Your first appointment
If this is your first experience with counseling, you may feel a little nervous about what to expect. We hope that this introduction will give you some sense of what the counseling experience is like and the framework in which it occurs.
First of all, you are to be congratulated on making the decision to seek counseling for yourself! The fact that you are initiating counseling at this time says that you want to do something positive for yourself. It suggests that you are dissatisfied with some or several aspects of your life and that you are ready for some changes.
Your counselor has the desire, ability and training to help you identify and achieve your personal goals. He/she is in this profession because of a genuine commitment to helping people create more effective and happy lives for themselves. In counseling, your counselor will help you to understand your current concerns better. A big part of this is clarifying what you have been doing (often unknowingly) that has been counter-productive. You and your counselor can explore what changes you can make in your thinking, feeling and behavior that could create more desirable results in your life.
STEP 1: MAKING YOUR APPOINTMENT
• You can either make an appointment by stopping by or calling the CSC during business hours (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.). PLEASE DO NOT E-MAIL COUNSELORS.
STEP 2: YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT
• Before your appointment, you will be asked to complete some brief and basic paperwork.
• At first, you will have an "intake" session with one of our counselors to clarify the concerns and/or problems that prompted you to seek counseling. After your intake session, you will be assigned to a (perhaps different) counselor as soon as an available opening occurs (usually within a week or two).
STEP 3: BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR COUNSELOR
• In the beginning, your counselor will help you focus on what you want to accomplish in counseling and help you formulate goals for your counseling experience.
• There are various possibilities for scheduling appointments. You and your counselor will decide together on the schedule that seems most appropriate for you. We will do our best to respond to your needs as efficiently as possible while taking into consideration the increasing requests for our services.
• It has been our experience that the more committed you are to actively participating in the counseling process, the more satisfied you will be with the results of counseling. Also, the more invested you are in your own growth, the more quickly you will see these desired changes occur.
Some suggested guidelines for your role as a client:
• To enter counseling with an idea of what the issue/problem is, and how you would like your life to be different.
• To talk about your concerns honestly and openly.
• To follow through on any tasks that you and your counselor may establish as weekly goals.
• To be willing to experiment with new ways of thinking and behaving.
• To make a commitment to keep scheduled counseling appointments, and to call in advance to cancel an appointment if you are unable to keep it for any reason.
Your counselor's role:
• To listen attentively and empathically.
• To help you to understand yourself and your situation better.
• To be honest and open in his/her interactions with you.
• To be respectful and supportive.
• To help you to identify more effective ways of thinking and behaving.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OUR SERVICES
• Counseling sessions will be about 50 minutes long, and will usually end at 10 minutes before the next hour. Your counselor will make every effort to start your session within the first five minutes of the hour. However, sometimes between appointments we have business matters to attend to, urgent phone calls to make or an unexpected urgent situation to respond to. We ask for your patience and understanding in those instances where we may need to delay or postpone your appointment.
• It is important for you to know, that with very few exceptions, what you talk about with your counselor is strictly confidential and stays within the Counseling Services Center. Exceptions to this are explained in the confidentiality section of our About our services page.
• As part of their ongoing training, some counselors may record counseling sessions, but only with your prior knowledge and consent. To maintain quality services, the CSC counselors consult with one another on a regular basis. Again, any information shared between counselors is treated respectfully and is confidential to the Counseling Services Center.
• There are times when a client may be asked to sign a release of information form, authorizing his/her counselor to speak with a person named on the form. This may be requested, for example, if you received previous counseling from a provider outside of our counseling center. This enables your counselor to provide continuity of service and/or coordination of care.
• Typically, you and your counselor will make a mutual decision about when to end the counseling relationship. If, however, you no-show for an appointment and do not contact the Counseling Services Center within two weeks to reschedule your appointment, your counselor will conclude that you wish to terminate the counseling relationship. Your counselor will therefore close your file, with the understanding that you are welcome to re-initiate counseling in the future.
• You have taken the first step — a big step — to help yourself by making an appointment for counseling. You are to be commended for making the decision to enter into a counseling relationship; it is an expression of your desire for self-enhancement. Your counselor will serve as a facilitator, catalyst and support person as you continue on your journey of personal growth and empowerment.
• For your convenience, you may want to enter the building through the side door (located by the loading dock on the west side of building).
• If you have any questions about these policies, please do not hesitate to discuss them with your counselor.