Peer Listeners

Talk to a peer who knows what it means to listen.

We are a group of students who have been trained in listening and crisis management skills, and who want to talk with you about whatever is on your mind! Text or call to arrange to meet in person to talk about: academic pressures, relationship issues, social dilemmas, anxiety, stress, experiences with trauma, or anything else you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the peer listeners?

We are Goucher students with varied interests and personalities and identities who have one thing in common: we genuinely love to listen! We, of course, have a lot of Psychology students, but also Dance, Spanish, Communications, American Studies, Education, Philosophy, and more. We are athletes, writers, singers, and photographers. Many of us have already studied abroad, and some of us are International Students.

We were carefully selected for this role, and at the beginning of every semester we receive about forty hours of training. We are fellow students, many of whom have known what it means to need to be truly heard, and we are a part of this group because we want to be that person for others.

What can I expect when I meet with a peer listener?

You can expect to talk with someone who will listen to you non-judgmentally, and who will keep what you share with us private. You can expect to be provided resources both on and off campus when relevant, but you will not hear us tell you what to do about your situation. You can expect us to care, to ask questions, to respect boundaries and, for the most part, to let you guide our interaction. We believe that you are the only expert on your wants, needs, and feelings, and so we listen in a way that allows you to work through things for yourself.

Wait, what do you mean "meet" with a peer listener? Don't we just talk on the phone?

When you text or call the peer listener cell phone number, 443-632-7799, between 7 pm and 2 am any night of the week, an on call peer listener will answer. They will talk with you on the phone only to arrange to meet with you in a private office. We do not use the hotline model because we believe that true listening is meant to take place in person, so that non-verbal cues are part of the conversation.

What should I talk about?

Anything!!! During our training, we learn about sexual violence, dating violence, grief, anxiety, depression, first-year adjustment, relationships, eating disorders, substance issues, and other experiences Goucher students could be dealing with at any given time. If you are worried about someone else, if you are stressed and need to vent, if you are homesick, if you are sick of your friends trying to tell you what to do when all you want is to be able to talk through something-all of these are great reasons to talk with a peer listener!

Goucher is so small. Isn't it going to be awkward?

The first thing you should know is that we are absolutely and strictly prohibited from talking with other students about the conversations we have as peer listeners. Even when we debrief calls with each other for educational purposes during our weekly meetings, we do not share any identifying information about the peer who called in. It is very, very, VERY (get the point?) important to us that we maintain the integrity of our privacy policy.

It's possible that you will know the peer listener who answers the phone. If that is the case, before you share any information about why you have called, you and the peer listener can decide together whether it is comfortable to meet with each other. If you decide it is not, the peer listener will call the other peer on call and ask her or him to meet with you instead.

So you don't talk to other students about what I tell you, but what about staff? Do you keep everything private?

We may talk with someone else about what you have shared with us if we feel that there exists a threat to someone's safety. Depending on the type and urgency of the situation, we will reach out to a staff member who we believe, based on our training, can best help. This has been a very uncommon circumstance, but if it does arise, we will both inform you beforehand and will provide you options as to when, how, and with whom we move forward.  We are NOT mandated reporters for Title IX purposes; we will only share non-identifying information for the purposes of Clery crime statistics.

How can I become a peer listener?

The application process for new peer listeners begins around the middle of each semester. There is an on-line application and a group interview.  Students are selected at that time to be invited to our intensive training, which is held prior to or at the beginning of the next semester. 

If you would like more information about the program, application process, or training, contact Maeba Jonas, college chaplain.