College can be a difficult and stressful time. As you try to juggle school, work and family responsibilities, these demands can sometimes be overwhelming. We have both personal counseling and group counseling services available to provide you support and assistance with coping with a broad range of challenges.
To schedule an appointment for personal counseling, please call 443-518-1340 or stop by RCF 302.
Personal counseling provides an opportunity to talk with an objective professional who will keep your discussions confidential.
While you are enrolled in classes at HCC, you are eligible for personal counseling at no cost. During the summer, you are eligible if you are enrolled in summer classes, were enrolled in the previous spring, or are registered for fall.
Short-term (approximately 12 sessions) individual and couples counseling is available to students who are struggling with issues such as:
- adjustment to college,
- eating disorders,
- interpersonal relationships,
- self-esteem and identity issues,
- sexual assault,
- substance abuse,
- stress management, or
- test anxiety.
What Can You Expect at Your First Appointment?
- Please allocate 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete intake paperwork. This information will help your counselor prepare for the session.
- Your counselor will explain their commitment to confidentiality along with exceptions to confidentiality.
- The first meeting will primarily be an information gathering session, so that you and your counselor can decide the best way to assist you with your concerns.
- You can anticipate being asked to share information about the reason for your visit, history, as well as goals for counseling.
- The session will last 45-50 minutes.
- Many people experience some initial relief as they begin the process of counseling. However, it is not uncommon to experience some uncertainty, especially if you are going to counseling for the first time.
- Your counselor might suggest options for individual counseling, group counseling, and additional resources, both on and off campus.
- To maximize your time, we ask that your limit the use of phones or other devices during the session.
- If you are unable to attend your appointment, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible so that we might open that time for another student.
- If you miss more than three appointments, without calling to cancel or reschedule, you will need to communicate with the Director of Counseling and Career Services before scheduling an additional appointment.
Personal Counseling Staff
Jay Coughlin (he/him/his)is the Director of Counseling and Career Services. He began working at HCC in 2012. Jay earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Ball State University, and a Doctorate in Psychology from James Madison University. He is a licensed psychologist. His interests include relationship and family issues, sleep hygiene, depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention. He provides individual counseling, outreach, and co-leads a weekly relationship group. Prior to working at HCC, Jay worked as a staff psychologist at George Washington University and Frostburg State University.
Kassy Hargadon-Zester (she/her/hers) is a Personal Counselor at Counseling and Career Services. She began working at HCC in 2009. Kassy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies and a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist (LCMFT). Kassy works in conjunction with the Career Links program to provide services and support to single parents and displaced homemakers, which includes a Career Links support group. Her interests include communication, life transitions, time management, addictions, and depression. Prior to her arrival at HCC, Kassy was an Assistant Director at a Prince Georges County Health Department outpatient addictions treatment center.
Ama Kyere (she/her/hers) started working as a part-time Personal Counselor at Howard Community College in 2022. Ama has a Master of Arts in Art Therapy/ Counseling (Southwestern College), a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and an Associate of Arts in Art (Howard Community College). She is licensed as a Clinical Professional Art Therapist and a Clinical Professional Counselor. She provides personal counseling, conducts mental health outreach, and coordinates group therapy. Her interests include anxiety, communication skills, expressive arts, grief/loss, interpersonal relationships, life transitions, mood disorders, self-esteem, social skills, and stress management. Prior to working at HCC, she worked as the City of Rockville Youth and Family Counselor and as a clinician in private practice.
Joy Stephens (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director, Mental Health Counseling. She began working at Howard Community College in 2012. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Dayton, a Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Purdue University, and Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology, with a minor in Higher Education and Student Affairs, from Indiana University. She is a licensed psychologist. She provides personal counseling, coordinates mental health outreach and directs the master’s and doctoral level internship training program. Her interests include: adjustment, depression, anxiety, happiness, identity development, mindfulness, and multicultural counseling. Joy co-leads the Women of Color Support Group. Prior to working at HCC, she served as a Staff Psychologist and Coordinator of Multicultural Programming at Towson University.
Counseling Services Externs
Emily Cygrymus (she/her/hers) is an extern at Counseling and Career Services. She is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at University of Maryland, College Park. Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Emily is particularly interested in career and academic experiences and adjustment in college students as well working with individuals struggling with self-esteem, identity, and body image concerns. She provides both individual and career counseling along with outreach and consultation.
Feven Ghile (she/her/hers) is an extern at Counseling and Career Services. She is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology DC campus. Feven earned her Bachelor of Science at Philadelphia University and Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology at Argosy University. She has worked extensively with children, adolescents, families, and young adults in various diverse settings. Feven has worked within group settings with children and adolescents and has presented psychoeducation to young adults in a college setting. Her special interest includes working with first-generation college students and international college students who may be struggling with transitioning into their new environment. Feven provides both individual and career counseling along with outreach and consultation.
Erika Sims (she/her/hers) is an extern at Counseling and Career Services. She is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at Howard University. Erika received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Jackson State University and earned her Master of Science degree in Community-Clinical Psychology from Texas Southern University. Erika has experience working with a large population of people with disabilities ranging from ages 2-65. She is most interested in working with issues pertaining to depression, anxiety, suicidality, and eating concerns, specifically among people of color. Erika is also interested in increasing help-seeking behaviors among first-generation college students. Erika provides both individual and career counseling along with outreach and consultation.
James Willey (They/Them/Theirs) is an extern at Counseling and Career Services. They are a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Loyola University Maryland. James received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA and earned their Master of Science degree also from Loyola University Maryland. James has extensively worked with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, BIPOC individuals, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Their primary interests include helping individuals explore their identity and help navigate the challenges that come with that. They provide both individual and career counseling along with outreach and consultation.
Support Groups generally consist of five to ten HCC students meeting with one or two counselors in a one-hour session. Meetings offer members the opportunity to explore their concerns and feelings with one another. Members receive support and feedback from others as they share their struggles. All members agree to maintain confidentiality.
Some of the benefits of participating in support groups include:
- Understanding that you are not alone in your thoughts and concerns
- Receiving new perspectives of viewing your situation and circumstances
- Becoming clearer in how you interact with others; what do you do well and what would be helpful to change
- Learning new interpersonal skills that will help you to communicate more effectively in your personal relationships
- Being able to offer assistance to others who are dealing with similar concerns
If you would like to join a support group, please follow the instructions in that section below for additional information and an inquiry form.
Support Group Inquiry
Please fill out our inquiry form by checking one of the support group boxes below. Once submitted, you will be contacted by one of the group leaders to schedule a brief screening session before the group meetings start.