Counseling Services FAQ's

If I decide I want to see a counselor, what is the first step?

Counselors normally see students by appointment. Appointments can be made directly through an individual Counselor or by contacting the Senior Office Specialist in Payne Hall 104B in person or by telephone at 792-5326.

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Am I assigned to a particular counselor?

We do not assign students to a counselor. You may choose to meet with any of our counselors. You can choose a counselor based on your availability or your individual preference.

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Will what I say be kept confidential?

Yes. Anything the student shares in counseling is kept confidential. This includes the fact that the student came to counseling.  However, the counselor is obligated to break confidentiality when there is a threat of harm to self or others.

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Will coming to the counseling center go on my record?

No. Counseling is kept confidential and does not go on a student’s official record.

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What kinds of problems can the Counseling Center help me with?

Counseling is a collaborative effort between you and the counselor to help address the problems that are causing concerns in your life. Students come to counseling for a wide range of concerns such as adjusting to college life, academic concerns and relationship problems. Some issues are more serious such as persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, problems with substance abuse, or coping with difficult experiences such as family problems,  loss of someone close and sexual violence or abuse. Sometimes the students are not sure what the problem is and just know that they are having difficulty sleeping, eating, studying or concentrating. A counselor can help you learn new ways of looking at the situation, help you acquire skills for coping and make connect you with any resources that may be appropriate.

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Can I go to a counselor even if I think my problem isn’t that big?

Yes. Small problems have the potential to turn into bigger problems if they are not addressed. A counselor may be able to offer you extra support and assist you in brainstorming or coping with the problem at hand.

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Will seeing a counselor fix my problems?

A counselor cannot “fix” your problem, only you can. However, a counselor can help you brainstorm solutions, change your ways of thinking and learn coping strategies.

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What is meant by “short-term” counseling?

Any student can make an appointment to meet with a counselor about their concerns. After the initial appointment, counseling appointments will depend on individual need and available resources. The sessions are time-limited. Students who need more frequent or longer-term contact with a counselor may be referred to off-campus resources.

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What are some popular misconceptions of your department?

1. That counseling is only for people who are “crazy”
• The truth is that most people that meet with a counselor are not any different from those that we might consider “normal”.  We have all experienced times in our lives when we can benefit from an unbiased, objective listener who can allow us to share our thoughts and feelings to work though some difficulties that we may be experiencing.

2. That going to counseling is a sign of weakness.
• It might seem quite common for us to ask for professional assistance in any other facet of our lives.  Seeking counseling is really no different.  We have all experienced times of heightened stress in our lives and seeking assistance to cope with this stress would seem to be a healthy choice.

3. That a counselor will tell you what you should or should not do
• Counselors rarely “tell” a student what they should do, but most often help guide a student to a healthy solution that the student is comfortable with.

4. That everyone will know you went to counseling
o All counseling records are kept strictly confidential and the student would be a part of any situation where records were shared.  The exception is that a counselor is obligated to break confidentiality when there is a threat of harm to self or others.

5. That a counselor can share information with parents or professors
• All counseling records are kept strictly confidential and the student would be a part of any situation where records were shared.  The exception is that a counselor is obligated to break confidentiality when there is a threat of harm to self or others.

6. That one counseling appointment locks you in to several more appointments
• Unless counseling is mandated, which is relatively rare, counseling is voluntary and the student may choose to stop seeing a counselor at any time.

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The one thing we wish people really know about our office/department is:

Counselors provide a safe, comfortable and nonjudgmental environment for students to come share their personal struggles and receive feedback and tools to help cope and overcome challenges.

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