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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who can use counseling services?

A: All full-time students enrolled at Elmira College may use counseling services. There is no charge.

Q: So, what is counseling?

A: You and your counselor will build a working relationship focused on helping you solve problems that interfere with your life. Your counselor will listen to you, help you make sense of confusing issues and, invite you to explore your thoughts and feelings about things. In this way, counseling can help you deal more effectively with life’s challenges.

Q: What problems can I address in counseling?

A: You can address any problem in counseling. Students bring numerous concerns to counseling. Some of these involve relationships, family, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, self-esteem, loneliness, and traumatic incidents, to name just a few.

Q: Where can I find the Counseling Services?

A: We are in the Clarke Health Center, across from Twin Towers. We are open Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM during the academic year. During the summer we are open from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.

Q. How do I schedule an appointment?

A. Call (607) 735-1750 or stop by the Clarke Health Center during business hours to schedule a time to come in. If you are coming to counseling for the first time please arrive 15 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Q. Who should I call in a mental health crisis?

A. To begin the crisis management process, call the Clarke Health Center at (607) 735-1750 during business hours (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or just come over. After business hours or on weekends, call Campus Security at (607) 735-1777 or the RLC on duty for immediate assistance.

Q: What should I do if I am concerned about someone?

A. We often consult with students, faculty, staff and family members to discuss the concerns they raise about particular students. Please call us at (607) 735-1750 and schedule an appointment (by phone if you are from a distance) and we will discuss the situation with you. Always: If a student mentions suicide contact the Clarke Health Center (607-735-1750) during business hours or Campus Security (607-735-1777) anytime

Q. What happens at my first counseling session?

A. Your counselor will ask you to describe what is difficult for you and your reasons for seeking counseling. Also, he or she will ask some basic questions about your background. During your first meeting, you and your counselor will develop a plan together for the type of treatment that will best meet your needs.

Q. What happens in individual counseling?

A. You and your counselor will decide what the focus of counseling should be. You may also set some specific goals. During your sessions, you'll talk about what is important to you. Your counselor can help you understand your feelings and thoughts and develop new perspectives. Hopefully, over time the two of you will build a trusting relationship.
Your counselor will be committed to helping you figure out what you want. This will enable you to understand things about your life and consider new choices. Once you understand your situation more clearly, you will likely be able to create your own solutions to problems and meet new challenges.

Q. Is there a limit to the number of sessions I can have?

A. Yes. Due to high demand for counseling services there is a limit of eight individual counseling sessions per academic year per student. This session limit does not include emergency appointments, consultation appointments, appointments with the college physician or Clarke Health Center nurses, or off-campus counseling or psychiatric appointments. After reaching the session limit, students will be offered appropriate referrals for care in the community. Extension beyond the eight session limit will be considered by counselors on a case by case basis.
Students are welcome to use on-campus crisis services as needed.

Session limits enable us to keep counseling services accessible to all students in a timely way.

Q. What if I get referred off campus?

A. If you require longer-term or specialized counseling, your counselor will refer you to a professional in the community who can provide the continuing or specialized care you need. If you are referred to an off-campus counselor you will need to use your health insurance, student health insurance, or pay out of pocket for the care provided. We will make every effort to ensure that the referral fits your counseling and practical needs. If the referral is not working for you for any reason you are encouraged to contact the counselor you worked with on campus to discuss your options.

Q. What about confidentiality?

A. We will not disclose any information about you without your signed permission. Note that in specific uncommon cases we may be ethically or legally obligated to share information that otherwise would be considered confidential. Such exceptions include: your counselor assesses that you are at risk for hurting yourself or someone else, you share information about any current instance of child or elder abuse, or if we are court-ordered by a judge to disclose records. If you have more questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to ask your counselor or contact the Clarke Health Center at (607) 735-1750.

Q. Is counseling part of my student record?

A. No. Your counseling record is kept confidential and separate from your student record. Counseling information is not released to parents, college employees outside of the Clarke Health Center, or other individuals without your signed permission unless this information is needed to keep you or someone else safe from harm.

Q: And if I need more information?

A. Call (607) 735-1750 during regular business hours and we will be happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you.