Free and confidential personal counseling is available to students wishing to address a variety of issues. Whether you are in distress or struggling, seeking to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationships, or working to prevent current concerns from developing into more serious problems, CPS has many options available to assist you during your time at MSU. There are options for individual counseling, group counseling, couples counseling, consultation, as well as seminars and training on special topics. CPS does not prescribe medication, though students can consult about medications at UHP Medical Services. CPS and its affiliated training program are accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services and the American Psychological Association.

Counseling and Referral Options 

Individual Counseling: Individual counseling involves you working one-on-one with a counselor. Counseling is effective because it allows you to talk about problems, feelings, or concerns with an objective third party. You can also gain insights and perspectives you may not have thought about on your own. We view our role as one that provides support and guidance in order to help you explore and better understand your concerns or find solutions that work for you.

Couples Counseling: CPS provides couples counseling to any couple in a committed relationship. As long as one person in the couple is eligible for services the couple can be seen at CPS. Couples counseling typically involves the couple coming in together for sessions with their counselor(s) and working on goals mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Group Counseling: CPS offers many group counseling options. Group counseling is an extremely effective format to address many concerns. Click here to learn more about groups.

Referrals: Some students prefer to seek counseling off campus. There are many counseling services offered online and in the community, and it can be overwhelming to determine what might be a good fit for you. We’d be happy to help you navigate finding a qualified provider in the community that will meet your needs. Call our office (406-994-4531) and ask to speak with our Care Manager for support in finding an appropriate provider or services off campus.

What Can I Expect From Counseling?

You will have an initial appointment with one of our providers to determine what, if any, services are appropriate for you. This will include taking some background information in addition to hearing your current concerns. Your initial counselor will discuss your options for counseling, which might include group counseling, individual counseling on a weekly or every-other-week basis, or a referral to an off-campus provider. Due to high demand for services, CPS utilizes a short-term counseling model. Most students find their concerns are resolved in 3-5 sessions, while some are seen for up to 10 sessions. Such decisions are based upon the unique needs of each student and the available resources at the time. In the event that a student may need a level of care beyond what CPS can provide, we will assist with a referral to other campus or community resources. Just like a family doctor may refer a patient to a specialist when necessary, CPS may refer students to other resources when we cannot provide the services necessary to best help a student.

Who Goes to Counseling?

CPS provides counseling to over 1,500 students annually, and that number grows almost every year. Many students discuss concerns related to anxiety, depression, relationships, family, past trauma, adjusting to college, acculturation, suicidal thoughts, sexuality, eating issues, substance use, or aspects of their identity. Virtually any issue that you would like to explore and behaviors that you would like to change are appropriate for counseling. Coming to counseling does not mean that you are “crazy,” weak, ineffective or sick, but rather that you are choosing to explore a problem and optimize your functioning. At CPS, we see students of all ages, academic departments, student organizations, and demographic groups.


Students considered eligible for services at CPS include the following:

During the Academic Year (Fall and Spring Semesters):

  1. Any undergraduate student enrolled in 7 or more credits; any graduate student actively pursuing a degree or certification who is enrolled in at least 1 credit.
  2. Undergraduate students who have less than 7 credits can receive services if they pay the Student Health Medical Fee (not to be confused with the Student Health Insurance).
  3. CPS offers couples' counseling to students, where at least 1 member of the couple is an eligible student. The non-student is not eligible for individual services at CPS.
  4. If you do not meet the above criteria, you are not eligible to receive services at CPS, but we can still provide assistance by referring you to counselors/agencies in Bozeman if you call our office.

During Summer Sessions:

  1. Any student who is enrolled in either the first or second session of summer school.
  2. Any student who was enrolled in the current spring semester and will be enrolled in the upcoming fall semester.
  3. CPS offers couples' counseling to students, where at least 1 member of the couple is an eligible student. The non-student is not eligible for individual services at CPS.
  4. If you do not meet the above criteria, you are not eligible to receive services at CPS, but we can still provide assistance by referring you to counselors/agencies in Bozeman if you call our office.


CPS staff work closely with other providers at University Health Partners including Medical, Psychiatry, and Nutrition Services. At times it is helpful to share treatment information to coordinate mental health care, and as an integrated agency, your providers may do so. Outside of University Health Partners, CPS services are completely confidential within the limits of the law. The fact that you received services from our office, the reason for your visit, and the content of what was discussed are confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone without your signed consent. This means that parents, professors, Residence Life staff, partners, coaches, friends, etc. will not be privy to your contact with CPS without your permission. CPS values your right to privacy and confidentiality and adheres to strict legal and ethical standards set forth by the State of Montana and the American Psychological Association. Exceptions to confidentiality include: 1) threat of harm to self/others; 2) report of abuse of minor children or dependent adults; 3) report of minor children witnessing abuse; 4) if records are subpoenaed by a court of law. 


CPS staff are often called upon to provide consultation regarding mental health issues and students of concern, or to assist students in managing crises or distress. Friends, parents, faculty, and staff often consult with our office when they are concerned about a student. Even if someone knows that a student is being seen at CPS, we cannot provide any information about the student without their consent. However, we can always take information and provide guidance regarding how to help the student in question. For faculty, staff, and parents, click here for more information.

Diversity and Inclusivity

CPS affirms the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or ability. CPS is accessible by elevator via the UHP Medical Services entrance.

Services for Family & Graduate Housing Residents

Special services for you!

During Fall and Spring Semesters, we reserve a limited number of evening appointments for Family & Graduate Housing residents. Students, and live-in partners/spouses of students residing in Family & Graduate Housing are eligible for couples counseling. Spouses/partners of students residing in Family & Graduate Housing can also receive individual counseling services. Please call us to make arrangements!

Substance Abuse Counseling

The Counseling Center's alcohol and drug assistance program focuses on prevention and individual student needs. We are dedicated to providing a voluntary, confidential resource to assist all students who are impacted directly or indirectly by chemical abuse. Confidentiality is assured in all matters. The office provides education, referral and pre-assessment support which promotes the legal, healthy and low risk use of alcohol and the non-use of illicit drugs.

The program:

  • Provides individual as well as group chemical dependency counseling.
  • Promotes and supports alternative student programs and activities, most notably MSU’s Center for Recovering Students.
  • Offers referral assistance to students and their friends who have issues associated with alcohol and drug usage.
  • Provides information, support, and referral for those students affected by behavioral compulsions and for students who are/were affected by chemical abuse within a family.
  • Offers workshops, seminars and training.
  • Gives support to friends and family who are affected by someone else's substance use/abuse.
  • Supports other MSU offices, faculty and staff in issues relating to alcohol/drugs and behavioral compulsions.
  • Provides factual information and dispels myths about alcohol and drugs.
  • Houses a comprehensive resource library on alcohol, drugs, and other addictive substances.
  • Disseminates information on local treatment and recovery program options.

Reference Source- Links to other campus agencies

The Counseling Center is happy to refer you to the Web sites of the following agencies in which you may have an interest: