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Meet OWU’S Counseling Services

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


According to their website, OWU’s Counseling Services Office “strives to assist our diverse population of students through various challenges affecting their mental health and wellbeing.” They are able to work towards this goal with an enthusiastic, hardworking staff of counselors that hope to help students to the best of their abilities. 


One such counselor is Gabrielle Poliseno, M.A., LPCC, NCC, who described her specialization as including  “body image concerns, low acuity disordered eating, and self-esteem issues.”


She helps students here at OWU by utilizing a technique she described as “motivational interviewing”, where she encourages her patients to recognize and understand the aspects of their life where they have the control to make changes and improve their life using their existing power. This technique helps her achieve her overall goal of “helping [students] to see themselves more objectively, meaning without the harsh judgments and unreasonably high standards that can put undue pressure and strain on an individual.”


Another counselor that works to assist students is Leana Froehlich-Terry, MPH, LPCC-S, whose experience is mostly in crisis intervention and working with survivors of trauma. Despite this specialized experience, she works to make her counseling integrative and centered around the person she is helping. “I want to use the most helpful approaches and interventions within my scope of practice based on each client that I see and what they need,” she said to explain how her approach is often individually tailored. 


Inna Fatkins, PsyD is another counselor and Clinical Psychologist who is available to help students. With a specialization in assisting LGBTQ+ students and international students, she hopes to support those who may not feel as strong of a sense of community as other students at OWU. Cheston Gray, MA, LPC is the fourth counselor through the office, and he works primarily to assist students who have experienced or currently experience trauma, anxiety, depression, and addiction related issues, according to the office’s website.


Poliseno, Froehlich-Terry, and Fatkins all agree that their favorite part of being a counselor is building relationships with students so that they may see their patients make progress. 


Poliseno expands upon this, stating “Being a counselor allows me to get to know people in a deep and meaningful way. I do not take this lightly and consider it to be an enormous honor to have the privilege of walking alongside students as we navigate different issues and concerns. I have so much respect and admiration for the students I get to work with and feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be a small part of their healing journey.” 


While there are joys to the job, the three counselors interviewed all mentioned specific difficulties they face.


For Fatkins, burnout and compassion fatigue are big challenges she faces while helping students.


Poliseno finds it difficult to have to contain her excitement for her patients when they make progress. She shares that she is often compelled to throw confetti around campus, or throw a huge party when her patients have made progress, but she is unable to express her joy in the ways she hopes to. 


Froehlich-Terry mentioned the structural barriers that impact students as her biggest difficulty she faces. “As much as we work to help others with their goals, there are still factors out of our control that can impact our clients and our work. This can be especially true with policies, systems, and other macro-level conditions that can lead to inequities, discrimination, and barriers to access, to name a few,” she said.


All three counselors also cited stigma around mental health as the biggest factor in dissuading students from accessing their office’s services. They acknowledge how intimidating therapy can be, as it requires changes to well-known patterns and a new situation that requires vulnerability. 


Despite these well-known barriers to care, the staff encourages each student to visit their office and benefit from their services. “I want to acknowledge that asking for help can be scary, though it can lead to new opportunities for support, connection, and growth. Please reach out to us or visit our office in Corns 316 so that we can help to point you in the right direction depending on what you need,” said Froehlich-Terry. 


Poliseno also stressed, “We really and truly do want to help and support you in any way that we can. Students come to counseling for so many things and often experience alleviated stress, feeling less alone, and a reduction in troublesome or harmful symptoms. Know that you aren't alone and you are deserving of health, healing, and happiness.”


Fatkins also urges students to sign up for counseling services early in the semester, as the slots often fill up quickly. 


Counseling Services is located in Room 316 of R.W. Corns, and students may get started with their services by calling 740-368-3145 during business hours to schedule an intake appointment. Students can also visit counseling.owu.edu for more detailed instructions. 


For urgent matters, OWU students also have access to 24/7 mental health counseling through the Virtual Care Group, which can be contacted by calling 1-855-522-1226.

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