This Student Guide to Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) is designed to assist you in using services.
- If you are a student who is questioning whether our available services are right for you, many of your questions will be answered here.
- If you are a student who has decided that counseling would be useful, you will find out how you can make the most of your counseling experience.
- If you are a member of the university community who is concerned about a student, this guide will help inform you in making a referral or getting a consultation.
- See Referral Guidance for more information on counseling and on community resources.
Individual and group mental health counseling is free to enrolled students. Consultation is free to the campus community. CCS values and promotes non-discrimination in all areas.
We recognize that coming for counseling is a difficult choice for a lot of people, and we hope that this guide will make your beginning with us easier. If you have any questions about any of the information in this guide, please let us know (906) 227-2980.
Welcome to Counseling and Consultation Services. We provide a range of assistance to students and are pleased to have the opportunity to offer you our help. It is our hope that this material will help you to make informed decisions regarding services offered by the department.
Personal counseling can help students to cope more effectively with many problems that arise in daily life that affect both their academic and overall participation in the university community. Common concerns for which counseling can be effective include stress, adjustment, difficulty in setting career and life goals, substance use, relationship problems, sexual abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety, poor self-worth, suicidal thoughts/behavior, loss of a relationship through death or break up, etc. Some students seek counseling for long-standing problems and some because of a new troublesome situation. Personal concerns often coincide with academic problems.
Students receiving individual counseling sessions meet with their counselor for one to six sessions, but many for shorter and some for longer. Many students find participation in personal counseling beneficial for addressing their personal goals.
CCS staff members share the vision that counseling can help students understand their emotions, cope with troubling situations, overcome adversity, and chart a healthy direction for the future.
Psychotherapy is very valuable for many individuals. It can help people enhance self-esteem and gain confidence through success in resolving personal issues. If you have questions or concerns about therapy, your counselor will be glad to help you understand the process. Your counselor will support you to make the most of this unique process.
ALL COUNSELING IS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. If someone such as a parent, friend, significant other, or instructor were to ask us whether you had come here, we would not give out any information without your written permission. Counselors will not release any information regarding your use of the services or personal matters discussed with your therapist. Some limitations exist to this, including a) clear and imminent danger to yourself or another party, b) if you volunteer information about current child or elder abuse or neglect, or c) by court order.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of confidential information, please bring them up with your counselor.
**PLEASE NOTE: E-mail correspondence cannot be guaranteed confidential. Do not e-mail anything to CCS staff that is important for you to keep private; call or come to the office instead.
We want the environment in our office to be as comfortable as possible. We will try, if we can, to accommodate requests for a male or female counselor, or for a specific person. We have worked with thousands of students over the years and know what it's like to be a student at NMU. We appreciate the diversity of our students and serve them with respect for their individual concerns.
- To schedule an intake appointment, you will need to come to our office at 3405 C.B. Hedgcock and request services. Your first contact with our office will probably be with a member of our clerical staff. The office manager will answer questions, and help you complete the intake paperwork.
- You will be asked to provide basic personal information, including your weekly availability (schedule). When a counselor's availability matches with yours, you will be scheduled for an initial appointment. Occasionally, due to high demand for services, we have to place your name on our call back list. We will contact you when a time opens up that fits with your availability.
- At your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out a pre-counseling questionnaire. Personal issues and goals will be discussed with your counselor and further appointments determined.
- You are responsible for coming to all scheduled appointments. Please give us as much notice as possible if you cannot keep an appointment so the time may be designated for someone else. All cancellations and reschedules can only be done by clients. No third parties (friends, family, staff) can call on your behalf.
- Your counselor will want to know how effective your experience with him/her is. Please express any concern, even if your concern is with the department or your counselor in particular. It might seem difficult to start the conversation but your input can lead to important insights, improved working relationships, and increased opportunity for personal growth.
- Your counselor may suggest tasks or reading that would be beneficial for you to do outside of therapy sessions. You can enhance the usefulness of counseling and increase progress by working both in and out of session.
- Cell phone use is strictly forbidden at all times throughout the CCS office in order to protect confidentiality. If you need to use your phone, we ask that you step out of the CCS office.
- Your counselor will safeguard your confidential information in accordance with CCS policy, professional standards, and state law (see "confidentiality" above). If you request to sign a Release of Confidential Information first discuss any concerns you have with your counselor.
- CCS staff at times consult with each other about their clinical work. This is a regular aspect of ongoing professional development and ethics for our field. Of course, CCS professional staff are obligated ethically and legally to keep all client information confidential. Occasionally a staff member may know an individual who seeks therapy. In those cases, she/he is not privy to that consultation.
- Your counselor will work with you to assess your current status and collaborate with you to develop a treatment plan. The counselor will inform you if there is a different kind of treatment that would be more appropriate, even if it is not available through CCS. If this treatment is available elsewhere, your counselor will assist you in setting up a referral to another agency or professional if you wish. For example, we have no medical doctors on staff. If medication is indicated, the Health Center can often assist. For more specialized issues, a referral to a specialist (psychiatrist) off campus may be preferable.
- Your counselor cannot provide you with services that are outside the scope of our mission and resources. For example, if you need several counseling appointments per week; long term counseling; ongoing after-hours/emergency care; medical/psychiatric services, etc., we will refer you to another agency or professional. If alternative services are not feasible (many of our students lack insurance that covers psychological care), your counselor will discuss with you the limits of our available services.
- Your counselor cannot have dual roles (e.g. cannot be your employer, instructor or friend). If you have any concerns regarding these boundaries, you are encouraged to contact any counselor here or the director of Counseling and Consultation Services.
- Your counselor will give you an opportunity to evaluate your counseling experience and your counselor on a "post-counseling questionnaire." We value your honest feedback, and appreciate your comments about your experience. These are anonymous and confidential.
You may request, or your counselor may suggest, that you join a counseling group. CCS groups are comprised of seven or eight students with a range of concerns and personal growth goals, and are led by one or two therapists on staff. We have found that many students can profit from group counseling, particularly when their problems manifest in relationships with other people. It can be a powerful learning experience to realize that others share some of the same struggles, and can offer insights, feedback, and support. You may visit our group counseling page for more detail.
All currently enrolled students are eligible to receive counseling. When a student's concerns involve a relationship with a non-student (e.g. spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, family member, etc.), we may include that person in sessions with the student, if appropriate, to address the primary issues.
The CCS Office is closed when the university is closed (e.g. snow days, holidays, etc.).
You will receive a reminder of your appointment if you have given permission for that. If you must cancel or reschedule an appointment, please give 24 hours notice, so that we can use the hour to schedule another student needing services. If you miss more than two appointments without calling to cancel, we will assume that you no longer need our services. This policy is necessary because we sometimes have students waiting for counseling services while others have appointments they are not using.