Counseling & Psychological Services
Mount Saint Mary's College

Counseling & Psychological Services

General Information


What kind of services do you provide?

MSMC recognizes that emotional growth and fulfillment are essential for a well-rounded and successful person. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) fosters personal development by offering a variety of programs to address student concerns. We provide individual therapy, couples counseling, and crisis intervention to resolve personal issues. CPS also participates in campus activities by presenting educational programs on issues related to college life. Finally, counselors meet with faculty, staff and other students to identify ways of assisting students and identify community resources, and provide referrals for addressing psychological needs.

Where are you located, and what are the hours?

Counseling Services at Chalon are located on the first floor of the Humanities Building in Student Health and Counseling Services. Call (310) 954-4114 to speak with CPS staff directly or (310) 954-4110 for Health Services. Hours at the Chalon campus are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Counseling office at Doheny is located on the first floor of McIntyre resident Hall and the phone number is  (213) 477-2668. Counseling at Doheny is offered Monday through Thursday, 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m  and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Who is on staff?

Counseling and Psychological Services is staffed by psychologists and psychology interns. Dr. Susan Salem, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the Chalon campus; Dr. Kendra Nickerson, Associate Director/Training Director at the Doheny campus; and Dr. Cristine Catipon, Staff Psychologist are licensed psychologists. 

There are also three advanced graduate level interns and two postdoctoral fellows each year who are supervised on their clinical work by Dr. Salem, Dr. Nickerson and Dr. Catipon. All of the staff have been carefully selected based on their level of experience, professionalism, interest in student development, and commitment to diversity.

Who is eligible for services?

Traditional, full-time undergraduates enrolled at the Chalon or Doheny campuses, ADN, Accelerated Nursing and Physical Therapy graduate students are eligible for consultation and short-term counseling services at CPS.  HOPE, Weekend College, and other graduate students are provided with referrals to off-campus resources and services, psychoeducational material, and wellness educational programs.

Is there any cost involved?

Counseling services are free to eligible students as a benefit of their Student Health fees. An additional insurance plan that provides for limited inpatient and outpatient counseling services can also be purchased through the Business Office for students wishing to access services off-campus.

Is my privacy protected?

Confidentiality is an essential component of any therapy relationship. By law, counselors must protect information disclosed in the counseling process. Information about a student’s participation in counseling can not be discussed with faculty, staff, parents, friends, and others unless that student has given explicit authorization.

Counseling records are kept in separate and locked file cabinets, and are only available to Counseling Services staff. State law requires that confidentiality be set aside in limited circumstances to ensure safety. These circumstances include the reasonable suspicion of child or elder abuse, and an imminent threat to life through suicide, homicide or the inability to meet basic health or safety needs due to mental illness. Any questions about confidentiality can be discussed with your counselor.

How do I schedule an initial appointment?

Appointments can be scheduled by telephone or in person.

At the Chalon campus, appointments are scheduled with the office manager by calling (310) 954-4114, or by coming to Health and Counseling Services on the first floor of the Humanities Building during business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

At Doheny, appointments are scheduled by calling (213) 477-2668, and leaving a confidential message. When leaving messages for counselors, please leave your name and telephone number, and include several good times to return your call.

An initial appointment, or "intake session," will be scheduled with a counselor. The counselor will ask questions about your immediate needs and circumstances in order to develop an accurate understanding of your situation. Within that session or a follow-up session, the counselor will suggest a plan for resolving your concerns. This may include continuing in counseling here, consulting with other departments on campus, or referring you to community resources. Your counselor will discuss the recommendations with you and answer any questions that you have.

If the recommendation is for counseling on campus, it is likely that the intake counselor will continue to work with you as your therapist. There may be times however, in which your preferences or specific needs may result in being seen by another staff member. If this occurs, your counselor will discuss your situation with the staff member and facilitate scheduling the appointment.

Is there couples or family counseling?

In some instances, students’ relationships with their family, relationship partners, or spouses create significant stress and interfere with their academic progress. When couples or family counseling is seen as the best means of helping the student, counselors will explore the option of having family members or relationship partners attend sessions with the student in order to improve communication or facilitate resolution of conflicts. Counselors may also provide referrals to community services for couples and family counseling.

What happens in an emergency?

Psychological emergencies include events such as: suicidal or homicidal impulse; significant agitation or confusion; severe emotional crisis in response to grief, assault, rape or other physical trauma; or witnessing violence or death. Students who are significantly intoxicated or physically injured should be evaluated by medical personnel prior to contacting CPS.

When an immediate response is required during business hours, contact Chalon counselors by calling (310) 954-4114 or (310) 954-4110 or go directly to Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS).

Crises at Doheny can be managed by Dr. Kendra Nickerson at (213) 477-2805 Monday through Thursday, and Dr. Catipon on Friday  (213) 477-2806 or by contacting staff at Chalon at all other times. If crises occur off-campus, students may contact CPS or call 911.

Campus emergencies which occur after hours are initially assessed by Residence Life or Campus Security. The psychologist on call can be contacted to provide further assessment and interventions. The number for Residence Life at Chalon is (424) 208-4034, and at Doheny it is (424) 208-4155.