Counseling Services

Outdoor view of Morrison House building

College life can become overwhelming at times due to daily pressures, life situations, or a crisis. Counseling Services is here to provide students the opportunity to pursue healing, growth, support, and wholeness within a Christian context while remaining respectful of the variety of backgrounds and paradigms of our students.

At Counseling Services you can find caring, professional, and confidential support when you need it. We offer assessment, individual & family counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention & counseling, referral & advocacy, and training & consultation.


  • All
  • Counseling

Brian Daugherty M.A., L.M.H.C.A., N.C.C.

Full-Time Counselor

Brian Daugherty M.A., L.M.H.C.A., N.C.C.
Christal Helvering

Christal Helvering, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Director of Counseling Services

Christal Helvering
Christal Helvering, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Christal Helvering is the Director of Counseling Services at Anderson University.  As the director, she provides direct clinical services to students, supervises the Counseling Services staff, serves as a resource for students, faculty, and staff; and participates in student leadership training.

Christal earned her B.A. in Social Work from Anderson University in 1988 and her M.S W. from Indiana University-Purdue University: Indianapolis in 1992. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. (L.C.S.W.)

Christal began her career working as the Community Case Manager at the Center for Mental Health in Anderson.  Following the completion of her Master's degree, she worked in private practice at Associates in Mental Health, Inc. for 15 years located in Muncie, IN.

Christal lives in Anderson, Ind.

Christal has served at Anderson University since 2008.

Morrison House
(765) 641- 4205

Director of Counseling Services
M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
B.S., Anderson University
M.S.W./L.C.S.W., Indiana University

Counseling Services Interns
  • Bre McClintock B.S., M.A.

Location and Hours

If you are interested in making an appointment, you can walk in at your convenience during our office hours to complete the initial intake form. If you have questions, you may call (765) 641-4203 or email We are open during the academic year, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed during the Chapel hour from 11 a.m. – noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays). We are located in the Morrison House in front of Myers Hall on College Avenue and across from the Valley.

If this is an after-hours Emergency, please call the RD on Call at (765) 641-3003 or the AU Police & Security Services at (765)641-3333 or ext. 3333.  You may also call 911 for local emergency assistance. 

USA National Suicide Hotlines:
1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-8255

Counseling Services FAQ

How do I make an appointment?
If you are interested in making an appointment, you can walk in at your convenience during our office hours to complete the initial intake form. If you have questions, you may call (765) 641-4203.

What is AU’s Counseling Services mission?
AU Counseling Services exists to help students achieve physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health so they may attain the highest personal growth and intellectual success. We embrace a student- oriented philosophy that is respectful of diversity and is committed to the development of the student as a whole.

What is Counseling Services’ approach to counseling?
The Counseling Services’ Christ-centered staff takes a holistic developmental approach to counseling and the concerns the clients express. Our center seeks to integrate Biblical truth and psychological principles. We believe counseling is essentially a “partnership” or relationship that is formed between the student and the counselor. This counseling relationship allows for a collaborative team approach within a caring and nurturing environment where goals will be identified to move you towards feeling better and completing the tasks that are necessary to accomplish your treatment goals.

Who comes to Counseling Services?
AU students may seek Counseling Services for a variety of reasons. Often-times individuals will report feeling “stuck” as they try to work through a personal problem. Those who come to the office of Counseling Services are students who want to grow and learn more about themselves, their relationships with others, and their relationship with God. Although there are many issues that bring students into counseling, some of the common issues include depression, anxiety, problems transitioning into college life, stress, homesickness, relationship problems, family issues, eating disorders or concerns, poor self-image, substance abuse, addictions, sexual abuse, identity issues, sexuality, spirituality and faith issues ,trauma, social skills training, academic stress or struggles, or concerns with friends and family.

What are the costs?
Counseling Services are free to enrolled full-time AU undergraduate students. If it is warranted that a student needs additional services (i.e. psychiatric care, specific assessment, more intensive treatment), Counseling Services staff will facilitate a referral. The student is responsible for the fees incurred and may choose to have his/her primary insurance billed or to self-pay.

How confidential is it?
As counselors, we are committed to making confidentiality a top priority. All records are kept in our office and are not accessible to anyone else on campus. All sessions are confidential, which means what is said within the context of the therapeutic relationship stays between the client and his/her counselor. Consents for release of information are completed as desired/needed. Limitations to this confidentiality exist where counselors have a legal or ethical duty to report.

Resources for Students


What is anxiety?

Almost everyone gets nervous, fearful, or worried in certain situations. It’s normal to feel anxious before taking a test or speaking in front of a group. It’s also normal to worry sometimes about money, grades, health, or relationship troubles. These “worried feelings” usually go away soon after the stimulus has passed (i.e., the test or speech is over.) This is how of our “fight or flight” response normally works.

However, when these worried feelings don’t go away, become intense, or start to interfere with our quality of life, it may be time to seek professional help. Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety – a strong tendency to worry and be anxious about everything, or even nothing in particular. People struggling with generalized anxiety are anxious even when there isn’t a good reason to worry, and their worry is usually out of proportion with the actual situation.
  • Panic Attacks – sometimes people may feel intense surges of fear that can overwhelm them within just a few minutes. They might begin trembling, shaking, sweating, breathing rapidly, feel like they’re suffocating, experience a pounding heart, increased heart rate, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, or tingling sensations. Some people who are having a panic attack may even feel like they “going crazy” or that they’re going to die. It is very frightening and distressing.
  • Social Anxiety – almost everyone gets a bit nervous when they become the focus of attention in social settings. One of the most common of these is public speaking. It is normal to feel some anxiety when all eyes and ears are turned towards you when you stand up to give a report! But people with social anxiety experience overwhelming self-perceptions that they will be humiliated, embarrassed, or that others will judge them harshly or negatively. Their fear is intense, and they may even try to avoid situations that evoke these feelings.
  • Phobias – phobias are intense fears or anxieties about certain specific situations, places, or things. For example, many people may be startled by suddenly encountering a snake while walking on a trail, but people with a specific phobia of snakes will have an immediate and intense reaction that would be considered irrational by people without the phobia. People with a specific phobia of snakes may not even be able to look at an image of a snake, or think about them, without having an intense reaction.

With specific phobias, there is also a very strong behavior of avoiding the feared object, situation, or place. For example, people with agoraphobia will go out of their way to avoid situations or places where they might feel out of control, might feel embarrassed or humiliated, and cannot quickly escape if necessary.

Click here for more information about anxiety from the Mayo Clinic

Most anxiety is connected to our body’s normal “fight or flight” response. Anxiety hormones, introduced at the right time (immediate danger) are your friends because they help you take necessary action to protect yourself or someone else. However, in some people, the fight or flight response can get triggered even when real danger is not present. Here’s a great 5-minute video explaining the process.

Self-Help, Apps, and Links for Anxiety

One of easiest and most effective ways to calm anxiety is with diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing.” Once learned, this technique can be used anywhere at any time to help you calm down and relax.

Psychological Self-Help (PSH) is pretty much what it sounds like – self-treatment for emotional and mental distress without the assistance of a trained professional. There are benefits to using self-help resources, but there also can be some downsides.

Self-help can be fast, inexpensive, and convenient. On the other hand, more serious conditions might not get timely and effective treatment. So, we offer this section with a bit of caution: don’t rely solely on self-help for intense or persistent conditions that really require professional services.

How do you know when you should see a counselor?

  • Your distress is intense – some emotional or mental discomfort can be a normal part of life’s ebb and flow, but when it interferes with your ability to function and enjoy life, it may be time to seek help
  • Your distress has been going on for a long time – we all have bad days, but distress that lasts for weeks or months is not ordinary
  • Your distress is damaging – if your relationships, your academics, or your job is being negatively affected, it may be time to seek help
  • Your sleep – is significantly affected (too much or too little)
  • Unusual thoughts – especially about harming yourself or others

What is depression?

Most people feel sad sometimes, it’s part of the normal emotional ebb and flow of living life. These periods of sadness, or “feeling down” or blue, usually go away in a day or two. This is normal. Clinical depression is different. It’s a sadness or hopelessness that doesn’t go away or get better in a few days, and it interferes significantly with the daily functions of life. Learn more by watching this Ted Talk on depression.


People who are truly depressed may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Sad mood, noticed by self or others
  • Loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities
  • Weight loss or weight gain when not attempting to do so
  • Not being able to sleep well, or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and/or loss of energy
  • Physical slow-down, or physical agitation
  • Irritability, anger, or impatience
  • Feelings of worthlessness guilt
  • Inability to think clearly, stay focused, or make decisions
  • Unusual headaches or body aches
  • Recurrent thoughts of dying, self-harm, or suicide

Click here for more information about depression

How should I respond if I think I’m depressed, or someone I love is depressed?

First and foremost, if you have serious thoughts of self-harm, or know someone who does, please seek help immediately. Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If a loved-one is considering self-harm, do not leave them alone. Call your doctor or 911, and wait with the person until help arrives, or take them directly to the emergency room for treatment.

Many people find that mild depression (feeling “blue” but still functioning) can be successfully handled by making positive lifestyle changes such as:

  • Exercising and being active physically (try it even if you don’t feel like it, it usually has positive effect on negative moods)
  • Eating healthier foods
  • Staying engaged with people even when you don’t feel like seeing others (especially healthy/supportive relationships)
  • Confiding in a trusted friend
  • Spiritual activities or meditation

With symptoms of more moderate depression (skipping classes, calling in sick to work, avoiding people you normally enjoy, feeling hopeless or helpless), then it is probably time to seek professional help. Most people with depression respond well to treatment, and research shows that the earlier treatment is sought, the more effective it is. So don’t wait too long.

Apps, Links, and Self-Help for Depression

Psychological Self-Help (PSH) is pretty much what it sounds like – self-treatment for emotional and mental distress without the assistance of a trained professional. There are benefits to using self-help resources, but there also can be some downsides.

Self-help can be fast, inexpensive, and convenient. On the other hand, more serious conditions might not get timely and effective treatment. So, we offer this section with a bit of caution: don’t rely solely on self-help for intense or persistent conditions that really require professional services.

How do you know when you should see a counselor?

  • Your distress is intense – some emotional or mental discomfort can be a normal part of life’s ebb and flow, but when it interferes with your ability to function and enjoy life, it may be time to seek help
  • Your distress has been going on for a long time – we all have bad days, but distress that lasts for weeks or months is not ordinary
  • Your distress is damaging – if your relationships, your academics, or your job is being negatively affected, it may be time to seek help
  • Your sleep – is significantly affected (too much or too little)
  • Unusual thoughts – especially about harming yourself or others
Healthy Relationships

What is a healthy relationship?

Defining a healthy relationship is not an easy task! But watching these 2 short videos from Wellcast can help!

This one helps define the difference between a healthy relationship, and a toxic one.
And this one shows you how to leave an abusive relationship.

Apps, Links, and Self-Help Healthy Relationships

Do you know for sure that your relationship is healthy? Want to learn how to “look before you leap?” Then check out these links for more information. Never rely on your emotions when evaluating relationships, use your head! The following external links all contain excellent material for considering healthy relationships.

Here are some books that can further help you create and maintain healthy relationships:

  • Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. S. (1995). Safe people: How to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren’t. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.
  • Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. S. (1992). Boundaries: When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.
Life Transitions

Change isn’t easy!

Transition to college, as any major life change, can be both exciting and turbulent. Students find themselves gaining independence and making their own decisions about how to manage their time, finding friends, juggling responsibilities, and planning for their future career. For many students, all this new found freedom might feel overwhelming. Even positive changes (marriage, a new job, greater responsibilities, leadership roles) can be accompanied with a sense of unanticipated loss. It is normal for first-year students to struggle in their transition to life at college. Upperclassmen may also experience unpleasant emotions as the contemplate transitioning to finding a job, making plans for future, finding new roommates, and in general “adult-ing”.

Possible Symptoms

  • Nervousness
  • Sadness
  • Inability to focus
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Worrying
  • Avoiding others
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Here are some tips to help you in the transition process:

  • Practice self-care. Remember to balance school work and socializing with good sleep, exercise and eating healthy.
  • Be patient. It takes time to adjust to this new environment and to find your place.
  • Be ready for change. View your college years as time to learn about yourself and explore new activities.
  • Pursue healthy relationships. Set healthy boundaries and cultivate good friendships.
  • Avoid mind reading. Don’t assume you know what others are thinking about you or about a situation.
  • Prioritize. Many students tend to overcommit and then exhaust themselves. Make wise choices about how you spend your time.
  • Seek out the help you need. Several services are available on campus to help you in your time of transition and our staff are motivated to help you succeed.
Grief and Loss

What is grief?

Grief is a normal response to losing someone or something that we value. The loss may involve the death of a loved one, or it may be a non-death loss such as losing a home, a job, a relationship breakup, or even something less tangible like the loss of a dream.

Here’s a good 4 minute video from Wellcast on coping with grief.

Grief may commonly affect us in 5 domains:

  • Physical – we may feel tired all the time (lethargy of grief), our sleep patterns may be disrupted, eat less or more than usual.
  • Cognitive (mental) – we may lose the ability to concentrate or focus, decision-making ability may be impaired, and we may even have short-term memory loss.
  • Emotional – grief can be a roller coaster of emotions! Anything from sadness to laughter, or anger and rage to numbness and the inability to feel anything at all. Anhedonia is common – the inability to experience pleasure from ordinarily pleasurable activities.
  • Social – it’s not uncommon to isolate or pull away from normal social activities, friends, or family. There may be a significant loss of relational energy.
  • Spiritual – grievers may ask the “why questions” about life, death, the existence or goodness of God, etc. Loss of “divine spark,” and a new search for meaning. This is actually healthy!

It is important to distinguish between grief and mourning. While grief is the internal set of thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms, mourning is “grief gone public,” or externalized. Mourning may take various forms, including allowing our internal emotions to be outwardly seen by others by crying or sobbing, changing routine behaviors, more isolation, journaling, engaging in ceremonies to honor and remember the deceased, intentional self-care, etc.

According to renowned grief expert, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, appropriate mourning is necessary in order to heal grief. However, mourning requires a safe environment and safe grief “companions” to talk to. Unfortunately, many grievers find that opening up in the wrong place or to the wrong people (unsafe people who may judge or give poor advice) only results in further pain.

Understanding your grief: Ten essential touchstones for finding hope and healing your heart. by Dr. Wolfelt might be a very helpful book for someone who wants to understand more about the grief experience. Wolfelt, A. (2003). Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.


Sense of self-worth changes how you view the world.

The people that seem the happiest and most well-adjusted in life are usually those who see themselves pretty accurately, and are okay with who they are. They know what they’re good at, and what they’re not good at. They realize that to be human is to have both strengths and weaknesses, both diamonds and warts. Healthy people are able to embrace and accept all of who they are.

It’s usually when people choose to focus mainly on their “diamonds” or their “warts,” that they miss something important, and develop a skewed way of viewing themselves and the world around them.

When we focus only on our strengths, we run the risk of developing an over-inflated sense of self that prevents us from growing in needed areas. Conversely, those who focus only their weaknesses may develop such a low sense of self that they are unable to function effectively and let their strengths shine.

There is no general test or assessment for a person’s level of self-acceptance, but a pretty fair sense can be gained by listening carefully to what our friends are saying to us. Those who know us the best are our clearest “mirrors,” and they let us get glimpses of what we’re like on the outside – not just who we think we are.

As you might guess, those who focus mainly on their strengths probably don’t come in for counseling as often as those who struggle believing that they have anything to offer the world.

Some symptoms of those with a low sense of self-acceptance might include:

  • Discouragement
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear (especially social fear)
  • Avoidance of people and situations that might trigger negative feelings
  • Self-loathing
  • Over or under achieving
  • Poor relationship boundaries and relationship problems
  • Negative self-talk
    • I can’t do anything right
    • Nobody likes me
    • I’m not as good as they are
    • I’m a loser

There are many possible causes of this sense of low self-worth – more than can be listed here. If you find that you are struggling with some of these symptoms, we suggest that you make an appointment with Counseling Services to talk things over. More self-help content.

Other Common Issues


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a childhood condition that can last into the adult years in about one-third of people diagnosed with it. It consists of a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that impairs development or normal functionality. According to experts, these symptoms are not specifically due to defiance, hostility, or the inability to understand instructions.

Note: A person may have primarily Attention Deficit symptoms, primarily have Hyperactivity symptoms, or have a combination of the two.

Typical symptoms of Attention Deficit may include:

  • Failure to give attention to details, and making careless mistakes
  • Inability to maintain focus on work or play activities
  • Often seems unable to listen or pay attention, even when spoken to directly
  • Often doesn’t follow through on, or complete assignments and/or chores
  • May have difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • May avoid tasks or activities that require a lot of mental effort
  • Has difficulty keeping track of items, and may lose a lot of things, especially small items
  • May seem unusually forgetful and easily distracted by external stimuli

Typical symptoms of Hyperactivity Disorder may include:

  • Fidgeting, squirming, or tapping hands or feet
  • May unexpectedly leave seat in situations where remaining seated is expected
  • Running about or climbing on things inappropriately (in adults, may feel like restlessness)
  • Difficulty in engaging in quiet leisure activities, often unable or uncomfortable being still, almost as if driven by an “internal motor”
  • Often talks excessively, completes sentences for other people, or blurts out answers before the question is completed
  • May interrupt or intrude on others, have difficulty waiting for their turn, may use others people’s things without asking permission

ADHD is primarily treated with medication, but a combination of behavior therapy and environmental structuring is also needed.

More information about ADHD from WebMD


Many people joke about OCD because they are very neat or clean individuals. You can actually be very neat and clean, but not have OCD!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are generally anxiety-related, and involve intense and intrusive thoughts or fears that “compel” the individual to behave in a repetitive way that they feel will reduce the anxiety or fear.

True OCD interferes with a person’s quality of life, and the quality of life of those around them.

These paired thoughts and behaviors are usually theme-related. For example, a person may have a fear of germs or contamination that seems unreasonable to the average person, and these fears may drive them to unusual behaviors to avoid germs such as repetitive hand-washing or extreme avoidance of people or places they think might be contaminated.

Other themes besides contamination may include a need for order and symmetry, intrusive thoughts of danger or harm to oneself or others, or unwanted thoughts or compulsions that seem immoral or “taboo” to the person. It is possible to have obsessions without compulsive behaviors, and vice versa.

Examples of thoughts/obsessions and possible related compulsive behaviors:

  • Fear of being contaminated by dirty objects, people, or places (repeated hand-washing, avoid shaking hands with others, avoiding hospitals)
  • Doubts that you locked the doors or turned off the stove (repeatedly checking the door locks, repeatedly checking the stove, driving home to check the garage door)
  • Intense distress if things appear out of order or are misplaced (constantly straightening items, counting, placing canned goods so all the labels face outward, needing visual or bodily balance and symmetry)
  • Images of self-harm, or harming others (silently repeating a prayer, special word, or a phrase for protection)
  • Distress about repetitive unwanted and unpleasant or immoral sexual thoughts (generally, people with this type of OCD do not wish to act them out)

It is unclear what causes OCD, but it is thought to be a combination of biological and environmental factors, and can be complicated by stressful life events, poor relationships, difficulty at school or work, or anxiety/depression.

Take this survey to help assess whether you should consult with a professional for OCD.

More information about OCD from the Mayo Clinic

Disordered Eating/Eating Disorders

Eating disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder. Disordered eating may occur in the life of a young teen. College students, especially females, are at risk of developing eating disorders. However, men can also struggle with body image and comparison with peers. Some concern of body image is normal, however persistent self-criticism of body shape and size can be a precursor of developing an eating disorder. If you, or someone you know, begins to demonstrate symptoms of an eating disorder, please see Health Services, Counseling Services, or your private doctor. More information


In addition to AU school policy which covers this topic, the Mayo Clinic offers a lot of up-to-date information about the medical aspects of alcohol use and abuse.

Despite AU’s alcohol policy, we know that many students still struggle with this issue, and we want you to be safe, smart, and educated. Here is another good link that addresses alcohol use in college. Please check it out, and don’t forget that counseling services is here for you if you need additional help kicking a bad habit.


Similar to AU’s alcohol policy, the following link contains some of the latest research-based information on the short-term and long-term effects of using marijuana. It is especially crucial to note that marijuana use has been highly correlated with negatively affecting brain development during adolescence and early adulthood. Heavy use can permanently reduce a person’s IQ! The article

Polysubstance abuse

This involves the psychological addiction to being intoxicated, without preference to a particular substance. I.e., alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, meth, inhalants, etc., may be used in any combination to achieve a state of intoxication. The list of dangers is too numerous to list here, but polysubstance abuse is extremely hazardous to your health and well-being. If you, or someone you know, uses multiple substances to get high, please see Health Services, Counseling Services, or your private doctor. More information


This section is for those who find themselves struggling to maintain sexual behavior that is consistent with their own beliefs and values. If you consistently struggle to live up to your own standards, or your faith community’s standards, you may also experience the additional feelings of shame or guilt.

We believe that people largely change from the inside out, and that (no matter how valiant the effort), just trying to “follow the rules” rarely brings about lasting change, especially in this area. There are many approaches to dealing with this issue, and we encourage you to find one that matches your worldview and your personality. Some people find healing and wholeness through pastoral counsel, small groups, and other faith practices, while others do better exploring a combination of psychological and spiritual therapy.

We believe that all behavior occurs for a reason, and it often takes a very thoughtful and sensitive approach to uncovering the complexities that may be involved in your particular situation. Finding a safe person to talk to about this is the first key to success. A trusted roommate or friend, your RD, or a helpful pastor might be your ticket to getting help. If you find that you’d like to explore some possible underlying personal factors, the AU Counseling Center is always here to help you.

Additionally, the following books and links may be helpful:

  • Secular overview for the way sexually compulsive behavior, including pornography use, is currently viewed by the mental health community.
  • George Collins’ book, Breaking the Cycle, offers a unique approach that has helped many individuals find freedom from sexually compulsive behavior. (Collins, G. N., & Adleman, A. (2010). Breaking the cycle: Free yourself from sex addiction, porn obsession, and shame. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.)
  • Patrick Carnes, a pioneer on this topic, is another author who has written many helpful books, including Out of the Shadows(Carnes, P. (2001). Out of the shadows: Understanding sexual addiction. Center City, MN: Hazelden Information & Edu.)