You may wonder about your first counselor appointment. In the first one or two sessions, your counselor will review with you the problems that have brought you to the Counseling Center and how your life as a whole is going.
The counselor then recommends the type of counseling that seems most appropriate for your needs. Usually, this involves individual or group counseling at the Counseling Center. We provide short term counseling, and under special circumstances, will provide service for a longer period of time. In some instances, the counselor may recommend referral to off campus mental health professionals who are more uniquely suited to assist you with your particular issue.
If you continue at the Counseling Center in individual counseling, we plan meetings with your counselor for a regular weekly or every other week appointment of 50 minutes. There are situations where a session may last a bit longer or a bit shorter than this general time frame. You will be asked to wait for the counselor in the waiting area and will be greeted there to start your appointment. During the sessions, you and your counselor will develop some counseling goals and discuss various strategies for achieving these goals.
Counseling can be a very productive experience for one who invests in the process. You can expect your counselor to be a concerned, knowledgeable professional who can be an effective listener, a "sounding board", and an ally and resource for you in your problem solving efforts. Counseling is a collaborative effort that can enable you to recognize and understand yourself better. It can also result in you changing your thoughts, feelings and behavior, your relationship with others, or other aspects of your life situation, depending on the goals you and your counselor develop for the process.
Your responsibility as a person seeking service is to talk openly and honestly about your difficulties, to be receptive to feedback and to be willing to take the risks often involved in change. It is important to work hard on your goals not only in sessions, but between them. Sometimes your counselor will ask you to reflect on issues or work on certain tasks between sessions. If you work hard in counseling and stick with it, you have a good chance of achieving the changes you seek. Although your counselor cannot guarantee change, it makes sense to give this process a try.
If counseling is to be beneficial to you, it is important that you attend your individual appointments. If for some reason you are unable to make your appointment, please call in advance to cancel and to reschedule. You do not have a "standing" appointment and need to reschedule in order to see your counselor. Occasionally, your counselor may need to reschedule an appointment with you due to an emergency or illness. In that event, we will try to contact you as soon as possible and arrange another time for you and your counselor to meet.
The best time to end counseling is when you and your counselor mutually agree that you have reached your goals and that the problems for which you sought counseling are well on their way to resolution. If you have concerns about how counseling is working for you, please discuss them with your counselor rather than simply not returning. The chances are good that you and your counselor can work out your concerns or dissatisfaction with the counseling process.
If your counselor has concerns about the counseling process, she/he will likewise discuss them with you and will recommend any changes that are appropriate. In some instances, this may include termination of counseling at the Counseling Center and referral to more appropriate mental health services off-campus. Our goal is to assist you in securing the services you need, either at the Counseling Center or elsewhere.
Problems for which students seek counseling sometimes produce considerable stress and intense painful feelings. If you should feel at some point that you need assistance before your next scheduled appointment, you may take one of the following steps: