An Initial Consultation is the client's first session with a counselor. The client and counselor determine how the center can best meet the client's needs. It may include resolving the concern in a single session, scheduling the client for additional sessions, referring the client for group therapy at the Health & Counseling Center, collaborating with additional St. Edward's University resources, such as Student Disability Services, Health Services, Campus Ministry, and Career Planning Office, or making referrals to community agencies.
Clients meet individually with a counselor to discuss issues, including emotional distress, relationships, anxiety, self-esteem and a variety of personal issues. As a general rule, counseling services provide help for clients whose concerns can be managed within a limited number of sessions. If a client's situation requires counseling beyond the scope of the center's resources, a referral to professional service providers in the Austin community is offered. The client is responsible for any expenses that he/she incurs for services received from community providers.
Many relationship difficulties can be improved through education and/or psychotherapeutic techniques. When couples are experiencing difficulties in communication, problem solving and intimacy, counseling can help to resolve these problems and enhance relationships. Counseling Services staff can provide counseling for relationship problems as long as one member of couple is a student.
Managing stress and anxiety is a major concern for many students. Clients can participate in 3-5 sessions of biofeedback to learn skills to relax, reduce anxiety, and improve their academic performance.
Group counseling has been proven effective in helping people deal with a broad range of concerns, from reactions to life stress to severe or chronic mental health issues. Group counseling has been shown to be as effective as individual counseling and, for some issues, it can actually be more effective. The Health & Counseling Center offers Personal Exploration Groups throughout the school year. These groups offer a safe place for individuals to connect with others, develop self-awareness, give and receive support, and try out new ways of interacting with others so that they can build more satisfying relationships outside the group. At various times, the Health & Counseling Center also offers groups centered on particular themes or on developing life skills. In all groups, the importance of confidentiality is emphasized.
The Health & Counseling Center maintains confidentiality for all students seen in the center in accordance with professional ethics and legal guidelines as required by state or federal laws. Counseling records are kept separate from educational records and no information is released without the student’s written consent. Information revealed in counseling, including the fact that you have made an appointment, is not disclosed to others without your written authorization for the release of that information.
Exceptions to this practice are:
- When the counselor believes you present an imminent danger to yourself and others
- When the life or the safety of a readily identifiable third person is endangered
- When a counselor believes that a readily identifiable child or vulnerable adult is being subjected to abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- When disclosure is made necessary by legal proceedings