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Welcome to Gordon State College Counseling Services!

The Counseling and Accessibility Services Office is a resource that offers several services to support students currently enrolled at Gordon State College. Counseling and Accessibility Services is located in the Student Center on the main campus in Barnesville. All services provided by Counseling and Accessibility Services are available to students free of charge.  Any student attending any GSC campus may contact Counseling and Accessibility Services to make an appointment. The same services are provided to students attending some satellite campuses on an as needed basis. Counselors are regularly scheduled to see students attending the Henry County campus in McDonough, on a bi-weekly basis.  All students should contact the main Counseling and Accessibility Services phone number 678-359-5585 to schedule an appointment at any campus.

Services provided include personal counseling, academic counseling, case management and support for students with behavioral health concerns, and assistance for students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations.

Students requiring long-term or specialized services are referred to off-campus resource sites to meet their needs.  A list of off-campus community referral sources located in Barnesville and surrounding counties is posted on the Counseling Center website. (Community Resource List) Gordon State College does not endorse any resource listed on the Community Resource List.  The list is provided as a service to Gordon State College students to help locate additional resources in the community.

Location: Student Center, Second Floor, Room 212

Hours: Monday-Friday 8am - 5pm

Cost: Free of charge to currently enrolled Gordon State College Students

How to schedule an appointment: Call our office at 678-359-5585


Personal Counseling

The mission of Counseling Services is to use a brief, solution focused model of counseling.  Most students are seen for 1-6 sessions.  Once assigned to a counselor, you will work with that counselor to identify and discuss your current concerns.  The counselor will assist you with developing effective therapeutic goals to help you with your concerns.

Students often come to counseling for assistance with anxiety/stress, depression, relationship issues (family, peers, romantic or roommate), low self- confidence, grief, recovery from an unwanted sexual contact or violence, hopelessness/suicidal thinking, eating issues – too much or too little, difficulty making decisions, and trouble adjusting to college life.

For additional information on emotional health and wellness when transitioning to college visit http://transitionyear.org/

Confidentiality Policy

The counselors at the Gordon State College Counseling Services office adhere to the standard of confidentiality set forth by Georgia law, as well as by their respective professional standards and ethical codes (i.e. the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists).

Information shared in counseling is confidential and no record that you sought counseling services will be placed on your transcript.  You must sign a “Consent to Release Information” form in order for any information regarding your counseling sessions to be provided to a 3rd party.

Exceptions to the Confidentiality Policy do sometimes occur under certain circumstances.  These exceptions include: 1) You want your counseling records released to a 3rd party and sign a Release of Information form, 2 You make imminent threats to the safety and well- being of yourself and/or others, or 3) When abuse, neglect or exploitation of children or adults who are vulnerable due to physical or mental impairment or advanced age is suspected by the counselor.


Any student in crisis may walk into the Counseling Center and see a counselor on a first-come, first served basis.  Students are required to complete initial paperwork prior to meeting with a counselor.  Students in crisis will be seen by the first available counselor after their initial paperwork has been completed.

If a student (either a residential student or a student attending class) is on campus and in crisis after hours, call Gordon State College Public Safety at 678-359-5111.  Off campus students in crisis should call the GA Crisis and Access Line at 800-715-4225 or, if it is a life threatening emergency, call 911.

Suicidal Students

If you are a student considering suicide, or if you are a faculty or staff member concerned that a student may be considering suicide, then immediate action should be taken by contacting Public Safety at 678-359-5111.  During regular hours, Public Safety will contact Counseling and Accessibility Services to alert and request a counselor.  After hours, Public Safety will contact the on-call counselor and make them aware of a suicidal student.

How to make an appointment or refer a student

Students may self-refer by calling Counseling and Accessibility Services at 678-359-5585 and scheduling an appointment to meet with a counselor. Students who call after hours are encouraged to leave a message on our confidential voice mail.  You will be contacted on the next business day to schedule an appointment.  Most personal counseling sessions last about an hour, and students are required to complete an intake form and an informed consent form prior to meeting with the counselor.

Faculty or staff may verbally refer a student for counseling services. They may walk with them to the Counseling Office to make an appointment or they may download and complete a Counseling Referral Form and forward it to Counseling Services. Referral Form


Appointment Details

Students should arrive early for their initial appointment. Required intake paperwork takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.  If you arrive early, you will have more time to spend with the counselor.

Appointments/sessions generally last about 50 minutes.

Students over 15 minutes late for a scheduled appointment will be rescheduled.

If you schedule an appointment and are unable to make it, contact Counseling and Accessibility Services to cancel your appointment as soon as possible.  This will free up the counselor’s time for another appointment and assist us with getting your appointment rescheduled.


Other resources:

National Suicide Prevention Line 1-888-273-TALK (8255)

When you call this number you will be connected with a trained counselor in a crisis center in your area, anytime, 24/7.

Georgia Crisis and Access Line 1-800-715-4225

Clinicians are available anytime day or night to assist people in mental health, addiction, and behavioral healthcare crisis in the state of Georgia.

ULifeline: Mental health resources for college students. Information on various mental health issues (including depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention), a place to e-mail questions, and links to other mental health sites.

If you are a concerned student, parent, or campus professional looking for resource information on how to recognize and address emotional health issues and prevent suicide, all of this information is available at https://www.jedfoundation.org/.  The Jed Foundation was founded in 2000 by Donna and Phil Satow after they lost their son Jed to suicide.


Case Management


Students referred to Counseling by concerned faculty or staff may be contacted by a counselor to provide emotional support and information on services available.

Counselors may follow up with a student to discuss any new needs or review on-going progress.  Students who do not show up for an appointment, or who cancel multiple times, will be contacted by email.

Counselors may follow up with a student following a referral to determine if the referral met the needs of the student.

Crisis Management

Counselors may assess a student’s ability to cope during and/or following a crisis.

Counselors may develop an action plan to address a student’s current needs.

Counselors may coordinate care for students with on and off campus supports.

Behavioral Health

Under some circumstances, counselors may be asked by the Vice President of Student Affairs to provide assistance with coordination of care following a student’s inpatient or outpatient hospitalization, for a behavioral health related diagnosis.

Counselors may be asked to assist members of the Behavioral Intervention Team with assessment of a student, following inpatient or outpatient treatment, for a behavioral health related diagnosis.


Diversity and Inclusion

The Counseling and Accessibility Services office is a welcoming place for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and questioning students.  Regardless of sexual orientation, all students deserve the opportunity to learn and to receive services from Gordon State College in a friendly, supportive environment.  The Counseling and Accessibility Services office is a “safe space” for students and displays a “safe space” sticker to designate this office for students as a “safe space”.


Resources for Faculty and Staff


Counselors are available to provide classroom presentations on a variety of counseling related and wellness topics.  Contact us at 678-359-5585 to discuss a presentation for your group or class.


Counselors are available to consult with faculty or staff, campus groups, administrative offices, or others who may be concerned about issues potentially affecting the personal and academic achievement of students. We can assist in dealing with a student in crisis, help assess a difficult situation, facilitate interventions, or provide resources and/or make referrals where appropriate.

Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT):

The BIT was formed to address reports of troubling (inappropriate, disruptive, or harmful) patterns of student behavior, and to intervene in emergency situations and help assess whether a student may need to be hospitalized, or how to minimize the negative impacts on the student’s and their peer’s overall academic experience.

Vice President of Student Affairs
Director of Counseling
Nurse Practitioner
Director of Residence Life
Chief of Police

What is disruptive behavior?

Behavior that interferes with other students, faculty, or staff and their access to an appropriate education or work environment is considered disruptive. Some examples of disruptive behavior are yelling/screaming, persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention, words or actions that have the effect of intimidating or harassing another, words or actions that cause another to fear for his/her personal safety, threats of physical assault.

How should I handle disruptive person?

Remain clam.  Many disruptive situations involve anger.  Recognize that the period of peak anger usually lasts 20-30 seconds.  If the person de-escalates, then you can calmly talk with them and take steps to resolve the conflict.  If, however, the person does not de-escalate, then you many need to remove yourself from the situation and contact Public Safety at 5010 or in an emergency 5111.

What do we mean when we say distressed person?

Sometimes students exhibit behaviors that may be worrisome and may indicate that they are coping with a serious mental health problem.  Mental health issues can alter the content of students’ communication and/or their behavior in the classroom.  For example, an otherwise academically successful student may become withdrawn, depressed, and potentially suicidal.  The depression may lead to poor grades, lack of attention in class, and other similar behaviors.

Potential Signs of distress

Marked change in academic performance or other behavior

Excessive absence or tardiness

Exaggerated emotional response that is obviously inappropriate to the situation

Feelings of depression or hopelessness

Hyperactivity or very rapid speech

Marked change in personal hygiene and/or attire

Excessive confusion

Dependency (individual hangs around or makes excessive appointments to see you)

Strange or bizarre behavior indicating loss of contact with reality

Verbal or written references to suicide

Verbal or written references to homicide or assaultive behavior

Isolation from friends, family, or classmates

If you are concerned a student may be considering suicide

If immediate action is required, call Public Safety at 5111.  If not imminently suicidal and during the regular work day (8-5), call the Counseling center for consultation.  Outside of the hours of 8-5, contact Public Safety.

Suicide Risk Factors

Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders

Alcohol and other substance use disorders


Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

History of trauma or abuse

Major physical illness

Previous suicide attempt

Family history of suicide

Job or financial loss

Loss of relationship

Easy access to lethal means

Lack of social support and sense of isolation

Stigma associated with asking for help

Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment

Cultural and religious beliefs, such as that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma

Exposure to others who have died by suicide

Helpful Gordon Resources:

Counseling Center/Accessibility Services 678-359-5585

Student Health Center 678-359-5476

Provost 678-359-5018

Vice President of Student Affairs 678-359-5056

Student Success Center 678-359-5156


Sexual Assault/Rape:

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474 Text “loveis” to 77054

Peer advocates are available to talk via phone, text, or online chat 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)

Highly trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially to anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources/information, or questioning potentially unhealthy aspects of their relationships.

RAINN Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE

When you call this hotline you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the zip code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.

Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center

24 hour crisis line 770-477-2177

SCSA-CAC offers a variety of services including a 24 hour crisis line, forensic medical services, medical and legal accompaniment, counseling, and education. They offer support for anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harassed or sexually abused recently or in the past. They also provide support to victims of child abuse and their non-offending caregivers.


Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment of students attending Gordon State College is prohibited.

Definition of Sexual Harassment:

Unwelcome sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, constitute sexual harassment when:

Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s academic standing.

Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or

Such conduct reasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Examples of Sexual Harassment are: unwanted teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions of a sexual nature; unwanted pressure for dates; unwanted letters or phone calls of a sexual nature; unwanted sexually suggestive looks or gestures; unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching; unwanted pressure for sexual favors; actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.

Sexual Assault falls under the category of disorderly conduct and goes against the Gordon State College Student Code of Conduct.

Gordon State College Policy on Sexual Harassment

US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

RAINN definition of Sexual Harassment

US Department of Education Policy on Sexual Harassment


Partner/Domestic Violence

Warning signs
Your partner has an explosive temper and/or blames you for his/her anger
He/she is jealous of time you spend with family and friends
He/she repeatedly criticizes your ideas/thoughts and/or appearance
He/she slaps, pushes, grabs, or pinches you
Your partner forces you or intimidates you into sexual activity
You are afraid of your partner or your partner is controlling
You feel you have to apologize for your partner’s behavior when he/she treats you badly

Definitions of abuse:

Physical: Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical pain and/or withholding access to medication or medical care.
Emotional: Frequent criticism, belittling a person’s competency/abilities, name calling, and other efforts to damage a person’s self-image or self-worth.
Psychological: Controlling a person’s interaction with friends, family, work, or school. Forcing isolation, intimidation, threats, and blackmail.
Sexual: Any non-consensual sexual contact or treating someone in a sexually derogatory manner.
Economic: Efforts to make the person completely dependent on the abuser for money and/or financial survival.
Spiritual: Attempting to use the person’s faith against him/her.


Haven House

24 hour crisis line 770-954-9229

Ahimasa House

Christian Women's Center

Promise Place
24 hour crisis line: 770-460-1604

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org

Love Is Louder

No More: Together We Can End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 

Violence Prevention iPhone/Android Apps (pdf)


Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a common problem among college students and can lead to many personal, relational, financial, academic, and legal problems.  Some potential signs you might have a drinking problem are you drink to forget or avoid your problems, drinking causes problems with school/work/interpersonal relationships, you injure yourself or get in trouble when you drink, you keep alcohol hidden for a quick “pick me up”, you drive after drinking, you need a drink to get you going in the morning, you choose to spend money on alcohol instead of other things you need.

The Gordon State College Alcohol Policy is as follows:

The manufacture, distribution, sale, possession, or use of intoxicating substances on campus, or while participating in a College function, or at College approved events off campus is strictly prohibited.

Student(s) on or returning to campus who are unable to control himself or herself because of alcohol consumption are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

No student shall furnish or cause to be furnished any alcoholic beverage to any person under the legal drinking age.

Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is not allowed on campus.

Alcohol containers are not allowed (full, empty, or decorative). The possession or presence of alcohol containers (full, empty, decorative, etc.) is prohibited in residence hall rooms and on campus and will be viewed as evidence of possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages regardless of student’s age.

The above policy applies to all drugs and their abuse (including alcohol)..

Alcoholics Anonymous


Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

McIntosh Trail Community Service Board


Substance abuse treatment available to adults and adolescents.  Call the Care Connection at 770.358.5252 to be linked to the center most convenient to your needs.

Ridgeview Institute

770-434-4567  (800) 329-9775


Ridgeview institute is a private, not for profit provider that offers addiction treatments for both young adults and adults, including detoxification.

Rivers Edge Behavioral Health Center


Offers outpatient services including crisis services, assessment, individual counseling, group counseling, and family counselling.                                                          

Talbot Recovery -  Locations in Atlanta, Dunwoody, and Columbus


Offers short and long term treatment for alcoholism, chemical dependency, and dual diagnosis/addiction for both young adults and adults.  Personalized monitoring and aftercare plans.

Drug Rehabilitation Locator, website that assists in locating substance abuse treatment centers.  Search by city and state or type of facility seeking (i.e. detox, teen, dual diagnosis).  This website is simply a resource to assist in locating possible rehabilitation facilities.  Choosing a facility is a person decision made by the patient and/or his/her family.  Gordon State College does not endorse or align with any of these facilities specifically.



Gamblers Anonymous


Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other to work to solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.

Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Information and Referral Helpline 1-800-931-2237


Anxiety and Stress

Have you ever felt the butterflies in your stomach before a big performance or test? That's anxiety. Put simply, anxiety is fear. Anxiety is normal. It's normal to feel scared before a big event. Anxiety can show up as a variety of body signals: elevated heart rate, excessive sweating, cold hands, diarrhea or those butterflies in your stomach. It can also show up as difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and jumbled thoughts. These symptoms are telling you that you are feeling threatened and they are your body’s way of telling you to "get ready".  Everybody feels anxious or nervous sometimes; it is a normal human reaction.  In fact anxiety is normal response to help us cope with stress, but anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes in your life and causes distress and impartment because it is excessive, persistent, and intrusive. Research has demonstrated that having some anxiety enhances performance. However, if the anxiety gets too high it can actually decrease performance. This happens because the person feels overwhelmed by the anxiety.

Learning to keep your anxiety from overwhelming you is the key. First, accept anxiety as normal and everyone has anxiety to some degree even though it may not appear that way. Being human and being alive means you will have anxiety. Being completely free of anxiety should not be your goal. Your goal should be to manage your anxiety so that it doesn't run your life.

Learn and practice preventative strategies: get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, reduce caffeine intake, exercise, or meditate. All of these reduce your susceptibility to being overwhelmed by anxiety.

When facing new or threatening situations, be prepared as much as possible. The basketball star at the free throw line with the game on the line is less anxious because he or she has shot thousands of free throws in practice. The same is true with a test at school. The more you have prepared the less anxious you will be.

Learn some ways to reduce your anxiety when it does arise: take some slow deep breaths, visualize success or a relaxing, happy place, focus on relaxing your muscles, focus on positive thoughts and self-talk instead of negative ones

Work on building your self-esteem/self-confidence. If you have a history of having been criticized or abused emotionally or physically, you will be more likely to experience overwhelming anxiety.

If you have difficulty doing any of these things on your own, consider seeking help from a counselor to help you develop more effective skills for dealing with anxiety.

101 Strategies for coping with stress

Relaxation podcasts

Distorted thinking that can cause stress

Anxiety and Depression Association of America


Conflict with Roommate

It is possible that you could get matched with a roommate who is completely different from you and wonder how you’ll ever get along.  Even in the best of circumstances, when you’re matched with someone who has similar interests and habits, putting up with someone outside your family for long periods of time can still be a challenge.  For a lot of people college is his/her first experience with sharing a room.  Sometimes your roommate will have differing ideas/opinions/schedules/ways of doing things than you.  Some examples include: Wake up time/bedtime, taste in music, cleanliness, appropriate room behavior, money, computer and phone usage, study habits, circle of friends.

Tips for getting along

Consider coming up with some mutually agreed upon ground rules for the room

Find things you admire or appreciate in the other person instead of focusing on what bothers you about them.

Don’t assume your roommate is “out to get you” if you find some of his/her habits annoying, he/she may just be doing things the way he/she always has (e.g. studying with loud music on).  Calmly ask him/her about it.

COMMUNICATE, this one is important…if something bugs you calmly and respectfully discuss it with your roommate instead of silently letting your annoyance fester which makes things worse.  Allow your roommate to do the same thing with you.  Neither one of you are mind readers.

Conflict Management Strategies and Styles

Conflict Resolution Tools

Roommate Survival Guide


Grief and Trauma

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. College students can experience many kinds of losses, from the death of a loved one to the loss of a significant relationship. Other losses can occur as students experience change.  Grief and loss can also come from the experience of trauma such as witnessing an accident or death, having one’s life threatened, or surviving some kind of disaster.

The Grief that follows a significant loss is a natural response.  It is not a sign of weakness; it’s actually a healthy response. No two people react to loss exactly alike.  However, for many, the most immediate response is shock/disbelief.  Common physical reactions are tightness of the throat, upset stomach, sleep and appetite disturbance, lack of energy, dreams/nightmares about the loss.  Emotional reactions may include feelings of guilt, hostility, fearfulness, apathy, self-doubt, lack of concentration, and extreme sadness.

Remember that your feelings are normal and they will be felt in varying degrees of intensity over different periods of time.  Things you do, say, or hear and celebrations/holidays, songs, and significant places may trigger memories associated with the loss.  You may wonder if the sorrow will ever end, but in time the intensity of the negative emotions will subside and the good memories will remain.  Acceptance of the loss will help you gain a new sense of self and find a way to move on.  Here are some suggestions to help when dealing with grief:

Give yourself time, be patient and gentle with yourself

Express your feelings when you can cry and yell if you need to

Do something symbolic to let go and say goodbye

Talk to trusted friends and family members

Seek the help and support of a counselor

National Bereavement Resource Guide

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation

Tips for Survivors of Traumatic Events


Smoke Free At Gordon State College

On June 1, 2011 Gordon State College became a tobacco free college.  Visit the smoke free link listed below for resources to help you kick the habit.

Smoke Free at Gordon


Contact Information

Counseling and Accessibility Services

Student Center 212
419 College Dr
Barnesville, GA 30204
p678. 359. 5585
f 678. 359. 5193

Alicia Dorton
Director, Counseling & Accessibility Services

Shirley Chambers
Erica Madoni