FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Contents

  1. What Is Counseling?
  2. Isn't Counseling Just For "Weird" Or "Crazy" People?
  3. How Do I Make An Appointment?
  4. What Can I Expect During A First Appointment?
  5. What Sort of Time Commitments Do I Need to Make for Counseling?
  6. Will My Information Be Kept Confidential?
  7. What Can I Expect From My Counselor?
  8. What Can I Do To Benefit Most From Counseling?
  9. How Many Appointments Will I Need?

What Is Counseling?

Counseling is a confidential and private process in which you meet with a trained professional who can help you sort out issues, weigh and balance decisions, and formulate personal plans. Once your personal goals are clear, a counselor will help you find the strategies that will be most helpful in accomplishing your goals. Our Counseling Center staff strives to create a "safe place" for you, a place where you can be totally yourself, and where you can explore your thoughts and feelings without criticism or rejection. Here you will find someone who will help you work through your tough times and who is interested in your hopes and dreams.

Isn't Counseling Just For "Weird" Or "Crazy" People?

Absolutely not! It would be an unusual student who at some time did not experience problems adapting to new situations and changes taking place within himself or herself. Most students face normal developmental concerns and academic pressures while in college and might at times feel intense anxiety, anger, sadness, or depression. Very often these concerns can be worked out by oneself or with a friend or family member. Occasionally, however, because of the nature or magnitude of the personal concern, getting help may be desirable. People come to counseling wanting to feel better about themselves and others, and counselors are trained to assist people in doing so. We believe students are demonstrating courage and wisdom by seeking another objective perspective through the utilization of counseling services.

How Do I Make An Appointment?

It's easy to make an appointment to see a counselor at the University Counseling Center. Stop by room 410 Bowman Hall and ask the receptionist for an appointment, or arrange an appointment by calling (715) 232-2468. In an emergency, someone will usually be able to see you immediately. If there is an emergency in the evening or on the weekend, you can reach counseling staff through the Campus Security and Police Services. Their number is (715) 232-2222. It's natural to feel a little nervous about making an appointment if this is your first time talking with a counselor. We understand how you might be feeling and we do everything we can to make the process easy and comfortable. Some people like the idea of seeing a counselor they know, or a counselor they have heard about. This is fine. We have a number of counselors on our staff, and usually a person is able to see the staff member of his or her choice. However, if you choose to see one particular counselor, you may have to wait a little longer for an appointment. If you are willing to see the next available staff member, you can usually see someone within just a day or two.

What Can I Expect During A First Appointment?

During the first meeting with a counselor, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling. In addition, your counselor may ask a number of background questions to more fully understand your situation and ways to help you. This is an opportunity for you and the counselor to decide whether the Counseling Center is the best place for you to help yourself. After this meeting, you may decide to continue counseling and will schedule follow-up appointments for either individual or group counseling. When more appropriate for your concerns, you may be referred to another resource, either on or off campus. Some students find that the initial interview itself is all they need to explore and clarify their feelings and options.

What Sort of Time Commitments Do I Need to Make for Counseling?

Individual counseling sessions are typically 45-50 minutes in length; group sessions run for approximately 90 minutes. The amount of time you spend in counseling is determined by your own needs. Your counselor is committed to providing services that meet your needs in a timely and effective manner. On average, students wrap up services within 4 - 8 sessions with their counselor.

Will My Information Be Kept Confidential?

All counseling records are kept confidential, and are not part of university records. With rare exceptions, no information is released to anyone outside the Counseling Center, including other university offices, faculty, staff, or parents without written consent. Exceptions to confidentiality include life-threatening situations (i.e., when someone is deemed to be an imminent danger to harm themselves or others; or in cases of suspected child abuse) or appropriate court order. In these cases, Counselors may disclose information to protect a client or others from harm, or to comply with legal mandates. Counseling Center staff members may share information with each other for the purposes of consultation and training.

What Can I Expect From My Counselor?

The staff consists of qualified, trained mental health professionals and advanced graduate student interns with backgrounds in psychology and counseling. They have experience working with a diversity of students and issues. Because counselors have different beliefs about how people change, they differ on how much talking they do in sessions, whether that ask you to do any homework, and their focus of discussion. If you have any questions about what is going on, by all means ask! Feedback from students who've come to the Counseling Center shows they think we're competent and caring in helping people achieve more satisfying educational and life experiences. You can learn more about our staff by consulting the staff profiles. Regardless of the differing working styles of counselors, you can expect that all of our counselors will:

  • take your concerns seriously
  • attempt to help you find solutions to your problems, but will not do for you what you are capable of doing for yourself
  • maintain the highest ethical and legal standards of confidentiality
  • be willing to answer some questions about herself or himself directly and honestly

What Can I Do To Benefit Most From Counseling?

  • Be ready to focus on a specific problem or issue, and to set clear and specific goals
  • Attend your sessions regularly and take an active part in them
  • Talk about what is bothering you as openly and honestly as you can
  • Complete any tasks or homework assignments that you might be asked to do
  • Be open to trying new or different approaches to dealing with your concerns. Talk openly with your counselor about your progress in counseling. Your counselor is most interested in you benefiting from counseling
  • Apply your new insights and growth in your daily activities

How Many Appointments Will I Need?

The majority of students attend between 1 and 7 sessions of counseling, with the average falling between 4 & 5.  While we do not set a limit on the number of sessions a student can attend, we operate under a brief, time-limited approach to counseling that assumes most concerns can be successfully addressed in a limited time frame. In some situations, referrals to outside agencies may be considered if longer term counseling is deemed necessary.