Let’s Talk

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 the St. Olaf Counseling Center.  Let’s Talk takes place from 1:30 to 2:30 PM, Monday thru Friday during the school year.  Let’s Talk is not offered during the summer, however the counselor on staff during the summer can accommodate a request if needed.

What happens at a visit to “Let’s Talk”?

  • First-come, first-served.  You will be placed in a waiting room on Zoom until the counselor is able to speak with you.  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: 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 St. Olaf students on campus or off campus.  “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, yes, you may attend a Let’s Talk session.

A counselor at the Counseling Center recommended a referral to a therapist in Northfield.  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 a good idea.  Unfortunately the Counseling Center cannot provide ongoing counseling to every student who requests it.

I am currently seeing a counselor at the Counseling Center, 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 the Counseling Center, 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 Counseling Center 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 the Counseling Center 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 the Counseling Center, other Counseling Center staff may see these notes.  Finally, these notes can be released in the unlikely event of a court order.  Let’s Talk visits are never noted on a student’s official college record.


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 the Counseling Center.


The Lets Talk program at St. Olaf College 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.