What is Counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process in which a unique, confidential helping relationship is developed between a counselor and a willing client (student). In this relationship, the professional counselor acts as a facilitator to help the client to understand more accurately him/herself and the world around him/her. The counselor and client explore the client's feelings and behaviors, relationships with others, choices and decisions, as well as the client's current situation.
Why do students seek counseling?
Students seek out counseling for many different reasons. Some of the most common concerns students bring to University Counseling Services include:
Finding, helping, or losing a relationship
Puzzling or distressing emotional states
Alcohol and drug use
Family concerns (conflict, divorce, pressure, etc)
Getting better grades
Sexual orientation or gender identity issues
Life planning and development
A student with any of the above issues, or some other troubling situation, who is not sure what to do about it is encouraged to contact counseling services to set up an appointment.
What happens during a counseling session?
During the first meeting with a counselor, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling. This first session is an opportunity for you and the counselor to decide whether University Counseling Services is the best place for you to help yourself. You may decide to continue to meet with the counselor. If so, you will set goals pertaining to the issues presented to work on with the counselor. When appropriate, some students are referred to another resource, on or off campus. Many students find that the initial interview itself is all they need to explore and clarify their feelings and options. The number of sessions that a student meets with a counselor really depends on the issues he or she is addressing, the severity of the issues, and on the coping mechanisms of the student. All of this will be discussed early on in counseling, so that the student has a good idea of what their commitment and responsibility is in the counseling relationship. Sessions last approximately 45 minutes.
Who is eligible for counseling?
Counseling Services are available to any full- or part-time matriculated student enrolled at Southern. Services are free, voluntary, and confidential. All programs and services of University Counseling Services welcome students with disabilities.
What about confidentiality?
University Counseling Services carefully guards your confidentiality. Counselors respect
their client's right to privacy and avoid unwarranted disclosures of confidential
information. No information about you or your appointments, including the issues discussed,
will be released unless you give specific, written consent.
There are, however, situations where counselors are mandated by law to report certain cases to local authorities or emergency services. In these cases, confidentiality will be breached without the consent of the client. These instances are:
- When there is clear and imminent danger to self or others.
- Suspected or reported physical or sexual abuse to self or other in the case
of a minor (under age 18 -- mandated reporting) or elder abuse.
- Suspected or reported physical or sexual abuse to a disabled individual with
At these times, the counselor will inform the client of such a breach of confidentiality. If you have any questions regarding our services or confidentiality, please feel free to call us at (203) 392-5475.
Note to Parents:
Although we are unable to discuss with you whether your child has come to University Counseling Services, we do encourage you to talk to your child if you are concerned about his or her well-being. Attending college can at times be overwhelming for many young adults, and support and understanding from family members often times helps alleviate some of the stress and tension that can build up during the semester. If you feel that your child needs some additional support, you can refer him or her to our office or to our Self-Help Resources page for assistance.
What are my responsibilities in counseling?
Because we know that resolving issues requires your commitment, we ask that you keep all of the appointments you schedule. If it is not possible for you to keep an appointment, please call to cancel, preferably 24 hours in advance of your appointment. Someone else may be able to take that time. Your most important responsibility is to take the steps necessary to keep yourself healthy emotionally, as well as physically. Taking the first step to seek services may be difficult for you, but it may change your life in a most positive way!