Counseling and Psychotherapy
Confidential counseling services are available to all enrolled Pratt students. All services are provided by licensed mental health professionals including psychologists (Dr. Vincent Kiefner, Dr. Ariela Reder, Dr. Sarika Seth, Dr. Lonette Belizaire) and clinical social workers (Jernee Montoya, Hali Brindel). Pratt also uses a consulting psychiatrist (Dr. Jane Zirin) and psychiatric nurse-practitioner (Dr. Lori Neushotz) to provide further evaluation for psychotropic medications when needed.
Scheduling an Appointment
When you contact Counseling Services, you will be offered the earliest appointment available; sometimes, your schedule may conflict with available appointment times. If this is the case, it may be necessary to miss class time to schedule your initial appointment; followup appointments can be scheduled at alternate times. Following an initial assessment, short-term individual therapy or group therapy with one of our staff therapists may be recommended; alternatively, a staff therapist may determine that your needs would be best served by a referral to an off-campus treatment provider. Staff therapists will try their best to accommodate your service requests but ultimately must use their professional judgment to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
For an appointment, call (718) 399-4542.
We consider student privacy to be very important. Our records are maintained separately from your medical and academic information. The information that you provide to our counselors is maintained with a strict adherence to confidentiality in accordance with laws and professional ethics. Your information is not disclosed to anyone without your permission, except in rare, emergency situations as required by law.
For students or parents facing challenges with the transition to college, check out “The Transition Year” website at http://www.transitionyear.org
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should I contact Counseling Services?
Many students have found Counseling Services to be helpful when they are having trouble functioning here at Pratt. Some common reasons for seeing a staff therapist include relationship problems, depression, anxiety, academic worries, and family difficulties. Some students may see a therapist for a couple of times, others may see a therapist on an ongoing basis. For students who struggle with chronic mental illness, Counseling Services may serve as an important resource for community referrals that offer longterm treatment and care.
When is psychotropic medication useful?
Medication for mental disorders can be helpful when a student's mood or thoughts seem to be getting in the way of work or the ability to sustain a meaningful social life. Although many students are opposed to taking medication, there are conditions that can be significantly improved through its use. Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse-practitioners are specially trained to perform medication evaluations so we highly recommend utilizing their expertise. If you are in need of medication for the first time or require a reevaluation of current medications, then we can provide referrals to our consulting psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse-practitioner. If you have been doing well on a prescription from your hometown psychiatrist and need a new one while you are at Pratt, one of the prescribing providers can help with new prescriptions for a previous medication. Please have a copy of your medical records including information related to your prescription in your Pratt medical file.
If I see a therapist, does that mean I'm crazy?
No, most students come to see a therapist when they are feeling "stuck". A session with a therapist can explore solutions to personal problems, help with feelings that seem overwhelming, and provide a safe venue for disturbing thoughts. Labeling a student "crazy" isn't a useful part of problem solving. Sometimes, identifying a problem can be more helpful.
What if my problem is with alcohol or illegal drugs?
Some students find out too late that what began as recreational drug use has become a habit that is definitely getting in the way of personal self-fulfillment. Alcohol or other substances are also used by some students as a form of self-medication to make themselves feel better. We can help by re-evaluating the situation and finding a student healthier coping skills or appropriate medication. We can also make referrals to treatment locations and provide support to the student who is entering a substance abuse program. As always, counseling is confidential and the existence of a substance abuse problem will not be shared with any academic office.
What if I just can't function at all this semester?
Occasionally, psychological problems prevent a student from being able to complete a semester's work. A serious depressive episode is a common reason to temporarily suspend study. In this situation, the counseling office can help the student arrange a medical leave until the student is ready and able to continue at Pratt.
What is a psychiatric emergency and what do I do?
A psychiatric emergency occurs when someone's mental health condition deteriorates to the point that they are unable to function and/or is a threat to their safety or the safety of others. This decline may be caused by a reaction to overwhelmingly bad news, a drug or alcohol overdose, a medication problem, or an acute mental condition. This may happen when someone threatens to commit suicide, or does not seem to be fully in control of their mental faculties.
In the case of a psychiatric emergency, you should contact Counseling Services at 718-399-4542 for assistance. If Counseling Services is closed, please call 911 or Campus Security at 718-636-3540. If you are a a student living in an on-campus residence hall, the RA or RD on duty may also provide assistance during a psychiatric emergency.