What happens during a counseling session?
During the first meeting with a therapist, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling. This first session is an opportunity for you and the therapist to decide whether The Counseling Center is the best place for you to help yourself. You may decide to continue to meet with the counselor. If so, you will set goals pertaining to the issues presented to work on with the counselor. When appropriate, some students are referred to another resource, on or off campus. Many students find that the initial interview itself is all they need to explore and clarify their feelings and options. The number of sessions that a student meets with a therapist really depends on the issues he or she is addressing, the severity of the issues, and the coping mechanisms of the student. All of this will be discussed early on in counseling, so that the student has a good idea of what their commitment and responsibility is in the counseling relationship. Sessions last approximately 50 minutes.
Who is eligible for therapy?
Counseling Services are available to any full-time or part-time matriculated student enrolled at Western. Services are free, voluntary, and confidential.
What are my responsibilities in counseling?
Because we know that resolving issues requires your commitment, we ask that you keep all of the appointments you schedule. If it is not possible for you to keep an appointment, please call to cancel, preferably 24 hours in advance of your appointment. Someone else may be able to take that time. Take the steps necessary to keep yourself healthy emotionally, as well as physically. Taking the first step to seek services may be difficult for you, but it may change your life in a most positive way!
General appointment and Referral Information
How do I set up an appointment to see a therapist?
If you have an issue that you would like to talk with a therapist about, you can make an appointment by calling (203) 837-8690 and scheduling a day and time with the department secretary, or you can stop by the office located in the Student Center, Room 222. Appointments are set up on an hourly basis. The first appointment begins at 9:00 a.m., and the last appointment begins at 3:00 p.m. Your sessions with a counselor usually last 50 minutes and can be scheduled weekly. As you set goals with your counselor, you will work out a schedule of appointments that works best for you.
Who will know I made an appointment?
No one will know unless you give specific, written consent to a counselor. The counselors in the office and the department secretarial staff are bound by ethics and confidentiality laws that prohibit them from revealing any student information to anyone.
What if I miss my appointment?
Cancellations: A personal commitment to the counseling process is critical to its success. We strongly encourage students to keep all appointments made. If you cannot keep an appointment due to illness or other extenuating circumstance, please call as soon as possible.
No shows: Clients who have not regularly attended scheduled sessions within the past thirty (30) days or who have no showed for two (2) consecutive sessions may be terminated from treatment by the Center’s staff.
How can I refer someone I am concerned about?
In the event that you need to refer a student to our services, we have provided the following suggested guidelines for assisting students:
- Talk to the student in private
- Listen carefully while showing concern and interest.
- Repeat back the essence of what the student has told you, checking to see if you clearly understand what he/she is saying.
- Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
- Suggest The Counseling Center as a resource.
- Inform the student that these services are free and confidential.
- Suggest that the student call (203-837-8690) or come into The Counseling Center (Student Center, Room 222) to make an appointment. If you wish to be certain that the student makes an appointment, calling while the student is in your office is often helpful.
- Sometimes it is helpful for you to accompany the student to Counseling, and some students may find it comforting for you to wait while they meet with a counselor.
If you would like to continue to support the student after the appointment, you can ask the student a non-intrusive question, for example, "How are you doing?" Let the student decide if he/she would like to disclose any information to you. If you are concerned about a student, but are uncertain of the appropriateness of the referral, or the student resists a referral, feel free to contact The Counseling Center at (203)837-8690 and ask to speak to a therapist.
Note: Due to client confidentiality laws, we cannot inform you as to whether the student makes or keeps appointment without the student's written permission. If you consider the situation to be an emergency, please convey this information when contacting The Counseling Center.
Note to Parents:
Although we are unable to discuss with you whether your child has come to University Counseling Services, we do encourage you to talk to your child if you are concerned about his or her well-being. Attending college can at times be overwhelming for many young adults, and support and understanding from family members often helps alleviate some of the stress and tension that can build up during the semester. Although we will be unable to provide you with any information, unless your son or daughter consents to this, you can always call and provide us with any information about your child.