Counseling Services General Information
We are so pleased you have chosen to seek out support in our office. Please know how much our staff values meeting with students.
This web page is to provide information regarding Counseling Services specifically as it relates to defining counseling, scope of services, and appointment scheduling. We appreciate your time in reviewing this handout. If you have additional questions not covered here, please feel free to bring them up to your clinician.
What is Counseling?
A helpful definition of counseling can be found on the American Counseling Association’s website: “Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health” (from https://www.counseling.org/aca-community/learn-about-counseling/what-is-counseling/overview).
It is helpful to keep this definition in mind as you and your clinician identify goals, look to develop strategies to improve coping, and work on behavior changes to enhance wellbeing.
What kind of support can I receive through Counseling Services?
Our counseling staff is comprised of mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and graduate-level interns completing clinical internships.
Counseling Services can provide the following types of support:
- Intake appointments: initial sessions to determine level of therapeutic care
• Individual counseling: ongoing support, typically on a biweekly basis
• 24/7 Urgent Support Line: call 508-565-1331, Option 2, for brief, in-the-moment, solution-focused support. After students consult with the Support Line, follow up care options will be discussed with them and offered to them
• Urgent appointments: appointment scheduled as follow up to 24/7 Support Line utilization and/or in consultation with student's clinician when there is a significant impairment in functioning, safety concerns, need for stabilization, or short-term problem solving strategies for time-sensitive dilemmas
• Case management: periodic check-ins for students with off-campus providers and/or assistance with referral to other providers and resources
• Single session consultation: available to assist students with in-the-moment support around a particular dilemma, case management referrals to additional care or supports, and short-term problem-solving and coping strategies
- Psychiatric referral/medication management: support with connecting to psychiatric providers for medication management either through Counseling Services' on-campus consulting psychiatric provider if an appropriate match or with an off-campus provider
• Mandated assessments: administrative referrals made by personnel from Student Affairs
You may find that you benefit from simply attending one or two sessions for general support and strategies around a short-term need. You may also express interest in and benefit from ongoing counseling to work toward your particular goals. You and your clinician will discuss your goals for changes you would like to make through counseling, as well as your clinician's recommendations for your needs.
When will I be referred to other providers for services?
Our services and expertise may not be the best match for every client or situation. Clinicians will provide feedback on appropriateness of our services for your needs. We can provide case management support when students need to be referred to off-campus providers. We maintain a list of local providers and the clinicians here will meet with you to provide guidance around how to access off-campus providers and utilize your health insurance plan(s) in these types of situations. We can also assist with finding providers in your home area. A variety of circumstances may warrant referral to other providers:
• If you wish to engage in more frequent counseling than our biweekly model or prefer a different type/modality of service than we provide
• If our appointment offerings are not compatible with your schedule
• If you are assessed to clinically warrant long-term weekly therapy, specialized therapy or evaluation, a higher level of care, or a type/modality of service we do not provide
• If you need counseling when away from the college on official breaks (e.g.: summer, winter)
• If you are leaving the college
• If you need psychiatric consultation outside of the academic year or need referral to a provider
• If you need documentation for accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Resources or any outside agency
• If you are residing outside of Massachusetts for telehealth sessions in a location where it is not permissible for us to provide ongoing treatment by telehealth
What if I need to speak to someone urgently?
If you have an urgent need and feel you would benefit from immediate support from a clinician, please access our 24/7 Urgent Support Line by calling 508-565-1331 and selecting Option 2.
Can I change my counselor?
The counseling process involves an ongoing therapeutic alliance between the client and the clinician. While the clinicians in this office all practice as generalists, we recognize that there may be differences in therapeutic styles. Occasionally, students request a change in ongoing clinician. A request for a change should be made directly to the clinician with whom you are working so they can assist in understanding your needs and promoting a smooth transition. If this is not possible, then you may request a consultation with the Director/Associate Director to discuss a change. Please note, it is not always possible for us to honor requests to be matched with specific staff members.
What happens if my appointment needs to be rescheduled?
Please notify the office in advance if you are going to be unable to make an appointment. Your active participation in keeping appointments is necessary to assist you. Therefore, we strongly urge you to attend all scheduled sessions on time. If you must miss an appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance by calling 508-565-1331, Option 1. The office manager can assist you with rescheduling.
For students who fail to show for an appointment without advanced cancellation, we will send email outreach (or phone if you decline email permission) encouraging you to consider rescheduling. For clients who work with our consulting psychiatric provider, two consecutive "no shows" of counseling and/or psychiatry appointments, or three total missed appointments in a semester, could result in referral off-campus.
Please note that clinicians may become available for a variety of reasons such as illness, and this can sometimes occur unexpectedly. Your clinician will try to communicate with you in advance when possible and discuss rescheduling options and resources. When advance notice is not possible, the office will reach out to discuss opportunities for alternate support which may include rescheduling, opportunity to meet with another provider, referral to other resources, and/or a reminder of urgent services such as the 24/7 Urgent Support Line (508-565-1331, Option 2).