Counseling Center

Hello, welcome to the Counseling Center website. We are glad you are here. The Counseling Center works with Gustavus students to enhance their personal development and academic achievement. At times, students experience personal, relational, social, or academic difficulties which they cannot fully resolve on their own, and find it helpful to talk to a professional counselor about their concerns. In order to help students with such difficulties, the Counseling Center provides a variety of confidential services.

Confidentiality

The Counseling Center staff has a very high level of concern and respect towards the confidentiality of individuals receiving services from this office. Staff collect, record, and store client information only as needed for the effective provision of direct services. All information is considered privileged and is maintained as confidential, consistent with ethical guidelines and Minnesota Statutes (Chapter 13). Counseling records do not become part of the student’s official academic record.

Email Communication

Due to the non-secure nature of e-mail, the confidentiality of such communication cannot be ensured. Please use discretion when sending information that is sensitive in nature. Also, please note that the staff does not maintain 24-hour access to e-mail accounts.

Client records

Client records are routinely secured in locked files, accessed only by authorized personnel. Records are destroyed eight years following the last client contact. Clients have the right to inspect and receive copies of their records, however, access to these records by the person receiving counseling may be restricted by the treating mental health professional during the course of treatment. Records are reviewed in the presence of the staff member who developed the records and/or the Director.

For training and supervision, some clients may be asked for permission to observe and /or record the counseling session. Such observations and recordings will only be conducted after the client has been fully informed and has freely provided written consent. Any recordings well be erased or deleted after review by the supervisor.

Release of Client Consent

Individual client information may be released outside of the Counseling Center under the following circumstances

  • With Informed Consent

A client may request that specific information be sent to another individual. Prior to a disclosure, the client must sign a “Consent for Release of Information”. Information is not released for reasons unrelated to treatment.

  • Without informed Consent

Client information may be released without consent in the following situations

  • When there is a clear and imminent danger of harm to yourself or another person. In these circumstances we are legally required to take action to protect life. Thus, our actions in these circumstances may include arranging for voluntary or involuntary hospitalization, as well as notifying law enforcement authorities and/or family/friends/individuals at risk.
  • In the case of suspected or confirmed abuse of children or vulnerable adults. In this circumstance, we are legally required to report the abuse to Child Protective Services or other appropriate county and/or state authorities.
  • In the event you are pregnant and a counselor has reason to believe you are using a controlled substance (i.e., a drug) for non-medicinal purposes. State law requires that this be reported to the local welfare agency or to other appropriate county and/or state authorities.
  • In the event of a court order for information.
  • In the event of an emergency.
  • When a situation otherwise must be reported by law.
  • Minnesota law requires a psychologist to report possible misconduct by licensed health care professionals to the appropriate board, if that professional is identified by name. If you have had such an experience and wish to discuss it with your counselor here and still maintain control about whether or not you wish to make such a report, do not reveal the health care provider’s name.
  • Minnesota law states that the parents and spouse of a deceased patient have a right of access to their deceased child’s or spouse’s health care records.

Appointments

If you wish to make an appointment, please drop by the office or call ext. 7027. Appointments are usually available within one week, and are scheduled for up to 50 minutes per session. However, in an emergency, a student will be seen as soon as possible. Appointments are not scheduled over semester breaks or in the summer.

What to Expect During Your First Visit to the Counseling Center