Why seek counseling?
Counseling makes a lot of sense when you are having trouble coping with a stressful situation or solving some sort of personal problem. The Counselors are able to offer emotional support, new perspectives, and help you consider possible solutions. So if you are in a lot of distress, which is interfering with your ability to function as you normally do, or you are feeling overwhelmed by a problem, or feeling that you just keep making the same mistakes over and over, then you might want to consider coming to see either of the Counselors.
Many people have the misguided notion that counseling is for severely disturbed individuals and this is far from the truth! Counseling benefits anyone who fits the above description. The students who seek counseling come from all “walks of life” on campus: first year students to fifth year seniors; athletes; sorority, fraternity or independents; gay and straight; all majors and fields of study etc.
More specifically, students are seen for the following concerns:
- Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse.
- Broader personal issues such as self-esteem, communication problems, relationship issues, sexual orientation, or family conflicts.
- Crisis situations such as sexual assault, suicidal thinking, pregnancy, or the death of someone close.
- You are worried about someone you know.
This gives you an idea of the range of services is that are offered. If you are a friend, faculty, or family member and you are worried about someone else please feel free to call for consultation.
How long does counseling take?
Usually people schedule an initial session to describe the problem, concern, or goals. We then determine whether more than one session is needed. Some concerns only require one or two sessions, other concerns may take more time. Typically sessions are scheduled once a week for about 45 minutes a session. More serious or recurring situations may require more time. In general, a short-term, problem-solving stance, aimed at helping you address the issues, understand them, and then develop healthy coping strategies is encouraged.
How does counseling work?
There are many effective counseling strategies that are applied, depending on your individual goals and needs. Counseling is a cooperative and collaborative process. Counseling is based on:
- Developing a trusting, open and honest relationship with the Counselor.
- A willingness to explore your thoughts, feelings, and needs, and
- Efforts to explore and try new solutions.
How do I make an appointment and how long will it take to get an appointment?
Simply call the Counselor, Sarah Gellman (x7340) or Mindy Wise (x7378). If the counselors are in session or out of the office, you may reach their voice mail. Leave your name and number and they will get back to you promptly.
Some students prefer to have Melissa Baron, the Director of the Wellness Center schedule the appointment. Missy may be reached at x7927 or 7928.
You may also email the counselors for an appointment, or with any questions you may have, although using email does not fully guarantee your privacy.
Usually you will be able to get an appointment the next day or at your earliest convenience. However, during very busy times of the semester, it may be necessary to wait a few days.
If you are in a crisis situation and/or suicidal and you need to be seen immediately, please be sure to indicate that when you call. The counselors have daily times left open for emergencies.
Will the Counselor tell my parents or anyone else about my counseling?
No. It is against the law for a Counselor to talk to anyone about your counseling unless you sign written permission for them to do so. This is called CONFIDENTIALITY. Counseling is most effective when a student can be direct and honest without fear that personal information will be divulged. However, there are exceptions to the law. The exceptions are when there is imminent danger to self or others, child/dependent abuse, court order, or where otherwise required by law. The Counselors' written records are NOT part of a student’s college record.
How much does counseling cost?
Counseling services are free to Westminster College students who have paid their Activities Fee.
Where is the Counselor’s office?
The counseling offices are located in the Wellness Center, in Shaw Hall. Go into the Wellness Center, through the waiting area and down the hall and you’ll see a separate waiting area and the counseling offices. It is a very private and comfortable setting.
What if I want to go off-campus for counseling?
There are several counselors in this area. On this website menu select Community Resources and you will find a list of counseling services in this area.
What is this "Serenity Now" Room I keep hearing about?
The Serenity Now Room is again, a very private room in the Wellness Center. It is specifically for students who need to get away for some quiet, alone time. The room is furnished with comfortable chairs including a recliner with a massage device. See "Serenity Now" tab for more specific information about the Serenity Now room.