Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a few questions that are frequently asked of counselors in the Office of the Dean of Students. Hopefully there will be answers to questions you have yourself. If not, you are certainly invited to contact one of the counselors, and she or he will do everything possible to get your question answered for you. Click here to obtain contact information for the counselors. You may call or email one of the counselors with a question or questions and they will respond to you as soon as possible. The counselors will not do therapy with you via email, but they are willing to help you with information that will allow you to make well-informed decisions about the counseling process.
"How can I tell if I need to see a counselor?"
If there is something bothering you, enough to wonder if seeking counseling might be for you, you are encouraged to make an appointment, and just ask that very question. With some input from a counselor, you will be able to make the decision you feel most comfortable with as to whether or not to pursue counseling. The counseling staff works with students with a variety of concerns, all of which are important, so if you're thinking that you don't want to take up staff's time with something you think we won't think is important, well, it is definitely not the case. The counseling staff works with students with academic concerns, motivation, values, self-concept, relationships, cultural issues, abuse, sadness or depression, sexuality and/or sexual orientation concerns, stress, and ANY other issue that may be bothering a student. If you still wonder if your concern is a valid one (and of course it is), please feel free to email one of the counselors to discuss whether or not you might want to talk with someone.
"Thinking about making a call to a counselor is very scary to me. What is that a sign of?"
The fear you may be experiencing thinking about talking with a counselor is quite natural. People do not often think about telling a stranger some things that may be very personal and private to them. The apprehensions to just make a call for an appointment are very justified. Remember, when talking with a counselor, you never have to tell him or her anything you don't want to. We realize the first step may be scary, that's why we are offering to make contact with you via email first if you'd like. We will be glad to answer any preliminary questions you may have about coming into the office for possible counseling. You are not obligated to follow through with counseling with the person you initially contacted. Rather, you and the counselor your first contact can decide who on the staff would best suit your particular concerns. You can also be assured your call to (765) 494-1254 to make an appointment will be handled discretely by our receptionists. Just say you'd like to set up an appointment for personal counseling. The receptionist will ask you a few questions, for example, your student identification number, a phone number where you can be reached, if there is a counselor with whom you would prefer to work, and establish an appointment time, but will not ask you specifics about why you want to see a counselor.
"What I'm thinking if talking about is very personal to me and I don't want other people to know about it. Is that possible?"
This is a great question! There is nothing so important when considering counseling than if your confidences will be honored. Professional codes of ethics mandate that confidentiality be kept between the student and counselor at all times except in some very specific situations which will be mentioned shortly. The only way a student can effectively work with a counselor is if the student is assured, and most importantly, trusts, the person with whom the student is working. One of the extremely important aspects of a trusting environment between the student and counselor is that what is said in the counseling office will be kept confidential. The Office of the Dean of Students counseling staff prides itself in creating a trusting and confidential environment where the student can feel as comfortable as possible talking about concerns which may have been kept secret for a long time. So, YES, staff strives to keep your concerns private and only between you and your counselor. Building a trusting relationship with you is of the utmost importance.
As was mentioned a bit ago, by law, confidentiality between the student and counselor has its limits. But those limits are put into place primarily to maintain the safety of the student and those around him or her. The only times when a confidence would be broken is when agreed upon by the student, when there is a strong indication the student may harm himself or herself, or someone else, or, of for some reason there is a court order to give up records. The counseling staff believes your safety is of the utmost importance. Certainly, if you have any other questions about confidentiality concerns in counseling, please feel free to email any counseling staff member with your questions. We're here to help.
"The idea of having to wait in a reception area full of people is very creepy to me. I'm thinking everyone knows why I'm there. Isn't thereanything I can do to avoid that?"
You'd be surprised how many other students voice the same feelings, it is a fairly open and busy area. I know saying that alone doesn't alleviate the anxiety, but please keep in mind the reception area of the Office of the Dean of Students is for ALL areas of the office. So any individuals you see sitting may be there for a variety of reasons, such as emergency loans, an appointment with administrative staff member, student organization-related business, or anyone inquiring about the services of our office, just some examples. So, no one really knows why you are sitting there. If it is really bothersome for you, just plan to arrive a couple of minutes prior to your appointment time. You can also sit on the benches in the hallway, or sit in the chairs outside the Admissions office on the first floor until your appointment time is near, then come up to the reception area. It's important to feel as comfortable as you possibly can, but it is only natural you might feel anxious or scared, especially the first time.
"Aren't all people who see a counselor considered mentally ill?"
There are lingering stigma in some areas of our society that suggests people are "weak" or that there is something terribly wrong (mentally ill) with a person if he or she goes to counseling. It is a myth and stereotype that is gradually making it's way out of existence as individuals come to realize the value counseling has in people's lives. The term "mental illness" is also traditionally a clinical term that describes may types of illnesses people may experience, and is usually used to distinguish the difference from the term "medical illness" used among health care professionals. Everyone on the counseling staff avoids putting such labels on people. Focus is on the individual and assisting her or him to find workable solutions for the students' concerns.
"Seeking counseling can be expensive. Is there a charge for counseling services?"
At the Office of the Dean of Students, Schleman Hall, Room 207, there are no fees for counseling services. We engage in short or longer term counseling, depending on the student's particular concern(s). As with any professional service, referral are made to other services or agencies when appropriate. Other services may have charges, depending on what the student needs, such as career testing (a nominal fee is charged for testing, if needed), or other types of outside of the office assessments, or for medications, if warranted.
"What if I start counseling, and find I don't like it. Do I have to keep going?"
No, of course not. If you do start counseling though, and find you don't like it for one reason or another, you are highly encouraged to talk over your unhappiness about counseling with your counselor. Although counselors try to be aware and sensitive to how the student is doing in counseling, sometimes the student's unhappiness with the counseling itself might not be evident. It is important to let your counselor know what you are or are not getting out of your experience.
"How will I know when I'm done with counseling?"
What an excellent question to ask. Often, when a student comes in for counseling the last thing that is thought about is when or how to end the experience, and naturally so. There also is a fear that is sometimes expressed by students who think that if they start counseling they will be in counseling for the rest of their life. The purpose of counseling is to find solutions to students' concerns in the most efficient time possible, whether it be overcoming the loss of a loved one, roommate difficulties, or recovering from an abusive past, just to name a few. Different concerns take different amounts of time to work through. The important thing to do with your counselor is set goals in your counseling experience. That way, as you reach your goals, you can feel a sense of accomplishment and end counseling, or go on to another goal. Even issues that may seem insurmountable when first talking with a counselor can usually be broken down into smaller, more workable, shorter term goal-achieving steps. It is a good idea to talk over your thoughts of ending counseling with your counselor before actually doing so. That way, both you and your counselor can put closure to your counseling experience.