Counseling Center prepares for fall semester; interim director named

As the Marquette University Counseling Center prepares for the start of the fall 2020 semester, it has named Brenda Lenz, M.S., L.P.C., S.A.C., as its interim director. She succeeds Dr. Mike Zebrowski, who left the university last month after nearly 30 years at Marquette.

The associate director of clinical services and coordinator of alcohol and drug treatment service previously served in the interim role once before. A licensed professional counselor and certified substance abuse counselor, Lenz has been at MUCC for 17 years working as therapist and with students with both mental health and substance use issues. She has also worked in community clinics and in private practice working with college aged students for the past 25 years.

“I am looking forward to working with the MUCC team to ensure we deliver the most effective and safest mental health services to our students amid the challenges the COVID-19 environment presents,” Lenz said. “The best practice on campuses right now is to provide personalized mental health care remotely so that we can promote students’ mental health and also help protect their physical health.”

To that end, Lenz said, the MUCC staff spent the spring and summer months learning best practices for delivering psychotherapy via phone screenings and teleconferencing.

Lenz added that such telebehavioral health has become a preferred service method during the pandemic, as it delivers a near in-person experience (i.e., masks are not required, allowing the therapist and the client to see one another’s faces). Additionally, it is proven as an effective therapeutic method of outpatient therapy, and it often allows for more convenient access while maintaining privacy.

“Our students’ mental health needs are incredibly important, but so too are their physical health needs — we must balance the two by delivering the safest telebehavioral health services possible,” Lenz emphasized. “We obviously want to return to face-to-face therapy as soon as it is safe to do so, and we promise to keep the campus community updated on any progress toward that.”

Additionally, for the fall semester, Lenz said the MUCC will put increased emphasis on working with vulnerable populations. The MUCC is also exploring virtually delivered group therapy and workshops, as well as the use of the SilverCloud Health app, an online, self-guided, interactive mental health resource that provides students with accessible cognitive behavioral interventions 24 hours a day.

More information is available on the MUCC website. Students who are interested in seeking counseling services should call the Counseling Center at (414) 288-7172 for a phone consultation to further discuss treatment needs and recommendations.

For students with pressing mental health needs, crisis services remain available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for mental health emergencies:

  • For a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to a local emergency room.
  • For non-life-threatening situations, call MUCC at (414) 288-7172, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • On weekdays after 4 p.m., weekends and holidays, call the MU Police Department at (414) 288-1911 and ask to talk to the on-call counselor.