Counseling Services: Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Counseling Services and during what hours can I be seen?
Counseling Services is located in the Wellness Center in Hunter Hall. Hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can stop in and schedule an appointment or contact us by phone (802-447-6343) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Contact information is also listed on the Web site.
What services are available at Counseling Services?
Counseling Services supports the academic, personal and interpersonal development of SVC students by providing individual and group counseling, couples counseling and wellness workshops. We also offer outreach and presentation services to the campus community, psychiatric referral for medication evaluations and consultation services for faculty, staff, students and parents.
Who is eligible for services and how much does it cost?
Counseling Services are free to all currently enrolled SVC students.
With what types of concerns do the counselors help students with?
Students come to counseling with a wide range of concerns. Many students have issues related to their common developmental growing pains, such as identity or relationship issues. Others are dealing with more specific concerns such as depression, anxiety, stress, childhood or adult trauma, loss, substance abuse, or eating and body image concerns. Some students are not sure what the problem might be - they just know they are having a hard time studying, concentrating, eating, sleeping, adjusting or getting along in general. A counselor can help a student sort out what's wrong and suggest ways for them to get back on track.
Don't only "crazy" people go to Counseling Services?
This is far from the truth! For the most part, students who use our services are interested in their personal growth or resolving a particular concern. It is common and perhaps expected for students to encounter some struggles, pressures and stress at times while in college. The fact that so many students seek counseling services reflects just how common these issues are.
Who provides the counseling services and what are their qualifications?
Counseling Services is composed of a professional staff of licensed or license-eligible psychologists and mental health counselors.
How do I make an appointment for counseling?
Making an appointment at Counseling Services is simple. Students may call to schedule an appointment (802-447-6343), e-mail email@example.com, or stop by the office and talk with us.
How long and how often are the counseling sessions?
Counseling sessions are normally scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending upon the nature of the concern. Sessions are typically 45-50 minutes long. This varies depending on the nature of your concern and the number and length of sessions is something you can talk about with your counselor in order to make sure your needs are being met.
Who will know what I talk about in my counseling sessions?
NO ONE, without your written consent. Everything you say in counseling is kept confidential, unless your counselor is required by law to break confidentiality to protect you or someone else from harm. If you have questions about confidentiality or its limits, your counselor will answer them.
Why talk to a stranger about my personal business?
The fact that a counselor is not a friend or family member often makes it easier to talk freely with them and makes it easier for them to help you. Unlike friends or family members whose advice is often colored by biases and preconceptions, counselors work to be non-judgmental and objective helpers.
But won't it be difficult, awkward, or embarrassing?
This may be true, especially in the beginning. You may feel anxious or awkward, perhaps even a bit self-conscious. Counselors understand that it is normal to feel uncomfortable and cautious during the first meeting and they try to help by promoting an accepting environment in which you will feel more at ease. As you gradually begin to trust your counselor, you'll probably find that it becomes easier to be relaxed and open.
If I begin counseling, how should I try to gain the most from it?
Once the decision to pursue counseling has been made, the mechanics for change have been set in motion. In terms of benefiting from counseling we encourage students to:
- Regularly attend your sessions and take an active part in them;
- Be prepared for each session and be ready to focus on a problem or issue;
- Work collaboratively with your counselor and be willing to explore new behaviors both within and outside the sessions; and
- Be open and honest with your counselor about how the sessions are going, particularly if you don't think you're being helped.
What if I am feeling suicidal?
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call Counseling Services or walk in. Be sure to let the counselors know that you are experiencing these thoughts. In the evening or on weekends, contact Campus Safety (802-447-4001 or 802-384-1648), call UCS Crisis Services (802-442-5491), simply dial 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
What if a parent or a faculty/staff member is concerned about a student?
Counseling Services staff is available during working hours to consult about a concern that a third party might have about a student. Strategies for helping the student and, if appropriate, getting the student in to see a counselor can be discussed.
Can a parent or faculty member be informed of a student's attendance or progress in counseling?
By law, and according to ethical principles, information about counseling is strictly confidential except in extenuating circumstances.
Counseling Services staff have a legal obligation to disclose client information, even without consent, in the following situations:
1. When a student is under the age of 18 and parental permission is required;
2. When doing so is necessary to protect you or someone else from imminent physical and life-threatening harm;
3. When the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child, elder adult, or vulnerable adult is suspected, or;
4. When release is otherwise required by law (e.g., court order).
Otherwise, no information can be released, including whether or not a student is attending counseling, without written consent from the student. If it seems that there would be some therapeutic benefit to release information to a third party, the counselor and student will discuss this issue and come to a mutual understanding about the nature of such a release.
How does the counseling relationship normally end?
Once you feel that the issues that brought you to counseling are no longer a major concern, you and your counselor will talk about how and when to end counseling. Ideally, the personal awareness you've gained and the efforts that you've made in establishing a trusting relationship with your counselor should provide an effective model for self-help long after counseling has ended.
Sara Diane Nolan, MSW
Adjunct Faculty, The Donald Everett Axinn Division of Social Sciences