Counseling Frequently Asked Questions
Please read our frequently asked questions to help address some of the common questions we are asked.
Should your own inquiries be more specific, don't hesitate to contact us at 704-894-2300 or email email@example.com. We will be happy to assist you.
Why can't I make an appointment online?
This is probably the most frequently asked question. There are several reasons behind our decision to not allow students to make appointments online. First, we believe it is important to assess the individual's needs for an appointment (e.g., urgency, availability, etc.) and this is best assessed over the phone or in person. Second, oftentimes people experience ambivalence about entering a counseling relationship. It lessens unsureness, reduces anxiety, and there is less likelihood that the individual will cancel or no show. This is important, not only for the person who is making the decision to enter counseling, but also for other students who are wanting to meet with a Counselor. The demand for counseling is very high and individuals who experience ambivalence are more likely to cancel at the last minute and/or not show for their appointment. This inhibits those who are highly motivated, the opportunity to use that time.
How long does it take to get an appointment?
Students are scheduled for initial assessment appointments typically within 1 week. During high volume times, especially around mid-terms or exams, initial assessment appointments may be scheduled within a 2-week range. If you are considering making an appointment, below are a few important points we want you to know:
a. Have your schedule on hand so that you know times when you are available. Our office staff will need to coordinate your schedule with the Counselors' schedules.
b. Please be aware that the more limited availability you have, the more difficult it may be to accommodate. You may be able to schedule an appointment more quickly if you present more options, such as early mornings or between classes. Please note that we do understand how busy Davidson students are and our staff is happy to speak with you to find a time that works for you.
c. If you have a request for a specific counselor, it may take longer to get an appointment.
I have never been involved in counseling before, what should I expect for my first meeting?
This is a great question, especially since doing something you've never done before may cause some discomfort or bring up feelings of fear or insecurity. So, to that end, here are few tips to help you as you prepare for your first visit.
- First, as already stated, being nervous is not an uncommon feeling. Remember, your willingness to meet with a counselor suggests that you desire to confront whatever it is that is causing you distress. Take a moment to acknowledge and applaud that. That's a HUGE first step. So, now that you made the appointment, here are a couple more points to help you prepare.
- Now that the initial contact is behind you, the next step is going to your first appointment and meeting with a counselor in person, but before you meet with a therapist, there is one more step. When you first arrive, you will be asked to complete some forms and sign a statement that states you agree to talk with a counselor. Once that is finished, you then sit down and talk with of the counselors. It is at this point, when the counselor will ask questions and you will have the opportunity to share more of your story. Essentially, this initial meeting involves getting to know you and the circumstance(s) behind what brought you into counseling.
- Finally, before the session draws to a close, the counselor may take a few minutes to summarize what you discussed and the two of you together will determine appropriate goals for therapy. Once those are explored and confirmed, you and your therapist will decide on the next appointment time
What if it is an emergency?
For mental health emergencies that occur during regular office hours, call 704-894-2451 or come by the Center for Student Health and Well-Being.
For mental health emergencies that occur after hours, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. If you need to speak with a counselor, call 704-894-2451 and you will be connected to the counselor on-call.
Are you allowed to talk to my family members?
This question, although specific to "family members" is essentially about confidentiality. The answer to this question is, "yes" and "no." Let's start with the "yes." Below is a list of reasons when one of the counselors can breach confidentiality.
- If a student is under the age of 18, the student is considered a "minor," which means that in order to enter a counseling relationship, the student needs to obtain parents' permission.
- A student signs a form, known as a Release of Information (ROI), then the student is giving consent/permission for us to talk with designated family members.
- A student is experiencing a degree of distress such that they are a threat to themselves or another person AND the family is not a contributing factor in the student's distressed state, we are permitted to contact designated family members.
In all other instances, the answer is, "no."
Do you have any programs or outreach initiatives?
The short answer is, "yes." If you would like one of the counselors to offer a program or workshop for your residence hall or organization, please complete our Outreach Form (DOC). We also have a group of student, known as Mental Health Ambassadors (MHAs), who offer programs and engage in outreach.
What are Mental Health Ambassadors?
Mental Health Ambassadors (MHA) are a volunteer group of students who are committed to raising awareness and implementing programming about mental health issues that are specific to the college experience. These students work to normalize mental health conversations while also recognizing and valuing everyone's' unique experiences. These ambassadors represent a few of the many different relationships students have with mental health and wellness and work to provide diverse perspectives for their peers. Under the guidance of the Center for Student Health and Well-being, MHAs help carry out counseling initiatives and implement programming on a range of topics including depression and anxiety, healthy relationships, body image, self- care, and helping friends in need. Learn more about becoming a Mental Health Ambassador.
Where is your office?
Our physical address is: 504 N. Main St., but an easier way to conceptualize where we are located is to think of the entrance to campus from Glasgow St. As you are driving into campus, our building is on the left. It is a one-story house and has the medical insignia above the doorway.
Do you offer any counseling groups?
Yes! We offer between 1-3 groups per semester. If you'd like to learn more about the groups being offered, please contact a member of our staff.
How could joining a group help me?
While it may seem intimidating to join a group of strangers to talk about personal issues, group therapy has proven to be a beneficial model of treatment for most people. One of the greatest advantages of being involved in a group is the shared experience among group members. It dispels some common misconceptions we have about ourselves and others. For example, being in a group with others who struggle with a similar issue counters the belief, "I'm the only one who struggles with ____." Group membership also helps reduce feelings of shame and increases self-compassion. There exists a commonly-held belief that, "There is a lot of power when someone lies in the simple, yet powerful, experience of universality." This is essentially the idea of, "I'm not alone; other people experience similar thoughts or feelings."
I am really worried about a friend, what do I do?
First, simply by exploring the answer to this question, speaks to your compassion for others. While there are several things you can do when you are worried about a friend, something we have coined over here is known as, "Lend an EAR." Each letter of EAR has a specific meaning.
E = Engage - This is about noticing someone, initiating contact, and saying "hello." This seemingly subtle engagement can convey a powerful message, that being, "I see you. You ARE significant!"
A = Ask - Here the conversation goes a little "deeper." This involves being more intentional with questions and listening for themes (e.g., overwhelmed, sad, lonely, stressed, etc.).
R = Resource - At this point in the conversation, after you've heard a bit of your friend's story and depending on the themes they expressed, provide them the appropriate resource (e.g., AADR Office, Dean of Students Office, Student Health & Counseling Office, Residence Life Office, etc.), and encourage them to reach out to that office/person.
What are some common student concerns?
Students seek counseling for a variety of reasons, but the most common concerns include:
- adjusting to college
- relationship difficulties
- academic pressures
- identity concerns
- social anxiety
- excessive substance use
- family of origin concerns
- body image concerns
Can a Counselor help me get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
Counselors from the Center for Student Health and Well-Being do not provide documentation that would enable students to have an Emotional Support Animal. To be approved for an ESA a student needs to meet with someone from the office for Academic Access and Disability Resources.
Do I get to choose which counselor I see?
If there is a specific counselor with whom you would like to schedule an appointment, when you call or stop by the office, simply make that request known to the individual who is scheduling your appointment.
Please be aware, if you have a request for a specific counselor, it may take longer to get an appointment.
Can my friend make an appointment for me?
The short answer to this question is, "no." While you may have concerns about, and good intentions for, your friend the responsibility to enter a counseling relationship is theirs to do. At the same time, you can certainly play a role in the process, if your friend is open and desires your help. One way to show your support is to walk with them to the center and stand alongside them as they make an appointment.
I'm feeling better, but I still have an appointment. What should I do?
Counseling services are in high demand; if you are feeling better and do not believe you need to see your therapist, we request that you cancel your appointment within 24 hours. By cancelling your appointment, you allow another student an opportunity to use that time.
What if I don't show up for my appointment?
We recognize that people sometimes forget about appointments. So, if you fail to show for your appointment, we request that you contact the office ASAP and inform the staff. As stated above, counseling services are in high demand, so you will most likely need to wait for at least one week to get another appointment. If you fail to show for an appointment on more than one occasion, you will be requested to speak to the director before you can reschedule.