personal counceling office

Personal Counseling

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 to noon and 1:00 to 4:30 PM.

To make an appointment or for general information, please call 802.654.2547.

Individual Counseling

Individual sessions (50 minutes) may be arranged by students who require supportive listening, problem solving, a neutral ear, short-term therapy, and/or crisis management.

Support Groups

If four or more students are interested, a support group can be created to explore issues. Past groups have included Grief & Loss, Learning Disabilities, Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender/Questioning Students, Self-Esteem Issues, Eating Issues & Body Image, Sexual Assault Survivors, and Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Consultation Meetings

Part-time students, graduate students, staff and faculty are invited to meet on a consulting basis to discuss their concerns about a student or colleague, or to discuss their own interest in community resources.

Crisis Intervention

The counseling staff provides crisis intervention services for the undergraduate, residential student population. This service is provided in conjunction with the Student Life Office. See the section on emergencies for more information.

Referral Agents

The counseling staff will offer services they are qualified to provide. For therapeutic needs that are beyond the qualifications of the staff, or that require more time and attention than the staff can provide, referrals will be made to community therapists or to a therapist already connected to the student’s family. Referrals will also be made in relation to crisis intervention and when a psychiatric evaluation is necessary.

Student Support Network

The SSN is a training program designed to give students the skills needed to identify, support, and refer peers who may be struggling with personal issues. Participants learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health distress and alcohol and other drug abuse, and become more confident in reaching out and supporting friends and peers. The training consists of six mandatory sessions of 1 hour and 15 minutes each week. For more information, please email Catherine Welch ( or call 802.654.2271.

In addition, Active Minds is a student-run mental health awareness organization on campus. Find out more on the student organizations community page.

Training and Education

The counseling staff is available to assist other offices and student groups in the area of in-service trainings and educational workshops and presentations.

Although most of our work is done on an appointment basis, there are times when the need to consult a counselor is critical.

An emergency or crisis situation is one which calls for immediate attention, and usually involves one of the following:

  • any immediate suicidal behavior or immediate harm to another person,
  • any direct or subtle indication of suicide, self harm, or harm to another person,
  • any bizarre behavior that is not as a result of substance abuse** such as irrational talk, delusional talk, odd or frightening actions, behavior that is very out of ordinary for that particular person.

**Students who are impaired by substance abuse should be assisted by a member of the Student Life Staff (RA, ACA, RD, AD). If that is not possible, the student should be transported to the emergency room immediately. Do not ignore or protect someone who is impaired by alcohol or other drugs. The physical consequences could be fatal.

Emergency Contacts...

If the crisis is during workday hours (M-F 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM), call the Personal Counseling Office at 802.654.2547. Indicate that you are making a crisis call.

If the crisis is any other time, try to reach the Resident Assistant (RA) on call who will then contact the Resident Director (RD) or Associate Director (AD) on call. They have been trained on how to deal with psychological emergencies. Please use this system.

If that is not possible, or if you're not sure who to call, call our Switchboard at 802.654.2000 or use one of the emergency phones around campus. The switchboard operator will contact someone to help you.

If all of the above contacts do not work, or if you are off-campus and in immediate need, call a 24-hour community crisis resource:

Emergency - 9-1-1
Howard Center Crisis Service Hotline - (802)488-6400
Women’s Rape Crisis Center Hotline - (802)863-1236

For Emergencies (800)489-7273
Women Helping Battered Women Hotline - (802)658-1996
For Emergencies (800)228-7395

If you or a friend is in a crisis situation, please don’t minimize or try to solve the problem yourself, call for help.

It is better to have someone mad at you than to have that person critically injured or dead.

The Personal Counseling Office has three personal counselors on staff. Each counselor has a generalist background with specific areas of interest and expertise. They are qualified to provide supportive counseling and short-term therapy for the young adult student/clients.

If you would like to make an appointment with a personal counselor, please call the Personal Counseling Office at 802.654.2547.

The counseling staff also works closely with a consulting psychiatrist in the areas of case management and client referral assessment.

linda hollingdaleLinda Hollingdale, M.S.

Linda has worked at Saint Michael's since 1980. She is the Director of the Personal Counseling Office. While all of the counselors specialize in young adult development, Linda's areas of interest include women and gender, sexual orientation, alcohol in families, loss and grief, mindfulness, and young adult relationship issues. Linda has facilitated support groups for LGBTQ students and adult children of alcoholics.

kathy buttsKathleen Butts '89, M.A., LCMHC, LADC

Kathy has been a mental health professional since 1993. She has spent much of her career working with young adults and their families. She has a special interest in family systems theory and particularly enjoys helping young adults to develop an understanding of themselves by exploring who and what they want to be in the world. She is also interested in substance abuse, the interface between anxiety, depression and stress management, mindfulness, spiritual development and helping students to find balance in life.

Ryan StantonRyan Stanton, M.S.W.

Ryan joined Saint Michael's as a personal counselor in 2012 and is proud to be a part of an active and caring community where he finds the students he works with to be engaged, intelligent and courageous. He grew up in Vermont, attended UVM for his undergraduate degree and received his Master's in Social Work from UC Berkeley, where he worked and studied for several years. In addition to general mental health issues, Ryan's areas of interest include: depression, anxiety, stress management, substance abuse, social justice, transitional issues and men's issues.

Renee DavittRenee Davitt

Renee is the Personal Couseling office coordinator.

It is reassuring to know that, in most circumstances, information that you discuss with your personal counselor at the Personal Counseling Office (PCO) is CONFIDENTIAL and PRIVATE.

However there are some notable exceptions and specific circumstances when the PCO staff CANNOT guarantee to keep certain information confidential. These are outlined below.

WE cannot guarantee confidentiality if:

  • If we believe you might be of harm to yourself or may cause harm to others.
  • If your records are subpoenaed by a Court of Law/Court Order.
  • If you provide us with information regarding situations of potential child or elder abuse. The law views us as "Mandated Reporters" in such cases, requiring that we make official report of such potential abuse within 24 hours.
  • If you commit a crime on campus or threaten a faculty or staff member.
  • If you report a situation concerning another person who might be of harm to himself/herself or to others.
  • If you report an incident of sexual violence.

In some instances, we may consult with care providers and/or administrators from other campus offices on behalf of your welfare. These offices include, but are not limited to, Health Services and the Student Life Office. Any consultation is conducted in a professional manner with your safety and well-being in mind.

If you would like information about the State of Vermont's laws and resources covering mental health services, please let one of the personal counselors know.

Our goal is to meet your counseling needs. If we are unable to do so, we will help refer you to an off-campus therapist, psychiatrist, or other health care provider.

Please Note: If you choose to discuss your concerns about another person, we may be compelled to act on your concerns and information. While every effort is made to honor your anonymity, we may need to be forthright with that person about where the concerns originated.

Here is more information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The college years are a time of transition and growth for students. The process of moving into and adjusting to young adulthood is both exciting and demanding. The personal counselors at Saint Michael's are here to assist students in their development, which will hopefully lead them through a successful college experience.

Saint Michael's counselors are respectful of the diversity of our student population and work with the uniqueness of each person, especially in relation to gender, race, creed, physical ability, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, ethnic and family background and socioeconomic status.

The counselors' work includes:

  • active, non-judgmental listening
  • clarification of presenting problems or concerns
  • emotional and psychological support
  • challenging harmful and self-defeating behaviors
  • encouraging cognitive understanding
  • providing information and guidance
  • working on a healthy resolution of the situation

We are committed to assisting students in the areas of life that are important to them, including:

  • developing self-esteem, self-confidence and identity
  • forming healthy, mutually enhancing relationships with others
  • learning to make responsible decisions in their lives
  • learning how to be successful students
  • integrating past influences with their present development & identities
  • developing mature and adult relationships with parents and family
  • learning about and respecting the differences in others
  • making important decisions about their life beyond Saint Michael’s

We are committed to assisting students when they experience both developmental and situational life struggles and crises, such as:

  • strained relationships with family or friends
  • problems with academic effectiveness in relation to skill development
  • feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, confusion
  • feelings of frustration, anger, rage
  • feelings about suicide, self-harm, harm to others
  • problems or questions about sexuality issues
  • problems or questions about sexual identity issues
  • problems or questions about sexual abuse, assault, harassment
  • problems or questions about eating disorders, body image
  • grief and loss issues from the present or past
  • mental health disorders
  • problems or questions about alcohol or other drugs

We are committed to being a resource for our students and colleagues at Saint Michael's. Please contact us with any concerns or questions you have related to our work.

Linda Hollingdale, director

Approximately 17% to 20% of Saint Michael's undergraduate student population use the Personal Counseling Office for formal appointment-based assistance. Many more students call and attend workshops, trainings, and programs. Students see counselors for many issues they are trying to cope with, including relationships, self-esteem and identity, adjustment and social problems, depression, family, anxiety, alcohol and drugs, grief, negative past incidents, and eating disorders.

For additional information, view our "Resources" tab.

All full-time (12 credits or more) undergraduate students are eligible for personal counseling services.

A client may bring friends, partners, family members or any other person with them to a counseling session, provided it is in conjunction with the enrolled student's counseling process. The student should discuss this option with her/his counselor before the invitation is made.

Part-time students, graduate students, staff, and faculty are invited to meet with any of the counselors for consulting assistance and/or help in finding a referral in the community.

Employees of Saint Michael's College may also utilize the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) through the Human Resources Department.

Thanks to the internet, there is a wealth of information now at our fingertips. The good news is that we don't have to "recreate the wheel," we can simply share information with a click of a mouse! The bad news is that anyone can put anything on the Internet. Therefore, reader be aware and cautious!

**** Please remember that this information, as well as any "quiz" you may take on the Internet, is only to help you clarify an issue. It is not a diagnosis and is no replacement for counseling or therapeutic assistance. Please make contact with a qualified professional if you have concerns with any of these issues.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please go to the Emergencies tab and follow the guidelines.

Also, remember that most of the links are from other colleges, please refer back to the information in this website for where you can call for help at Saint Mike's.

The Personal Counseling Office offers these links for your added knowledge, but SMC does not necessarily endorse all of the material to which you may be exposed.

Go Ask Alice
This website, created by Columbia University, has a Dear Abby format of letters by students on a variety of student health issues.

The online resource for college mental health created by the Jed Foundation.

Guide to College Student Mental Health

Learn What Matters