Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Students often have questions about our services. We have provided some commonly asked questions and their answers for you here. If you have additional questions or need further clarification, please call us at 912-478-5541 for the Statesboro location or 912-344-2529 for the Armstrong location.
What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process which involves the development of a unique, confidential helping relationship. In this relationship, the counselor acts as a facilitator in helping the client to understand more accurately him/herself and the world around him/her. Individuals are helped to understand their feelings and behaviors, their relationships with others, their particular situation, choices, and decisions. Discussion of whatever is important and relevant enables individuals to grow towards greater freedom in making mature choices and taking responsible action with themselves, relationships, family, and studies.
What will I do in counseling?
During (or shortly after) your first appointment, your counselor will provide some recommendations regarding what will likely be helpful in addressing your specific concerns. Recommendations may include any or all of the following: individual counseling, career counseling, relational counseling, group counseling, participation in a workshop, referral to a medical provider, and/or referral to another agency on- or off-campus.
If individual or relational counseling is recommended, you can expect to spend the first few sessions discussing the concerns that bring you to therapy and formulating goals that you will work on for the remainder of therapy. Often times, group counseling is the best treatment option for students – particularly if you are dealing with interpersonal issues or relationship concerns, or if you could benefit from peer support. If group counseling is recommended, you will likely meet with the group counselor individually for a brief first appointment so that you can learn more about the group and so that the counselor can learn more about you. A workshop involves a specific focus (e.g., coping skills, anxiety, etc.) but does not require regular on-going attendance. If you are in the midst of a crisis when you first come to the Counseling Center, time also will be spent during the first few sessions on helping you cope with the crisis.
Why do people at Georgia Southern tend to seek counseling and therapy?
The top 5 reasons that students visit the Counseling Center are:
4) family concerns
Can a family member make appointments for students?
If you’re concerned about a student, you can suggest they make an appointment, but it is up to a student to determine if they want services and to initiate those services.
What happens when I talk with a counselor for the first time?
It is not uncommon for students to be a bit nervous or hesitant when they meet with a counselor for the first time. They sometimes wonder if they are supposed to act a certain way or talk about their deepest secrets. Your first meeting with one of our counselors is what we call an “intake.” In this session, your counselor will also ask you some basic questions about such things as academics, work, relationships, family, etc. This is your opportunity to help your counselor get a good idea of the “big picture” regarding your situation. During this session, you can expect to discuss what you have been experiencing that brought you to a counselor and what you want to achieve in counseling, and your counselor will present options for helping you reach your goals.
Who will I meet with?
All counselors at the Counseling Center have received a graduate degree in mental health counseling, social work, or psychology. You also may see a clinical trainee such as a practicum counseling or pre-doctoral intern; all clinical trainees are supervised by one of our licensed professional staff. Generally, the person you see for your first session at the Counseling Center will continue to work with you if individual or relational therapy is recommended. However, if for whatever reason you would prefer to switch to another counselor after your first session, you have every right to make this request.
When will I start to feel better?
Many people report that counseling is helpful even with the first session. This may be due to feeling good about having made a decision to get help or the relief that comes from being able to discuss your concerns with someone who is understanding and non-judgmental. Long-lasting relief from problems comes more gradually and is the result of making changes in your life, relationships, thoughts, and behavior. There is no definitive time schedule for these improvements. However, you should share with your counselor if you have noticed no improvement after working in therapy for several months or more. The good news is that research has repeatedly demonstrated that therapy works, as long as clients take an active part in the counseling process.
If I go see a counselor, does that mean I’m “crazy?”
Not at all! That someone has to be “crazy” to see a counselor is an unfortunate myth that is still prevalent in our society. At the Counseling Center, we see students because they have concerns about a variety of things, most of which are very common or “normal” sorts of concerns. Even some of the more serious mental health issues are fairly common in our society such as depression impacting 19 million Americans each year. Anxiety is just as common, if not more so. Feeling overwhelmed by stress seems to be an experience we all have from time to time.
When do my sessions take place?
Individual and relational therapy sessions typically last for 45-50 minutes and may be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, or less frequently, depending on the nature of your presenting concerns, what stage you are at in the therapy process, and how busy the Counseling Center is (the mid-term and end of semester time periods tend to be busiest). Groups and workshops also meet weekly and generally last for 60-90 minutes. You should plan on coming early or on-time for your scheduled appointments. Regular and on-time attendance of counseling sessions is critical for ensuring that you reach your therapy goals. In addition, if you miss more than 3 scheduled appointments per semester, your services may be terminated.
Is what I say in counseling kept confidential?
The staff at the Counseling Center adheres to professional, legal and ethical guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association. In doing so, we maintain confidential records of all counseling. This means that information about your contact with the Counseling Center does not go on your academic record, nor is it released to any other office or individual without your permission and signature on a written release form. However, there are some rare exceptions to confidentiality. Counselors are mandated to report certain information in which there is possible harm to the client or another person, in cases of child or elder abuse, or in the event of a court order. While these situations can happen, they are very rare. It is important to remember that your counselor’s primary goal is to provide a safe environment in which you will feel comfortable to talk about your personal concerns.
What if I don’t think my counselor is a good match for me?
The client-therapist fit is incredibly important. We encourage students who feel like they are not getting their needs met to speak with their counselor directly as this might bring about a resolution to the concern. We know that this conversation might not feel easy, but we are prepared and open to hearing from you about any concerns you have.
Can someone from the Counseling Center come speak to my organization or group?
Yes. We offer outreach on a variety of topics ranging from study skills, to avoiding procrastination, to eating disorders and depression. To request an outreach, please complete this form at least two weeks in advance of when you would like the workshop to be held.
I would like to interview a counselor for a class project. How can I set something up?
All requests for interviews must be approved by the university’s Marking and Communications department. Requests should be submitted at least one week in advance. You must also provide the questions you would like to ask in advance.
Last updated: 6/22/2022