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Student Wellness Services - Counseling Home
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What to Expect: Your First Visit
The Counseling & Wellness Center can schedule informal consultations for those who wish to "just talk to someone." It is not uncommon, especially during these stressful times, for people to just need a listening ear. This free and confidential service is available to students who would rather talk to someone sooner than later, and who don't necessarily want a "formal" counseling appointment.
To setup your consultation or for general questions, please contact us at (860) 832-1926, or stop by and visit us in our office in Marcus White Room 205.
What is counseling?
Why is counseling important?
There are different offices and advising services available on campus. How do I know which one is right for me?
How do I know if counseling can benefit me?
What services are available?
What will it cost?
What are the qualifications of the counselors at the Counseling and Wellness Center?
How do I make an appointment to see a counselor?
What happens next?
What if I feel my situation is an emergency and I need to see a counselor immediately?
What if I am not comfortable with the counselor I have seen?
What about confidentiality? Will this personal information go to teachers or other staff on campus? To my parents or other family?
Can I get counseling by email? What about email confidentiality?
How quickly can I expect a reply to my email?
Is there any information available online for me?
Q: What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative effort between a counselor and a client. According to the American Counseling Association, "Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health."
Q: Why is counseling important?
Every day, some form of counseling makes a difference in the lives of individuals around the world. Counseling can be beneficial in many instances. For example, counseling can help when a person is making a life-changing decision and needs assistance in putting things in perspective, or when a person needs help with improving or developing life skills.
Q: There are different offices and advising services available on campus. How do I know which one is right for me?
The counseling & Wellness Center is your best choice if you are seeking information and/or counseling for personal issues that are not primarily about your academic or career choices. Other advising services are available for information on those topics.
Examples of personal issues may include:
Q: How do I know if counseling can benefit me?
Almost anyone will benefit from having a skilled listener who is both compassionate and nonjudgmental to assist us in dealing with a problem. You may have already turned to a friend, family member or member of the clergy, but if you feel you are struggling, then you would benefit from the services of a professional counselor. Some considerations in deciding to seek professional counseling include:
Q: What services are available?
The Counseling & Wellness Center offers students an opportunity to discuss whatever personal concerns they might have in a confidential and non-judgmental setting. Students experiencing difficulties often benefit from individual sessions with a therapist. In some cases, psychiatric medications can also be helpful. If a student needs services that the Counseling & Wellness Center is unable to provide, that student will be referred to other resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center has a psychiatrist on the premises available to students on a limited basis free of charge. In order to take advantage of psychiatric services, a student must be in ongoing counseling with one of the CWC counselors. If a student would prefer an outside resource, your counselor will work with you and your insurance company to locate a referral source in the community for you.
Q: What will it cost?
Counseling & Wellness Center services are free to all CCSU students, including part-time students.
If a referral is required to another agency or a professional where there is a fee, the counselor will work closely with you to ascertain the coverage offered by your insurance benefits for mental health treatment. Depending on your policy, such fees may be partially or completely covered.
Q: What are the qualifications of the counselors in the Counseling & Wellness Center?
All the counselors have a minimum post-graduate degree at the master's or doctorate level in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or other related disciplines. Most of the staff are additionally licensed in the State of Connecticut as independent practitioners in their respective discipline. To get and maintain these credentials, counselors must adhere to a strict code of ethics, serve in clinical internships, have their clinical practice supervised, pass comprehensive exams in their field and participate in ongoing professional education to keep their practice current.
Q: How do I make an appointment to see a counselor?
Call the Counseling and Wellness Center at 860-832-1945 or stop by Marcus White Hall Room 205 to make an appointment. Appointments are available Monday and Wednesday between 9am to 8pm and Tuesday, Thursday & Friday between 9am to 5pm. Every effort is made to work with each student's schedule and to ensure that an appointment is given within five working days.
Please visit our What to Expect: Your First Visit page for more information.
Cancellations are required 24 hours in advance. Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you by your counselor and is part of his or her professional commitment to help you. It is extremely important that you arrive for appointments on time and ready to work. Please arrive 15 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out paperwork.
Q: What happens next?
You will be asked to come about 10 minutes early for your first appointment in order to fill out a basic informational form. You can download and fill out the Personal Data Sheet to help expediate this process. In the waiting area, you will fill out a brief personal history form which you will give to the counselor. The counselor will then take you to his or her office to meet with you for approximately fifty minutes to one hour.
During the first meeting with a counselor, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling. This is an opportunity for you and the counselor to decide whether the Counseling and Wellness Center is the best place for help. If appropriate, you will be referred to another resource on or off campus. Or you may decide to continue counseling and to meet with a staff counselor to work on your concerns. Many students find that the initial interview itself is all they need to explore and clarify their feelings and options.
The counselor's goal will be to consult with you about what is the best way to help resolve your concerns. That may mean weekly sessions with the counselor to work on specific goals over a specified period of time. Referral to an off-campus professional for additional evaluation is sometimes suggested as well as referral to on-campus services when needed. Some clients are able to resolve concerns in just one or two sessions; others may require more time or referral to more intensive treatment services off-campus.
Q: What if I feel my situation is an emergency and I need to see a counselor immediately?
The Counseling and Wellness Center is not staffed on a seven day a week, twenty-four hour a day basis and therefore cannot operate as an emergency service. We operate on a scheduled appointment basis and have a responsibility to protect the time of those clients who are coming in for appointments. However, if someone comes to us in crisis during office hours, we make every effort to have the student seen immediately or that same day, in order to assess the situation.
In rare cases where an immediate medical/psychiatric emergency exists, we access the services of New Britain General Hospital's Emergency Service.
In any mental health emergency, always call 911.
Q: What if I am not comfortable with the counselor I have seen?
There are several reasons why you may not feel completely comfortable in the initial process in spite of the counselor's efforts to put you at ease. It may be new and awkward for you to discuss intensely personal concerns with someone you've just met. Your counselor may be of a different gender or racial background or age, causing you to wonder if he or she can truly empathize with you. This is normal, and reasons may vary.
Remember that your counselor expects that these issues may be of concern to you and will be very receptive to you raising them with him or her. This discussion usually resolves discomfort for a student. However, if it does nto, it is possible to have you see a different counselor.
Q: What about confidentiality?
All The Counseling and Wellness Center is ethically and legally obligated to protect every client's right to privacy. Mental health records are strictly confidential and maintained in compliance with federal and Connecticut state laws, and the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA). Information about Counseling and Wellness Center clients cannot be shared beyond the CWC clinical team without the written authorization to release information.
Your counselor is legally and ethically bound to maintain your confidentiality. The office does not divulge any information about you to anyone on or off campus, including that you came for services, without your specific written permission. The only exception to this would occur if you reveal information that indicates that you, or someone else, is in immediate peril. Your counselor can discuss this further with you.
Individual case records are maintained by counselors. These records are kept locked and can only be seen by the professional counselors in the department. We sometimes privately review records to conduct research that will inform us of how to more effectively meet the needs of our students. The research is anonymous, and if conducted by someone outside of our professional staff, they too are bound by strict confidentiality guidelines.
Email is not a secure/confidential form of communication and therefore should not be used to transmit confidential information. Please see the question below.
Q: Can I get counseling by e-mail? What about e-mail confidentiality?
Unfortunately, e-mail is not an appropriate medium for personal counseling. Therefore, we do not offer on-line counseling. If you are a CCSU student seeking counseling or assistance with a problem, please visit our office or call to make an appointment with one of our counselors. If you need immediate assistance, please stop by our offices or contact us by phone - we will make every effort to meet with you as soon as possible.
Please contact us at: 832-1945.
We cannot guarantee that your e-mail will remain confidential. We will do our best to keep your communications private. However, our university administration, like many other employers, reserves the right to monitor our e-mail usage and might therefore see the text of your message. If you are in any way concerned about the contents of your e-mail being read by someone other than the person you are contacting, you should consider alternate ways of contacting us.
Q: How quickly can I expect a reply to my email?
While we try to check our e-mail regularly, you have no way of knowing if one of us is unavailable due to illness, vacation, or other reasons, or if there are problems with the network itself. This means that your message may not be received immediately.
Q: Is there any information available online for me?
We have a wealth of self-help handouts, brochures, and flyers on topics related to various counseling issues and much more on this website. Much of this material is on-line where you can browse through information on a broad range of topics, and print or download what you want for your own use. Self-assessments are available for educational and informational use only, and are not meant to be a replacement for proper medical care or diagnosis. If you find yourself concerned about the results of the self-assessments, print them out and bring them with you to your appointment with your counselor. CCSU's Counseling and Wellness Center is not responsible for any misinformation that may appear in external links.