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College is a difficult time for all students, and as an athlete you are subject to the increased stress associated with sport participation. Not only do you experience pressure to perform athletically, but you are also expected to perform well academically while having less time to allocate to your studies because of practice, competition, and traveling. Having an objective person to talk to in a confidential environment that is outside of your athletic world can be very helpful to deal with the variety of demands placed on student athletes.

What services does CCS offer athletes?

All OSU students (athletes and non-athletes) are offered Individual, Couples, and Group Counseling, as well as Psychiatric Services. Athletes are also welcome to attend our Mental Skills Workshops, which will help you better regulate your attention and deal effectively with the internal and external distractions while performing.

How can individual counseling help an athlete?

Individual counseling can help you manage stress so you can make the most of your collegiate athletic experience. Counseling provides the opportunity to talk to someone other than your teammates about a variety of issues that might be preventing you from achieving your academic or athletic potential. All counseling sessions are confidential. Information will not be revealed to teammates, coaches, athletic trainers, parents, or professors without written permission from the athlete.

What is group counseling? What groups are offered?

Group counseling involves a small number of people (typically 5-10) who meet once a week, along with one or two staff, to discuss their concerns. The structure of the session varies depending on the specific group. Some focus on a specific topic such as relationships, while others address a number of different concerns. CCS offers a variety of groups each semester. Please see the group section of our website for more information and details about the current groups we are offering.

What are common problems student athletes present with?

Some of the problems student athletes are likely to present with are performance-related anxiety, anger issues, depression, disordered eating, sexual assault, substance abuse, academic concerns, and interpersonal conflicts with teammates or coaches. CCS also sees athletes who are dealing with an injury or who need assistance with career planning.

What are the mental skills workshops?

CCS conducts a series of Mental Skills Workshops throughout the year that focuses on learning to manage stress and improve performance. Please call the counseling center for additional information and/or to sign up for a workshop.

Are there any sport psychologists on staff?

All of our staff are trained to work with a range of performance and clinical concerns. CCS has specialists in areas such as eating disorders and substance abuse issues, as well as staff with specialized interests in the area of performance enhancement and sport psychology. Please see community referrals below for professionals in the Columbus area who also work with athletes. 

Community Resources

If you decide to seek resources outside the counseling center in the community, here is a list of other people who have worked with OSU athletes. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Jen Carter, Ph.D.

Dr. Carter has worked as a sport psychologist for OSU Athletics for over ten years. She provides mental health and performance psychology counseling to OSU student-athletes, road warriors, sports medicine patients, and individuals in the community. Dr. Carter also has a specialty in body image and eating disorders. As a former college swimmer and volleyball player, she loves the growth and excitement of the college years, particularly the pursuit of excellence in athletics. She is currently working as Lead Sport Psychologist and Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and as a psychologist at The Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute.

Steve Graef, Ph.D.

As a former OSU student-athlete himself, Dr. Graef personally recognizes the ups and downs associated with maintaining school, sport and life, and is committed to helping others manage their mental health. He works primarily with OSU student-athletes and collaborates with other campus resources to ensure consistent and quality care throughout the university and greater Columbus communities.

Jamey Houle, Ph.D.

Prior to becoming a psychologist, Dr. Houle was a gymnast for 18 years. At The Ohio State University, he was an All-American on the floor exercise, and was part of the teams that won the 2001 NCAA team championship, and the 2001 and 2002 Big Ten team championships. He has also worked with student-athletes at Maryland, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin.

Sport Psychology

Tips for athletes dealing with anger during competition

Tips for athletes dealing with sport imagery and goal setting

Tips on dealing with injury & rehabilitation