What is Counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process that involves the development of a unique, confidential, and supportive relationship. The counselor acts as a facilitator in helping the student better understand themself, their feelings and behaviors, and their relationships with others. Counseling assists in the development of insight and coping skills to deal with issues such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, counseling provides an invaluable forum to discuss concerns, problems, and decisions with an objective professional.
The Scope of Our Clinical Services
The Counseling Center invites students seeking counseling to make an initial consultation appointment to discuss their concerns. This conversation between the counselor and the student generally involves a discussion of the student’s current difficulties, a review of treatment options, and recommendations to assist the student in obtaining the appropriate services. Recommendations may include receiving services at the Counseling Center (individual or group therapy), connection to other campus resources, or a referral to community resources when appropriate. Students who would like to speak with a counselor regarding a concern, but are not considering therapy at the PCCC for themselves, may schedule an information/referral session with a counselor as a “Consultation.” Students who would like to speak with the Victim’s Advocate may specify an “Advocacy” appointment.
Services within the Counseling Center
In order to meet significant student demand and use its resources most effectively, the Counseling Center utilizes a short-term therapy model. The Counseling Center does not maintain a formal session limit; instead, working together, the therapist and student determine the number and type of sessions that are needed for the student based on the nature of the student’s concerns and available resources. In addition to being the best treatment option for many presenting problems, group therapy may allow a student to receive more long-term services than would be available through individual therapy.
Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed in short-term counseling at the Counseling Center are:
•Personal Concerns: Stress, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, low self-esteem, grief
•Relationship Concerns: Romantic relationship, roommate problems, family problems, social life
•Developmental Concerns: Identity (e.g., personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity), adjustment to college, healthy lifestyle choices, decisions, life transitions
•Substance Use: Concerns related to alcohol or other drug use/abuse
•Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, academic difficulties
•Other Concerns: Effects of trauma, sexual assault, abuse, concerns from childhood or adolescence, body image, food preoccupation, disordered eating
Referral to community resources
Students whose needs require long-term support will generally be referred to community resources for ongoing treatment. Similarly, students whose needs require a particular type of expertise that is not available in the Center are also referred to community resources. Even in cases where a student’s ongoing needs necessitate a referral to community resources, the Counseling Center can often assist the student in managing the presenting concerns and provide support until the student is able to connect to the appropriate community resources. The Counseling Center may provide referral services through phone consultation, during the initial session, or as these factors become more apparent during the course of services.
Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed through referral to services outside of the Counseling Center include:
A desire or need to be seen more than once a week, or desire for ongoing long-term therapy, as indicated by:
•Student’s preference or external provider’s recommendations
•History of multiple hospitalizations
•Chronic thoughts of suicide, frequent self-injurious behaviors, or history of repeated suicide attempts
•Clear indications of a need for more intensive services
•Indication that short-term therapy may be detrimental or non-beneficial
•Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning that requires intensive intervention
•Exhibiting psychotic symptoms without willingness to follow treatment recommendations
•Inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms
A need for specialized services not available through the Counseling Center, as indicated by:
•Presence of significant drug or alcohol problems such as substance dependence and/or past failed treatments; a need for drug testing
•Presence of significant or long-standing eating disorder symptoms with no period of remission or that may pose a medical danger
•Request for formal psychological assessment (e.g., ADHD or psychoeducational evaluations)
•Request for medications not prescribed by the consulting psychiatrist
•Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance
•Request for services to fulfill students' court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements
The general guidelines listed above are only intended to serve as a guide to assist treatment decisions. The nature and complexity of presenting concerns and the broader context are considered in making the appropriate treatment recommendation(s). Cases are evaluated individually and the professional judgment of the mental health provider(s) will determine the treatment decision in a particular situation.
Consulting Psychiatrist Services
It is the policy of the PCCC that any student who wishes to meet with the consulting psychiatrist must be a client in ongoing counseling at our center. Students may be referred any time by their PCCC therapist, after the appropriate background information has been gathered and clinical need has been established. Our consulting psychiatrist offers 10 clinic hours per week. The consulting psychiatrist may also refer students for services that are not part of the PCCC psychiatrist’s scope of care. More information regarding psychiatric services is available on request.
Emergency psychiatric services are not available. Walk-In students seeking medication refills or experiencing an urgent need for psychiatric evaluation will be referred or otherwise assisted according to their needs.