What to Expect
Students sometimes feel apprehensive about using the Counseling Service because they do not know what to expect and they wonder what it means about them that they need help. Most students, though, become comfortable quickly and experience their appointments as helpful and productive.
When you make an appointment, the administrative assistant will not ask you about your problem. She will schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible; students are usually seen within a week. Therapists are randomly assigned, although sometimes students request a particular therapist. The therapist will greet you in the waiting room and you will meet in a private office. In the office you can speak freely about whatever is concerning you. The therapist will help you to understand your thoughts and feelings. She will not judge you or tell you what to do. Rather, she will help you understand your problem in a larger context of your life so that you can do what is right for you.
Seeing the College Psychiatrist
Your therapist might suggest you schedule an appointment with the college psychiatrist for several reasons. The most common reason is that you want to know if medication might be helpful in relieving your symptoms. Many kinds of depression and anxiety symptoms can be safely and effectively treated with medication. Students also consult with the psychiatrist to better understand complicated symptoms or for the evaluation of self-destructive urges.
At your initial consultation with the psychiatrist, she will try to get a clear understanding of your current concerns as well as your strengths and goals. She will ask questions about whether you have overcome similar problems in the past and how you did so, and about any medical problems you may have. The psychiatrist will share her thoughts with you about the nature of your problem and what treatment options are available, which may include medication. It is always completely up to you whether or not you want to consider medication. The psychiatrist is happy to discuss pros and cons of different options and to answer any questions you have. If you do decide to try medication, you will check in with your psychiatrist regularly to assess how well it is working for you. Most students will meet with a therapist as well for brief psychotherapy.