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Counseling Center

Counseling Services

The Counseling Center provides confidential, professional counseling to Mercyhurst University students at no direct charge to the student. Our staff recognizes the challenges that university students face as they transition from home to the campus, and are experienced in assisting students address a number of concerns including adjustment to college, peer or family relationships, depression, anxiety/stress, alcohol or other substances, eating disorders, anger management, grief, loss, or trauma.

To make an appointment, students call (814) 824-3650. Students experiencing urgent or crisis concerns can walk-in at the Center during an open hour advertised each term. After-hour and weekend emergency cover is provided by an on-call counselor. Students who believe they may need this service contact campus Police and Safety or their Resident Assistant.

Our Mission

Mercyhurst Counseling Center promotes the balance of mind, body and spirit necessary for the achievement of full student potential. Mindful that young adulthood is a time of profound development and change, the Counseling Center strives to respond compassionately and professionally to the psychological, relational, emotional, and spiritual issues of students. The counseling process helps students engage in compassionate self-reflection acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to transform personal difficulties into healthier ways of relating to self and others.

We respect the dignity and worth of all students as maturing individuals with unique perspectives and contributions, and value the diverse backgrounds, abilities, and orientations of each member of our student body. The Center upholds the confidentiality of the individual student in a manner respectful of privacy and consistent with professional ethics and community laws. We collaborate with faculty, administration, students and others on initiatives and events that work toward our collective goal of maintaining a safe and healthy campus. The Center supports the development of emotional resilience, healthy lifestyles, and respect for self and others as we seek to empower students to flourish in the Mercyhurst community and in the world.

Counseling Center
Location: 4118 Briggs Avenue
Phone: (814) 824-3650
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pet Companion – Bailey

Bailey is MU's Pet Companion courtesy of Judy Smith, Ph.D., Executive Director of Wellness. The Havanese pup, joined the Health Center in 2012.

Bailey can be seen in and around:

  • Counseling Sessions
  • Group Sessions
  • Waiting Room
  • Exam Room / Doctor's Visits

He is here to aid in:

  • Physiological relief from academic and personal stress,
  • Reduce stress, blood pressure and anxiety,
  • Promote well being,
  • Provide unconditional affection,
  • Stimulate interaction with those who have difficulty communicating or problems with verbalization, and
  • Provide a safe, temporary diversion when dealing with emotionally intense issues.

Having Bailey on staff is just one way the MU Counseling Center and Health Center provide a creative array of therapy approaches. The services are offered to all students.


Relaxation Room

The Relaxation Room is a calm space to sit, reflect, and relax. It is designed to help students explore various resources for improving their emotional and physical health.

The Relaxation Room contains information and guided exercises on:

  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation Imagery / Relaxation Sounds
  • Guided Imagery
  • Health & Well Being
  • Sleep Issues

The Relaxation Room is open for student use on Monday-Friday. Please contact Becky 814.824.2431 to arrange a time to use the room.


Our Staff

Our staff includes psychologists, licensed social workers, and counselors who approach the students and their concerns with respect, compassion, and encouragement. A counseling psychiatrist is available to provide medication evaluation in select situations, and the Center works collaboratively with Health Center physicians. In addition to individual and group counseling approaches, the Center provides a biofeedback and relaxation program that is particularly helpful for the treatment of stress and anxiety, and offers some pet-assisted therapy services.

Student communication is protected under state law as confidential unless a student provides written permission to share information and in those rare instances of safety covered under the legal and ethical requirements of the counseling profession. Counseling information is not kept in the student's educational record. Confidentiality allows students to be open and honest in explaining their concerns.

Judy Smith, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Smith is a licensed psychologist and Director of the Counseling Center. She completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Michigan State University, and MA in clinical psychology from George Mason University. Dr. Smith’s focus is helping students develop their strengths in a manner that allows them to define their direction and overcome obstacles. In addition to directing the Counseling Center, Dr. Smith is also the Director of the Cohen Student Health Center and the wellness initiative.


Jessica Macrino, LPC
LPC, full time therapist

Jessica Macrino, LPC obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Penn State Behrend and a M.A in Community Counseling at Edinboro University. She is a full time therapist who draws from her clinical experience working in the community with a diverse population. She has also worked in several different school districts in the Erie and Millcreek area. Jessica’s focus is to help others learn and utilize skills to help them address life’s challenges, grow and live a more fulfilled life.


Linda Graves, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Linda Graves, LCSW, is a full time licensed therapist who completed her B.A. in Psychology at Mercyhurst University.  She went on to earn her Masters of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) through Case Western Reserve University.  Linda works with students to explore and resolve emotional distress that interferes with daily life.  The resulting personal growth and wellness promote student academic success.


Ashely Fedor, LPC
Full-time therapist

Ashley obtained her MA in Community Counseling from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and her BS in Speech and Hearing from the same institution.  Ashley enjoys working with college-aged students, and has several years of experience in working with diverse populations in community outpatient settings.  She assists students with a wide array of issues including relationships concerns, depression and anxiety, and stress.


Bushra Upal, MA
Part-time counselor

Bushra obtained a BA in Political Science from the University of Punjab, a BS in Psychology from Dalhousie University; and a Master of Art degree in Counselling from the University of Toledo.  She has more than ten years of counseling experience and expertise in dealing with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse and addiction.  Bushra has facilitated support groups, stress management programs, Families and Schools Together, and South Asian Women’s Groups during her recent work in Toronto.