‘A Safe Place’: MU Counselors Create an Environment for Healing

Comments Off Written on January 27th, 2014 by
Categories: Students

At Multnomah, we take a holistic approach to caring for our community. That’s why we offer each student access to free, professional counseling on our campus. Lisa Wold, Assistant Director of MU's Counseling Center, has watched hundreds of students walk across the podium to receive their diplomas. But the men and women she's counseled stand out the most. “When I see them graduate, and I know what it took them to get there, it feels incredibly rewarding to be a small part of their journey,” she says.

ChrisCleaver2_webChris Cleaver, full-time counselor at MU, knows the far-reaching impact counseling can have on a person — he experienced it firsthand as a client. Therapy helped Cleaver discover who he was and what he wanted to strive for. It also inspired him to become a licensed counselor. “I wanted to provide that same service to people,” he says. “I want to show them that they can be who God intended them to be.”

Wold also sought out a counselor when she was a college student. “It was so life-changing for me,” she says.

There are dozens of issues that compel students to pursue counseling. Wold and Cleaver have seen them all. They say the most common problems students grapple with are depression, anxiety, shame, grief, sexual issues, relational concerns and family issues.

Even if a problem is crippling, many students will avoid seeking help. Perhaps they want to handle things on their own. Maybe they’re afraid of being judged. They might be in denial. Whatever the reason is, they probably feel stuck.

“You don’t have to walk alone,” Wold says. “You don’t even have to commit to months of counseling — just come in, and see if you connect with one of us.”

Cleaver agrees that no-obligation consultations are a great way for students to ease into therapy. And no matter what brings them to counseling, they’ll always be sitting across from someone who truly wants the best for them. “We’ve heard a wide spectrum of stories, and we’re not shocked by anything.” Cleaver says. “Don’t think that we’ll look at you differently once we know more about you — we won’t. This is our job, and we love what we do.”

Multnomah's counselors are bound by law to keep whatever their clients say under wraps. They're intentional about integrating faith into their counseling sessions and respecting each student they work with. “We provide a safe place for you to wrestle with questions,” says Wold. “You won’t be an object we’re fixing. We’re both humans, and we’ll walk through this together.”

Healing isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the hard work. “I’ve seen an astonishing amount of growth and courage,” says Wold. “I've seen people overcome the things that once defeated them.”

Cleaver agrees. “I find that a lot of college and graduate students at Multnomah have internalized their shame,” he says. “How they see themselves is not congruent with how God sees them. It’s fulfilling to help people accept grace and be free from their shame.”

MU’s Counseling Center is located upstairs in the JCA in the Student Services Department.

To schedule a meeting with one of our counselors, call 503-251-5311. You may also make an appointment in person.

In addition to Lisa Wold and Chris Cleaver, two interns work at the Center: Michael Wilson and Eva Cruz Peña. Wilson is currently earning his Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) degree from Multnomah Graduate School, and Cruz Peña graduated from MU with her MAC in 2013.

Want to learn more about our Master of Arts in Counseling program? Check out our MAC page.

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