You are here: American University Campus Life Counseling Counseling Services

As of January 3, 2022, all counseling center services will be conducted virtually for the month of January. Please visit AU's Coronovirus Resource page for updates regarding the University's response to the coronovirus. For up-to-date information and details about services and support, please view our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Counseling Services

Photo of counseling session in progress

All of our services are free and confidential, protected by law and ethical standards. Whatever your concerns, a confidential conversation with a Counseling Center clinician is a good place to start. Here are some of the options available to you through the Counseling Center:

Individual Therapy

The Counseling Center can provide up to 6-8 sessions of weekly individual therapy per academic year.

Many students find that their concerns can be addressed in these sessions, while others may need longer-term or specialized counseling off-campus.

The first step is attend an initial consultation.

Group Therapy

We have many group options, both for on-going therapy and as drop-ins.

Ongoing Therapy Groups: Ongoing group therapy provides a caring context in which you can talk confidentially with other students who share your concerns and experiences under the guidance of a therapist. A group can be a wonderful source of feedback, support, good humor and creative ideas for how to cope with personal or interpersonal challenges.

Psychotherapy groups are offered on many topics. Please check out our current list of groups to see if one could be helpful to you.

The first step to joining an ongoing group is to attend an initial consultation.

There is no limit to the number of free group therapy sessions you can attend.

After Hours

You can always reach a qualified clinician. After hours (including nights, weekends, holiday breaks and during weather closings), licensed crisis clinicians are on call at 202-885-7979. (This is the number for ProtoCall, an extension of the Counseling Center.)


Off-campus referrals can be a great option. They’re often recommended to students who may require intensive, extensive, or specialized services.

The first step to obtaining a referral is to make an appointment for an initial consultation.

Want to learn more about referrals? Please read our page on Referrals to Private Care.

While many students are unfamiliar with therapy options in the Washington, DC area and find it helpful to have Counseling Center assistance in finding a referral, if you’re covered by AU insurance (CareFirst), it is not required to obtain a referral to see an off-campus therapist.

What about Costs?

At the Counseling Center, all individual and group therapy sessions are free to you as an AU student. ALL AU students who can come into the Counseling Center can use it for free, whether you are full-time, part-time, or online (provided you can come to the Counseling Center physically), and whether it’s during the academic year or during summer break.

For psychiatric services at the Student Health Center, which focus on management of psychiatric medication, there is a a one-time charge of $75 and a $35 charge for follow-ups. For more information, including how to make appointments (for which a Counseling Center referral is not required), please see this Student Health Center page.

For off-campus therapists, costs depend on insurance. Sometimes you pay nothing for your care, sometimes you pay part, and in some cases an insurance company will pay different benefits for out-of-network and in-network providers. To learn more, please see our page on Referrals and Insurance.

Students seek counseling for a wide variety of concerns, including:

  • Relationship challenges
  • Intimacy and sex concerns
  • Culture and identity
  • Experiences of oppression and marginalization
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Life and career decisions
  • Depression, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Eating and body image
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Trauma reactions
  • Coping with disability and ability differences
  • And many more …

Counseling is free and confidential.