Let's Talk Program
Free & Confidential Consultation and Support
When & Where
Fall 2021 Let's Talk
- *Multiethnic Resource Center Conference Room
- Thursdays 10:30 a.m. -12 p.m. with Brianca
Student Athlete Let's Talk
- Cougar Sports Center Athletics Offices
- Tuesdays 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. with Colter
- Thursdays 1-3 p.m. with Bridget
Let's Talk Counselors
M.A., University of Denver
B.A., University of Minnesota Morris
RPCV Ukraine '17-'19
Brianca Smith-Austin currently has different roles at UMN Morris. She is a Cultural Programming Coordinator for the Native American Student Success Program (NASS). She is a student success coach for NASS. In addition, she is the Diversity Liaison Counselor for Student Counseling on campus. Brianca Smith-Austin is an alumna of UMN Morris. She was involved with several affinity groups as a student. She graduated with three Bachelor of Arts degrees (Anthropology, Psychology, and Liberal Arts for Human Services) in 2012. She completed a Forensic Psychology Masters of Arts degree from the University of Denver. Most recently she served as a Youth Development Specialist for Peace Corps Ukraine. Brianca's overall aim is to provide meaningful programming and counseling that addresses different types of traumas within historically underrepresented communities in order to shift toxic narratives to healing processes.
Brianca Smith - Austin has experience in working in correctional settings with marginalized and systematically oppressed people. She is skilled in Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Dialectical Behavioral Theory, and Cultu Cognitive Behavioral Trauma-Focused Theory. In addition, she has experience with Developmental, Social, Psychosocial, Cross-Cultural, and Personality Psychology. She is elated to be back on the Morris campus to give back to the campus that has given her many applicable skills in her career and life.
M.S., Walden University
Bridget received her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University in 2009. Bridget has had her professional counselor's license with the state of Minnesota since 2013. Her counseling practice is grounded in holistic wellness - taking the time in counseling sessions to process with the individual their whole being. Each person is unique in the challenges that they live with each day and it is her priority to hear the challenges, assess the need for resources and support, and with set goals that support growth and development in their life. Bridget has worked with numerous individuals who experience depression, anxiety, and trauma as well as abuse/challenges in relationships, grief, transitioning, and identity. Mindfulness and stress reduction are her passion.
MSW, Minnesota State University Mankato
B.A., University of Minnesota Morris
Colter has been a counselor with the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM), Office of Student Counseling since 2016. He earned undergraduate degrees from UMM in American Indian Studies, Liberal Arts for the Human Services and Sociology in 2014, and a Master of Social Work degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2016. Colter has experience working with clients from a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient and group settings as a social worker and therapist. Colter believes that each client is unique and understands that it is important to personalize services for each individual to ensure their success. He uses an eclectic approach to therapy which includes cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, and solution-focused therapy. Colter is an enrolled tribal member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He grew up near Morris, was a member of the Cougar Football team, and is an avid fan of Cougar athletics. Colter is passionate about helping others and wants to give back to the great community and campus he has been privileged to have been a part of.
How is Let's Talk different from Student Counseling?
Student Counseling staff provide ongoing counseling, which usually consists of bi-weekly 45-50 minute appointments. Let's Talk is not formal counseling; it is a drop-in service where students can have an informal 10-minute consultation with a counselor from time to time.
Let's Talk is the best fit for:
- Students who are not sure about counseling and wonder what it’s like to talk with a counselor
- Students who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor
- Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it through
- Students who have a concern about a friend and want some thoughts about what to do
Some reasons to stop by:
- Academic problems
- Adjustment to new culture
- Family problems
- Financial difficulties
- Other concerns
Let's Talk — Frequently Asked Questions
What is Let's Talk?
Let’s Talk is a program that provides easy access to informal confidential consultations with counselors from Student Counseling at UMM. Counselors hold walk-in hours at Briggs Library on Mondays, and the Multiethnic Resource Center on Thursdays. There is no appointment necessary.
What happens at a visit to Let's Talk?
Walk-in appointments are first-come, first-served. The counselor will listen closely to your concerns and provide support, perspective, and suggestions for resources.
How is Let's Talk different from the Counseling Center?
Counselors at the Counseling Center provide ongoing counseling, which usually consists of bi-weekly 45-50 minute appointments. “Let’s Talk” is not formal counseling: it is a drop-in service where students can have an informal consultation with a counselor from time to time.
Who should visit Let's Talk?
This service is open to all UMM students. “Let’s Talk” is the best fit for the following people:
- students who are not sure about counseling and wonder what it’s like to talk with a counselor
- students who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor
- students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it through
- students who have a concern about a friend and want some thoughts about what to do
I think I have a problem that would benefit from counseling, but I don't know anything about counseling. Would going to Let's Talk help me figure out what to do?
Absolutely. The counselor will talk through your issue with you and help you determine the best way to get help. If you feel comfortable with the counselor, it’s sometimes possible to meet with him or her at the Counseling Center in an ongoing way.
I called the Counseling Center and scheduled an appointment 10 days from now. Can I stop by Let's Talk in the meantime?
If you believe you need to be seen sooner than the appointment you were given, it’s best to call the Counseling Center directly and explain your situation.
A counselor at the Counseling Center recommended a referral to a therapist in Morris. Can I go to Let's Talk instead?
Since regular counseling visits are not available at “Let’s Talk”, following up with the referral is recommended.
I am currently seeing a counselor at UMM Student Counseling, and I would like to talk to someone sooner than my next appointment. Can I go to Let’s Talk?
If your next appointment is not soon enough, it’s best to contact your counselor directly to see if he or she can see you sooner.
I’m currently seeing a counselor at UMM Student Counseling, and I’m not happy with how things are going. Can I go to Let’s Talk instead?
The best thing to do in this situation is to talk directly with your counselor. Counselors are eager to get your feedback, positive or negative. Often, an open conversation about your concern helps smooth out any wrinkles. If, after talking with your counselor, you prefer to transfer to someone else, just ask your counselor directly or contact the Student Counseling office to schedule with another counselor.
What else do I need to know?
Although Let’s Talk counselors are professionals, Let’s Talk is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and does not constitute mental health treatment. Let’s Talk counselors provide informal consultations to help students with specific problems and to introduce them to what it’s like to speak with a counselor. Your Let’s Talk counselor can help you determine whether formal counseling at UMM Student Counseling would be useful for you and, if appropriate, assist you in scheduling an appointment.
Let’s Talk visits are confidential. Are there any limits to confidentiality?
Conversations with Let’s Talk counselors are confidential, with a few very rare exceptions. Counselors may need to share information in an emergency when there is an immediate threat of harm to self or others. Counselors are required by law to report when a minor, elderly person, or someone otherwise incapacitated and unable to act on his/her own behalf is being abused. Let’s Talk counselors keep brief written notes of their contacts with students, and in the event that there is an emergency or a student is referred to UMM Student Counseling, other Student Counseling staff may see these notes. Finally, these notes can be released in the unlikely event of a court order.
We don’t want anything to be a barrier to students accessing help. If you have further questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to discuss them with a Let’s Talk counselor or contact UMM Student Counseling.
The Let‘s Talk program at UMM is based in part on the Let’s Talk program at Cornell University. With permission, some of the material describing this program has been duplicated from the Cornell University Let’s Talk website.