Personal Counseling

students working in the library

Our Personal Counseling Office supports student well-being and healthy adolescent development through a comprehensive program that focuses on each grade level's specific needs. This program, which works in tandem with our College Counseling Program, includes group and individual meetings with students, as well as events and guest speakers.

Whether counseling a student one-on-one or working with freshman and sophomore counseling groups, our two counselors operate from a wellness model that addresses intellectual, spiritual, creative, physical, and social components of the whole person, using reflection, discussion, and activities. They work to involve all parts of the school community in fostering healthy development and emphasize a collaborative approach with families. Visitation parents may contact the office at any time, whether regarding day-to-day matters or more serious concerns. Our counselors provide confidential and continuing support for students and families exploring personal issues, challenges, and dilemmas.

Grade-Level Details

The Counseling Program begins before students even enter Visitation—when incoming "Little Sisters" receive letters from their "Big Sisters" introducing them to school life, learning, and traditions—and continues working with girls as they advance through all four grades.

Freshman Year

Beginning with Freshman Orientation, our counselors provide activities to introduce new students to the school's traditions and expectations. Each freshman participates in weekly counseling group sessions that focus on social and academic adjustment issues, friendships, peer pressure, and making responsible choices. Students also cover study-skill strategies designed to enhance their academic performance. We emphasize self-advocacy and gaining a better understanding of self and of relationships to others. Individual meetings with the freshman counselor provide an opportunity to discuss successes and concerns.

Sophomore Year

Sophomores meet in small groups every seven days to build on the skills and knowledge gained in freshman counseling groups and tackle other developmentally appropriate topics. Discussions include handling increased academic expectations, time management, standardized test strategies, and specific issues related to high school life. All sophomores take a three-day training using the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) curriculum developed by Johns Hopkins University. Students also begin to explore career choices, a task facilitated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which provides individual feedback about interests and preferences as girls prepare to explore college options the following year.

Junior and Senior Years

Juniors and seniors remain connected to their personal counselor on an individual basis as they continue to receive guidance and support with both academic and social matters. Students also benefit from school-wide Counseling Office programming, including guest speakers and educational sessions.


Meet Our Counselors

Susie Manion

Director of Personal Counseling
Personal Counselor, Classes of 2019, 2021, and 2023

202.337.3350, ext. 2278

Mrs. Manion holds an undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education from Mount Saint Joseph College and a master's degree in School Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. She has 35 years of experience in education: more than 30 year in all-girls schools, and five years with Montgomery County Public Schools. She is a member of the National Association of School Counselors and the Washington Area Independent School Counselors.

Mrs. Manion is also the AP coordinator. She works closely with students and parent representatives to present guest speakers on a variety of topics related to adolescent development.

Sarah Thompson

Personal Counselor, Classes of 2018, 2020, and 2022

202.337.3350, ext. 2242

Mrs. Thompson is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and minor in Business. She received her Master’s in School Counseling from Syracuse University. She is a member of the National Association of School Counselors and the Washington Area Independent School Counselors.