What Can I Expect When I Come to Counseling?
Calling for an Appointment
When you call the Student Center For Health and Counseling for an appointment you will be given the first available appointment that works within your schedule. If you feel you need to be seen immediately tell the person who answers your call and every effort will be made to see you as soon as possible.
This appointment will give you a chance to see if counseling is the right decision for you. Any questions or concerns you have will be answered and information will be given to you regarding the counseling process, cost, billing and insurance. If there are other resources on campus or in the community that will help support you, our counselors can give you this information. After this appointment, there is no obligation to come back for services if you decide counseling is not right for you at this time and you will not be billed for anything. If you do decide you would like to continue with counseling, you will make another appointment with your counselor for your first appointment.
Your First Counseling Session
You should plan on arriving about 10-15 minutes early for your first appointment. You’ll check in at the reception desk, and our office manager or one of our student workers* will give you some paper work to fill out, which will include your personal contact information, some questions about any symptoms you may be experiencing and the specific issues that you’d like to discuss. Only your counselor will see the information pertaining to your concerns, and will use this information as a tool to begin to assess your situation and determine the services that would be of most benefit to you.
*SCHC employs students. Student employees do not have access to client records and are required to be confidential and professional on all matters relating to the SCHC. Confidential records are handled only by professional staff.
Your counselor will come into the reception area, greet you, and you will proceed to their private office. During the first session they will explain the counseling process to you, and talk to you about the confidentiality of your visits. Your counselor will explain that visits are private and confidential. They will tell you about their credentials and let you know that the services you receive will be tailored to your individual needs. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the counseling process, your rights as a client or any of our services.
Your counselor will then begin the process of assessing your situation and your needs by asking you some questions about your background, your concerns, what brought you to decide to make an appointment, and what your hopes and goals are for counseling. Throughout the visit you will be given the opportunity to discuss any issues that are of importance to you. This will be the time for you and your counselor to decide on the services that will be of most use to you. Some students find that one session is all they need to get a handle on things. Others decide, along with their counselor, that additional individual counseling sessions would be helpful. In some circumstances your counselor may provide you with a referral to seek group counseling in our Center or services within the greater community that we do not provide.
Scheduling Your Next Appointment
If you decide to continue with counseling, your counselor will schedule the next appointment for you in their office. Appointments last 45-55 minutes and may be scheduled as often as once per week, depending on your needs. Typically, students are initially scheduled once per week and then every other week for the rest of the semester or until they feel a sense of balance.
What Can I Expect From My Counselor?
Counseling staff are trained mental health professionals with licensure and extensive experience in psychology, clinical social work and counseling. Personal styles as well as counseling styles vary from counselor to counselor. However, there are several things you can expect no matter who your counselor may be.
You can expect your counselor to:
- display respect for you by keeping your appointment or notifying you of any schedule changes.
- listen to you carefully and take your concerns seriously.
- not be judgmental or tell you what you “should” do.
- answer any questions you may have regarding their qualifications, training, experience, specialization areas and limitations.
- maintain the highest level of ethical and legal confidentiality.
- provide assessment, and inform you of available resources and counseling options.