COUNSELING SERVICES

Counseling Services offers short-term professional counseling and self-help resources to Wartburg students of all ages. The campus community also affords a wide variety of resources to help students adjust to college life. Counseling Services’ primary purpose is to provide psychological support as students pursue their academic and personal goals. This service enhances the quality of their experience at Wartburg. Ongoing programs are offered in personal counseling, testing, self-management skills, multicultural issues, substance abuse recovery, sexual assault, crisis, safety education, and various support groups.

Location: Pathways Center, 3rd Floor of Vogel Library

As part of the Wartburg response to the COVID-19 virus, Counseling Services will be providing services remotely until further notice. Because telehealth might not be the best option for some students and mental health providers are licensed to practice only within the state, only students who are located within the State of Iowa are eligible for Wartburg’s telehealth counseling. If you are out of state during this time or prefer a counselor in your community, please refer to this website for guidance on how to connect with a counselor at home.

My SSP is an additional counseling resource that provides free 27/7 real-time support via chat and phone in 7 core languages and ongoing support via video and phone. To use this resource, download the free My SSP app or visit us.myissp.com.

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • Visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • Call Iowa Help Line 1-855-800-1239
  • Text 855-800-1239 (Iowa Help Line)

We understand that this is a challenging time in our world, filled with uncertainty and change. Practicing healthy self-care, staying in a routine, and utilizing your support system are especially important during these times.

As part of the Wartburg response to the COVID-19 virus, Counseling Services will be providing services remotely until further notice. Keep in mind, telehealth might not be the best option for some students, and mental health providers are licensed to practice only within the state. Only students who are located within the State of Iowa are eligible for telehealth counseling.  With this in mind, we put together the guide below to help students connect with therapists in their own communities.

We recognize that starting therapy can be daunting and want to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with the support you need. If you review the material below and still have questions please reach out to our office at counseling@wartburg.edu.

How to Find and Connect with a Therapist:

1. If you feel comfortable, ask people you trust if they have any recommendations. Most therapists have bios online either through Psychology Today or their own personal websites.

2. Research the internet

  • Psychology Today is an online database where many therapists post profiles with information about their services. Enter your city or zip code to narrow the search to your specific location.
  • From there you can further refine based on other preferences and logistic needs.
  • Examples of logistics you can search for include: insurances accepted, languages spoken, and whether they offer online/phone counseling.
  • Examples of preferences you can search for include: gender, sexuality, age, faith, types of therapy practiced, specialty areas.
  • Remember, the more preferences you indicate, the fewer options you will have. Consider carefully what is most important to you and what might be less important.
  • Try your best to do your research and be informed without over thinking it. You could spend weeks reviewing bios online, but ultimately the best way to determine whether a particular counselor will be a good fit is to meet with them.

3. Once you have narrowed down your list to one or a few therapists, it’s time to reach out. Psychology Today and/or therapist’s personal websites will indicate whether you can schedule by phone, email, or an online form.

  • Reach out to the therapist and let them know you are interested in starting therapy and wondering if they have any availability to see new clients.
  • Double check that they take your insurance.

How to Find Out What Insurance Will Cover

If you are insured through Iowa Medicaid:

  • Iowa Medicaid is commonly referred to as Iowa Health Link.
  • In most cases your card will either say “Amerigroup” or “Iowa Total Care.” Whichever company manages your benefits will be the network you should use (i.e. if your card says Amerigroup, look for providers who take Amerigroup). If a provider just says they take Medicaid and they are in the state of Iowa it is likely they accept your insurance but you should double check.
  • There is no cost for therapy using this insurance as long as you use an in-network provider.
  • Iowa Medicaid cannot be used outside of Iowa for mental health treatment.

If you have a different type of insurance than what is listed above you should call your insurance provider to double check your benefits for therapy. Below are some tips for calling your insurance company.

How to Call:

  • It is always best to call and confirm benefits and coverage for mental health services just to make sure there is no surprise bill.
  • There should be a number on the back of the card that will get this information quickly. Look for “customer service”, “benefits and coverage”, and/or “behavioral health.” If there is a behavioral health number always start there.
  • When you call they will ask for the plan number (found on the card). They might also ask for the last four digits of your social security number, so have that handy just in case.

Helpful questions to ask once you are connected to a representative:

  • Let them know you would like information on coverage and benefits for “mental health therapy in an office setting.”
  • Ask for information on any copay, coinsurance, and/or deductible that applies.
  • If you are confused by what they are sharing with you, ask don’t feel bad, insurance is confusing. Ask them to break it down further and help you understand what you will have to pay for therapy.
  • Ask if pre-authorization is required.

Frequently Used Insurance Terms:

  • Coinsurance: People with health insurance may have to pay for part of their health care services. Coinsurance is a fixed percentage of a health care service that you are responsible for paying for after you’ve reached your deductible.

For example, if your plan has a coinsurance requirement of 20% and a health service costs $100, your health insurance would pay $80 and you would pay the remaining $20 if you had reached your deductible.

Coinsurance is different from co-payment. Co-payments are usually a flat fee paid at the time of service, and coinsurance is paid after the insurance company pays their percentage of the cost.

  • Co-payment/Co-pay: People with health insurance may have to pay for part of their health care services. One way is with a co-payment, which is a fixed amount you pay for some health care services. You usually pay a co-pay when you get the service. The amount may change for different types of care. For example, you might pay $15 when you go in for a doctor’s visit and $30 when you go to the emergency room.
  • Deductible: The deductible is the amount that you may have to pay for health care services before the health insurance plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $500, your plan won’t pay anything until you’ve paid $500 for health care services covered by your health plan. After that, your health insurance plan will pay for services.

Deductibles usually roll back to $0 at the start of the calendar year (January 1st), which is important to keep in mind because that means you’ll be responsible for meeting that deductible again early in the year. Ask your insurance company when the deductible year starts to be sure.
If you are on a plan with family, there is usually a family deductible and an individual deductible. The family deductible is usually higher. Insurance will start paying for your services as soon as one of those deductibles has been met – either your individual one or your family one, so be sure to ask about both.

  • In-Network: The doctors, clinics, health centers, and hospitals whose services are covered by a health insurance plan. It is important to get health services from doctors, clinics, health centers and hospitals that are in your health plan’s network, when possible, to keep your costs down.
  • Pre-Authorization: Some insurance companies require services to be approved before they are provided. If this is required let the therapist you schedule with know and they will know how to handle this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the difference between a psychologist (PhD & PsyD), social worker (LISW or LMSW), marriage and family therapist (LMFT), and mental health counselor (LMHC)?

A: Reading all of the acronyms after people’s names can be a little bit of an alphabet soup. The main difference is the training program all of these professionals participate in before getting licensed to practice. The important thing is they all are licensed and qualified to provide therapy. We recommend not limiting yourself to a certain licensure type because that may significantly limit your options depending on where you live.

The exception to this is if you think you will need any type of documentation from your therapist regarding your immigration status – federal rules require that type of documentation come from a licensed psychologist.


Q: What if I meet with a therapist and it doesn’t feel like a good fit?

A: It may take a few appointments before you feel comfortable with your therapist – that’s normal. Certainly trust your instincts if there is something that feels off to you, but if possible give it a few sessions before moving on to someone else. It is important that you feel a good connection with your therapist, so if after a few sessions it doesn’t feel like a good fit, feel free to look for another therapist.

Q: What do I do if I do not have insurance?

A: Many communities or counties have a community based mental health center. Even if this center does not have immediate service available to you, they can be a good source of local services that either provide pro bono (free) or at reduce rates.

Office Phone 319-352-8596 | Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Email: counseling@wartburg.edu

Counseling staff members will respect the privacy of clients and will, within certain limits, hold in confidence the fact that the client is involved in counseling and all information obtained in the counseling relationship. With the exceptions described later in this statement, counselors will reveal information about a client only with the informed consent of the client. The Counseling Service staff needs to discuss with each other the work they do with clients, for the purpose of providing the best possible counseling to clients. 

There are certain situations in which information about clients may be released without their permission. While not an exhaustive list of all possible situations, the following situations are those that arise most often:

  • When the counselor determines the disclosure is necessary to protect against a clear and imminent risk of serious harm to the client or to another person. In such cases, the information will be disclosed only to appropriate professional workers, necessary college and public authorities, a potential victim of aggression, or the client’s family.
  • When the counselor determines that abuse of children or vulnerable, dependent adults is occurring. In these instances, a report must be made to the Iowa Department of Human Services.
  • When the counselor is presented with and cannot successfully contest a court order for the release of such information.
  • When the client requires hospitalization for severe psychological problems, suicidal ideation or attempt, or a life-threatening eating disorder. In these instances, the counselor must notify the client’s parents (or spouse), the Dean for Student Life, 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 persons, 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 explain why the disclosure is appropriate and necessary and will seek 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.

E-mail Policy
The Counseling Services staff welcomes your contact. However, we strongly prefer that you handle all consultation, appointment scheduling, and discussion of counseling issues via phone or face-to-face contact with us. The nature of e-mail is much like sending a snail-mail postcard, and we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of messages. In terms of discussing issues, we believe e-mail is not as useful as in-depth, in-person contact. Finally, since staff members are sometimes away from the office, we cannot guarantee that we would see your e-mail right away or respond promptly. This becomes especially problematic with messages about crisis situations. We take your time and confidentiality very seriously and therefore consider it imperative that you understand the limitations of our use of e-mail technology.

Mental Health Topics

  • GHB: The New Date Rape Drug
  • Happiness Research-What Makes People Happy?
  • Stress and Time Management
  • Healthier Relationships and Significant Others
  • Compulsive Screen Time
  • Learning How To Study
  • Feeling Homesick? You’re Not Alone!
  • Eating Disorders
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Improving Self-Esteem
  • Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
  • Make an appointment with Counseling Services if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row. Appointments can be made by emailing counseling@wartburg.edu, calling 319-352-8596, or in-person.

COUNSELING STAFF

Stephanie Newsom

Director of Counseling Services