Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to provide you with quality professional service. Please feel free to contact The Counseling Center to make a confidential appointment or to discuss any questions that you may have.

What is counseling?

Counseling is a process by which people who are dissatisfied with some aspects of their lives enter into a relationship with a trained professional to gain greater insight into their situation and to develop more effective ways of responding to life experiences. You can use counseling to learn how to cope with a particular symptom or problematic situation – or to focus on gaining insight into your more sustained ways of being in the world. Counseling requires active involvement from both you and your counselor. Therefore, each person’s experience is different.

Your role in the counseling process is to be honest and open in talking about yourself and your concerns. Your counselor will listen carefully, then may ask questions or make comments to help you understand yourself and your situation more clearly. The goal of counseling is change. However, where and how this change takes place is up to you.

What can I expect from my first appointment?

After making an appointment at the Counseling Center, you will receive a set of forms. You are asked to fill out and return them when you come for your first session. During the first appointment, you can discuss your concerns, and the counselor will begin an assessment of your needs and the ways in which the Counseling Center might be able to help.

Toward the end of the initial meeting, you and your counselor will make a decision about what the best course of action will be. At times, your concerns may be resolved at the end of this meeting. If you do need further help, the counselor will make a referral to one of the services offered by the Counseling Center, to another campus office, or to an off-campus agency, depending on your unique circumstances and needs.

How often will I meet with a counselor?

The amount of time spent in counseling varies from person to person and according to the nature of issues presented. Some people are seen for a single session, while others continue for several weeks or months. We offer time-limited counseling, which means that students are seen for up to 12 sessions per academic year. No-shows and cancellations of appointments with less than 24-hour notice may count toward the session total. Most students meet with a counselor for 5-8 sessions, with appointments most often scheduled once a week.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

Confidentiality is an integral part of the counseling process. It is important for you to know that any information you provide to a counselor is classified as “confidential” under the rules of the MN Board of Psychology, Ethical Principles of Psychologists/Code of Conduct of the APA, and the laws of the State of MN. However, if you are 17 years of age or younger, your parents may have access to counseling information or may have to give their permission for you to seek counseling. There are also some other reasons why your counselor may have to divulge information. These reasons will be discussed with you if you choose to come in.

It is important for you to know that what is discussed in session with your counselor is not part of your academic record.

Will I be referred to an off-campus provider?

During an initial intake interview, you and your counselor may make some decisions about the length and focus of counseling. Sometimes finding the most appropriate help for you may mean that you need resources other than those provided by The Counseling Center staff. If so, we will offer assistance in referring you to other appropriate services and counseling resources.

What is the cost of counseling?

There is no additional cost to you should you choose to use Gustavus counseling services.

How long will it take me to get an appointment with a counselor?

We are committed to seeing students within a week of their asking for an appointment. However, in times of high demand for services and when case loads for therapists are at capacity, students may not be able to get an appointment for ongoing counseling in a timely fashion. Should this occur, the Counseling Center will set aside time to offer students an appointment for a triage session.

How do I make an appointment?

Stop in our office at Johnson Student Union, Room 204 to find a time that is convenient to your schedule. You will receive paper work to bring back to your first session.

If you are unable to stop into our office, you can call for an appointment at #933-7027. You will be offered an appointment that fits into your schedule. A plan for getting the paperwork to you will be set, and you can bring that back to your first appointment.

What if I am worried about my friend?

We offer consultation sessions if you would like to talk through your concerns. We will assess the situation and offer suggestions on how to move forward.

What if I am still unsure about counseling?

Please feel free to contact our office in person (Johnson Student Union Room 204) or by phone (#7027) and ask for an appointment to talk about your concerns and have your questions answered.

You can make a decision and go from there!