Why do individuals come to the Counseling Center?
During your years in college you will have many opportunities to develop your academic and career interests, form close relationships, examine your values and beliefs, and learn about the world around you. These opportunities can often feel exciting and engaging, but they can also be stressful. Problems with sleeping, anxiety about tests, difficulties with friends and loved ones, and uncertainty about the future are common complaints of college students. Above all, we want to help you learn ways to achieve positive mental health so that you can make the most out of your Lafayette experience.
The following list includes typical goals that students have for counseling:
- Enhancing relationships with friends and family
- Managing stress more effectively
- Exploring issues related to one’s sexuality
- Improving academic performance
- Coping with the loss of a loved one
- Overcoming loneliness or homesickness
- Reducing alcohol and drug-related problems
- Recovering from sexual assault or abuse
- Coping with acts of discrimination
- Overcoming depression
- Reducing anxiety
- Making decisions about transferring or withdrawing from college
- Helping a friend
What services are offered by the Counseling Center?
- Individual counseling
- Couples counseling
- Group counseling
- Consultations for students wishing to help friends or family members
- Referrals to counseling professionals in the local community
- Educational programs
What services are available for alcohol and drug problems?
Alcohol and drug use can interfere with your ability to achieve your goals. Counselors can help you learn more about how your drinking or drug use is affecting your life and work with you to make changes that can improve your health and well-being. If you violate the College’s alcohol and drug policy, you may be referred to the Center by the Office of the Dean of Students. In this situation, the Dean of Students will ask for permission for us to confirm your attendance at an alcohol and drug evaluation, but no other information will be shared. Alcohol and drug evaluations are conducted in a nonjudgmental manner with an emphasis on helping you to set your own goals for change. If alcohol and drug use is interfering with your ability to function in a demanding college environment, your counselor may refer you to an outside alcohol and drug treatment program. The Center does not provide court-ordered treatment.
What are my responsibilities in counseling?
To make the most of your counseling experience, it is best to attend your scheduled sessions, talk about what is bothering you as openly and honestly as possible, and challenge yourself to explore new ways of meeting the challenges you face.
How do I start the counseling process?
Appointments may be scheduled by calling (610) 330-5005 or stopping by the Counseling Center, located on the second floor of Bailey Health Center, to set up an appointment.
If you are having an emergency, please contact the Office of Public Safety at (610) 330-4444.
Do I have to pay?
All Counseling Center services are provided free of charge.
How many sessions would be available to me?
Students may meet with a counselor for up to 15 sessions each academic year. There is no limit for group sessions.
How many sessions do individuals usually attend?
Usually students start to notice positive changes after just a few meetings, and the average number of counseling sessions at Lafayette is about four.
How long do sessions last?
Counseling sessions typically last 50 minutes. When you schedule your first appointment, you may be asked to arrive a few minutes early to complete some background information.
How long do I have to wait once I call to schedule an appointment?
Typically, you will be seen within five days of making your appointment, depending on your schedule. During certain times of the semester, the wait may be somewhat shorter or longer. If you are having an emergency, please let the secretary know so you can be seen as soon as possible. The Counseling Center maintains two walk-in consultation hours per day for students whose concerns are urgent.
What can I expect during my initial Consultation?
During your first appointment, you will be asked to complete confidential forms that ask you to give us background information about you and your family as well as to describe the reasons for seeking counseling. When you meet with your counselor, he or she will likely review the information on the form and ask you to describe more fully your reasons for seeking counseling. Some students are clear about why they have come to see a counselor, while others are not as sure. You and your counselor can use the first meeting to clarify your goals and to begin to identify some possible ways to achieve these goals. At the end of the first session, you and your counselor will decide together if your concerns have been addressed or whether you would like to continue in individual or group counseling.
If I would like to meet with a different counselor, what should I do?
Our approach to counseling uses weekly feedback to make sure that students are seeing improvements in the concerns that brought them to counseling. If for any reason you don’t feel that there is a good fit between you and your counselor, we are happy to arrange for you to meet with another counselor at the Center or to provide referrals to mental health professionals in the Lehigh Valley. You may speak directly with your counselor regarding this, or you may inform the secretary that you would like to reschedule with a different counselor.
What happens if I miss my scheduled appointment?
If you are unable to keep an appointment, or if you wish to discontinue counseling, it is very important that you call the Counseling Center as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. If you miss a scheduled appointment and do not call within 48 hours to reschedule, you will be sent a reminder letter through campus mail. We do not hold appointment times for students who do not call to reschedule after missing a session. If you do not show for your appointment, it will be deducted from your 15 visits per academic year.
What if I have concerns about another individual?
The Counseling Center provides consultations for students who are concerned about friends or family members. We will work with students on how to express their concerns in a respectful and effective manner, and we provide information about campus and local resources. In situations where it is apparent that the student of concern may be engaging in behaviors that present a danger to himself or herself, or to others, the counselor will consult with the College’s Behavioral Health and Safety Review Team to ensure that the student receives the assistance he or she needs. You may also complete the Student of Concern Reporting Form to alert the Behavioral Health and Safety Team of your concerns.
Is everything that I say to the counselor confidential?
All of the information you share with your counselor will be kept confidential except in cases of (1) danger to yourself, (2) danger to an individual(s) who is identified specifically, or (3) child abuse for a student under 18. In these situations, your counselor may be required to contact other people to protect you or others. Such individuals could include parents or guardians, off-campus medical and mental health professionals, certain College officials, and police and campus public safety officials. Additionally, in certain legal situations, such as court orders, your counselor is required to disclose information as necessary to comply with the law in that situation.
If a situation occurs where your counselor decides that it is necessary to contact a third party, he or she will make every effort to fully discuss the reasons for the disclosure and will limit the information that is revealed to what is necessary in his/her professional judgment.
If you would like us to release information about your contacts with the Counseling Center to another person, we will ask that you sign a consent form. Please be advised that once this information is released, we cannot guarantee that it will remain confidential.
What kinds of tests are available?
The Center offers a number of assessments of career and personality styles to enhance your understanding of your strengths and interests. Personality instruments can also be used with groups to enhance understanding of group interactions. The Center does not provide testing for learning disabilities.
Can I obtain or renew prescription medication for mental health concerns?
The Center’s psychologists do not prescribe medication. If you wish to receive a consultation on whether or not medication can be helpful, please call the Bailey Health Center at (610) 330-5001 (x5001 from on campus) to request a meeting with a consulting psychiatrist.
The Counseling Center offers a limited number of appointments between July 1 and August 7.
Dr. Forbes will be available to consult with students in the office on Wednesday, July 20, and Tuesday July 26. She will be in the office full time on August 8. All other counselors will be out of the office until August 15.
To make an appointment for a consultation, please call: (610) 330-5005 or email email@example.com and Dr. Forbes will return your call within 48 hours.
In the case of a psychological emergency where there is the possibility that a student's health or safety is at risk, please contact Public Safety at 610.330.4444 for assistance.
The Psychology Today therapist finder (http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php) can be used to search for local mental health professionals.
ULifeline (http://www.ulifeline.org/lafayette/) is an online mental health resource.
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/get-help (mental health resource for LGBTQ persons)