What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process that occurs between client and counselor. As a result, a given treatment is inevitably tailored to the individual and his or her particular concerns. In general, counseling involves the client speaking freely about whatever feels important while the counselor listens attentively, asks questions, and responds in various ways to what is being said. Counselors usually do not give advice, but instead try to foster the clients’ capacity to arrive at decisions that feel right to them. Individuals are helped to better understand their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, hopes, fears, and conflicts, thus contributing to increased self-awareness and personal growth. The process of counseling can bring up painful or difficult emotions and offers an opportunity to face our fears, pain, and other struggles in order to live with more freedom, strength, creativity, and love.
What are some of the concerns for which students attend counseling?
Problematic eating/Body image
Concerns about alcohol and drug use
Questions related to sexuality or gender identity
Difficulties and challenges related to cultural differences
What should I expect during my first appointment?
During your first appointment, you will have the chance to describe your reasons for seeking treatment while your counselor listens and asks questions. Your counselor will also discuss the way counseling works, the conditions of treatment (such as confidentiality and scheduling), and answer any questions that you have. If you both agree that counseling will be helpful, you will typically establish a weekly appointment time.
Is counseling confidential?
Counseling is confidential. The condition of confidentiality is protected by law and ethical standards. Information about your treatment, including the fact that you are in counseling at all, is only released if you have agreed to such a disclosure in writing.
There are a few exceptions to the condition of confidentiality:
- If we believe that a client is at immanent risk of seriously harming him- or herself, we will contact the individuals necessary in order to ensure the client’s safety.
- If we believe that a client is credibly threatening to physically harm another person, we are required to take actions in order to protect that individual, including notifying the potential victim, the police, and other parties necessary to ensure safety.
- If we learn from first-hand knowledge that a child or incapacitated adult is being abused, we may be required to file a report to the appropriate state agency.
- If your records are requested by a subpoena or court order, we may be legally required to submit your records to the court.
- Your counselor will discuss any questions concerns that you have about confidentiality during the first appointment and at any other point that you raise them.