Counseling Service: an interview to Dr. Olivari and Dr. Colombo

Dr Maria Giulia Olivari and Dr Camilla Chiara Colombo: who are you and what is your background?

We are two psychologists from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan and we collaborate with Humanitas University in the Counseling service.

I (Maria Giulia Olivari) am a psychologist and family systemic psychotherapist, and I specialise in adolescents and young adults. I did a PhD in psychology and a fellowship research project focusing on adolescents and young adults in relation to romantic relationships and risk behaviour. I am currently a freelance professional and carry out clinical work. I also collaborate with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore as a contract lecturer and in training.
I (Camilla Chiara Colombo) am a psychologist specialised in adolescents and young adults. I am currently doing a PhD in psychology on adolescent and young adult romantic relationships at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. I also work on prevention with adolescents in schools and on promoting life skills.

What is counseling?

It is a brief course of psychological support aimed at exploring issues or difficulties that cause concern, stress or discomfort in a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental context. It focuses mainly on current and recent issues and is aimed at activating people’s resources to enable them, with the support they need, to enhance their skills and identify strategies to deal with the difficulties they are experiencing.

How does it differ from psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy has a longer duration and, by working on current and past issues, it is suitable for treating those with a psychological disorder whose symptoms interfere in daily life.

What does the Humanitas University Counseling service offer?

The service offers a short psychological course of 5 sessions. These may be renewed if the professional deems it necessary. Sessions are held fortnightly and can be conducted in two ways: in person or online. Sessions last 45 minutes.

Who is the service aimed at?

The service is open to all male and female students at Humanitas University and is free of charge; therefore, there is no cost for those who access it.

What kind of problems can be addressed through the counseling service?

You can rely on this service for any academic problem and/or issue that causes concern, stress or discomfort.

For example, the service can be accessed to address the following:

  • Problems related to university life (e.g.: study method, the organizational and planning dimension, stress related to the exam session)
  • Personal struggles (e.g. related to moving, adapting to a new environment and lifestyle, etc.)
  • Relational struggles (e.g.: difficulties in friendships, family, emotional sphere…);
  • Stressful situations that impact mental health (loss, grief…).

How do I contact you?

You can make an appointment by sending an email to: The psychologists will reply to you and suggest a time for a consultation.

How does a session work? How does the process take place?

During the first session, we try to get to know the person and to understand their need for help. In the following meetings, once the need has been defined, we work to help them identify the resources they can work on and find new strategies to cope with the problems they are facing.

If the problem requires specialist assistance, we help the person identify and make initial contact with organisations (public or private) and/or professionals for better support.

Can sessions be conducted in English?

Yes, sessions can be conducted in English.

What happens once the counseling sessions are over?

A follow-up meeting is scheduled at the end of the course to assess how the person is progressing.





Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.