Here are answers to questions that students have asked.
What does counseling actually do? / What does therapy look like?
Counseling or therapy for personal issues will look different for each person in some ways, because each person is an individual. A counselor won't “tell” you the answers because they are your answers. We will ask questions and offer things for you to think about. We can help teach you new and different strategies to deal with whatever it is you are struggling with. We won't give advice on personal issues or tell you what you “ought” to do. We'll help you through the process of getting the answers yourself and making your own decisions.
We want to help you be successful in all areas of your life—home, school, work, relationships. Sometimes we might ask questions about your past—we tend to repeat patterns in our lives, both healthy and unhealthy ones. It can be helpful to look at what we have done or experienced in the past and ask how it might be affecting our lives today. Then we can see those things we want to change for the future. If you have specific questions about counseling, come and speak with one of the counselors—no obligation!
Does seeing a counselor mean there's something wrong with me?
This is a common misconception about counseling. Nearly everyone needs help from someone at some point during their academic career. Counseling is an important part of your support system during your time at STLCC. A counselor is not going to label you, judge you, or tell you there is something wrong with you. We are here to help you learn about yourself, ask questions to help you consider your options, empower you in your decision making, and support you in your personal, academic, and career success.
Are STLCC Counselors like my high school counselors?
It depends! STLCC Counselors provide personal, crisis, and academic counseling to students. High school counselors do some of these things as well. A big difference is that in college, you are an adult. This means that when you speak with a counselor, everything you talk about is confidential.
Can I just walk in and talk to a counselor? / Do I have to have an appointment to see a counselor?
If you are in a crisis then we will find a counselor who can speak with you. Counselors also have office hours each week when you can walk in and usually be seen quickly. The best option is to make an appointment if possible. That way you will get a day and time that work best for you and you can be certain that you will get to speak with a counselor.
Will counseling reach out to a student referred to them or does the student have to make the first contact?
Usually it is best for a student to make an appointment to see a counselor. We cannot force anyone to come to counseling, so all we can do is encourage you to come in and explain how we think counseling might be able to help you.
How is a crisis defined?
A crisis is defined by the individual. Something that is a crisis for me, may not be a crisis for you.
Will the counselor make me go to the hospital?
Counselors will not “make” you go to the hospital. If the hospital is the best place for you at the moment—in order to keep you safe—then we will discuss that as an option and try to work with you to go on your own. If you are not safe (physically a threat to yourself or another) then a counselor may involve Campus Police to contact EMS to get you safely to the hospital.
Will my instructors/parents/significant other know if I am seeing a counselor?
Counseling is a confidential process. Once you are in the counselor’s office, everything you talk about is confidential. This means that the counselor will not share what you have talked about with anyone else. The only exceptions to this are if you are a threat of harm to yourself or someone else, or if you are abusing a child or vulnerable adult; counselors are required by law to break confidentiality in those cases in order to keep a person safe. If you are under 18 years of age, you must obtain written parental/guardian consent before any counseling sessions take place, unless you are experiencing a crisis.
Will the counselors give me a hug?
Normally counselors refrain from physical contact with students/clients as part of our professional ethical guidelines.
Are counselors available year-round?
When classes are in session and there are students on campus, there will usually be a counselor available. Counselors are faculty, so when students are here, we are here too. For example, during Spring Break the college is open but students are not on campus, so counselors are not available during that time.
Will a counselor talk to my teacher for me if I am absent from class?
It is your responsibility to communicate with your instructors if you need to miss class. We can help you plan how to do that and practice if you need to, but it will be your responsibility to do so.
Will the counselor work with my child because I am a student?
Unfortunately we cannot counsel children of our students. Our services are only available for students of the college. However, we can work with you as a parent. We can also provide referral to appropriate services for your child or adolescent.
Do counselors do “couples” counseling?
Usually a counselor will only work with you—the student. On rare occasions there may be a counselor that is willing to meet with you and your significant other together, especially if it is affecting your academic success. We can always provide referral to an appropriate counselor in the community.
Are counseling services available to me after I graduate?
Normally counseling services are only available when you are an active student (registered in credit classes for the current term or academic year). We will be happy to provide community resources to our graduates.