What to Expect in Counseling/Therapy.


What to Expect in Counseling/Therapy

First Appointments

  • When you first come to the counseling center, you will be set up for either a brief screening appointment (15 or 20 minutes) or a full intake (45 or 50-minute appointment) depending on scheduling and availability. During that meeting, you and the intake therapist will discuss treatment options.
  • If all you needed was a single appointment with a clinician to problem-solve or get a referral, you will be done.
  • If you need more than one visit, the intake therapist will present your case to the clinical team that will recommend a treatment plan.
  • We will try to develop a plan that will be most helpful for you. This could be:
    • Group therapy at the Drew Counseling Center
    • Time-limited individual therapy at the Drew Counseling Center
    • Referral out for specialized or long-term individual therapy in the community
    • Referral out for psychiatric medication
    • Referral out for more intensive outpatient or residential treatment

Crisis Appointments

If you are in crisis: you are worried about harming yourself or someone else, experiencing severe psychological symptoms, unable to sleep or eat, hallucinating or feeling out of control, had a recent trauma, or exacerbation of symptoms, call 973-408-3398 between 9 AM and noon or 1 PM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. If you are on campus, call the Coordinator of Residential Engagement. If you are off-campus, call 911.

Individual counseling at the counseling center is usually based on a brief treatment model

  • Staff members will meet a student at least once to assess their current situation and needs.
  • Individual counseling is typically 3-12 sessions of 45-50 minutes.

Group Therapy is often the ideal treatment for students

  • Students are required to protect the privacy of the other attending members.
  • Members of an ongoing group are expected to consistently attend as the development and maintenance of safety and trust within the group will partly depend on whether members can rely on each other to be physically present.

Counseling usually involves meeting on a consistent basis

  • For many students, it is a relief to know that they have a set hour to talk and to work with a professional about what is bothering them.
  • We understand if you have to attend to an unexpected emergency (i.e. illness or personal/family emergency), but we may not be able to reschedule your appointment for the same week.

Students are expected to notify their therapists of future cancellations

  • The counseling center often has a waiting list, and thus, if we know of a cancellation in advance, we are able to use that time to help other students.
  • If you are aware of a future appointment you can’t attend, please provide us at least a week in advance notice.
  • If you are sick, then please prioritize your health over your appointment (unless it is a crisis).
  • Since the counseling center sets consistent, weekly meetings, we expect you to anticipate and manage your workload so that you can attend your regularly scheduled individual and/or group appointment.
  • Students who miss repeated appointments will likely be referred elsewhere for treatment.

If a student has an issue with the therapist/therapy, they are encouraged to talk about it in session

  • Having a problem/issue with your therapist/therapy is actually a fairly common experience. Speaking to them about it is often a useful part of the work. In fact, there are times that this can be the most helpful part of therapy.
  • Whatever the issue, we encourage you to talk with your therapist so that both of you can reach an understanding and work out an appropriate solution. There no restrictions on what you can say to your therapist, they will not take it personally, (and you can always come back the next week and talk some more).

Other Important Points

  • We always try to protect your privacy. If you see any counseling staff outside of our office (in a workshop, class, the Student Center, on a path) they won’t greet you or say “Hello” to you unless you do so first.
  • We can’t tell your professors, coach, friends, parents, or anyone else that you even attend therapy without consent from you – almost always in writing – except in life or death emergencies.
  • Feel free to make yourself a cup of tea while you wait for your appointment. Use the glass mugs on the shelf next to the hot water. Give your mug to your therapist, they will see that it is cleaned.
  • Have a cup of water if you like, but don’t fill water bottles from our water cooler, use the fill stations on campus. We can’t afford to hydrate everyone all the time.
  • Therapists cannot accept gifts from clients. Instead, we encourage students to verbally share the message that they wanted to convey through the gift.