Counseling Center expands virtual drop-in sessions


Students in isolation can find a pace to vent in the Counseling Center’s Virtual Drop-In sessions. (Courtesy / Science News for Students)

Autumn Pitchure, Staff Reporter

The quarantine brought on by the global pandemic has required everyone take certain precautions for the sake of public safety, but some people have found themselves more isolated than others.  This is especially true in the wake of the stay in place order issued for Grand Valley State University students, asking them to stay in their own residence and not take part in any group gatherings.

With not many places open, there is little freedom of what people can do or who they can see. As a result of little to no connection with others during the pandemic (among other difficult adjustments), the depression and anxiety of some students has risen immensely. In response, the GVSU Counseling Center is taking action.

“We wanted to provide a space for students to express their diverse concerns, thoughts, reactions and feelings associated with being placed in quarantine and isolation due to COVID-19,” said Abraham Eapen, Psychologist and Coordinator of Group Therapy Services.

Recognizing the struggle of students in isolation, the Counseling Center has created a way to help by offering drop-in sessions of virtual quarantine/isolation support. These are held from 10-11 a.m. on Mondays and 2-3 p.m. on Thursdays. Eapen says that online drop-in sessions are an open space students can get their stressors and challenges out and off their plate.

“You can contact the University Counseling Center to sign-up and to receive a link to join the drop-in (session),” Eapen said. “Outreach drop-ins meets via a secured Telehealth platform to maintain privacy.”

The Counseling Center offers various virtual general therapy, skills, identity and support groups so students don’t feel alone through this journey. These virtual groups can be utilized as a safe place for prevention, management and processing of various personal concerns related to isolation and quarantine. More information on all the available programs can be found on their website at

Virtual groups are confidential and require a 30 minute screening appointment with a clinician, who can help connect a student to a virtual group based on their needs. Students can sign up for Outreach Drop-Ins, however, without an appointment with a clinician. According to Director of Clinical and Crisis Services Eric Klingensmith, Psy.D., the Virtual Outreach Drop-Ins began Sept. 21 2020 and will continue being held throughout the semester.

“I think more people will hear about this and drop in,” Klingensmith said. “People might drop in once and get what they need, or drop-in every week and want to talk to someone. This is a perfect place where we listen, talk and vent, while also providing resources that the students may not have found yet.”

The Counseling Center gives students support and ideas such as what they can do while in quarantine, what things are available virtually and activities students can get involved with while they are in isolation.

“We also provide a lot of resources and information,” Klingensmith said. “We support and meet the students based on where they are at, and what their needs are.”