Counseling & Personal Development Center

Updated Hours

Spring 2020 Semester

Refer to the contact box on this page for updated hours during the remainder of Spring semester.

We are CPDC, we provide free individual and group counseling to students in a confidential setting. We additionally provided programming, outreach and consultation services for the Allegheny Campus community. We know the college years are a time of growth, transition, significant challenges, and considerable stress. We are here to help you with your concerns by being authentic in the pursuit to provide you with brief strength-based support.

If you are in need of immediate support please contact our 24/7 Helpline at 814-332-2105

If you have questions or would like to speak with a counselor please email the office at

Philosophy, Vision, and Mission


Consistent with the philosophy of the Division of Student Life that learning is grounded in an integrative, comprehensive, holistic, and transformative learning and student development approach, the Counseling & Personal Development Center (CPDC) believes in the intrinsic value of all students and in students’ ability to evolve and grow in ways that maximize strengths, minimize limitations, exercise resilience, and allow students to be their best selves. A multidisciplinary clinical approach is taken with licensed and license-eligible counselors from the disciplines of Counseling Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy. We work from a brief strength-based developmental approach that emphasizes person-environment interactions.


We aspire to meet students where they are while encouraging the integration of all academic and life experiences in a manner that is transformative and meaningful with regard to where students are and desire to be. We endeavor to provide mental health services that support the personal, emotional, psychological, social, and academic growth and personal development of Allegheny College students.


Our mission is to offer assistance with personal, interpersonal, social, educational, and emotional and psychological functioning from a developmental perspective through counseling and personal development services. We provide free, confidential, safe and supportive counseling services that include individual and group sessions, and consultation for students. We conduct outreach and prevention programs that focus on the development of the whole person, and programming that supports holistic wellness, student retention and success. We offer support to the campus community through consultation and support services to all student populations including but not limited to underrepresented and underserved students (i.e. first-generation students, students of color, LGBTQ students, international and undocumented students, and other student populations).

Roles and Responsibilities

Our role on campus is supportive and consultative in nature, affording CPDC the option to refer off-campus as is appropriate. The responsibility of the CPDC is to support students who experience mental, emotional, or psychological challenges during their academic tenure, through the use of brief counseling and personal development interventions. Additionally, we provide consultative services to the campus community.

Treatment Model

The Step Care Model is utilized within CPDC, it is a mode of therapy that is becoming increasingly common in College/University Counseling Centers. The model assigns students to the most appropriate level of care, or Step, based on the results of the initial contact. We use the Step Care Model to ensure that students are receiving the most appropriate level of care, and it allows the CPDC to expand the ways in which we interact with students. If you have any questions about the Step Care Model, please ask your clinician.

The Step Care Model includes the following treatment options:

  • Brief Therapy (BT) – Most students will be referred to this step. BT is one to three individual sessions with a clinician at the CPDC to address the presenting concern. (NOTE: Students are able to return to the CPDC for more sessions if deemed appropriate by the clinician). Students are permitted up to 5 sessions per academic semester (including the Triage).
  • Group Therapy – The CPDC offers a variety of groups throughout the academic year that focuses on different topics. Group therapy generally meets weekly. Students with presenting concerns that fit into the topic of the group are most likely to be referred to this step. Furthermore, CPDC offers both referral only and open support groups. Those that attend individual sessions can also attend the open support groups and may be referred to the closed referral group. If a student is referred to a closed group their individual sessions will stop for the duration of the group/semester. Group sessions do not count against the available individual sessions per academic year.
  • At times, students may require more services than the CPDC can provide due to the nature and scope of the services they require, increased frequency need and/ or the short duration of each semester. If a student’s need is determined to exceed the level of care that is provided at the CPDC, we will help the student set up counseling services in the community. Students exhibiting severe symptoms that need weekly sessions or intensive treatment are most likely to be referred to this step.
  • NOTE: The CPDC does not offer same-day appointments. If students are seeking immediate mental health support, they are to call the 24/7 Helpline at 814-332-2105 to speak with a mental health counselor.

The Step Care Model allows for brief therapy treatment within CPDC for individual sessions. Brief therapy focuses on short-term treatment, which is a collaborative process between client and counselor with clear and focused goals at the center of the work. Treatment may also include specific therapeutic interventions and assignments. Students will begin with one to three individual sessions with a clinician, then they will be asked to utilize the interventions given before they return (if needed). This approach allows the student to increase their tools to aid in the stabilization of their mood, self-care, and overall life quality while reinforcing their self-efficacy. Students will have access to up to 10 individual sessions per academic year or up to 5 sessions per semester. Individual appointments will be approximately 30 to 45 minutes long, the frequency of appointments will vary based on student needs, with most students requiring just one to two sessions. The clinical judgment of the counselor and the client’s progress will determine the duration, frequency, and type of therapeutic services the student receives, which could include referral to a community provider.

Students come for counseling to address:

  • anxiety
  • roommate difficulties
  • loneliness
  • low self-esteem
  • disordered eating
  • abuse issues
  • procrastination
  • family problems
  • interpersonal conflicts
  • difficulty in intimate relationships
  • identity concerns/conflicts
  • depression
  • cultural or ethnic concerns
  • achievement conflicts
  • concerns about the use of alcohol or drugs
  • gender identity questions

What You Should Expect

Below are some general principles that we follow. We will:

  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Provide an atmosphere that fosters authenticity, trust, and openness.
  • Provide you with unconditional positive regard in a non-judgemental setting
  • Work with you to understand your previous history, current concerns and goals
  • Address questions that you might have about the therapy process
  • Welcome feedback and criticism in relation to the therapy work


We take the confidentiality of our work quite seriously.

CPDC is one of three confidentiality resources here on the Allegheny College campus and we take confidentiality as a serious matter. The clinicians at CPDC are held to ethical, moral and legal aspects of confidentiality and therefore unless we have a signed release of information we are not able to disclose information regarding a student’s treatment. Additionally, we reserve the right to limit the information provided to a party who is requesting a release of information and/ or records requests.

Of note, CPDC maintains our records for a period of seven years at which time they are then destroyed per confidential recycling means.