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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an appointment to see a counselor?
Yes. Occasionally, we will see a student on an emergency basis without an appointment as soon as a counselor is available; however, all other contact with counselors is handled by appointment only.

How do I make an appointment/see a counselor?
From Fall through Spring quarter, to see a counselor, please stop by the Student Counseling Center between the hours of 9:00am to 4:30pm (Monday through Friday). In order to assess your needs, we will ask you to fill out a brief intake form.  This process normally takes between 15 to 30 minutes, so leave yourself plenty of time.  You will normally leave with an appointment for an Assessment session. 

During the summer months, please see the Student Counseling Center homepage for details.

What is an Assessment session?

This is where services begin.  At this meeting an SCC counselor will sit down with you and discuss what you are concerned about and also review with you relevant areas of your inner world and outer life.  This will help provide a clearer sense of how well you are functioning, the nature and intensity of the issues you are challenged by, and your strengths.  The outcome of the Counseling Assessment is to arrive at a service plan tailored to your needs.  At this point, it may be recommended that you participate in one-on-one counseling at the SCC, be referred to one of our SCC groups, be placed on the SCC waiting list (which occurs during the busier times of the school year), or referred to services in the community.

How do I make an appointment with the dietitian?
Follow the same procedure as above. Please Note: Dietitian not available during summer months.

How often could I see the dietitian? 
Our dietitian will work with you to determine what is best for your needs.  If you desire to meet with our dietitian to review your eating habits and get a few suggestions, that could be done in one or two sessions.  If you are in need of structure and accountability for more problematic eating concerns, the frequency of sessions would be increased. 

What types of issues do you usually work with?
We see students who struggle with a variety of issues. Some of these concerns include stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, grief, struggles with spiritual issues, struggles with academic issues, anger, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and other drug use/abuse, self-esteem, family issues, body-image concerns, preoccupations with food, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, violence, and identity issues.  (This list is not exhaustive, and only includes some examples of the presenting issues students come to us with.)

How much do your services cost?
Services are available only to currently enrolled SPU undergraduates and are free of charge.

What is counseling?
Counseling provides an opportunity for understanding and resolving the underlying issues that cause problematic behaviors.  It will allow you to discuss your problems with a non-judgmental, objective listener who can assist in viewing your struggles differently and developing creative solutions.  Although a counselor will not be able to solve your problems, they will be there to help and guide you through the process.  During the first couple of sessions, your therapist will obtain information about the various areas of your life in order to determine the best course of treatment.  Your counselor will be knowledgeable about a wide variety of issues and able to provide services to meet your needs.

How long will I be in counseling?
The length of a session is typically fifty minutes.  We operate on a short-term therapy model; in most cases students are provided up to 6 sessions per academic year.

Can you help me with academic problems (i.e. registration, changing majors, dropping class, withdrawing from school)?
We address academic and curricular issues on a general basis, but refer students to those with academic expertise. Academic counselors in Student Academic Services are available for drop/add, curricular changes/choices, and other schedule/registration issues. Faculty advisors are assigned and can be of valuable assistance when you are confused and/or experiencing academic stress. Academic support can be obtained from the Center for Learning.

What if I need to see a psychiatrist or take medication?
We have a number of students who are taking medication and utilize our nurse practitioners at SPU Health Services.  With a written release, we can collaborate with health care providers, whether they are with the SPU Health Services or your health-care provider(s) back home or off-campus.

The Student Counseling Center and Health Services collaborate to provide referrals to our psychiatrist (on-campus) for individual medication consultations when needed.  To assess the need for a referral, call or stop by either of these departments.

Is everything that I tell you confidential?
In a manner consistent with our ethical standards and the laws of the State of Washington, no client information will be released on or off campus without informed written consent of the client in order to maintain confidentiality. This means that we will not tell anyone, including friend, parents, and professors, that you are involved in therapy or the content of your session, unless you sign a release form clearly stating what we can disclose.

There are several exceptions to confidentiality, as required by law.  In the state of Washington, counselors are required to break confidentiality when they believe their clients are at high-risk for suicide or when they hear a direct, specific homicidal threat from a client to another person.  In the State of Washington, all counselors must report abuse or neglect of a child, dependent adult, or developmentally disabled person when they have reasonable cause to believe that such an incident has occurred.  These exceptions will be explained to all potential clients prior to treatment in our written consent form and in most cases, be discussed with the client before the disclosure is made.  For additional information, please contact the Director of the Student Counseling Center.

How do I find information on a specific topic (i.e. anxiety, depression)?
Check our Resources section on this site which will direct you to a variety of mental health links.  The internet and the SPU Library are excellent sources for research on both prevention and mental-health issues. We have a variety of brochures inside our office and located on brochure racks throughout campus.




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