Counseling encompasses a wide variety of approaches to help people deal with personal difficulties and learn new ways to handle problems. At the core of all counseling is a relationship of trust and respect between the counselor and the client. The focus may be on the immediate concern or may include the past history of the person in school, in the family, or with friends. Counseling may focus on feelings or on thoughts or behavior. It may consist mostly of talking, or it may include in-session or homework exercises, including reading and practice of various skills.

Many people use and benefit from counseling. People sometimes think that it is weak to seek or use help. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength to acknowledge a difficulty and find resources to help solve it.

Clinicians at the SHWC understand and are sensitive to cultural differences surrounding help seeking, including that in some cultures mental health services are considered taboo. We are open to working with individuals who may wish to seek services but may have anxiety or uncertainty around what that would mean for them. We attempt to work with clients to focus on interpersonal, emotional, and mental health concerns. Counseling not only helps people feel better and more able to handle life’s stresses but also improves the outcome for many physical illnesses.

What to expect at your first appointment

Your first counseling appointment at the SWHC will be an intake appointment. The intake appointment lasts approximately 50 minutes and involves discussing your concerns with a staff member. We ask that you arrive at SHWC 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete paperwork. Based on information gathered in this meeting, we will work closely with you and make recommendations. In some cases we may recommend that you meet with a SHWC staff member for psychotherapy and/or a medication evaluation. In other cases we may refer you to a treatment provider in the community. We tailor our services to the individual and will make a treatment plan in collaboration with you to best meet your needs.

If you are interested in longer-term, open-ended psychotherapy outside of the SHWC, a staff member can help you locate a treatment provider in your area. We can often find low-cost services and can assist students in finding a provider who is covered by their health insurance.