Counseling Center


Holloway Hall

Getting started with counseling

How does counseling work?

Individual counseling/psychotherapy is a process in which counselor, psychologist or social worker facilitates a helping relationship to prevent and remedy problems and to enhance personal growth.  The goals of counseling are to help you resolve difficulties, adjust to life circumstances, succeed in school, establish meaningful relationships and live a more satisfying and productive life.

The counselor is there to help you explore your feelings, thoughts, and concerns, learn more about yourself, examine your options, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goals.  Awareness and insight into motives, feelings, thoughts, actions, and perceptions are crucial components of counseling.  Without this insight, maladaptive and unsuccessful patterns of behavior can be repeated.  Understanding these patterns, for example, where they originated and how they are unproductive, can lead to choices about new behaviors and ways of thinking and feeling that contribute to more satisfying work, relationships, and overall functioning.

Typically, at the Counseling Center, the student and the counselor agree to meet on a weekly basis to work on the student’s issue(s).  An attempt is made to offer the student the number of sessions necessary for improvement in the area targeted for counseling.  At times a student may need to be referred to an agency or provider in the community if the services needed go beyond the scope of the Counseling Center.  Counseling is confidential.

What are some common concerns for which students seek help?

Everyone has life situations that may cause some distress at some points in their lives.  College students are no exception.  Below is a list of common concerns among students seen at the Counseling Center.

  • academic problems

  • alcohol/other drug problem

  • anxiety

  • career/major indecision

  • childhood physical/sexual abuse

  • depression

  • eating/body concerns

  • family issues

  • finances

  • health concerns

  • homesickness

  • identity confusion

  • isolation/loneliness

  • lack of assertiveness                          

  • LGBTQ issues                                                     

  • loss

  • low self esteem                                    

  • perfectionism                                                      

  • relationship issues

  • sexuality                                               

  • sexual assault                                                      

  • stress

How do I get started in counseling?

Either call or stop by the Counseling Center to schedule an initial appointment.  This is called an intake appointment.  During the intake the counselor will want to know the reason for your visit including signs of difficulties, recent events and your goals for counseling.  The counselor will also ask you a number of questions related to major areas of your life, like family circumstances, academic functioning, social life, and history of problems.  The gathering of this information will help the counselor formulate an understanding of your concerns.  The counselor will then discuss with you recommendations for help.  This could include group, individual or couples therapy.  It could also include a referral for an evaluation for medication if it is believed that medication could be a helpful adjunct to therapy.  This might be the case if your symptoms are of sufficient intensity or duration to interfere with your daily functioning.  After you and your counselor agree on the treatment plan, the work can begin.