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 sleep, anxiety about tests, difficulties with friends and loved ones, and uncertainty about the future are common concerns 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 gender and 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 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 have a pressing and/or or time-sensitive concern that does not require ongoing counseling you may choose to meet with a counselor for a brief, solution-focused consultation session through the drop-in Consultation Clinic. Drop-in consultation times are Monday-Friday, 10am-11:30am & 1pm-3:30pm; students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis; no appointments are needed.

If you are experiencing an urgent concern after business hours you may speak with a crisis counselor by telephone by calling the regular Counseling Center phone number (610)330-5005.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please contact the Office of Public Safety at (610) 330-4444.

Do I have to pay or use my insurance?

All Counseling Center services are free and provided as part of tuition. We do not bill health insurance.

How many sessions do individuals usually attend?

Usually students start to notice positive changes after just a few meetings, and the average number of individual counseling sessions at Lafayette is about five. Many students also participate in weekly groups and workshops throughout each semester.

How long do sessions last?

Regular counseling sessions typically last 45-50 minutes. Drop-in consultations last up to 30 minutes.

When you schedule your first appointment, you will 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 experiencing a time sensitive concern you can also visit the drop-in consultation clinic.

What can I expect during my initial counseling appointment?

During your first counseling appointment you will be asked to complete some confidential information that will help your counselor understand 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 regular 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 Office Coordinator 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 email. We do not hold appointment times for students who do not call to reschedule after missing a session.

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) abuse of a child under the age of 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, they 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 their 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 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 themselves, or to others, the counselor will consult with the College’s Student Support and Intervention Team to ensure that the student receives the assistance they need. You may also complete the Student of Concern Form to alert the Student Support and Intervention Team of your concerns.

What kinds of tests are available?

The Center offers a number of assessments  to enhance your understanding of your personality, strengths, and interests. Personality instruments can also be used with groups to enhance understanding of group interactions. The Center does not provide testing for ADHD or learning disabilities.

Can I obtain or renew prescription medication for mental health concerns?

The Counseling Center’s psychologists and counselors do not prescribe medication. If you wish to receive consultation regarding medication, please call the Bailey Health Center Medical Services at 610.330.5001 to request an appointment. The office is located on the first floor of the Bailey Health Center.