Contact Us

List of 3 members.

  • Ms. Jennifer Griffith LICSW 

    Director of Couseling
    508-754-5302 Ext 102
    Boston College Graduate School of Social Work - M.S.W.
    UMass Amherst - B.A.
  • Ms. Tara Tivnan 

    Counselor, Upper School
    508-754-5302 Ext 145
    Assumption College - M.S.
    Worcester State College - B.S.
    Bio
  • Ms. Katharine Oikle 05

    Middle School Counselor
    508-754-5302 Ext 241
    Simmons College - M.S.W.
    Simmons College - B.A.

Counseling Services FAQs

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What does Counseling Services do?

    We work with students in individual and group forums to help them to manage their emotional difficulties in order to continue to function well as students. We provide brief counseling and support. We refer students to outside mental health providers for long-term counseling. We help students and parents get connected with outside mental health resources, including psychiatrists and therapists. We offer consultation to faculty to help support the emotional health of individual students and the WA community. We offer consultation to parents to help support the emotional health of individual students.

    With permission from the students and parents, we collaborate with the Center for Learning, Health Office, Class Deans, Advisor, Team Leaders or other faculty as indicated in order to best support the emotional health of a student. We offer preventative programming for students, parents, and faculty to encourage healthy lifestyles.

    The MS Counselor co-advises the PILLARS Peer Educator Program and the Diversity Club in the Middle School. US Counselors support the PILLARS Peer Educator Program in the Upper School. The MS Counselor teaches the Health and Wellness Classes in the Middle School.
  • Q: Why would anyone want/need to talk with a counselor?

    For many reasons, including, but not limited to:
    • Stress about academics/college or other academic demands
    • Adjusting to a new situation
    • Relationship Problems
    • Identity Issues
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Substance Use/Abuse
    • Anger
    • Stress Management
    • Body Image/Eating Issues
    • Loss and bereavement
    • Divorce, separation of parents
    • Concerns about a family member or friend
    • Stress about a medical illness
  • Q: How can I schedule an appointment?

    Call or email us to schedule an appointment. We are available for appointments during school hours. Refer to the Contact Us section of this page for details about how to reach us.
  • Q: How long does it take to schedule an appointment with a counselor?

    Students are seen within one week of requesting an appointment. Ordinarily we schedule appointments for times that students do not have classes or other commitments.
  • Q: Are parents contacted when a student meets with a counselor?

    The counselors believe it is important to involve parents in the counseling process. With respect to the counseling relationship, the counselors may meet with a student a few times before contacting the parents. The counselors encourage all students to inform their parents that they are receiving counseling services.
  • Q: Are students ever required to see a counselor?

    On rare occasions, when there is a concern about student’s health and safety, students may be required to see a counselor. Also, there are times following discipline infractions when a student is asked to follow up with a counselor for further psycho-education and assessment.
  • Q: When are advisors, teachers, coaches, deans, team leaders, and dorm parents told when a student comes to the counseling service?

    All counselors are bound ethically and legally to maintain confidentiality of students seen in a counseling relationship. Since mental health overlaps with physical health, the health office and counselors do maintain close communication regarding the health of our students. In instances where it would be helpful and more supportive for other adults in our community to be aware of emotional health needs, the counselor would discuss with the student what information might be passed on and receive his/her permission before speaking to anyone. However, from both an ethical and legal standpoint, confidentiality must be waived in those rare instances when a student’s health and safety is endangered.
  • Q: Is there anything put in a student’s record when he/she sees a counselor?

    Counselors maintain separate clinical records for all students involved with Counseling Services. All counseling records are confidential and do not become a part of the student’s permanent academic record. In accordance with Massachusetts state guidelines, all counseling records are destroyed 7 years after a student graduates or leaves Worcester Academy.

Counseling Services Philosophy

Worcester Academy Counseling Services is committed to helping students develop their intellectual, social and emotional potential. We work hard to make connections with students and empower them to make healthy and safe decisions throughout their middle and upper school years. The Counselors are available to assess emotional needs and make recommendations to students and parents for support and treatment, including referrals to outside mental health providers. Although the Academy provides this service, it must be stressed to students and parents that this counseling help is short-term and available only to aid the student in coping with problems that interfere with their academic, social and emotional progress. These services are not intended to remedy learning disabilities, serious psychological disturbances, or other problems requiring extensive or long-term attention. If such conditions are determined to exist, the school counselor will refer the family to appropriate services outside of the Academy. In addition, the Academy retains both a consulting psychologist and consulting psychiatric nurse practitioner both of whom work closely with the school counselors, Upper School Director, and the Health Office. We provide a comfortable, approachable space to listen, offer support, and talk with students anytime during their career at Worcester Academy.

Confidentiality Statement

Seeing a counselor on campus is free, confidential and does not become part of your academic record.

Unless we have very serious concerns about a student’s safety, anything students or parents communicate with us remains confidential. We will communicate with others if students and parents give permission to do so. All psychological information shared between students, parents and the Academy’s school counselors is private and is treated confidentially within the limits of the law.

If a student seeks out the counseling office, we are likely to be in communication with a parent about this. However, since it can take time to build a trusting relationship, we may not contact parents after one visit. If students return for a second or third visit to the Counseling Office we are likely to call parents. We will inform parents about the overall emotional health of the student or goals or progress of counseling, but we will not disclose all of the details of the counseling session. This is a clear message to a student that he/she can have private space to talk, but that the counseling office is working with parents to support his/her emotional health. Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions about confidentiality.
WORCESTER ACADEMY® is a co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 and postgraduates. Our urban setting, diverse community, and innovative curriculum provide each student with unique opportunities for self-discovery, academic achievement, and personal empowerment.

Worcester Academy © 2014

81 Providence Street
Worcester, MA 01604
☏ 508-754-5302

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