Let's Talk

Let’s Talk is a brief, confidential and informal conversation with a Counseling Services staff member. Drop-in hours will be hosted at various locations on campus throughout the year (see schedule and locations below for this term), and it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to stop by to meet and chat with a counselor, problem-solve concerns, ask questions, find advocacy opportunities or explore resources and options available on and off campus. Let’s Talk generally has a minimal wait time and is a great opportunity to get to know our Counseling Services clinicians. Learn more from our Frequently Asked Questions.

 Let’s Talk is …

  • FREE for Caltech students
  • Confidential
  • Offered on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Informal (NOT a substitute for formal counseling or mental health treatment)

 Let’s Talk has …

  • NO formal intake
  • NO paperwork to fill out
  • NO appointments
  • NO long-term commitment
  • NO formal record of mental health treatment

 Let’s Talk staff include:

  • Jennifer Howes, Ph.D.
  • Lee Coleman, Ph.D.
  • Ashwini Lal, Psy.D.
  • Denise Lin, LCSW
  • Karyn Maczka, LMFT
Meet our counseling staff

Fall 2019 Schedule

Fridays 3:00-4:30pm
October 4 - December 13
(No session on 11/29/19)
126 Jorgensen

Let's Talk for Friday, October 18th, has been canceled. We will resume next Friday, October 25th. Thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Let’s Talk?

Let’s Talk is a drop-in program offered by Caltech Counseling Services that allows students to access informal, confidential conversations and consultations with a counselor. There is no appointment needed or fee for this program.

What happens when I stop by a Let’s Talk session?

You will meet with a staff member on a first-come, first-served basis. Usually, there is not much of a wait. The staff member will listen closely to your concerns, answer questions, provide support, and offer suggestions for resources and options.

How is Let’s Talk different from a visit to Counseling Services?

Clinicians at Counseling Services offer initial visits, crisis appointments, consultations, and on-going treatment which typically consists of weekly or bi-weekly 45-50 minute appointments with the same counselor. Let’s Talk is not mental health treatment; it is an informal drop-in service where students can have a brief consultation or conversation with a counselor on an as-needed basis.

I think I may have a problem that would benefit from counseling per my friends’ recommendations, but I don’t know anything about counseling. Would a visit to Let’s Talk help me figure what to do?

Certainly. This is a perfect example of one way to use a Let’s Talk session as our counselors will discuss the concern with you and help you determine the best way to proceed. If you feel comfortable with the Let’s Talk counselor, it’s sometimes possible to request to meet with him/her at Counseling Services.

I went to Counseling Services and spoke with a clinician; they provided me with a referral to a therapist in the community. Can I go to Let’s Talk instead?

Let’s Talk is not formal counseling. As regular counseling sessions are not available through Let’s Talk, following up with the referral is a good idea. If, however, you have questions or concerns about the referral, please call or speak with the referring clinician at Counseling Services about these concerns. Students may be referred off campus if they have met their goals in treatment at Counseling Services but want on-going support, if the presenting concern requires specialty care, or if there is a preference for a clinician not affiliated with the Institute.

I’m currently seeing a counselor at Counseling Services, and I would like to talk to someone sooner than my next appointment? Can I go to Let’s Talk in the meantime?

Let’s Talk is not formal counseling. It is best to contact Counseling Services directly to see if your clinician can see you sooner. If you are experiencing a crisis, please call or stop by the Counseling Services office for a same-day appointment.

Anything else I may need to know about Let’s Talk?

Although Let's Talk counselors are professionals, the drop-in service is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and is not mental health treatment. Our staff provide this service so students can consult on a just-in-time basis, and as an introduction to speaking with our counseling staff. Our staff can, however, explore with you whether treatment at Counseling Services would be useful for you, and assist you in scheduling an appointment if appropriate. The Let’s Talk program at Caltech is based in part on the Let’s Talk program at Cornell University. With permission, some of the material from this page has been duplicated from the Cornell University, Let's Talk website. We would personally like to thank Matt Boone, LCSW for his help in the development of our program.