Counseling Services Center Earns International Accreditation
SUNY Oswego’s Counseling Services Center recently earned prestigious recognition through accreditation from the International Accreditation of Counseling Services.
“It is clear that your center offers an effective and comprehensive program of services that makes a vital contribution to the quality of student and campus life,” wrote Dr. Anika C. Fields, the vice president and chair for the IACS Board of Accreditation, in informing SUNY Oswego of the sought-after accreditation.
“In its review, the Board was appreciative of your leadership and that you are valued and supported by upper administration, your strong and diverse staff, excellent outreach efforts and individual counseling,” Fields added.
Katherine Wolfe-Lyga, director of the Counseling Services Center, said the recognition is “very affirming.”
The accreditation shows that “we’re meeting the standards that have been designed and created by other counseling services professionals,” Wolfe-Lyga said. “At the end of the day, we want to be part of supporting our students’ holistic needs.”
The center’s missions and activities are broader than the traditional roles of providing individual and group sessions. In recent years, finding new avenues for outreach and preventative measures have become increasingly important.
The recognition underscores the center’s leadership in what is really a team effort on campus to support student wellness and success.
“We’re not the only people supporting students’ mental health, but we’re the primary operation,” Wolfe-Lyga said. “Support exists in a lot of other places, but we want to make sure we can support our colleagues and especially our students, including with their self-help behaviors.”
To make their services and staff more accessible, programs make counselors more accessible by meeting students where they are. A primary example is the Let’s Talk series where counselors keep regular schedules to provide drop-in consults in the residence halls and Penfield Library. “It gives students the opportunity to address something they are concerned with before they’re in crisis mode,” she said.
Recent initiatives include increased stress-reducing activities around finals, with new programs and partnerships such as a cat cafe and relaxation sessions with ambient music and lights in the planetarium in the Shineman Center. Additionally, the Counseling Services Center has led the annual campus-wide Mental Health and Wellness Fair every fall.
The center also was able to add two full-time counselors starting this semester in Cory Brosch and Tekhara Watson, thanks to institutional support on prioritizing more mental wellness resources, Wolfe-Lyga said.
SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley co-chairs the SUNY-wide Student Mental Health and Wellness Task Force, formed in October 2019 to make recommendations on how the system can make a measurable difference in addressing the mental health needs of students and mitigating the negative effects of behavioral health risks.
“It is essential that we work together in providing a learning environment that emphasizes greater awareness, understanding and access to mental health care resources as both a foundational component of personal growth as well as an integral element of participating in a learning community,” President Stanley said.
For information on Counseling Services Center resources and programs, visit oswego.edu/counseling-services.
IACS is committed to advancing quality in student mental health care on higher academic campuses worldwide. Accreditation from IACS confirms the highest standards are being met, validates professional excellence and distinguishes standout counseling centers, according to the IACS website.
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