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Important College and Coronavirus Information ››

HCC Main Campus
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
Laurel College Center
312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
Gateway Business Training Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD, 21046
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Counseling Services

All classes and services are currently offered remotely online, with a limited number of in-person appointments to assist select students with admissions, advising, registration, and testing. Visit our student services page for current information on how to access the services you need from home.

 Counseling Resources for HCC Students

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.

  • Personal Counseling

    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. HCC alumni may also be eligible for limited personal counseling, consultation and referral to community resources.

    Short-term (approximately 12 sessions) individual and couples counseling is available to students who are struggling with issues such as:

    • anxiety,
    • adjustment to college,
    • eating disorders,
    • interpersonal relationships,
    • depression,
    • self-esteem and identity issues,
    • sexual assault,
    • substance abuse,
    • suicide,
    • stress management, or
    • test anxiety.

    Your Counseling Appointment

    1. Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete forms on our computers. This information will help your counselor prepare for the session.

    2. Your counselor will explain their commitment to confidentiality along with exceptions to confidentiality.

    3. 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.

    4. You can anticipate being asked to share information about the reason for your visit, history, as well as goals for counseling.

    5. The session will last 45-50 minutes.

    6. 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.

    7. Your counselor might suggest options for individual counseling, group counseling, and additional resources, both on and off campus.

    8. To maximize your time, we ask that your limit the use of phones or computers during the session.

    9. 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.

    10. 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

    Terry Bates is a Personal Counselor at Counseling and Career Services.  He began working at HCC in 1995.  Terry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Carson Newman College and a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College.  He is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC).  His interests include family systems and he works with both individual and couples at HCC.  Terry also coordinates group counseling at Counseling and Career Services.  Prior to his arrival at HCC, Terry served as an advisor at Dundalk Community College. 

    Lea Brisbane is an Evening Counselor at Counseling and Career Services, handling both personal and career appointments. Lea began working at HCC in the spring of 2020. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Towson University. She is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC). Lea also works at a community mental health center as a family therapist and a coordinator for social learning groups, as well as the program coordinator overseeing clubs and organizations at a local university. Lea  loves working with the college students.

    Jay Coughlin 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 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.

    Kellie McLellan is an Evening Counselor at Counseling and Career Services.  She began working at HCC in the spring 2020.  Kellie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland.   She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  Her interests include relationship and family issues, depression, anxiety, and grief and loss.   She provides individual counseling and career counseling services.

    Joy Stephens 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.

  • Group Counseling

    Support Groups generally consist of five to ten HCC students meeting face to face with one or two trained therapists in a one-hour session. Meetings are held in a closed and safe environment where members can 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.

    Support Group Offerings


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