Alumna Joins Counseling Services Staff at University Campus

September 09, 2010

Alumna Ten years after her graduation from Saint Leo University, Krista (Schweiberger) Jones has returned to fill an important professional position on campus, the assistant director of counseling services. The office, located in deChantal Hall, provides free, individual professional counseling and related services to students at University Campus.

“My goal is to serve the student population by making every student-client who comes into my office comfortable, and making sure they are safe,” Jones said.

Jones and her supervisor Lawson Jolly, director of counseling services (pictured), share the counseling duties. Both are licensed mental health counselors with master’s degrees.

“We offer therapy for a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and substance abuse (including prescription drugs),” said Jolly. “Those are the top four issues,” adding that the same pattern exists at college counseling offices nationally. About 47 percent of students who attend Saint Leo for four years will use the Office of Counseling Services, and more than 80 percent of those who do will also recommend the service to friends on campus, university statistics indicate.

Jones has found her return to University Campus an easy transition. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in human services, specializing in behavioral sciences, in 2000, and while on campus served as a student chaplain. Her professional work history includes experience as a therapist helping children and adolescents in foster care, and as a counselor at another agency, assisting clients trying to overcome homelessness. Her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University is in mental health counseling.

“We were ecstatic to get someone who has experience with a variety of different clients, who is licensed, and who is fully committed to the values of the institution,” Jolly said of Jones.

Together, they work with Heather Lavoie, the campus alcohol education specialist. Lavoie is actually an employee of BayCare Behavioral Health, and has been assigned to work at Saint Leo for three years as part of a substance abuse prevention effort. The staffing arrangement is “a beautiful alignment,” Jolly said, helping the overall mission of supporting student wellness, emotionally and physically. The office is also served by Jody Jeffers, senior administrative assistant, whose duties include scheduling appointments for student-clients and office management.

The office has added two more enhancements to its service offerings this year, Jolly noted. One is a student access through the Saint Leo University web site to a web resource called www.ULifeline.org. It is an anonymous way for students (or faculty or staff who may be concerned about a student) to run through a series of questions about their health and recent emotional state and evaluate whether they might want to use campus counseling services. “It’s a nice additional option for people who might not want to walk into the office at first,” Jolly explained.

Another service is e-therapy, essentially contact via web camera with students who have already visited the office for counseling, and might need private follow-up contact by another means. E-therapy is possible when both the counselor and the student have computers equipped with web cameras, allowing them to connect over the Internet and see and hear each other. An example might be a student who is away from campus during a university break, Jolly said. If students at Saint Leo University continuing education centers need assistance, Jolly researches their local area and puts them in touch with appropriate resources nearby.

The phone numbers to reach the Office of Counseling Services are (352) 588-8354 and (352) 588-8199.