep disorder, phase delay sleep disorder, sleep state misperception, and nightmares.
- Poor sleep habits such as extended time in bed, napping, or an irregular sleep schedule.
- Situational factors such as stress, bereavement, unfamiliar sleep environment, jet lag, shift work, bed partner, or a poor sleeping environment (noise, temperature, light or a poor sleeping surface).
What the Sleep Experts Advise:
- Establish regular sleep schedules and avoid napping. Never oversleep because of a poor night's sleep. Sleeping late for even a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle.
- Avoid coffee, caffeine, nicotine, chocolate and sugar in the evening. These stimulate the brain and disturb sleep, even in those who believe that they are unaffected by them.
- While alcohol may help with the onset of sleep, ensuing sleep is disrupted, and early morning awakening is frequent.
- Sleeping pills disturb sleep patterns and produce short-term amnesia and impaired motor skills. For example, benzodiazepine hypnotics impair short-term memory, reaction time, thinking, and visual-motor coordination (such as driving).
- Strenuous exercise (brisk walking, swimming, jogging, etc.) in the late afternoon seems to promote more restful sleep. Reduce physical and mental stimulation late in the day (except for sexual activity).
- It may be helpful to keep a notebook by your bedside to write down thoughts or worries that are keeping you awake.
- Have a light carbohydrate or dairy snack before bedtime.
- Have a hot bath or shower early in the evening.
- If you can't fall asleep, get up and leave the room and return only when sleepy. Don't sleep anywhere but in the bedroom and avoid any activity in the bed except sleep and sex.
- A sleep induction technique may be to focus on diaphragm breathing and counting down from ninety-nine on each exhalation until you go to sleep.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) starts at an early age, typically before the age of 7-years old but can remain throughout life. It may cause problems in many areas of life including academia, home life, and work. For most people affected, ADHD is worse during childhood then symptoms tend to become less prevalent in adulthood. However, for some, symptoms may persist into adulthood.
Often, a person with ADHD will report having always felt "different" from his or her peers, without understanding the difference. This is understandable since even a trained professional cannot make a diagnosis of ADHD by talking to or observing a patient. Formal testing is required.
Although the presentation of ADHD varies somewhat among individuals, there are two "hallmarks" of this disorder. The first one is inattention, which includes:
- making careless mistakes
- difficulty sustaining attention while performing a task
- not following through with tasks
- person does not pay attention when spoken to directly
- difficulty with organization
- resistance to tasks that require sustained mental effort
- easily distracted
- often forgetful
The second hallmark of ADHD is hyperactivity-impulsivity, which includes:
- interruption of other people's activities or conversations
- fidgeting with hands or feet
- leaving one's seat when sitting is expected
- feelings of restlessness
- difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
- often "on the go" as if driven by a motor
- blurting out responses before the other person is finished talking
- difficulty waiting for a turn
Of course, everyone experiences some of these symptoms from time to time. The issue is the degree to which this interferes with one's life. If after reading about inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity you believe you may have ADHD, please contact the OU-Tulsa Student Counseling Services. We will set up an appointment for you with a clinician for an interview and possible referral for testing.
Undiagnosed ADHD can have a negative impact on a person's life. It is like being left-handed in a world that only has tools for right-handed people. The proper diagnosis and treatment is like helping the person to create tools that are an exact fit. The diagnosis of ADHD brings relief because with it comes recommendations that are tailored to the individual. Following these recommendations will help the person to live a life that is less frustrating and more rewarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every student and medical resident at OU-Tulsa may utilize Student Counseling Services. Besides individual, couples and group counseling, consultations are possible with faculty, staff, parents, and student organizations as well. Workshops are also offered on topics of interest such as depression, study skills, couples communication, and stress management.
Ethical standards, in addition to Oklahoma and Federal laws, require that all psychologist-client communications remain confidential except under the circumstances provided below. These circumstances remain true for virtual/telehealth counseling sessions as well:
- With your written consent
- Where failure to communicate essential information would result in clear danger to you or others
- To report child or elder abuse or neglect as required by law
- Other situations as defined by law (e.g., malpractice proceedings or fee collection)
- In order to obtain appropriate professional consultations
Counseling services are prepaid as part of your student fees and have unlimited access to these services so long as their enrollment in an OU-Tulsa degree program is maintained.
The initial/intake appointment will be approximately 60 minutes long. During this session you will review the forms completed in advance of the appointment and discuss your concerns and purpose of seeking out services with our staff Counselor. Subsequent sessions will generally last 45-50 minutes. Counseling is a collaborative process between the Counselor and the student. Please call 918-660-3109to schedule an intital intake appointment and receive the link for the online forms to be completed in advance of your first appointment.
Urgent Needs and Crisis Intervention
If you are in immediate need of assistance from our Counselor outside of the advertised hours, please stop by Student Affairs or call 918-660-3100 and one of our Student Affairs personel will assist you in setting up an appointment with Amy as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing severe emotional distress during non-business hours, please use the following resources to get the help you need:
- 24-hour COPES 918-744-4800
- National Suicide Hotline 800-273-8255
- Reach-Out Hotline 800-522-9054
If possible, go to the nearest emergency room and ask for the psychologist or psychiatrist on call:
- Parkside Hospital 918-586-4278
- Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health 918-293-2100
If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or another person, you should immediately call 911 or OU-Tulsa Police (if on campus) at 918-660-3333.
Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services (COPES) is a telephone and mobile crisis service that responds around the clock to children and adults experiencing a severe emotional or behavioral disturbance or psychiatric emergency, including but not limited to the following:
- Threats of suicide
- Suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior
- Threats to harm others
- Severe emotional upset or inability to care for daily needs
- Poor reality testing or thought disorder
- Overwhelming anxiety or panic attacks
The COPES team will assess the level of risk, provide crisis support by phone and may go directly to the person in crisis to intervene and stabilize the situation.
COPES is free, confidential, and available 24/7 to anyone in Tulsa County. For immediate assistance, please call 918-744-4800.
*COPES information adapted from www.fcsok.org/services/crisiscare-center-2/mobile-crisis-copes/