Counseling Center Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need A Counselor?
The Counseling Center is a resource on campus for Concord University students who voluntarily seek assistance with personal and college related issues. Services are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis. There is no charge to students for these services. Counselors are available from community agencies and from campus staff. The Counseling Center seeks to provide stability for students throughout their transition from home to college life and to help students maintain a positive college experience.
Who can use the Counseling Center?
The Counseling Center is available for any student who feels the need to talk to someone about concerns or difficulties in his/her life. These concerns could be causing problems in the student’s daily life …perhaps emotionally, socially, academically or in other ways. Individual counseling is the primary focus of the Counseling Center, but couples and families can also be scheduled for counseling. The Counseling Center also works in conjunction with the Social Work Department and the Student & College Hearing Board to facilitate groups with an emphasis on education & counseling.
Where is it located & what are the hours?
The Counseling Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Bonner House. The Bonner House is a two-story brick house that is located on the side of the Wilson and Sarvay dormitories that faces Vermillion Street (a main street through the town of Athens).
It is directly across from the “Sigma Sigma Sigma” sorority building. Staff are present at the center and available to answer the phone from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. After 4:00 p.m., students & other individuals may leave a message & phone number, or receive an after-hours phone number for crisis services through Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center. (Schedule and hours may vary during scheduled breaks and summer terms.)
Why do students come for counseling?
Students come to the Counseling Center for many different reasons and with a wide variety of concerns. Many students are experiencing a level of emotional distress (depressed, angry, scared or confused) that is causing problems for them and that may be interfering with their ability to accomplish their daily schedules. Many students refer themselves for counseling at the prompting of friends, or perhaps a friend who has been to the Counseling Center and received help. Students may also be referred by personnel on campus such as professors, Student Support Services, resident directors & assistants, coaches, the Student & College Hearing Board, or anyone else who feels that a student has difficulties that require additional support and help. Students may also be referred for counseling services by family members or other significant persons in their lives such as a family physician. The following list gives some of the reasons that students come to the Counseling Center:
- Academic difficulties, not able to concentrate & study
- Mood problems, such as feeling depressed or extremely anxious
- Relationship difficulties, perhaps a breakup or conflict with peers
- Family concerns, such as divorce, serious illness, alcoholism, etc.
- Crisis situations and/or traumatic events such as death of a family member, sexual assault, loss of a friend due to an unexpected circumstance, etc.
- Referral by Student Court due to a campus violation
- Substance use which is causing difficulties in the student’s life
- Eating patterns which have become obsessive & unhealthy
- Feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily life
- Unresolved past issues that continue to negatively affect the student
- Social distress, such as difficulty in making friends and interacting with others
- Life choices in regard to career, sexuality, dating, etc.
Counseling is an opportunity for students to learn about themselves and to learn how to resolve problems and issues that are troubling to them. They can talk with an individual who is not personally involved with their situation, and who can offer different perspectives and ways of looking at the situation. They can learn new skills and new ways of thinking and acting that will help them to be better able to cope with their life issues.
How can students make an appointment?
Students can call the Counseling Center at 384-5290 or 384-6087 to make an appointment. A student assistant will answer the phone & schedule an appointment time with the counselor. Students will be asked to give their name, a contact number & who referred them to the Counseling Center. (This information is not absolutely required). If a student feels that he/she is in crisis or needs immediate help, it is encouraged that this student walk-in to the center or call and request an appointment for that day.
The purpose of a contact number is to confirm the appointment time, or to change the appointment time, if necessary. Students can request that we not call them. If a student is called from the Counseling Center and he/she is not there, a very neutral message would be left on the voice mail in regard to any changes in the appointment time. It is very important that students call us as soon as possible when they cannot keep an appointment, as this time could be valuable to someone else.
Persons who are referring students to the Counseling Center would follow the same procedure which is to call the Counseling Center to set up an appointment for the student. We would ask the name of the student, a contact number for the student (if available), your phone number (as the referral source) and the reason for the referral. If it is a crisis situation, then the student would be scheduled to come immediately to the center or the counselor would work with you within the circumstances to help resolve the crisis.
What happens during the first session?
The first session is an introductory or intake interview which will require at least an hour to complete. The counselor will talk with you and ask questions to gain an understanding of you and the concerns that have brought you to counseling. The counselor will want to know why you are seeking counseling, why you have chosen to come at this particular time, how long you have been troubled by the problem, and what kinds of things you have tried to solve the problem. Questions may also be asked in regard to your family background, general health & functioning, school/work and other areas of interest such as history of substance use, abuse, previous counseling, etc. You may be asked at this session, or possibly the next, to complete some brief assessment forms that give the counselor additional information about you. At the end of this session, the counselor will talk with you about possible options and/or recommendations that might be helpful. Perhaps, another session is needed to get a clearer picture before discussing options and recommendations. It may be decided to begin counseling appointments. Some students may only need a couple of sessions whereas other students can need counseling for a longer period of time. If there are other services in the community that could be helpful to you, the counselor will talk with you about these services and refer you as needed.
Will the sessions be confidential?
What you tell us at the counseling center will be treated with great care. We consider “confidentiality” to be a very serious matter. Professional ethics and state laws are in place to protect the privacy of what is discussed within counseling sessions. For the most part, information that you share in counseling can only be released with your written permission. There are some general exceptions to this statement of confidentiality which are important for you to know about. If a situation occurs in which a student is a danger to himself/herself, we might have to take steps that go beyond confidentiality in order to help keep this student safe. Other exceptions could involve child or adult abuse, serious threats towards others, and/or court involvement. These exceptions to confidentiality are situations that do not occur very often. You can expect that every effort will be made to protect the information you have shared with us. The counselor is required to keep notes and a record of your counseling process. These records are kept in a locked file cabinet at the Counseling Center. Persons who work at the Counseling Center are required to sign a “confidentiality statement” with the understanding that information does not go beyond the walls of the Counseling Center. Records are destroyed within a reasonable length of time after graduation in accordance with state laws. It is important to us that you can feel comfortable about coming to the Counseling Center, and that you can address whatever issues you need to address without worrying about privacy and confidentiality. In order to safeguard your rights, an “advisory committee” has been formed on campus whose purpose is to investigate any complaints or grievances in regard to the Counseling Center.