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Let’s Talk, Blue Streaks!

Talking can help.

Whether it’s stress, sadness, relationship problems, or academic trials – sharing your concerns with another person can make a positive difference. Now, just imagine that the person you are talking to has experience in dealing with your issue and may know some solutions. Then talking may really help! And that’s what Let’s Talk is all about.

What is Let’s Talk?

Let’s Talk is a program that provides easy access to free, informal, confidential consultations with therapists from the University Counseling Center. Just walk-in during the times listed below because no appointments are necessary! Consultations are on a first-come, first-serve basis – but there is typically not a long wait. Let’s Talk is a place where you can talk about concerns and receive expert suggestions about solutions and resources, or just have someone who listens well and can offer support. No topic is off limits, but common concerns include:

  • Stress
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty adjusting to school
  • Academic concerns
  • Family problems
  • Financial struggles
  • Relationship concerns
When & Where is Let’s Talk?

Let’s Talk is available on Tuesdays from 2:30-4:30pm at the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion (CSDI) located on the 2nd floor of the LSC.

How is Let’s Talk different from counseling?

Therapists at the University Counseling Center provide short-term therapy, which usually consists of weekly 50-minute appointments. Let’s Talk is not formal therapy; it’s a drop-in service outside of the University Counseling Center where students can have a brief, informal consultation with a counselor from time to time. No appointment or paperwork is necessary.

What happens in a Let’s Talk session?

The Let’s Talk consultant will carefully listen to your concern, will most likely ask you some brief questions, and will work to understand your goal for coming to Let’s Talk. Once your problem and goal are clear, depending on your needs, the consultant will offer you support, perspective, and suggestions for addressing the concern. You are welcome to return to Let’s Talk at another time, but this decision is up to you.

Who should visit Let’s Talk?

Let’s Talk is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students at JCU. However, Let’s Talk is best suited for the following people:

  • Students who are not sure about counseling and are trying to figure out what it’s like to talk with a counselor;
  • Students who are not interested in on-going counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor;
  • Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom they could talk;
  • Students who have a concern about a friend and would like some perspective on what to do.
Limits to Confidentiality

Conversations with Let’s Talk consultants are confidential, with a few rare exceptions. Consultants may need to share information in an emergency when there is an immediate threat of harm to yourself or to others. Consultants are required by law to report when a minor, elderly person, or someone otherwise incapacitated and unable to act on his/her own behalf is being abused. We don’t want anything to be a barrier to students accessing help. If you have further questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to discuss them with a Let’s Talk consultant.

Please remember:

Although Let’s Talk consultants are also mental health professionals, Let’s Talk is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and does not constitute mental health treatment. Let’s Talk is for consultation about a specific problem. Most students come to Let’s Talk only once or twice. It’s also a place where students are able to have questions answered about formal counseling. Your Let’s Talk consultant can help you determine whether formal counseling would be useful for you.

If you have any questions about Let’s Talk, please contact the coordinator, Mark Onusko, at monusko@jcu.edu or 216-397-4283.

Let’s Talk Consultants

Mark Onusko, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and the director of JCU’s Counseling Center. He completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at Adler University in Chicago which focuses on social justice and mental health. He has worked in a number of settings including community mental health centers, hospitals, a halfway house for recently incarcerated individuals, high schools and university counseling centers. His university counseling experiences include Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh and University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Some of his professional interests include treatment of anxiety and depression, adjustment to college, identity development, LGBTQ+ issues, multicultural issues and working with international students.

Alia Lawlor, LPPC-S, CCMC completed her psychology degree at Kent State University and her Master’s in Counseling at Cleveland State, and is a licensed supervisor for Master’s level counseling interns. Alia has worked with college students of all ages at different universities for more than 8 years. In addition to college counseling settings, her work settings include private practice, corporate settings, and owning her own businesses developing webinars, training programs and other educational outreach programs. Alia’s experience is in, but not limited to, anxiety, depression, diversity issues & international students, sexual & emotional abuse, LGBTQ+ issues, women’s issues, athletic performance, couple’s counseling, existential concerns, meditation, and mindfulness

Sarah Amoroso MA LPCC-S, is a bilingual clinical counselor at JCU’s Counseling Center. As a graduate of JCU, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology, and then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Community Mental Health Counseling. She has been fortunate to work in non-profit settings, community colleges and universities with a range of populations from children, teenagers, families, adults and college students. Her consultations and counseling sessions can be provided in Spanish when requested. Her areas of interest include, but are not limited to adjustment difficulties, relationship issues, multicultural counseling and the prevention/ education of mental health and wellness.

JCU’s Counseling Center is deeply indebted to the counselors at Cornell University’s counseling center who pioneered and modeled Let’s Talk and made it such a successful service at Cornell. Their staff were generous and inspirational in sharing the concept and name of Let’s Talk with JCU’s Counseling Center.