Hoover joins Gillings School Community as Embedded Counselor

August 28, 2023

August 28, 2023 | Original post: SPH website

Dr. Stephanie Hoover

Stephanie Hoover, PhD, provides therapy services to students at the Gillings School of Global Public Health as part of UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Embedded Counselor Program. She started in this role on June 5.

Hoover received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology/anthropology and Spanish from Denison University. She earned a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Utah and completed her doctoral internship at the University of Central Florida.

In addition to her experience in university counseling settings, she has insights into academia from former roles on psychology faculty at other universities and as a research leader at the UNC School of Medicine’s Center for Health Equity Research.

“It’s exciting to be the inaugural embedded counselor at Gillings,” Hoover says. “My job here is to connect Gillings students and postdocs with mental health services. For some students, brief therapy is a good fit. I offer brief therapy sessions in which students can discuss the challenges they are facing, and we can identify specific counseling goals and make a treatment plan. Brief counseling usually resolves in a few weeks or months. A big part of my role is connecting students with longer-term therapy options, which could be off-campus providers or group therapy at CAPS.”

Hoover works exclusively with Gillings residential students, postdoctoral fellows and postdoc spouses. To maximize her availability, she operates by appointment only. People in the three groups listed above may email stephanie_hoover@unc.edu to schedule an appointment — either in-person or through telehealth —  generally within a few business days.

“I feel like part of the added value of an embedded counselor is that students are communicating directly with me, even when scheduling,” Hoover adds. “My office is in a convenient location, and I have a familiarity with the culture of the Gillings School. People exist within larger communities, and knowing how the School functions gives me added insight and lets me make tailored recommendations.”

Hoover can work with clients on a range of issues including depression, anxiety, adjustment, academic stress, relationships, grief and other concerns.

She stresses that Gillings students are still able to use same-day and crisis CAPS service without going through her first.

“I aim to provide a more convenient access point for services,” she says, “but CAPS offers walk-in (and phone-in) services without an appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. In case of an urgent need, please do not delay in seeking help.”

As a newcomer to the Gillings School, Hoover is intent on clearing up a few common misconceptions about the role of an embedded counselor:

1. “Confidentiality works the same with me as with any mental health counselor. Except in cases involving a concern about immediate harm, abuse or a court subpoena, nothing you tell me will be shared with administration, faculty or staff. Even if a School employee refers you to me for services, they will not be privy to any information after that initial introduction.”

2. “I am not — ethically or legally — an agent of the administration. I maintain the confidentiality of students’ concerns, identities, politics, etc. I am trained to offer unbiased, student-centered services.”

3. “Because I’ll be sharing hallways, courtyards and restrooms with students, I want to make it clear that I never greet clients unless they greet me first. Your privacy is my priority.”

Outside of work, Hoover enjoys relaxing with her senior dog, cooking, running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Students can get to know her during upcoming School meet-and-greet events, including the “Student Success Session: Meet the Gillings Embedded Counselor,” happening September 18 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Scroll to the “Gillings Embedded Counselor” section on the Gillings School’s Student Resources webpage to learn more about the embedded counseling program, how brief therapy works and associated costs. (Spoiler alert: There are none!)

“Dr. Hoover is a welcome addition to Gillings,” said Charletta Sims-Evans, MEd, associate dean for student affairs at Gillings. “She is a breath of fresh air and I am excited about positive impact she will have in our School.”

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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