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Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling

What should I consider as a “psychological” or “mental health” emergency?
Any situation that involves harm or imminent risk to you or to another person should be considered an emergency, such as:

  • Suicide attempts, suicidal threats or suicidal thoughts
  • Homicide, homicidal threats or homicidal thoughts
  • Rape and dating violence
  • Other forms of violent, intimidating behavior
  • Extreme emotional distress
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there

What do I do in a “psychological” or “mental health” emergency?

In the event of an emergency:

  • Call University Police at 732-571-4444 (if calling from campus, call x4444).
  • Tell them it’s an emergency.
  • Tell them who you are and where you are located, and they will assist you immediately and notify other necessary personnel.

What do I do if I am the victim of a sexual assault?

If you are a victim of sexual assault, you have a number of different options. Our first concern is your safety. If you need assistance, you may call University Police and they will escort you to Monmouth Medical Center, if necessary. There you can meet with a SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and an advocate from 180-Turning Lives Around, the local women’s center, who will assist.

You may contact University Health Services at 732-571-3464 and speak with one of the nurses there. You may also contact 180 Turning Lives Around directly at 732-264-4111 if you prefer to speak with an off-campus professional.

What happens if I call the Counseling Center because I’m in crisis?

When you call:

  • You’ll talk to a counselor, and if there is any risk to your safety and well-being or the safety and well-being of another person, you will be treated on an emergency basis.
  • If there is no immediate risk, you’ll be able to make an appointment for a counseling session. The counselor will speak with you and help you sort out your thoughts and feelings so that you can make decisions about how to proceed.

What is psychological counseling?

Psychological counseling is a process that helps people at various stages of personal development who are seeking help to cope with and understand the personal issues in their lives that are causing them concern and affecting their quality of life.

The goal of counseling may be to:

  • Facilitate the process of growth and adaptation to life’s challenges.
  • Prevent further stress by drawing on the individual’s psychological resources.
  • Help you examine behaviors, thoughts and feelings that may be causing difficulty in your life and learn effective ways to deal with them.

How do I know if I need counseling?

Certain feelings or behaviors may indicate that speaking with a counselor could be beneficial to you. Some situations that are likely to cause emotional distress include:

  • Difficulties with sleeping, eating, academic performance, concentration, and/or relationships with others
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to perform day to day activities
  • Constant worrying
  • Feelings of prolonged sadness and loss of interest in your usual activities
  • Feelings of depression, extreme fatigue and lethargy
  • Thoughts of suicide or wanting to hurt yourself in some way
  • Mood swings, increased irritability or angry outbursts
  • Violent or extremely disruptive behavior, such as threats to other people, feelings of hostility and anger, or homicidal thoughts
  • Engaging in arguments or assaults
  • Family issues
  • Substance abuse and/or other addictions
  • Sexual abuse, assault or domestic violence
  • Difficulties related to illness or disability
  • Adjustment issues
  • Grief and loss about someone or something
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • The need to talk to someone

Is everything I discuss in psychological counseling confidential?

As a counseling client, your confidentiality is guaranteed within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. We have a legal obligation to protect your privacy. For more information, read our Confidentiality, Disclosure and Informed Consent statement.

Limitations to confidentiality will occur when:

  • There is clear and imminent danger to you or to others.
  • There is reason to believe that someone under the age of 18 was being abused.
  • Legal requirements demand that confidential information be disclosed. If this should occur, every attempt will be made to inform you before any confidential information is released.

How do I make an appointment for counseling?

Making an appointment is very easy:

  • Call the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at 732-571-7517 and speak with the Office Coordinator.
  • State that you want to make an appointment for personal/psychological counseling. If it’s an emergency, say so.
  • Give your name and phone number, which will be used only to confirm or change your appointment, if necessary.

If I want to see someone off-campus, can I get referral information?

Yes. The counselors can provide you with referral information to community resources if you prefer to see an off-campus professional or if we are unable to assist you on campus. Most health insurances have their own provider search function that might be useful.

I’ve never had counseling before, and I feel a little uncomfortable and even embarrassed about talking to a stranger about such personal things. Is that normal?

Yes. Many students experience the kind of nervousness and apprehension you’re talking about when they start counseling. It’s understandable to feel a little uncomfortable in this unfamiliar situation. Remember a few things that might help:

  • By making an appointment, you’ve taken the first important step toward feeling better. Taking control is half the battle.
  • The counselor is there to support and guide you through the process, but you are an active participant and make choices about what you discuss.
  • Be honest and express your concerns. Ask questions, since learning more about the counseling process itself will help you to feel more comfortable. Gradually, you’ll establish a “counseling relationship” and learn to trust your counselor, yourself, and the process.
  • Be patient and give it some time, but if you continue to feel uncomfortable, talk about it again with your counselor. In some instances, it may be wise to discuss meeting with another counselor to see if you still feel uncomfortable.

What will happen during my first appointment?

When you come in for your first appointment, you will be asked to:

  • Complete a form that asks some basic information about you.
  • Sign off on the Confidentiality, Disclosure and Informed Consent form.
  • Complete what is called an “intake session” with your assigned counselor, during which the counselor will ask you questions about your medical, social, family, and emotional history and why you are seeking counseling.
  • Discuss appropriate treatment options with your counselor. On-campus counseling is intended to be short-term. In the event that you need more intensive, long-term treatment, or if we are unable to treat you on campus, your counselor will give you referral information about possibilities in the community.

What if I miss my appointment?

Keeping your appointment is very important. Call us as soon as you can at 732-571-7517 if an emergency arises. If you have scheduled other appointments and we don’t hear from you after a missed appointment, your additional appointments will cancelled. You’ll need to speak to your counselor directly to re-schedule.

How can I best benefit from my counseling sessions?

Accepting certain responsibilities will make the counseling process more beneficial to you.

  • Think about your specific concerns and why you are seeking counseling.
  • Negotiate and agree to a treatment plan with your counselor.
  • Work towards establishing specific goals.
  • Attend your sessions as scheduled and arrive on time.
  • Consider what you would like to discuss before the session.
  • Be willing to explore behavioral changes outside of your sessions.
  • Complete your homework tasks if assigned.
  • Discuss and monitor your progress with your counselor.
  • If you feel that the process is not helpful to you, discuss it with your counselor.

I don’t want to take medication. Do I have to?

The psychological counselors do not prescribe medication. However, some people suffering from certain conditions may benefit from psychotropic medication. Discuss your concerns with your counselor, and if necessary, a referral to a psychiatrist or other medical doctor may be made. Your counselor may also suggest a physical exam to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms.