What to Expect in Your First Session at the Counseling Center

A student’s first full session  at the Counseling Center (other than a shorter, walk in session) is called an intake session. The first thing you will be asked to do is to complete a form with your contact information, read and sign forms about confidentiality and your rights and responsibilities in counseling. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire that gives us an idea of your most pressing concerns. This whole process takes about 15-20 minutes.

During your meeting with the counselor, you will have a chance to describe why you are seeking counseling and why you have chosen this particular time to do so. The counselor will explain and answer your questions about the counseling process. He or she will ask for information about your present situation, your family background, general health and self care, and important relationships in your life. You may be asked to discuss past experiences with this or similar problems and how you have tried to solve them.

At the end of the intake session, you and the counselor will have identified some of the issues you want to work on and will consider a few options:

  • to make another appointment with the same counselor to talk further, set counseling goals, and plan how to work together;
  • to refer you to another counselor, on or off campus, who specializes in the issues that concern you;
  • to suggest other action that might improve your situation, such as attending workshops or groups;
  • to refer you to another office on campus that might be useful to you;
  • to refer you to one of the psychologists for testing (psychological or psychoeducational);
  • to refer you to the consulting psychiatrist for an evaluation;
  • to suggest participation in a counseling or support group offered that semester.

Occasionally, students find that an initial consultation with a counselor meets their needs and they need no further services.