Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is open and available during regular business hours. Current appointments can be in person or through a secure video via WebEx.

The Center provides brief individual and group counseling to current SAU students and consultation to faculty and staff. The Center provides a confidential, supportive and collaborative environment for open discussion of personal issues. We work towards making positive changes to one's thoughts, feelings, relationships, behavior/life situation.

For even more information and services, visit the Counseling Center on Experience.

For an appointment, please email or call 563-333-6423. We will schedule a 30-minute intake appointment to initiate services.

Ask. Listen. Refer.

Ask. Listen. Refer.

It only takes a few minutes.

Experiencing a suicidal crisis can feel unsettling, painful, and overwhelming. Through this training, you will learn the warning signs of suicide, what to do in this situation, and how to help for a person in crisis.

Take the Training

What We Provide

  • Brief individual counseling sessions - we are able to provide students up to 6 sessions a semester using a brief therapy model. They are held in the counselor's office, one-on-one working on the goals we set in our assessment session at the beginning. Sessions are free and confidential. We also have walk-in hours during the week where you can buzz-in for a session. 
  • Consultation for faculty and staff - We are happy to consult about a student who may be struggling in your class or to help prepare you for situations where you are helping a student in distress. We can also help you find a local therapist through your insurance. 
  • Substance abuse screening and referral - We are able to assess your use and find a local or hometown facility that can help you with treatment. 
  • Referral to appropriate medical, psychiatric, or psychological services when needed - We do not prescribe medication through our office. We can help you, by using your insurance, find a local prescribing doctor or community therapist to help with more intense treatment. 
  • Referral to appropriate medical providers for ARC or ESA accommodations -  We do not provide paperwork for ARC accommodations or ESA (including room accommodations). We can help you find a local provider or one back home through your insurance. 
  • Psycho-educational programming - One of our counselors leads Life Coach Workshops where you can come in and learn about different topics concerning college aged students. We are also available to come to classrooms, teams or clubs for educational programming.
  • We also offer Ask.Listen.Refer, which is an online program to help to learn how to help someone in distress.
  • 24-hour local mobile crisis unit access - We have a local crisis unit through Eastern Iowa that serves our students. They are available 24/7.  You can also use the national line 988, through call or text, to talk to someone. 
  • You can access our Virtual Calming Hive where we have different coping skill activities and videos you can access here.

If you prefer to receive professional counseling off campus, we will be happy to refer you to or identify appropriate agencies, centers or private practitioners.

Confidentiality and Rights

Confidentiality and Privacy

Federal and state laws along with professional ethical standards prohibit the disclosure of any information you provide us unless we have your proper written consent. Thus, if a St. Ambrose University official or your parents or anyone else should inquire about your receiving services here, we would not be able to disclose any information about you without your written permission. Having said that, there are a few exceptions to the confidentiality laws and standards, as follows:

  • If your counselor believes that you or someone else is in clear and imminent danger of harm, your counselor is legally obligated to inform proper authorities and others in order to prevent the harm from occurring. This information would be disclosed only to appropriate professional workers, necessary university and public authorities, a potential victim of aggression or the client's family.
  • If you provide information indicating that someone under 18 years old is being abused, your counselor is legally required to notify proper authorities.
  • In rare cases, a court may order your counselor to disclose information about you.
  • If you are under 17 ½ years old, your parents or legal guardian may have access to your treatment records.
  • When the client requires hospitalization for severe psychological problems, suicidal ideations or attempt, or other life threatening issue. In these instances, the counselor must notify the client's parents or spouse, the Dean of Students, and, if the client lives in a residence hall, appropriate members of the residence life staff. Only relevant, limited and necessary information will be shared with these individuals, who are always notified whenever a serious medical emergency arises with a student.

In the preceding situations, the counselor will, whenever possible first discuss the disclosure of information with the client. The counselor will provide reasons why the disclosure is appropriate and necessary and will attempt to secure the client's permission to release information. The client and counselor may jointly be involved in sharing the information.  However, should the client fail to give permission, the counselor will proceed to release the information without the client's consent. In some emergency situations, there may not be an opportunity to discuss disclosure of information with the client prior to the actual disclosure.

It is possible that at some point in the future you will be required by an outside agency or employer to sign a release allowing that agency or employer to review your treatment records. This may occur, for example if you apply for health and life insurance, or if you apply for licensure or certification in some professions, or if you apply for employment in agencies that require a security clearance. In any of these situations, the counselor will first make an attempt to contact you regarding what information you may want disclosed to the requesting party.

Client Rights

As a client, you have the following rights:

  1. To ask questions about your counselor's professional qualifications and experience.
  2. To be an active participant in decisions about counseling goals and strategies and to refuse any goals or strategies with which you do not agree.
  3. To review your file with your counselor. Please note that we use Titanium Schedule, an electronic records system. All files in this program are on a secure server with high security to protect your information.
  4. To have your counseling experience remain confidential within certain limits.
  5. To end counseling at any time.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Counseling Center?
The Counseling Center is a resource for St. Ambrose students who are looking for help in resolving personal problems and learning about themselves and their relationships with others.

Where is the Counseling Center located?
The St. Ambrose University Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the Rogalski Center, adjacent to Health Services.

Is it confidential?
The Counseling Center maintains strict confidentiality. You do not need consent or pre-approval from anyone to receive services. The center operates independently of faculty or administrative offices, although we partner closely with many SAU offices. With certain caveats, no information can be released to anyone without your signed consent.

How do I make an appointment?
Appointments can be made by calling 563-333-6423, in-person at the Counseling Center on the second floor of the Rogalski Center, or by emailing

What does it cost?
Counseling services are free to all St. Ambrose University students.

Will I have to wait?
The Counseling Center is usually able to schedule you within 1-2 days for an initial appointment.

What kind of services do you provide?
Students are offered individual sessions, group therapy, workshops, one-at-a-time Buzz In appointments, substance abuse screening, and referrals. Our individual sessions and Buzz In appointments use the brief therapy model and are limited due to the number of students coming to our office. Workshops, screenings, and referrals are unlimited. Additionally, we provide referrals to appropriate medical, psychiatric, or psychological services as needed. We are available to faculty and staff for group presentations, workshops, and information to support mental health initiatives.

What kinds of issues do you deal with at the Counseling Center?
The following list indicates examples of some of the situations the Counseling Center deals with: relationships with others, stress management, anxiety issues, family relationships, loneliness, couples conflict, sexuality issues, depression, problem habits or behaviors, alcohol or drug screening, and academic and social adjustment.

If I come to the Counseling Center, does it mean something is wrong with me?
On the contrary; from time to time all of us experience difficulties in our daily lives. When these difficulties occur, they can sometimes become stumbling blocks that affect our relationships with others or prevent us from realizing our abilities, potential and goals. The Counseling Center is staffed with licensed, professional counselors who can be of assistance in sorting out issues. The emphasis in counseling is not to provide pat answers or to make decisions for you. Rather, it is a cooperative effort that explores new insights or ways of thinking, alternatives, and possible new directions to improve your quality of life.

What if I am hesitant about coming for an appointment on my own? Is it appropriate for someone to accompany me?
Certainly. There have been situations where a friend, roommate, suitemate, Resident Advisor or Hall Director accompanies a student for their initial appointment.

What if I have a concern about a friend or suitemate? Can I seek the services of the Counseling Center for advice on that type of matter?
We are available for consultation. Consider approaching your Resident Advisor or Hall Director with your concerns. If you are worried about harm to self or others please contact Security immediately at 333-6104.

Mental Health Response Guide

What's Next?

  • Reflect on your own boundaries, self-care and support needs. Utilize colleagues, supervisors, and department heads for consultation and collaboration. Consult HR for information on support, wellness programs, and employee assistance options that are available for support to YOU if needed.
  • Consider your status related to campus security requirements and if there are any Title IX-or crimerelated reports you must make. Suicidal thoughts from a student are not considered mandatory reporting, but it is an urgent situation where referrals should be made.
  • Report students of concern to the Behavioral Intervention team (BIT) by filling out a CARE report online (link below) or calling the Dean of Students at (563)333-6259. While in your role respecting privacy is required under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), consulting about academic, safety, health, and wellness concerns is allowable under FERPA.
  • Circle back with the student after referral to a support resource to check-in. This student trusted you enough to share a struggle they are going through.
  • Understand that due to privacy regulations it may not always be possible for other campus resources to provide you with detailed information after a student referral. 


Academic & Career Planning Rogalski... ...................563-333-6339
Accessibility Resource Center Cosgrove .................563-333-6275
Athletics WRC ......................................................563-333-6229
Campus Ministry Chapel .........................................563-333-6132
Campus Security Rogalski Center.............................563-333-6104
Counseling Center Rogalski Center ...........................563-333-6423
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kreiter Hall ...............563-333-5728
Student Health Services Rogalski Center ..................563-333-6423
Human Resources Ambrose Hall .............................563-333-6364
International Student Studies Ambrose Hall..............563-333-6389
Resident Life Rogalski Center .................................563-333-6258
Student Activities Rogalski Center ............................563-333-6023
Student Success Center Ambrose Hall......................563-333-6331

On Campus: Campus Security Rogalski Center .........563-333-6104
Off Campus: 9-1-1

Bias Incident ....... Kevin Carlson .............................563-333-6070
Sexual Assault/Title IX...... Kevin Carlson .................563-333-6070

Eastern Iowa Crisis Line ........................................855-581-8111
National Suicide Prevention Hotline ............988 or 1-800-273-8255
NAMI Crisis Text Line ................................. Text NAMI to 741-741
LGBTQIA Crisis Hotline/The Trevor Project ..............866-488-7386
Safe Path Survivor Services ...................................866-921-3354
Vera French Crisis Stabilization Home .....................563-396-3017
Vera French Same Day Access ................................563-383-1900
They have multiple locations at Central Park and Duck Creek which are open 4 days per week.
Robert Young Crisis Phone Line .............................309-779-2999
Robert Young Center ............................................ 309-779-3000
Walk in hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30 am- 3 pm (3rd St Moline)

1. Recognize

Please review the most common signs of distress. Students may also present with indicators not listed.


  • Signs of physical abuse or self-injury
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility toward self or others
  • Implying or making a direct threat to harm self or others
  • Disclosure of thoughts about suicide or death
  • Unresponsive or altered level of consciousness


  • Repeated absences and/or decline in quality of work or performance
  • Writings/creative work that include disturbing content and/ or themes of despair, hopelessness, violence, death or aggression Disorganized performance and/or repeated requests for extensions
  • Conduct that interferes with classroom, group work or activity engagement
  • Frequent utilization of faculty/staff office hours for personal support


  • Marked changes in physical appearance
  • Excessive fatigue, listlessness or reports of sleep disturbance
  • Intoxication, hangover, smelling of alcohol, evidence of drug abuse
  • Disoriented or "out of it", out of touch with reality, delusions or paranoia
  • Garbled, rambling, tangential, disconnected or slurred speech
  • Behavior out of context or character for individual as you know them
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress-family problems, financial difficulties, grief, shame
  • Excessive tearfulness, panic reactions, irritability or unusual apathy
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Expressions of concern about the student by peers
  • Unusual style of communication style (withdrawn or agitated, mutters under breath, slow response time to questions)

2. Respond

Use these important tips to determine the most appropriate response for a distressed student.


  • Be direct
  • Stick to the facts; Don't make assumptions
  • Describe what changes you have noticed
  • Ask if they are okay
  • Listen to them 

Conversation Tips: "I have missed seeing you in class lately. Is everything okay?" "You haven't seemed like yourself the past few classes. Is there anything you want to talk about?"


  • Let them know you are there for them
  • Be patient and present
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Offer help where you can
  • Be curious and ask questions, use empathy
  • Ask what they need
  • Avoid judgements
  • Summarize what they said
  • Provide a space to be heard
  • Let them know they are not alone
  • Affirm their feelings

Conversation Tips: "It sounds like you are really overwhelmed! Is there anything I can do to help out?" "I am hearing you describe that you have been really sad." "I'm here to listen, if you want to talk." "That sounds really challenging." "Are you having thoughts of suicide?"


  • Determine the need and resources
  • Reaffirm your support and care
  • Connect them to resources
  • Follow up 

Conversation Tips: "It sounds like you've really been struggling. Have you thought about utilizing the Counseling Center? I have heard great things about it from other students."

3. Refer

Is the student a danger to self/others AND/ OR is the student in immediate need of assistance for any reason?

Yes The student is at immediate risk of harming self or others, is incoherent or unresponsive, is in extreme distress, or is causing extreme distress to others. I do not feel comfortable leaving this student alone. Or, I have significant concerns about this student and cannot determine if they are at imminent risk.
Call Security at 563-333-6104 if the student is ON CAMPUS or you are unsure of student's location. Call 9-1-1 if the student is OFF CAMPUS. After student has been connected to emergency resources, submit a CARE report.

No This is not an emergency, however, the student is showing signs of distress and the issue is impacting multiple areas of the student's life. I am concerned about them and want to get them more help soon.
Consider the nature of the student's distress and contact appropriate resources for consultation. Assist the student in connecting with the Counseling Center 563-333- 6423 or the Eastern Iowa Crisis Line at 855-581-8111. Seek referral or consultation with Dean of Students, Student Success Center or Advising and Career Planning Center. See resource list included on this guide for additional support. Submit a CARE report. When in doubt, you can call Campus Security to consult.

No I'm not concerned for the student's immediate safety, but I believe they are struggling with academic and/or personal issues and could benefit from some additional support.
Refer to appropriate resources. Encourage the student to set up an appointment or assist them in doing so. Ask them if you can call someone who can help together. See the resource list. Submit a CARE report and/or ADVISE alert , depending on the situation. 


The Counseling Center employs a staff member whose role is outreach and prevention. They present information to campus on a small- and large-group scale. They also have office hours and group activities to build connections and provide education regarding mental health.  Current students can visit our Experience page, and also access our Virtual Calming Hive for coping skill activities.

The SAU Counseling Center collaborates with local businesses on different occasions. Here are a few examples of our partnerships:

  • We bring the Eastern Iowa Crisis System to campus during Counseling events and distribute their information throughout campus. This is a free and confidential service that provides 24/7 mental health consults for this area.
  • We have been working with Scott County Kids to bring Mental Health First Aid training to faculty and staff.
  • Each fall we organize a Mental Health Fair where local providers, campus departments, and student clubs/activities set up booths with information and activities that help bring awareness to mental health needs. Additionally, we get area businesses involved by asking them to donate give-aways/swag.
  • Local venders we have brought to campus include the Quad Cities Canine Assistance Network, Inc. (therapy dogs), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Amy's Gift, and Family Resources (specifically  male advocates, victims of homicide, and violent crimes crisis services and platforms that bring awareness to domestic violence).

Our Staff

Counselors and Specialists

Dr. Sarah Oliver, LISW, LCSW, Director
Miranda Dresing, MSW LISW, Care Coordinator
Sarah Godwin, LMHC, Counselor
Theresa Panich, Administrative Assistant
Amber Dopler, Mental Health Outreach and Prevention Specialist


Director Sarah E. Oliver, PhD, LISW, LCSW

Counseling Center
Rogalski Center, 2nd floor
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.