Counseling Services

Counseling Services

College is exciting, but can be very stressful and everyone needs help coping sometimes. Whether you are a first-time college student or returning to school due to a life transition, sometimes it helps to talk with an objective listener.

Counseling is for anyone and everyone who desires to make a positive life change or who simply wants to understand themselves better. As a Carl Sandburg College student, you are eligible for free counseling services. 

There are many resources that may be helpful you, both on campus and in the community. Check out the link below to learn more about all that Sandburg and the surrounding community has to offer to promote your well-being. 

Counseling Resources


The Counseling Process

A perfect description of the counseling process comes from Dr. Don McMillan, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Adjunct Faculty member of the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, and a Director of Archway Associates, P.C., (   

He describes counseling as follows: 

Counseling is a unique relationship in which the Counselor’s job is to hold up a mirror in which the client sees himself or herself.  We all have experiences in which we can’t see things about ourselves without a mirror: like whether we have a wound in a hard-to-see place.  We often need mirrors to see these things well enough to do something about them.  And sometimes, we need someone to hold the mirror so we can see the things that are at more hidden angles.  In addition to knowing at what angles to hold the mirror, the counselor understands that sometimes it takes a while for folks to see what they need.  Finally, because most people tend to be hard on themselves, the counselor knows to hold the mirror in such a way that the client can see himself or herself from a caring, supportive and sympathetic perspective.” 

Range of Services
Carl Sandburg College employs Masters-level counselors who are able to provide brief solution-focused counseling services. They are not licensed therapists and do not provide diagnoses nor are they able to prescribe medications. If you require more intensive intervention or possibly need medication, counselors can work with you to refer you to a local counseling agency that can better meet your needs. Sandburg counselors can also assist in locating emergency housing and/or long-term shelter, childcare, utility assistance, food assistance, caregiver info, etc.

Sandburg students seek counseling for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons include depression, anxiety, stress management, self-esteem, substance use/abuse, abuse and domestic violence, suicide ideation, time-management, relationship difficulties, grief, housing crisis, and difficulty meeting basic needs.
What to Expect

Many people experience some anxiety going to their first counseling appointment. Knowing what to expect can help to alleviate some of the anxiety. Counselors are trained to assist you in feeling comfortable. They will never force you to discuss anything that you do not want or are not willing, to talk about.  

Counseling is a process. There are no magic cures and counselors are not mind readers.

It is important to be open and honest. The counselor will ask a number of questions in an effort to understand you and your specific needs. They will ask why you are seeking counseling services, what your expectations are for counseling, and what your goals are. They will ask questions about your personal history and life circumstances and what factors are having a negative impact on your life. They will ask questions about your perceptions, thoughts, and feelings and will explore any relevant symptoms that can result from negative life situations. All of the questions are geared toward helping them to better understand you and what the best approach may be to help you to alleviate negative symptoms and find healthy ways to change and/or cope with your given situation.

It takes time and it takes work. But anything in life that is worth having is worth the time and energy it takes to get it. 

Meet our Counselors


 Ellen Henderson-Gasser

Ellen Henderson-Gasser
Director of the Branch Campus
Office: Carthage
Ed.D University of Kentucky
Education Policy Studies, Emphasis Higher Education Administration


Vicki McMullin

Vicki McMullin
Office: main campus E116
M.S. Sangamon State University
Major: Human Development Counseling

Counselor Availability

Your health is an important part of your success at Sandburg and we offer several options to connect with a counselor.

You can meet with a Sandburg counselor on campus, via phone, or via Zoom by calling 309-341-5237 or emailing to schedule an appointment.

Although scheduled appointments are ideal, we understand sometimes, there is no time for an appointment and you need to talk to someone immediately. Crisis appointments will be taken on a walk-in basis. We will do everything possible to accommodate you.

 If you call or email, understand that there are circumstances that may prevent us from calling/emailing you back immediately.  For example, counselors do not answer their phones or e-mails when they are working with other students. There are times when we are out of the office, at meetings, or on vacation. During heavy registration periods, student traffic can be very busy. The office is closed on holidays and weekends.

If we are out of the office, a phone message or email “out of office reply” will notify you of this. You can leave a message or email and we will contact you as soon as we are able. Or you can contact the office and talk with another counselor if necessary.  

If a counselor is not available and you need immediate assistance, please call the Path Crisis Hotline at 211 or 1-800-570-PATH to be connected with local resource options. Or go to the nearest emergency room:

  • Galesburg OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center, 3333 N Seminary St, Galesburg, IL
    Phone: (309) 344-3161
  • OSF Family Medical Center, 1000 W Harlem Ave, Monmouth, IL
    Phone: (309) 734-3141

Memorial Hospital, 1454 N County Rd 2050, Carthage, IL
Phone: (217) 357-8500

Virtual Counseling

You can use TimelyCare, a FREE 24/7 telehealth service for Sandburg students. Providers are available to offer medical and mental health support via phone or secure video. Services offered include:

  • Medical: 24/7, on-demand or scheduled access to a medical provider that can treat a wide range of common illnesses like cold and flu, sinus infection, allergies and more
  • TalkNow: 24/7, on-   demand access to a mental health professional to talk about anything at anytime
  • Scheduled Counseling: scheduled appointments to meet with a licensed counselor -limit 6 per year
  • Psychiatry: scheduled appointments available through a campus counseling referral
  • Free classes – yoga, meditation and other wellness oriented sessions.  (Available for students and staff)

Visits can happen from any web-enabled device - smartphone, laptop, or desktop. TimelyCare is available from anywhere in the United States.

To get started, visit or download the app and register an account with your Sandburg email address.


Privacy and confidentiality are at the core of successful counseling. It is imperative that you feel you can talk openly and honestly. When you meet with your counselor for the first time, they will discuss with you any potential limits of their confidentiality, as well as how your privacy is respected.

Counseling services are free to you. As stated, in some cases, a mental health counseling referral to an agency that requires payment may be necessary.
Reporting to Title IX and Public Safety
Incidents of crimes based on genders such as stalking, bullying, discrimination, or sexual harassment/assault on campus must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Public Safety. Although these reports are anonymous, you will be encouraged to talk to these departments to take appropriate action as needed.
Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health

Students have the option to designate a third party to receive their private mental health information. For more information, please follow the link below.

Student optional disclosure of mental health information

Counseling FAQs


All of our counselors have master’s degrees and have many years of experience counseling students at Sandburg.


A counselor has a master’s degree and professionally trained in counseling. Counselors also work with faculty and staff as consultants and provide all services of academic advisors. 

An academic advisor is a professional staff member trained to assist students with academic planning. Advisors make referrals for various student concerns to counselors or other campus services. 


No, counseling can also assist with the following: adjusting to new circumstances or a new culture, building self-esteem, choosing a career path, coping with grief, learning new communication skills, learning stress management, overcoming anxiety, and/or resolving conflict with a teacher, friend or relative. 


Records of counseling sessions never become part of a student’s transcript or academic and education records. 

We understand that counseling often involves the disclosure of sensitive, personal information.  Your counseling information is confidential.  No information about who is receiving counseling or the nature of their visits is released without the written permission of the person. Exceptions to this include subpoena, in cases of current child abuse, or if there is an expressed intent to harm one’s self or another person.

Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (fall & spring semester hours)

Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 pm. (summer semester hours)

Call (309) 341.5237 to schedule an appointment.

Walk-in emergency counseling appointments are available.


Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (fall & spring semester hours)

Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 pm. (summer semester hours)

Call (217) 357-3129 to schedule an appointment.

Walk-in emergency counseling appointments are available.


Contact us

Student Services
Location: Building E100
Phone: 309.341.5237