To view the answers to these questions, please click on each question. We hope we have provided the answers to your questions concerning counseling. If you have not had all of your questions answered, please call 357-5621 to talk to a counselor.

        

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can benefit from counseling?

Anyone can benefit from counseling.  Counseling can be used for self-exploration and personal growth and does not necessarily have to be sought for a specific problem or concern.  However, for anyone experiencing developmental, emotional or interpersonal difficulties that are particularly challenging counseling is highly recommended. 

What kinds of problems does counseling address?

Counseling addresses specific problems of concern that limit or interfere with a person’s normal daily functioning. Students may feel anxious, angry, lonely, or depressed when faced with developmental concerns and academic challenges. Many students are concerned with their personal growth and adjustment to college. Seeking professional assistance is appropriate in aiding personal growth and adjustment and is a healthy response to solving problems that may arise during the college experience.There are many reasons why you may want to see a counselor.  Some of these include: Alcohol/drug issues, anger management, anxiety, depression, difficulty adjusting to college, relationship conflict, rape/sexual abuse, just to name a few.              

What services are provided?

Individual counseling, couples counseling, career counseling and crisis intervention services are provided.  Group counseling services are offered on an as needed basis to satisfy the needs of the students each semester.  All counseling services are confidential.     

How much does counseling cost?

Counseling is a free service provided to all Northwestern State University students.  

What are the counseling center’s hours and where do I go to make an appointment?

The Office of Counseling and Career Services is open each week Monday through Friday from 8:00 – 4:30.  Students can call 357-5621 or come by the office located in the Friedman Student Union, Room 305 to schedule an appointment.     

What can I expect when I come to the counseling center?

Students can expect to receive confidential counseling services and competent care provided by licensed professional counselors and supervised counseling interns. Counseling sessions usually last fifty minutes. Most students receive 8-10 sessions.  It is normal to feel uncertain and nervous when attending your first counseling session, but after a few sessions you will become more comfortable with the counseling process.                  

What if I want to see a different counselor than the one assigned to me?

If a student for some reason is uncomfortable with his/her assigned counselor it is that student’s right to request another counselor in the office or a referral to a community resource.  The needs and requests of the students will be accommodated whenever possible. 

What are the potential risks and benefits of counseling?

Sometimes in counseling as you change or address the problem at hand other areas of your life, such as existing relationships, begin to change as well. You may feel worse before you feel better, especially when exploring difficult issues in your life. Most students report that counseling improves their quality of life in some way.  Many students begin to feel better and to can relate better to others as they develop healthier coping skills for better managing distressing situations.  Students often report improved academic performance and a greater sense of satisfaction within the university system.  Overall, counseling services offer students additional support as they grow and change. 

What about medication for anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns?

Appropriate referrals are made to local health care professionals in cases where a counselor’s mental health assessment reflects the need for pharmaceutical treatment.   

Who will know about my counseling sessions?

No one will be told that you are seeing a counselor unless you tell them. All counseling services are confidential.  A consent form must be signed by you if it is nessecary to share information on your behalf with a third party.  However there are four exceptions to confidentiality which include:

1.     If a student reveals he/she has intentions to harm himself/herself or another.

2.     Release of confidential information is requested through a court order.

3.     Child abuse or neglect is suspected or evident.

4.     Abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults who are vulnerable due to physical or mental impairment or advanced age is suspected.

Under any of these circumstances a counselor is ethically bound to take steps to protect the student or a victim of abuse by informing the proper authority, be it a parent, law enforcement officer, or child protection professional. 

In cases in which a student’s needs reach beyond the scope of practice of our counseling services appropriate referrals will be made to outside sources who can better serve that individual.  

What are the limits of the counseling services?

Students are normally seen for 6 to 8 sessions. Then the student and counselor go over the counseling goals that were identified and determine if they were met. At that time a decision will be made whether to continue counseling or terminate counseling.

In some cases, a student's issues are such that the resources of the counseling center and expertise of the counselor cannot meet their needs. Under those conditions, a student will be referred to the appropriate resource in the community.

What is offered to students online?

Through our website students have access to mental health assessments for alcohol and substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and personality disorders.  We also have information and links to resources for various other topics of interest online such as tutorials, self-help and informational links (see Counseling resources) . Because of the nature of counseling, we do not offer counseling services online.

 

What if I have an emergency and need to see a counselor after 4:30 pm?

The Office of Counseling and Career Services provides 24 hour emergency services. If you have and emergency situation such as a mental health crisis, rape, suicidal thoughts,feelings or attempt, etc. arise after 4:30 call University Police at 357-5431 and alert them to the crisis. They will contact the counselor on call for you.