What to Expect
When you contact our office, you will be scheduled for a 30-minute, face-to-face screening appointment. This is a specific time reserved for you. At the end of the session, appropriate options will be reviewed with you. These could include an appointment at the Counseling Center for an intake and/or a referral to other resources in the community that can help you address your concerns. The counselor who screens you is not always the counselor who continues to see you; we will match you with an appropriate provider based on your needs. The Counseling Center offers short-term counseling. Undergraduates do not have a limit to the number of times they can come to counseling, due to the payment of a Wellness fee. Graduate students do not pay this fee and therefore are limited to 1 session after which they are referred to outside services.
The following are some frequently asked questions about the counseling process. The information listed below should quell some of your concerns and answer some of your questions about counseling. Feel free to call or stop by the Counseling Center. Along with providing counseling, we are available to answer questions, provide information and resources about mental health issues, discuss careers in the field of counseling or just chat.
- With what types of problems do counselors help students?
Students come to the Counseling Center with a wide range of concerns. Many issues are part of the normal development process, such as identity or relationship issues. Others are more specific psychological diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, bereavement or substance abuse. Some students are not sure what the problem is. They just know they are having a hard time studying, sleeping or having fun. A counselor can help determine the nature of the underlying problem and empower the student to work toward a solution.
- What training do the counselors on staff have?
Each of the staff counselors is trained with at least a Master's degree in counseling or social work, is certified nationally by the respective certification board and is either licensed or license-eligible in the state of Connecticut. The Counseling Center also serves as a training site for area colleges and universities and uses interns as counselors-in-training under close supervision. We are experienced in working with your medical doctor, psychiatrists or therapist from home, should the need occur.
- Can your staff prescribe medication?
Each of the staff counselors is trained with at least a Master's degree in counseling, social work, or psychology, and is licensed in the state of Connecticut. The Counseling Center also serves as a training site for area colleges and universities and uses interns as counselors-in-training under close supervision. We are experienced in working with your medical doctor, psychiatrists or therapist from home, should the need occur.
- Do the counselors specialize in any specific problems or treatments?
Every counselor at the Counseling Center is trained and experienced in dealing with issues related to mental health, personal development and relationship issues. Of note, Janice Kessler has received specialized training in alcohol and drug addiction and that is the issue she works with. Janice does not see general counseling clients.
- How will counseling help me?
Research shows that the following conditions created by a counseling or therapy session improve mental health:
- Unconditional positive regard from another person.
- Talking about an individual’s strengths and empowering that person to use those strengths.
- De-stigmatizing mental health concerns and normalizing feelings.
- Evaluation for medication in cases of more significant diagnoses.
It is both your right and your responsibility to understand the counseling process fully and to receive a clear and comprehensive explanation. We do want to stress that personal counseling involves a commitment. We encourage you to keep all appointments scheduled with your counselor. If you cannot make your appointment, please call the Counseling Center at 203-371-7955. Other students may be waiting for an appointment, and your time slot may be used productively.
- What if I want a second opinion or I don't "fit" with my counselor?
You are entitled to see another counselor within the Counseling Center or to receive information about counseling resources outside of the university. If, for example, you wish to see a counselor of a specific gender, we will try our best to accommodate your wishes.
- How long will the counseling process take?
Each session lasts about 45 minutes. The Counseling Center operates using a brief therapy model, and students typically come for 1-5 sessions. This is determined by each counselor in consultation with the student.
- What if a parent, faculty member or staff is concerned about a student?
Counselors are available during business hours to consult about a student and provide information and helping strategies. Counselors reinforce that, for counseling to be most successful, students need to WANT to attend. If a student may be a risk to themselves or others, Public Safety should be contacted immediately at 203-371-7911.
- Can a third party, such as a parent, be kept informed of student’s progress in counseling?
It is both illegal and unethical for any counselor to disclose any information about the existence of a counseling relationship or the nature of the counseling process. No information can be released without the informed and written consent of the student, or as noted in the Confidentiality Statement, for the following situations:
- A court order, issued by a judge, may require the Counseling Center staff to release information contained in records and/or require a therapist to testify in a court hearing.
- If there is evidence of clear and imminent danger of harm to self and/or others, a counselor is legally required to report this information to the authorities responsible for ensuring safety.
- Connecticut state law requires that staff of Counseling Centers, who learn of, or strongly suspect, physical or sexual abuse or neglect of any person under 18 years of age or elderly persons incapable of caring for themselves must report this information to appropriate child or elder protection services.
- During case consultation and supervision, counselors may review their cases with other members of the Counseling Center or Health Services, which operate as one Wellness Center. However, these individuals also operate under the same rules of confidentiality.
- Students who are sent to the Alcohol and Other Drug Coordinator for a mandated assessment, in which case the referral source will be informed ONLY of attendance at that assessment and any required follow-up sessions.