Frequently Asked Questions
How can I benefit from counseling?
Here are some tips on what you can do to benefit from counseling:
- Be ready to focus on a specific problem or issue
- Be prepared for your sessions
- Attend your sessions and take an active part in them
- Complete any "homework"
- Tell your counselor if you believe you are not being helped
How do I know if I need counseling?
Most students who come to Counseling and Psychological Services are dissatisfied with something in their lives. They may be having problems in their relationships, or feel depressed, anxious or even suicidal. They may have an eating disorder or may be abusing alcohol. They may have been abused or are abusing someone else. They may have problems dealing with anger. They may have problems making friends with others.
These are just some of the common issues that bring people to Counseling and Psychological Services.
What can I expect in counseling?
Although each counselor has his/her own style, there are some things that are common to every helping relationship. In the intake session, your counselor will ask you about your concerns to assess whether we can help you. He or she will then assess which staff member will be the best match for you and your issues. Often, this simply means who has an opening that will fit your schedule!
Typically, you'll meet once a week with your counselor for a 50 minute session. Most students come to counseling for 6-8 sessions but the number of sessions varies depending on what you want to work on.
As counseling proceeds, you will build trust in your counselor and develop a working partnership. Using a variety of approaches, your counselor will help you explore your feelings, make your own decisions, and resolve your concerns. As you explore these issues, your stress level may temporarily increase, but with commitment and practice you will find that you can stretch yourself and grow in new, often exciting ways.
You may feel anxious about the first appointment; many students do. Most come back and report that it got much easier and their concerns got much better.
How much does counseling cost?
There is no cost for counseling at St. Thomas. Occasionally, your counselor may suggest psychological testing. We charge what it costs to have the test computer-scored. Please ask your counselor for more detailed information.
Is counseling confidential?
The therapeutic relationship is confidential, which means your counselor will not give out any information about you without your written consent. State law and ethical standards of psychology require that we report information about you in the following circumstances:
- If there is a clear and imminent danger that you may harm yourself or others.
- If a record is court ordered by a proper legal authority.
- If there is suspected or confirmed abuse of children or vulnerable adults.
- If you are a minor and are not considered emancipated (living away from home and/or supporting yourself).
- If you describe sexual exploitation by a previous therapist.
- If you are pregnant and using a felonious drug (e.g. cocaine, heroin).
The Counseling and Psychological Services staff consists of professionals with differing areas of expertise, and includes those who work under the direct supervision of licensed, senior psychologists. To provide you with the best service, your counselor may discuss your situation with another UST psychologist or nurse practitioner who is directly involved in providing clinical services and attends a regular case conference with the Counseling and Psychological Services staff. All information shared among these professionals is considered confidential.
What is counseling about?
Counseling is simply a relationship in which one person helps another to better understand and resolve a problem. Friends, family, clergy, professors and others all provide various types of counseling. The type of counseling provided by staff at Counseling and Psychological Services is different from these. First, the staff has extensive experience working with students with concerns similar to yours. Second, the staff has extensive training in psychology and human behavior. Third, unlike friends or family, the staff can be very objective about you and your issues.