Brattleboro, VT | Washington, DC
This is a button that opens a modal window to fill out the Request information form.
This is the first horizontal bar for mobile menu's only, it's purely presentational markup for the hamburger menu for sighted users. This is the second horizontal bar for mobile menu's only, it's purely presentational markup for the hamburger menu for sighted users. This is the third horizontal bar for mobile menu's only, it's purely presentational markup for the hamburger menu for sighted users.

Counseling and Disability Services

counseling center

SIT Counseling Services provides a broad range of mental health and support services to assist students in participating fully in the SIT community. When appropriate, support is offered in partnership with other resource persons at SIT and through referral to providers within the Brattleboro area. Counseling is based on a collaborative approach between counselor and client, taking into consideration the diverse needs of people from different cultures, backgrounds, identities, and interests.

Consultation, training, and support are also available to SIT/World Learning staff and faculty regarding mental health issues within the academic community.

Jane Buckingham, MA, LCMHC
Director of Counseling and Disability Services
Student Center, Room 208
Phone: 802 258-3367
Fax: 802 258-3252
jane.buckingham@sit.edu

Location:
The Counseling Services office is located on the second floor of the SIT Student Center, Room 208.

Hours:
Counseling services are available five days a week, Monday–Friday, from 9:00 AM–5:00 PM. Additional hours by appointment.

Jane BuckinghamJane Buckingham, MA

Director of Counseling and Disability Services

Jane Buckingham holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Antioch University New England. She is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and a trained mediator. Her areas of clinical interest include cross-cultural issues, spirituality, transitions, gender issues, women’s health, stress reduction, and time management. She also oversees disability services for SIT students.

Jane speaks Spanish and has lived in Spain and France. Her travels have also taken her to Latin America, Morocco, China, Australia, the Solomon Islands, and Western Europe. As the recipient of a Winthrop grant, Jane was selected to conduct research in Kenya on healing practices for mental health conditions. Her professional development has included training in diversity, cross-cultural counseling, Reiki healing, Buddhist psychology, American Sign Language, and disability issues.

Services and Confidentiality

Direct counseling services include:

  • Short-term individual counseling
  • Information and referral to community support services, therapists, and psychiatrists
  • Crisis intervention
  • Support groups
  • Trainings/workshops for students, faculty, and staff
  • Consultations with staff and faculty
  • Lending library

Services are free and confidential. Short-term individual counseling and related support is available for SIT students during the on-campus phase of their programs. Group support can be arranged as well, should there be sufficient interest. In the past there have been groups specifically for women, for older students, transition support groups, and spirituality exploration groups, to name a few. Persons with questions about learning disabilities, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), or physical or other types of disabilities are encouraged to contact disabilityservices@sit.edu.

The counseling staff also offer a wide variety of trainings and workshops for both students and staff on topics such as sexual harassment, assertiveness, cultural adjustment, time management, stress management, and self-care. Furthermore, students have access to a lending library of books and handouts on a variety of mental health topics.

Emergency Services

In matters of personal safety, do not attempt to handle the situation by yourself. If you or someone you know is feeling severely depressed, suicidal, or unable to function, contact Counseling Services, explaining that the situation is urgent. If a counselor is not available, emergency support is available through the following resources:

  • Campus Resident Advisors: Resident advisors (RAs) are SIT students who have been trained in peer counseling and emergency campus procedures. You can contact the RA on duty by dialing 0 from any campus phone.
  • Mental Health Services Crisis Team (Brattleboro Area): Call 800 622-4235 (24 hours a day).
  • Women's Freedom Center: The center is for persons dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault. Call 802 254-6954 (24 hours a day).
  • Emergency Medical Services: Dial 911 or call the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital emergency room (the nearest hospital emergency room to the Brattleboro campus) at 802 257-0341.

Please note: SIT counseling staff do not maintain 24-hour access to email; therefore, email should not be used to communicate emergency situations.

Confidentiality

Counseling provides an opportunity to explore very personal material. Information that clients share with SIT counseling staff is considered private and confidential, and is not revealed to others without the client’s permission. The exception to this policy is if there is clear and imminent danger to self or others or if information falls under certain legal, ethical, or institutional reporting requirements. Mental health professionals are required by law to report reasonable suspicion of abuse/neglect of a child or an elderly or disabled adult. Please note: Confidentiality of email cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, disclosure of sensitive material through electronic communication should be avoided.

Commitment to Diversity

The SIT counseling staff believe that a diverse campus community is one of our greatest sources of strength and vibrancy. We welcome students of all identities and perspectives and have assisted persons from many different backgrounds, reflecting diversity of culture, nationality, language, age, class, racial and ethnic origin, gender, ability, religious and spiritual practice, sexual orientation, and political persuasion. We are committed to providing an inclusive range of services and approaches to mental health. In addition, an off-campus referral list is available and includes therapists of diverse identities. The counseling staff work collaboratively with the International Student and Scholar Office and other campus groups to remain sensitive to the needs of our diverse student population.

The following links contain general information offered as a public service for educational purposes. They should not be considered a substitute for medical advice, counseling, or treatment. SIT is not responsible for the content of websites of other organizations.

As you prepare for your graduate school experience, please read through the information that follows to help you plan proactively for your personal wellness and to make the most out of your time at SIT. If you have any questions about these wellness tips, please contact counseling@sit.edu.

Where to Live?

Choosing a living situation is a very personal and important decision. Living on campus has its advantages — community with fellow students, proximity to classes and campus resources, and overall convenience. Each SIT residence hall has its own unique flavor and is staffed by a trained residence advisor. Students have access to public transportation between Brattleboro and SIT via the town bus and campus van service. We encourage on-campus students to get off campus periodically to experience the town of Brattleboro and visit other nearby points of interest. 

If you are a person who requires more privacy, alone time, or simply downtime away from school, you might consider living off campus. For students who have strong food preferences or dietary needs, it’s often desirable to live off campus where you have control over what you cook and eat. Living in town is easier if you have your own car, but students without vehicles are able to get around by using the town bus, SIT’s van service, or local taxis, or by carpooling.

If you have questions about SIT’s residence halls or other aspects of living on campus or if you would like a list of off-campus housing options, please contact housing@sit.edu.

Wellness Plan

Regardless of where you choose to live, having good self-care strategies is essential. If you are currently working with a mental health provider or other health professional, we encourage you to collaborate with them to help craft your personal wellness plan. Adequate sleep, a nutritious diet, some form of exercise, and relaxation tools are important for healthy functioning. Identify healthy coping strategies that work well for you and that you will be able to incorporate into your life as a busy graduate student. Examples include journaling; going for a walk; meditation; yoga; breathing exercises; reaching out to a friend; avoiding substances such as alcohol, caffeine, or sugar; or simply taking prescribed medications as directed. Having fun is an important counterbalance to academic life. The SIT Activities Office offers a wealth of opportunities to engage in sports, open mic nights, excursions, dances, and other activities of interest. 

Students are advised to carefully review health insurance options to cover both medical and mental health expenses. Consider in advance what your health needs might be and purchase an adequate insurance plan prior to the start of your program. For further information about health insurance, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Cultural Adjustment

If you are an international student studying at SIT, a US citizen who has been living outside the country for a time, or even a student from a different region of the US, there can be many changes that come your way as you begin your graduate school experience — new cultural norms, living arrangements, foods, people, schedules, and possibly language challenges. The cultural adjustment process often (though not always) includes different phases such as a honeymoon stage, a phase of culture shock, and an adjustment period. Awareness of these various stages can be helpful in anticipating and planning for any related challenges. International students are encouraged to participate in an international student orientation prior to the official start of school.  

Prepare for Winter

Winter in Vermont can be challenging for students who come from warm climates and/or who experience seasonal depression. It’s important to find something to like about winter so you can enjoy — not just endure — the inevitable seasonal changes. Cold weather (and sometimes snow) can continue into early April. One of the best strategies is exposure to natural light during the darkest months — do your studying in a sunny window or get outdoors and go for a walk or engage in winter sports. The SIT Activities Office is a great resource for a variety of activities all year round.

Time Management

SIT’s programs are intensive and demanding, making time management an essential skill. You will be busy with classes, homework, and group meetings. Getting and staying organized will help reduce your stress and will allow you to focus more effectively on your studies. You are encouraged to discuss with your academic advisor a reasonable course schedule. And if you are considering a workstudy position, it’s important to think carefully about how the job responsibilities will fit into the time you have available in your schedule. Maintaining balance between your academic goals and your personal wellness requires forethought and intention. SIT Counseling Services provide a workshop on time management early in the fall semester, which students are encouraged to take advantage of. A helpful online resource for time management, along with other academic support resources can be found at http://www.studygs.net/.

Build Your Support System

Building a strong support system is critical in maintaining psychological well-being. First, identify family members and friends whom you want to stay in touch with and who are willing to be available to you as part of your support system. In addition, SIT has many on-campus resources to assist you: Counseling Services, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Disability Services, and the SIT Activities Office. There are also student groups that can provide a supportive network as well: the LGBTQ+ Alliance, the Racial Justice Alliance, and the Alliance for Women and Gender are just a few of the organizations available to students. If you have a faith-based practice, you can include this aspect of support in your personal wellness plan. The Whitney Spiritual Center on campus is a place where students can meditate, practice yoga, attend Muslim Friday prayer services, and participate in other related activities. Also, the Brattleboro community has a wealth of resources and opportunities to make spiritual or religious connections. And lastly, there are many wellness apps and online health resources you can utilize to further enhance their support networks.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are common in the population at large, and it’s not unusual for students in higher education to experience these conditions as well. It is important that you are proactive in maintaining positive mental health. Understand what your personal stress triggers are and seek support early if you are beginning to experience symptoms. SIT Counseling Services offers confidential, short-term counseling at no charge during the on-campus phase of your program. In addition, we can refer you to resources in the Brattleboro community: psychotherapists, psychiatrists for medication management, 12-step groups for substance abuse support, medical doctors, massage therapists, and other practitioners offering complementary approaches to health. The Brattleboro Retreat offers outpatient and inpatient treatment for individuals seeking mental health and substance abuse treatment. Please direct any mental health questions to counseling@sit.edu.

Disability Support

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu as early as possible to discuss possible accommodations and any accessibility concerns.

In Conclusion

Don’t forget that SIT faculty and staff can also be important resources during your graduate school experience. If you have questions or concerns, please let us know! With proper planning and by making use of the resources that are available to all students, you can increase the chances of your academic and personal success. We wish you an enjoyable, productive, and meaningful experience at SIT.

As you prepare for your graduate school experience, please read through the information that follows to help you plan proactively for your personal wellness and to make the most out of your time at SIT. If you have any questions about these wellness tips, please contact counseling@sit.edu.

SIT’s 12-Month Master’s Program

Choosing this accelerated, intensive master’s program has many advantages. You can complete your MA in a year’s time, and you will be located in Washington, DC, where you will benefit from connections with World Learning (SIT’s parent organization) as well as the many development organizations headquartered in the US capital. However, it is important to be prepared for the rigors of the program and to plan accordingly. The first semester is usually a steep learning curve as you adjust to the pace and academic challenges of graduate school. It is a year of continual transitions, from arrival and settling in to classroom experiences, engaging in the practicum phase, and then completing the final semester of coursework followed by the capstone phase.

Living in or near Washington, DC

Choosing where to live is one of the first and most important decisions you will make as you embark upon your SIT experience. Advance planning about your living situation is extremely important. New students are encouraged to connect with each other through social media well ahead of time to explore living arrangements and share information. Although you may find less expensive housing outside the city, don’t forget to factor in travel time and commuting costs as you go back and forth between home and school. If you are new to the DC area, allow yourself some time to learn about navigating the public transportation system.

Wellness Plan

During your time as a graduate student, having good self-care strategies is essential. If you are currently working with a mental health provider or other health professional, we encourage you to collaborate with them to help craft a personal wellness plan. Adequate sleep, a nutritious diet, some form of exercise, and relaxation tools are important for healthy functioning. Identify healthy coping strategies that work well for you and that you will be able to incorporate into your life as a busy graduate student. Examples include journaling; going for a walk; practicing meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises; reaching out to a friend; avoiding substances such as alcohol, caffeine, or sugar; or simply taking prescribed medications as directed. Your academic program, along with homework and group projects, will take up most of your time, but relaxing and having fun are an important wellness counterbalance to academic life. 

Students are advised to carefully review in advance health insurance options that cover both medical and mental health expenses. Consider what your health needs might be and purchase an adequate insurance plan prior to the start of your program. For further information about health insurance, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Cultural Adjustment

If you are an international student studying at SIT, a US citizen who has been living outside the country for a time, or even a student from a different region of the United States, there can be many changes that come your way as you begin your graduate school experience — new cultural norms, living arrangements, foods, people, schedules, and possibly language challenges. The cultural adjustment process often (though not always) includes different phases such as a honeymoon stage, a phase of culture shock, and an adjustment period. Awareness of these various stages can be helpful in anticipating and planning for any related challenges. 

Time Management

SIT’s programs are intensive and demanding, making time management an essential skill. You will be busy with classes, homework, and group meetings. Getting and staying organized will help reduce your stress and will allow you to focus more effectively on your studies. If you are considering a workstudy job, it’s important to think carefully about how the job responsibilities will fit into the time you have available in your schedule. Maintaining balance between your academic goals and your personal wellness requires forethought and intention. A helpful online resource for time management and other academic support tools can be found at http://www.studygs.net/.

Build Your Support System

Building a strong support system is critical in maintaining psychological well-being. You are encouraged to identify family members and friends whom you want to stay in touch with and who are willing to be available to you as part of your support team. In addition, consider local resources in the DC area that might be useful for you: spiritual and religious connections, 12-step groups for substance abuse support, medical doctors, practitioners offering complementary approaches to health, and mental health support explained in the section that follows. Also there are many wellness apps and online health resources you can utilize to further enhance your support networks.

Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are common in the population at large, and it’s not unusual for students in higher education to experience these conditions as well. It is important that you are proactive in maintaining positive mental health. Understand what your personal stress triggers are and seek support early if you are beginning to experience symptoms. SIT works collaboratively with the Meyer Treatment Center of the Washington School of Psychiatry to provide mental health support for DC students during their on-campus phase. Services include a limited number of on-site counseling visits free of charge at the SIT program center, workshops on topics of interest, and outpatient psychotherapy and medication management at the Meyer Treatment Center. Information about mental health support through the Meyer Treatment Center is explained in detail during orientation week.

Disability Support

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu as early as possible to discuss possible accommodations and any accessibility concerns. 

In Conclusion

Don’t forget that SIT faculty and staff can also be important resources during your graduate school experience. If you have questions or concerns, please let us know! With proper planning and by making use of the resources that are available to all students, you can increase the chances of your academic and personal success. We wish you an enjoyable, productive, and meaningful experience at SIT.