What goes on in personal counseling?
The exact nature of the counseling experience will vary according to factors such as the nature of the issues a student brings in to counseling and the personality and training of the counselor. In general, counseling involves identifying and building upon an individual's strengths in order to work through a challenge or difficulty. Counseling often involves gaining new insights into oneself, but it may also involve learning new strategies and techniques for coping. Typically a student meets with his or her counselor once a week or perhaps once every 2 weeks for about 45 to 50 minutes. Often the work a person does between counseling sessions is a critical part of the success of counseling.
What kinds of issues might a student deal with in personal counseling?
A wide range of issues could be addressed in personal counseling. Many students find it helpful to seek counseling regarding homesickness, adjustment to college, roommate conflicts, or other relationship difficulties. Other examples of issues that a student might bring to personal counseling include coping with grief and loss, adjusting to life after divorce, and recovery after a trauma. Personal counseling also helps individuals work through or better manage depression or anxiety and to learn more effective stress management.
Is there a limit to the number of sessions of personal counseling a student may have?
While Counseling Services does not have a strict session limit, the center's mission is to provide short-term counseling. The average duration of counseling is 4 to 6 sessions. At times, a student may be facing a difficulty that requires a much longer course of treatment. In such cases, Counseling Services will help secure referrals to clinicians in the community and will offer support until the connection between student and outside therapist is made. For example, we routinely refer students whose primary issues are Substance Abuse or Eating Disorders to off-campus providers, because treatment for these issues tends to be long term and highly specialized. While there are local treatment options for Substance Abuse, there are no licensed Eating Disorder treatment facilities in the local area.
Is counseling confidential?
Yes, with a very few rare exceptions (which your counselor will discuss with you before beginning), the counseling relationship is by law, confidential. The confidential nature of counseling ensures that your counselor cannot, for example, share information about you with your parents, professors, roommates, or other college staff. If you would like for your counselor to communicate with anyone, you can give your explicit, written permission for her/him to do so; otherwise, counseling is confidential.