Student Counseling Center
Frequently Asked Questions by Prospective Clients
For many students, counseling is a new experience, and it's common to feel nervous about it. This page will answer for you many of the questions students ask when they are being counseled. It will also answer questions you might not think to ask, but are important just the same. Please take a few minutes to read this page carefully, and note any issues you would like to discuss with your counselor when you begin meeting with him or her. We trust your experience in counseling will be a good one, and we will be praying that your life will be impacted in a positive way.
At John Brown University, our counselors provide brief, individual therapy for a variety of problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and relationship and/or family problems to name a few. From time to time, therapy groups and educational programs are also offered. These services are provided on campus at no charge to full time JBU students. We also provide some psychological evaluations such as personality testing to help determine treatment goals, usually at a cost to full time students. Finally, we also provide referral services to off-campus mental health professionals when it seems that a student's issues require longer, more in-depth treatment than we can provide in the college setting. All of our counselors are Christians who work at integrating their faith with their practice of therapy.
What should I expect from my counselor?
Counseling works best when there is good teamwork between the client and the counselor. You can expect your counselor to make every effort to be regular and punctual with appointments, to treat you with dignity and respect and to respect your privacy. (For more about privacy see the confidentiality section below.) Your counselor will guide you toward understanding your concerns in order to deal with them effectively. To do this, your counselor will help you to develop specific, concrete goals for therapy and help you monitor your progress. If it becomes necessary, in order to maintain the highest quality of care, you can expect your counselor to consult with other professionals and/or make appropriate referrals.
What does my Counselor expect from me?
In order to help you, we need you to be open and honest about your situation and feelings. We need you to keep appointments faithfully and to give advance notice if you find it necessary to cancel an appointment (preferably 24 hours). Often your counselor will suggest between session homework given to help in attaining established goals. Finally, your counselor needs you to express any concerns or questions you have about the therapy itself, so that the two of you can truly be working together for your good.
When will my appointments be?
The Counseling Center is open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. Appointments are scheduled based on availability of student and counselor. Every effort is made to coordinate a time as soon possible. Sessions typically last 45-50 minutes occurring once a week or as needed.
What if I need to talk to my counselor between sessions?
During office hours you may leave a message for your counselor by phone or email, and he or she will get back to you between appointments. Your counselor will discuss with you arrangements for contacting him or her in case of an emergency. If you have difficulty reaching your counselor, remember that your residence hall staff is trained to handle many types of crises and can direct you accordingly.
What about confidentiality?
We understand that counseling is a very private matter, and we take seriously our responsibility to maintain confidentiality in counseling. At the same time, it is important that our counselors receive supervision to ensure high standards of care. For this reason the Director of Counseling and Health Services has access to client records, and sometimes you may be asked for permission to record/videotape counseling sessions for supervision purposes. In addition, if a referral to JBU's health services is needed as part of your counseling, your counselor may provide relevant information to the college's nurse or doctors. Any release of information about your counseling to any outside people or agencies requires written permission from you.
Will you tell my parents or teachers I'm in counseling?
No! Sometimes parents or professors contact us about a student they are concerned with. Our practice is to listen to these concerns but not to offer any information about our clients without their knowledge and permission. Your counselor will talk with you if he or she feels that it is in your best interest to communicate with family or teachers about your counseling. If, with your written permission, your counselor talks with others about your treatment, he or she will only discuss issues relevant to those people's involvement with you, and will tell you when the conversation occurred and what was said.
What limits are placed on confidentiality?
The only times a counselor may break confidentiality without your permission is if you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or someone else or if there is a report of child or elder abuse. Also, if you are under the age of 18 and need hospitalization, your parents will be notified.
Do you ever use medication along with counseling?
Some people with physiological problems such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit disorder benefit from medication in addition to counseling. If your counselor thinks you might be helped by medication, he or she will discuss it with you and you can decide whether or not to consult a physician. Our counselors, nurses and doctors are happy to answer any questions you may have about taking medication as part of your treatment.
What happens when I don't need counseling anymore?
You and your counselor will discuss when your counseling goals are met and you are ready to stop counseling. If you decide you'd like to stop therapy before your goals are met, please bring it up and discuss your reasons at a counseling session, rather than simply canceling or not coming to appointments. This gives you and your counselor a chance to review the work of counseling and achieve closure, which is an important part of the counseling process. However, you may at any time during counseling decide not to partake in the services and have the right to cancel them.
So there it is! We are glad you made an appointment at the Counseling Center and we'll do our best to make counseling a positive experience for you.Just ask your counselor if you have any other questions we didn't answer here.