Frequently Asked Questions
Are you considering coming to the Counseling Center? You may have questions about our services, what counseling is like, confidentiality, and other concerns. On this page we have provided answers to some of the more frequently asked questions. However, if you have additional questions or need more information, please contact us at (215) 895-1415, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process which involves the development of a unique, confidential, therapeutic, helping relationship. In this relationship, the counselor/therapist acts as a facilitator in helping the client to understand more accurately him/herself and the world around him/her; to better understand their feelings and behaviors; and to assist students in their interpersonal relationships. Discussion of whatever is important and impacting someone’s life can enable an individual to grow towards greater freedom in making mature choices and taking responsible action.
Who will my counselor be?
The staff of the Counseling Center consists of psychologists and counselors, all of whom have earned either a Doctorate or Master’s degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. In addition to the full time clinical staff, the Counseling Center serves as a training facility for practicum students from a variety of area colleges and universities. These students are supervised by one of our senior staff members.
In general, the person you meet with for your intake appointment will continue to be your counselor while receiving services. However, your intake counselor may make a referral to other staff members based on your presenting needs, or if you have a preference for the type of counselor with whom you would like to work.
What is counseling like?
Counseling will be a different experience for different people, as we strive to meet your individual needs based on your unique set of circumstances. In your first session, which is called an “intake” appointment, you will be asked basic, informational questions and work with your therapist to establish goals for counseling. Goals or recommendations may include a referral for group counseling, couples counseling, signing up for a workshop, and/or a referral to another organization on- or off-campus.
What happens during the course of your counseling experience may differ over time, based on your situation, progress, or changes in your life. Your counselor/therapist may at times suggest exploring potential solutions such as relaxation training, journaling, role-playing, talking with relevant individuals, reading assignments, or even “homework.” How the therapeutic process will progress depends on your needs and goals.
What is group counseling?
Group counseling may be an alternative or supplement to individual counseling. It may be the best option for students who are coping with relationship or interpersonal concerns, but may also be appropriate for students dealing with issues such as depression or anxiety. The opportunity to meet with other students can provide you with peer support as you learn ways to cope. If your counselor recommends that you join a group, you will likely schedule a meeting with the counselor who leads the group for a “screening” appointment, during which time you will learn more about the group. It will also give the group counselor a chance to learn more about your needs and how the group may be able to help you achieve your goals.
Along with groups, there are also workshops that focus on specific topics, such as anxiety or stress management. These workshops typically meet for a brief time period, and are more educational in nature than a therapy group.
What about couples counseling?
Couples counseling is an opportunity to work with your partner on issues that may be impacting your relationship. You may focus on communication skills, conflict resolution, or making decisions about your future together. Your therapist will serve as a mediator and guide during these discussions, and will help you work together to focus on and achieve specific goals for your relationship.
Is what I say in counseling kept confidential?
The Counseling Center staff members follow the professional, legal and ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association and the state of Pennsylvania. This means that information about your counseling sessions is not shared with anyone without your expressed written permission. There are some exceptions to confidentiality, however. If there is the possibility of harm to the client or another person, or in cases of child or elder abuse, Counseling Center staff are mandated to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. Please ask your counselor for more information about confidentiality.
How often will I meet with my counselor?
Individual and couples therapy sessions are usually scheduled on a weekly basis, although you may meet with your counselor every two weeks or even less frequently. This decision is usually made based on your individual needs, and may be affected by the availability of Counseling Center staff during the course of the term. Group counseling and workshops usually meet weekly, though this may also vary. In individual and couples counseling, sessions typically last around 50 minutes, while in group counseling you may meet anywhere from 60 minutes to two hours.
It is very important that you arrive early or on-time for your scheduled appointments. Regular, timely attendance of your counseling sessions will help you to achieve your therapeutic goals. If for some reason you are unable to make it to your scheduled session, please call the Counseling Center in advance, preferably 24-hours ahead (if possible).
How long will I have to be in counseling?
Many problems can be dealt with in a brief period of time, but this is not always the case. There is no magic number or formula to determine how long it may take. Depending on your therapeutic goals, you may engage in brief counseling (between 3-5 sessions) or longer-term counseling (up to 15 sessions per year). If your counseling needs exceed our session limits, your therapist may make a referral to community resources for continued care.
Your therapist will speak with you regularly about your progress. Eventually you and your therapist may determine that you have met your therapy goals. At this point, you may discuss your need for continued therapy. You may also bring up this topic at any time during your sessions.
When will I start to feel better?
Again, there is no set timetable for how long it will take until you feel better. Relief may come from a variety of sources, including making changes in your thoughts, behaviors, relationships, and choices, and may take time to achieve. However, many students report that counseling can be helpful even after the first session. This may be because of the relief that comes from deciding to seek help, or an opportunity to speak about problems for the first time with someone who is impartial and nonjudgmental. Please remember: it is important that you share with your counselor if you are not experiencing any improvement after working in therapy for some time, so the two of you may determine what changes may need to be made.
What are some common myths about counseling?
- If you’re in counseling you have to be crazy!
While therapy can be beneficial for individuals with significant mental health issues, having a significant mental health issue isn’t a requirement for coming to the Counseling Center. We work with all students whether they are struggling with ongoing concerns or simply experiencing normal, everyday stressors and want assistance in solving problems.
- Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Contrary to this belief, it takes a great deal of emotional strength to seek help for problems that may be too overwhelming to manage alone.
- A counselor will fix my problems right away.
The goal of counseling is not for someone else to “fix” your problems. We are here to help you to identify those concerns and to set goals for yourself. Solving those problems may involve working with your counselor to explore your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In doing so, you can explore your options and make a decision for how to best achieve your goals. YOU are the best one to fix your problems!
- A counselor can’t understand what I am going through, because they’re not going through it themselves.
We agree that each individual is unique, and to achieve a complete understanding of one’s situation is very difficult. However, counselors have been trained to learn about, be sensitive to, and respectful of the unique experiences of each client. Those experiences may include concerns related to gender, age, cultural background, racial/ethnic differences, sexual orientation, gender identity, family-of-origin, or socioeconomic issues.
- Counseling costs too much.
Off-campus, therapy may cost between $75-$150 (or higher!) per hour, but services at the Counseling Center are free for full-time Drexel University students.
- Counseling is all about lying on a couch and talking about your feelings.
Many issues that students face have an emotional component that should be explored in order to find relief or resolve problems, but counseling also may include making changes in cognitions, behaviors, and/or beliefs. The objective is for you and your therapist to determine what your individual therapeutic needs are, and to work together to accomplish your goals.