Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Counseling?

A confidential process of listening, sharing, responding, and assisting as you: learn new skills; make decisions about relationships, life planning, values, etc.; and deal with feelings like fear, anxiety, love, depression, excitement, and anger.

What Can You Expect?

Provision of an emotionally safe environment; to be listened to; to be helped to communicate; to develop goals and plans to deal with your concerns. You can expect your counselor to assist you in a process of change through self-understanding and constructively facing challenges.

What Will Be Expected Of You?

To be as open and honest as possible; to be committed to working on your concerns; to accept responsibility for your feelings and actions; to keep appointments and to check in with the receptionist prior to each appointment. It is important that you notify us as soon as possible if you need to cancel an appointment. Any appointment you miss without giving twenty-four hour notice is considered a "no show." Your counselor will discuss a pattern of "no shows" with you.

What Should I Expect During My First Session?

The first meeting and initial phase of counseling typically involves an assessment of your concerns, review of background information, determination of goals, and identification of the services most appropriate to address your concerns and goals. This process of assessment is ongoing and could result in a reassessment of goals during any phase of the counseling process. In the case that we determine that your needs are better met by services available elsewhere, or if you are not eligible for our services, we will provide referral information and assist you in obtaining other services.

Are My Sessions Confidential?

The information disclosed by you in your counseling sessions is generally kept confidential. However, there are exceptions to confidentiality including, but not limited to the following:

  • If your counselor determines that you are in imminent danger of self-harm
  • If there is reason to suspect child, elder, or dependent adult abuse
  • Expressed threats of violence towards an ascertainable victim
  • If your records or other information are sought by federal law enforcement officials under the United States Patriot Act (see below)
  • By a court order
  • Further, your counselor may consult with health care professionals at the Stan State Student Health Center if medical consultation is deemed necessary, and also may consult with other professionals from whom you have received or currently are receiving medical or psychological treatment. While your written consent for such consultation is not required, you will be kept informed regarding the nature and extent of such consultations. Finally, your counselor reserves the right to consult with his or her professional colleagues here in Psychological Counseling Services. The counselors all work under the same pledge to maintain the confidentiality of all students receiving services here.
  • United States Patriot Act:The Congress of the United States of America has recently passed legislation called the Patriot Act. This legislation enables government law enforcement officials to access confidential information about you if they have determined that you may represent a terrorist threat to the national security of the United States. In addition, the personnel of Psychological Counseling Services would NOT be able to inform you that the government had contacted them about you.
  • Military or Government Service: If you are entering or are in the military, or if you are in government employment that requires that you obtain some sort of security clearance, Psychological Counseling Services may be contacted about the confidential services you have received here. In this case, we would make every effort to gain your permission in writing before we release this information.
  • Electronic Communication: Please know that e-mail communication is NOT considered a confidential medium of communication. Therefore, it is preferable that you communicate with your counselor or with Psychological Counseling Services by phone or in person. If you have needs of an urgent nature after hours, you may contact 911 or the University Police at (209) 667-3911.