Students frequently have questions and concerns about engaging in counseling. We hope to clarify what to expect in responding to some of the frequently asked questions about counseling and our services. Please feel free to call us at 477-1481 for more information.
Why seek counseling?
Counseling makes sense when you are having trouble coping with a stressful situation or solving a personal problem. It offers emotional support, new perspectives, and help considering possible solutions. So if you are in a lot of distress, or feel overwhelmed by a problem, or feel that you keep repeating the same mistakes, then you might consider seeking counseling.
Students have used our counseling services to address a range of personal concerns including, but not limited to: psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse, broader personal issues such as self-esteem, communication problems, relationship issues, sexual orientation or family conflict, and crisis situations such as suicidal thoughts, date rape, or significant losses.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does give you a sense of the range of issues we address at the University Counseling Center. In addition, depending upon the particular concerns shared, UCC counselors may make recommendations about other services offered through UCC, such as groups, workshop programs, or psychiatric services, or other appropriate resources on-campus or within the community. If you are a friend, family member, faculty, staff or administrator concerned about a student in distress, there is further information about how to help in the referral information section.
How much does counseling cost?
Our counseling services are free to enrolled Shippensburg University students. Psychiatric services with our consulting psychiatrist are also free during the academic year for current Shippensburg University students. Students may seek additional psychiatric services with our consulting psychiatrist when school is not in session or over the summer through her private practice at their own expense.
How do I get started?
You may make an appointment by calling us at 477-1481 or coming by our office in the Wellness Center, McLean Hall II, Lower Level. Directly before your initial appointment, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire which explains the scope and nature of our services and requests relevant background information about your present concerns. This information will be reviewed by the counselor you have been scheduled to see for your initial appointment. At this meeting, your counselor will discuss with you the reasons for your visit and make an initial plan. Sometimes individual, couples, group counseling or psychiatric services are important in addressing your needs. If this is the case, your counselor will make recommendations about these services. The counselor will also guide you toward other campus resources pertinent for your concerns. If the nature of your concerns are beyond the scope of our services or better served through community resources, we will make appropriate referrals.
For emergencies come directly to the Counseling Center and we will see you immediately. After hours, call the Campus Police at ext. 1444.
Is what I say confidential?
All counseling is held in the strictest confidence. The University Counseling Center supports and maintains confidentiality to the limits provided by Pennsylvania law and the ethical standards set by the organizations to which our staff members belong (e.g., American Counseling Association; American Psychological Association; and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.)
We maintain a separate confidential file which is not a part of a student's academic record or a job placement file. We maintain each file for seven years from the last year of your counseling appointment. Information is released when requested by you in writing, except in rare instances, such as when a student poses a threat of serious harm to self or others, in accordance with professional ethics and state laws.
Is there a waiting list?
Most of the school year we do not have a waiting list. During our busiest times, students sometimes have to wait a week or two after their initial meeting for assignment to an available counselor. If you are experiencing an upsetting situation (e.g., traumatic event, rape, health problem, significant loss) or have thoughts of harming yourself or others, call 477-1481 or come to the University Counseling Center in the Wellness Center, McLean Hall II, Lower Level, and arrangements will be made for you to meet with an on-call counselor immediately.
How long does counseling take?
The length of counseling depends on the problems and the goals. Often, a situational problem or concern about a friend may require only a few sessions. More substantial crises or recurring problems in relationships usually take more time. We generally try to provide enough help for you to be able to make progress and move forward with the issues on your own, even if they are not fully resolved. In other words, we generally take a focused approach toward addressing your concerns.
How does counseling work?
There are a variety of counseling approaches tailored for different problems. In general, counseling is a collaborative process that involves mutual involvement in a confidential context.
Important elements of a counseling relationship include:
the development of a trusting and open relationship between client and counselor; honest exploration of feelings, needs, and concerns; and efforts to try new solutions to old problems.
Through counseling, you will be encouraged to explore aspects of yourself and your problem with your counselor. A variety of approaches may be used to help you gain a deeper understanding of the sources of the difficulties. These insights are then translated into plans for action that you can carry out in your daily life.