Usually the first counseling session is exploratory in nature. In this first session, the counselor wants to get to know you and help you assess how the Counseling Center can best serve you. Succeeding sessions will be devoted to finding ways of achieving the goals you established with the counselor. People tend to want quick and immediate solutions, but usually this does not happen in counseling. Instead, the counselor works with a student to discover his or her own unique solutions. Most students are able to meet their goals or work through their problem in one to six sessions.
Risks and Benefits
There are risks and benefits which may occur in counseling. Counseling may involve the risk of remembering unpleasant events and may arouse strong feelings. The benefits from counseling may be an increased ability to cope with friends, family, relationships, and academic pressures. You may also gain a better understanding of yourself and your goals and values, which will assist your personal growth.
Your eligibility for counseling is contingent upon your status as a registered or continuing PUC student. The service you receive is based upon a determination of your therapeutic needs and goals. If the Center identifies their inability to meet your needs, you will be given a referral to other resources available to serve you. Any fees charged by outside referrals are at the sole expense of the student.
Professional counselors are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday for confidential individual sessions with students at no cost. You may call (707) 965-7080 to schedule an appointment. Scheduled counseling appointments are forty-five minutes long. Since we must meet the needs of all students, we may limit the number of sessions to 10 per academic year. Long term or chronic problems may be referred to an off-campus counselor at a cost to the student. When unable to keep an appointment, please call the reception desk (7080) and cancel in advance so another student can receive service. If you do forget your appointment, please call and let us know so we can reschedule you for another counseling session. If the counselor cannot keep an appointment with you, we will attempt to notify you.
Ethics and Professional Standards
You have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, with nondiscrimination and with sensitivity. You also have the right to an individualized service plan that reflects your problems and/or needs. You have the responsibility to choose the treatment provider and treatment method that you feel is best for you, so if you believe you are not making adequate progress, please discuss that with us. We will make every effort to assist you in attaining the treatment goals you desire or in transferring you to another counselor. If you have any questions about professional standards, please feel free to discuss them with us.
Confidentiality and Records
State Law requires that you be informed of the following information: The Career and Counseling Center staff adheres to state laws and ethical standards requiring that all disclosed information be held in confidence. Information can be released to others outside the Center only with your written consent or by court subpoena. Exceptions to these professional requirements arise in cases when the Center is required by law to report situations where there is reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect; or the client presents a serious danger to him/herself or others. Please note the Client Intake form may be used for statistical reporting. Your name will not be used as a part of the statistical report.
Counseling: What is it?
There are still people who picture therapy as a process that occurs between a Sybil-like client and a Freud-like therapist. However, little modern counseling fits that old stereotype. Instead, our Career and Counseling Center therapists help people establish goals and work toward achieving those goals. We work with normal people who are struggling with a variety of personal, family, or social issues. We see individuals, couples and groups.
Counseling is often a process of self-examination facilitated by a therapist for the purpose of providing support and facilitating change in the mood, attitudes, behavior, or feelings that have prevented the client from enjoying life and realizing his/her potential. The three most frequent reasons people come to therapy are:
- Crisis resolution - regarding the loss of a relationship, death in the family, stress overload, loneliness, coping with changes, family crisis, etc.
- Seeking relief from mild to moderate symptoms of depression, unhappy relationships, eating disorders, drug abuse, the pressures of work or classes, anger, or self-defeating behavior.
- For personal growth by increasing self-confidence, improving self-esteem, enriching personal relationships, enhancing self-understanding and increasing a sense of empowerment.
Most people who seek counseling are not "crazy." Instead, they are quite normal people who want to do something about their problems. Since EVERYONE has significant problems at various points in life, counseling can be viewed as a normal part of the process of moving through various significant phases of life.
Discipline-Mandated Treatment Programs
Students who are referred to counseling as part of a mandated discipline program will be expected to provide permission for the counselor to keep all appropriate authorities informed as to their progress or status in treatment. You should know that failing to meet appointments or refusing to participate in any recommended treatment modality (i.e. laboratory testing for chemical analysis, anabuse therapy as prescribed by a physician, Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-Step group work, group therapy, Breathe Free Program) may result in your termination. We will be happy to assist you in making a referral to another Certified Chemical Dependency treatment provider for a second opinion of recommendations or if our services are not meeting your needs. Please refer to the PUC Student Handbook Drug and Alcohol Policies for clarification of college policies.