What is Counseling?
Counseling provides an opportunity for students to meet individually with a licensed mental health professional (psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor) to explore freely a variety of problems, difficulties, or concerns. Counseling is a cooperative venture between the client and the counselor. The focus is on clarifying the concern, exploring options that may become evident to address the concern, and formulating realistic goals that can provide direction. Our goal is to provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment for you to address the issues that are concerning you.
How Does it Work?
Our individual counseling services are primarily short-term and time-limited. As part of the initial interview, you will be asked to complete paperwork which will help us get to know you. Sessions of individual counseling usually last about 45 minutes and are scheduled every one to three weeks for a specified period of time. In some cases, students are referred to providers off-campus. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and is determined by the appropriateness of time-limited treatment for your individual situation and/or our expertise in treating your particular problem.
Counseling involves the disclosure of sensitive personal and private information by clients. Professional ethics and state and federal laws protect the confidentiality of information shared in by clients in counseling. Records of services provided by Counseling Services may be viewed only by authorized Counseling Services staff members. These records are not shared with other offices or departments of the College and do not become part of any central College record. No information about a student client may be released without that student’s written consent authorizing the release of information, including the fact that he/she has scheduled an appointment or sought services, except as noted below:
- Harm to Self. If we have reason to believe that a client is in danger of physically harming him/herself, putting his/her safety at risk, or a client’s unwillingness or inability to follow treatment recommendations puts him/her at risk of harm, we may be required to contact the police, College officials, and family member or another person. If necessary, we may also seek voluntary or involuntary admission to a hospital to insure a client’s safety.
- Harm to Others. If we have reason to believe that a client is threatening physical violence against another person or is a threat to the safety of another person, we may be required to take actions (such as contacting the police or College officials, notifying the other person, seeking involuntary hospitalization) to ensure that the other person is protected.
- Abuse of Children or Endangered Adult. If we have reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 or an elderly or disabled adult is being abused or neglected, we are legally obligated to report this situation to the appropriate state agency.
- When Required by a Court of Law.
The situations described above are rare. However, if they should occur, it is Counseling Services’ policy that, whenever possible, we will discuss with the student any action that is being considered. Students should be aware that we are not legally obligated to inform them or seek their permission, especially if such a discussion would prevent us from securing their safety or the safety of others. If disclosure of confidential information does become necessary, we will release only the information needed to protect the student and/or another person.