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Northwest Missouri State University

Our Services

Personal Development and Counseling (PDC) services is located in Wellness Services and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our services are designed from a "wellness" perspective and support the University's mission to develop the whole person: personally, academically, socially, spiritually, and physically. Our services promote lifelong learning, provide you with the appropriate skills to encourage you to be well-rounded citizens and live healthy lifestyles. The following services are available to all Northwest students regardless of age, sex, race, or ability. University faculty and staff may come in for consultation and referral assistance.

The staff at the PDC are professionally trained to handle a host of needs ranging from depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation - to providing tips on stress management, healthy relationships and personal development.

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What is Counseling All About?

Students often come to PDC with the kinds of concerns and interests listed below:

  • how to build healthy relationships
  • depression and anxiety
  • concerns about diversity and culture
  • sleep habits
  • test anxiety
  • stress reduction
  • questions about personal values/beliefs
  • how to be more positive
  • developing one's identity
  • body image and eating habits
  • sexual concerns
  • death of a loved one
  • public speaking anxiety
  • concerns about a friend
  • coping with traumatic events
  • overcoming procrastination

Individual Counseling Sessions

Staff members can help students explore, understand, and work through concerns and challenges on a one-to-one basis. Individual personal counseling can help students find alternatives, expand choices and overcome obstacles that interfere with personal development, a sense of well-being and academic success.

PDC operates primarily on a brief therapy model. Our experience and research shows that most students who seek services at counseling centers get the assistance they need within one to four sessions. Some students need a bit more and receive up to 6 sessions, per semester which is the limit. For situations that may require long-term counseling, PDC can assist you in finding appropriate community resources.

The reason we offer short-term counseling is because it is the best method of reaching the greatest number of students. We serve the entire Northwest student body, and we want to make sure everyone has a chance to get what they need.

Group Counseling

Students often benefit most from sharing information, experiences, and support with students with similar concerns. Groups typically involve 1-2 counselors with 6-8 students, and they usually meet weekly or biweekly for 60-90 minutes.


We are available to consult with students, faculty and staff for:

  • Appropriate referral information for off campus counseling services
  • Program planning and implementation
  • In-service training and presentations
  • Orientation to our services
  • Concern about a student

Relationship and Couples Counseling

Even the best relationships provide potential ground for upsets now and then. Conflict, misunderstandings and other interpersonal struggles can leave you feeling confused, frustrated and distanced from those you care about. Friendships, dating relationships, spouses, roommates, family members and even professional relationships can all use "tune-ups" from time to time. The PDC is here to help you fine-tune your relationships for increased connection and satisfaction.

The focus of our relationship and couples counseling is on identifying areas of difficulty and strength, then assessing and strengthening areas of need. We typically work with couples and dating relationship issues with both parties present. Sessions last 75-90 minutes and are based on the extensive research of Drs. John and Julie Gottman which focus on helping couples learn to be better communicators, better friends, and to develop the skills necessary to compromise and mange conflicts and stressors that are unavoidable realities in even the best partnerships. For non-couples relationship issues, we offer 45-50 minute sessions with similar goals of assessment of strengths and challenges, then working with the individual to improve areas of need. (NOTE: The PDC is unable to provide simultaneous individual and couples counseling to an individual student, but we will assist you in finding appropriate community resources if the need arises.)

Learn more about relationships »

Outreach (Programs and Presentations)

Our outreach programming represents our commitment to reach out beyond our office walls to the Northwest community. In presenting our educational workshops, seminars, classroom presentations, and events we have the goal of helping Northwest students to be resilient and self-aware as possible. If we can help students learn about stress management and positive psychology before they get too stressed-out; about eating problems before they get too caught up in their diets; about getting help for depression before they've been depressed all semester; then we can help them prevent small problems from becoming larger.

We make presentations and facilitate discussions in residence halls, academic classes, student organizations, and faculty/staff groups. Upon request, we will gladly create specific programs geared toward improvement of the mental health and overall success of our campus community. In the past, requested topics have included stress management, positive psychology, understanding depression, guidelines for healthy relationships, how to help a distressed student, motivation, and dealing with grief/loss.

Click HERE to see a list of some of the presentations we offer and to request a presentation.

How To Make An Appointment

Appointments may be made by calling 660.562.1348 or by coming to Wellness Services. Because the PDC staff believe so much in the value of face-to-face relationships, we do not counsel through e-mail or telephone. You may also make an appointment online by visiting our Wellness Portal.

Counseling Sessions generally last about 45 minutes for individual therapy. An intake is the first appointment scheduled with the PDC. During this session, the counselor and student assess the concerns, needs and goals presented and explore avenues for resolution.

After Hours Emergency

If you have an emergency, please contact one of the following resources:

  • University Police 660.562.1254
  • St. Francis Mental Health Services 660.562.2227 or 1.800.841.3866
  • Support Line 888. 279.8188