Mental Health Services Q & A with Carrie Eichmann of the BCC

Carrie Eichmann of the Brandeis Counselling Center sits down for a Staff Q&A

Carrie Eichmann has served at Brandeis for the past four years as a psychotherapist at the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) with specialties in substance abuse and sports/performance psychology. She's the center's Alcohol & Drug Specialists as well as the Community Therapist for Athletics and the Department of Community Living. Away from Brandeis, she enjoys running, podcasts, and hunting for the perfect chocolate shake.

Tell us about the BCC.

The Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) provides an array of mental health services for undergraduate and graduate students. We believe there are many ways to heal; offering groups, symposiums, Community Therapy, brief individual counseling, and connection to off-campus resources as possible options for care. 

Due to COVID-19 the majority of BCC services, including Community Therapy, will be offered virtually for the Fall 2020 Semester. 

What is the BCC's approach to developing an inclusive community?

We have many clinicians at the BCC, each with our own background and style, and are committed to supporting students, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, or ability. Our team continues to engage in culturally responsive training to further understand ourselves and the impact of our role as mental health providers. We believe transformation happens through conversation and collaboration with students and campus partners, and embrace feedback as opportunities to reimagine the way in which we care for students.

Personally, as a straight, white, cisgender woman and trained social worker, I believe it's important to recognize the larger influences around us, the beliefs and feelings within us, and the intersection of the two. We're impacted by systems of privilege and oppression that affect our daily life, and I think it's important that all parts of our experience are talked about.

What is the Community Therapy program?

Our Community Therapy program was designed to destigmatize mental health by increasing access to support throughout campus. I've partnered with the Athletics Department since 2018. Other Community Therapists are connected to the Intercultural Center (ICC), Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC), Department of Community Living (DCL), Academic Services, and Goldfarb Library. We also work with graduate students at Heller School for Social Policy & Management and The International Business School. 

We offer free, brief, confidential one-on-one supportive sessions that can help determine whether additional counseling would be useful, and assist in getting connected to the right care. In addition to one-on-one support, we also provide community and team-centered groups, workshops, and consultations. 

How can Community Therapy be helpful to the lives of our student-athletes specifically? 

Being a student-athlete in a competitive academic environment and an elite sports conference demands an immense amount of time management, organization, and flexibility. Student-athletes are remarkably aware of their overall physical health. Community Therapy highlights the parallel importance of one's emotional health.

Student-athletes are uniquely placed in multiple intersecting roles that are further impacted by their personal stories. Athletes often experience and are the first to bravely confront racism and discrimination. More recently, they gracefully adapted to the impact of the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. My hope is that Community Therapy provides space for student-athletes to unload some of their energy, feelings, and thoughts safely.  

What are some things you would like student-athletes who are considering Community Therapy to know?

Community Therapy is a great place to talk through decisions with a neutral person, get feedback, develop goals and action steps, and troubleshoot potential hurdles. 

There are no expectations other than showing up as authentically as you feel comfortable. It's ok to sit in silence, brain dump, cry, laugh, ask questions, be skeptical, curse, or express yourself however needed. 

It's confidential. Whatever is shared during the meeting remains for the student-athlete and Community Therapist (barring imminent risk to self or others). The Community Therapist cannot discuss the information with parents, teammates, coaches or staff, professors, other members, on- or off-campus, without written permission from the student-athlete. 

Lastly, Community Therapy focuses on strengthening connections amongst all student-athletes, regardless of their team or competition level (varsity, club, IM, etc). Small, support communities have formed around specific topics, like "Brandeis Sidelines: A Community for Athletes Overcoming Injury." In Fall 2020, "Rookie of the Year: A New Student Community" and "Brain Day: Mental Skills Training" are being added! 

Can you expand on the Sidelines Program and how that came about?

Brandeis Sidelines was the brainchild of a recently graduated student-athlete whose personal experience rebounding from an injury led her to seek support. Together, we created a space where students of varied identities and athletic communities could come together to discuss the challenges of injury. It allowed us to demystify the idea that any one person was suffering with this alone. As such, students experienced decreased shame, increased connection, and overall improved healing.

For more information on Community Therapy, visit their FAQ page. Carrie Eichmann is available for meetings on Thursdays (2-7 p.m.) and Fridays (9 a.m.-12 p.m.). Make an appointment via her google calendar or email her at to sign up for a group.

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