Due to licensing limitations of our therapists, we are only able to provide Individual Therapy to in-state students. If you are out of state or out of the country, we can provide case management where we would facilitate the search for resources in your community. Tools like Psychology Today, which helps you find a therapist in your area, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an agency focused on providing free emotional support to individual, will be used during these sessions.
Students are scheduled for Initial Consultation appointments typically within one week of calling Counseling Services. During high volume times, especially around exams, assessment appointments may be scheduled within two weeks. Crises are not considered regular sessions and are not subject to these timelines.
There are some important tips to be aware of when scheduling an appointment:
Have your schedule ready when making an appointment. Counseling Services Staff will need to match an opening in our schedule with an opening in your schedule; knowing your weekly classes and activities will help.
Please be aware that the more limited schedule you have, the more difficult it may be to accommodate. You may be able to schedule an appointment more quickly if you present more options, such as early mornings or between classes. Please note that we do understand how busy Columbia students are and Counseling Services does not condone skipping classes. Our staff members are happy to discuss your schedule in order to find an appointment that works for you.
Students coming to Counseling Services for an appointment should check in at the reception desk. The Administrative Assistant or other support staff will alert your clinician to your arrival.
All students who make appointments in advance will receive a confirmation email. If you have not already submitted intake paperwork, you will be asked to fill it out upon your arrival. You may be asked to fill out additional forms as well.
Please note that the paperwork can take some time. If you have not completed it by the time of your appointment, you will have to spend some of your session time to do so. Because of this, please arrive at least thirty (30) minutes prior to your appointment time, if you can, so that you may make use of the full time with the therapist.
Your first session, called an Initial Consultation, is designed to let a clinician refer you to the service that best meets your needs. This initial session will allow our clinicians a chance to understand what you're going through, what challenges you're facing, and help set you up with most appropriate referral: group therapy, individual therapy, or referral to an outside provider. Based on the service recommended, the clinician will work with you to set up the next step.
Some students are nervous about their first session; all Counseling Services staff understand that this may be new to you and will provide a supportive and nonjudgmental environment.
Please contact Counseling Services at 312-369-8700 before your appointment to cancel, reschedule or let us know that you will be late. If you are unable to keep an appointment, please try to contact us within twenty-four hours of your appointment so that other students can be scheduled. Appointment reminders are sent via email. If it is after hours, please leave a message.
Counseling Services reserves the right to no longer schedule appointments for the remainder of the current academic semester after the following: two no-shows for a scheduled appointment; the cancellation or rescheduling of three sessions over the course of a semester; or a combination of three no-shows/cancelations/rescheduled appointments.
For students 18 years old or older, with some limitations for certain situations involving imminent threat, communication with a therapist or a provider is confidential. Unless a student gives Counseling Services documented consent, we cannot discuss details involving your use of our services with parents / caregivers. This confidentiality includes, but is not limited to, things such as private discussions with clinicians, reasons for referral, or even attendance of appointments. Students must initiate the consent process and request a release form.
If your parent / caregiver contacts Counseling Services looking for information, we can speak in general policy terms and receive information from them, but we may not discuss specifics without your permission.
Information for Minors:
Except for situations such as those mentioned above, the clinician will not tell the parent or guardian specific things shared within session. The clinician may need to use their professional judgment if they feel that you are in danger. In those situations, the parent or guardian will be contacted
Counseling Services does not prescribe psychotropic medications. Medications are prescribed by a Psychiatrist, medical doctor specializing in mental health, during a psychiatry medication office visit. The psychiatrist will perform a current assessment of your condition and discuss with you the risks and benefits that may be associated with a new medication and its alternatives. Counseling Services Clinicians will work with you to link you to the appropriate off-campus provider. There may be an out of pocket cost associated with your psychiatry visit and subsequent follow-up appointments. You are responsible for the cost as the cost is not covered in your tuition and fees. Additionally, the college does not have a pharmacy or dispensary on site. You must take your written prescription to one of the local pharmacies (see below) to have it filled.CVS
This means we may not be able to work on all the issues you would like and concerns that require more intensive, specialized or long-term care may not fall within the scope of our services. Students whose needs cannot be accommodated within brief, short-term counseling are referred to community resources. Similarly, students whose needs require a type of expertise not found with Counseling Services area also referred to community providers. Clinicians provide referral services either after the initial session or as these factors become more apparent over the course of therapy. Clinicians can provide referral options that we believe will best meet a student’s needs. Clinicians will follow up with the student to ensure that the referral was facilitated and to offer additional assistance in finding resources as necessary.
Some of the issues that are beyond our scope of services and are commonly addressed through referral services outside of Counseling Services:
A desire or need to be seen weekly beyond 12 individual appointments as indicated by:
Students who need specialized services not available through Counseling Services as indicated by:
Counseling Services strives to provide quality, compassionate, and clinically appropriate care. We are committed to maintaining an environment that respects the dignity of all individuals, and do not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on age, gender, race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
Counseling Services encourages students to attempt to address any concerns/complaints with their assigned clinician. If you are unable to resolve the concern/complaint or are uncomfortable addressing your concern/complaint with the clinician, students should contact the Director of Counseling Services at 312-369-8700. If you believe that you are unable to resolve the concern/complaint with the Director of Counseling Services, students may contact the Associate Dean of Student Health & Support at 312-369-8595.
If the complaint is not successfully resolved, students may choose to officially document the complaint and seek formal resolution using the Institutional Complaint Process. For additional information please refer to Student Complaints Policy and Procedures: Complaint Information for Students or Parents of Students. Students with complaints of harassment or discrimination should follow the procedures in the college’s Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy