What to Expect at Your First Appointment

After you check in at the front desk, you will fill out several forms. These forms ask questions such as your name, address, academic standing, as well as other demographic information. The forms will also ask questions about symptoms that you may or may not be experiencing. A counselor will then come to greet you and take you to his or her office.

This appointment is called an “intake” and is typically used to gather information about you and what brought you in to see us. The counselor will use this information as well as the information you completed on the forms, to better understand who you are and how we can best help you. In some cases, your needs may be better met by a clinician or agency outside of Counseling Services.

It is common to feel a little nervous and self-conscious during your intake appointment. In fact, it may be helpful to share these feelings with the counselor. Counseling services are confidential. That means that we are mandated by law to not release any information that you share with us to anyone else. There are a few exceptions. If we believe that you are an imminent risk of harming yourself or someone else, we must take action to protect you or that other person. If we suspect that a child, elderly, or disabled person is being abused, we must report that to the appropriate authorities. Finally, we must comply should a judge issue a court order for our records. If you have any questions about confidentiality, you will have the opportunity to ask the counselor at the time of your intake.

After your intake, your counselor will prompt you to set up your first counseling appointment the following week. Typically, you will meet with your counselor for a 50-minute session each week. Your appointment will generally be at the same time each week. At the end of your appointment, your counselor will schedule you for your next appointment or prompt you to book an appointment at your convenience using our Online Booking Site.

What To Expect From The Counseling Process

  • Identification of ways to cope with each student's individual problems
  • Talk to a person in a safe, non-judgmental environment
  • Emotional support
  • Assistance with determining career goals
  • Students are seen by appointment only
  • Weekly sessions are 50 minutes in length

What Not to Expect

  • Magical solutions
  • Judgmental advice
  • The counselor to "fix" the problem

The Culturally Different Student
The culturally different student may be: (a) the American student who is bicultural and sees him/herself as an ethnic minority, (b) the International student who is studying for a degree and may return to his/her home nation, or (c) the immigrant who is relatively new to the United States and remains culturally identified with his/her birth nationality. Students who are culturally different may feel isolated in the university setting. They often believe that they must handle personal problems on their own and may wait until their distress is acute before seeking assistance.

Because of cultural masking and our own inexperience and/or discomfort with people who are different, the initial assessment of distress is often difficult. For the most part, problems described in this brochure are also discernible in the culturally different population. However, difficulty in assessing emotional distress in the culturally different individual is compounded by differences in cultural norms of behavior, emotional expression, sense of privacy and personal discomfort with mainstream American culture. If you encounter a culturally different individual who may be experiencing distress, it is important to make some contact with him/her and express your concerns, just as you would with any other student. Although it would be helpful to be knowledgeable about the person's own culture, it is much better to reach out than to hold back for fear of violating cultural rules or boundaries. If the student does not accept your offer of help, you might want to suggest talking with someone else on campus, possibly someone who may be knowledgeable about the students' background. Remember to reach out to this person since he/she may find it difficult to seek assistance from you.

Your Confidentiality

Information shared with a counselor will be kept confidential. Except for under circumstances identified below, information nor records will not be shared with anyone without permission from the student. Limits to confidentiality include:

  • The student is under the age of 18
  • The student threatens harm to themselves or someone else
  • There is knowledge of sexual or physical abuse to a child
  • There is a court order mandating the release of the records

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