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What Is Counseling?

According to the American Counseling Association, counseling is defined as, "a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals." Counseling involves helping people make needed changes in ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and is a goal-based collaborative process, involving a non-judgmental, supportive counselor who works with a client in telling his or her story, setting viable goals, and developing strategies and plans necessary to accomplish these goals. For some people this process takes a small amount of time, in some cases as little as one or two sessions; for others, the process may last longer.

An extremely important part of counseling is confidentiality, which means that the information discussed in session will be accessible only by you and your counselor, with a few exceptions. Please see Client Confidentiality for more detail.

What Issues Does Counseling Address?

People come to counseling when their attempts to deal with their concerns are no longer effective. Counseling can be helpful areas such as:

  • Addiction and abuse of alcohol and other drugs

  • Adjustment issues, including adjustment to college life

  • Anger management

  • Anxiety

  • Communication

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Gender identity and sexual orientation

  • Grief

  • Relationship difficulties, including roommates, significant others, and professors

  • Relationship violence and physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse assault for both men and women

  • Stress management

  • Thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death

  • Trauma

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