Meet the Clinical Staff

Deborah Harper, Ph.D.Clinical StaffDeborah Harper, Ph.D.
Director, Licensed Psychologist, State of New York Ph.D., Texas Tech University

I came to Ithaca College as a staff psychologist at the Counseling Center in 1993 after completing an internship in a university counseling center. I earned my doctorate in psychology from Texas Tech University in 1994. I am a licensed psychologist in New York.

Since 2003, I have served as director of the department, now known as The Office of Counseling and Wellness. I’ve seen many changes on campus and in this department in the past 10 years. Individual and group counseling continues to be in high demand while, at the same time, public health models influence how we educate and provide services on campus.

In my role as director, I am involved in collaborative efforts to create and provide a welcoming environment for all students, to address substance abuse issues on campus, to support initiatives that identify and assist students at risk, and to support faculty and staff who serve our students. I represent the College through membership in the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors and in the statewide organization, Counseling Centers of New York.

My professional interests lie in college mental health issues and practice, staff development, and strategies that promote well-being and happiness. My clinical work is informed by humanistic, existential and feminist theories. My personal belief is that we alleviate the suffering of others by listening and by being a compassionate witness to their struggles.  

When I first came to Ithaca, I expected to stay only for a few years. In the meantime, I’ve fallen in love with the energy of Ithaca and the natural beauty of upstate New York. Working in college mental health is both familiar and continually changing, and as a result, it is challenging and fascinating. Being a part of students’ lives has been, and continues to be, the most rewarding part of my work here.