Counseling Services - FAQs
- What is counseling?
- Who can benefit from counseling?
- What should I expect from a counseling relationship?
- Will you keep confidential what I share?
- Am I eligible for services?
- How do I make an appointment and what should I expect on my first visit to the CC?
- What forms do I need to fill out?
- Release of Information Forms
- What are Pre-doctoral Interns and Practicum Clinicians?
Counseling (also called psychotherapy) is a resource for people who are struggling in some aspect of their lives. It can also be a process that individuals engage in for personal growth. Counseling involves talking with a trained professional to clarify problems, identify goals, and explore options for addressing your concerns. At the Counseling Center there is no charge for counseling.
Most people who try counseling derive some benefit from it, though there are those who don’t benefit or find it to their liking. Click here for links to information on counseling effectiveness. Our counselors are trained to help those struggling with the difficult, but normal life challenges people face as well as problems resulting from mental illnesses like depression and severe anxiety. Please don’t think your problem is too big or too small to benefit from counseling. Some of the most common reasons for seeking counseling at the UMaine Counseling Center are:
- Relationship concerns
- Identity questions
- Stress related to school/family/friends
- Alcohol and drug concerns
- Reactions to traumatic experiences
- Difficulty adjusting to change
- Body image and eating concerns
- Career concerns
- Personal growth
Counselors have different styles and approaches to doing therapy. The most important thing is to find a counselor with whom you feel comfortable and who is helping you move toward the change you desire. Things you can always expect from our staff are that the counselor will listen to you, respect you, and maintain your confidentiality (there are a couple rare exceptions to confidentiality, see below).
We take extremely seriously the confidentiality of those with whom we work. Both as part of our profession’s Ethical Code and as a matter of law you can expect that in almost all cases information you share will remain confidential within the Center. There few, rare situations in which we can or must share information with others include:
- When the client gives us written permission to share information with someone else;
- When its seems imminently likely that an individual is dangerous to themselves or someone else (for example, they might kill themselves soon);
- When information is offered that leads us to believe that a child or an adult who is unable to protect him or herself has been or is likely to be abused or neglected;
- When the information is requested by valid court order.
Individual counseling is available to students who are enrolled for at least 6 credits during a semester. Group counseling may be available for students taking less than 6 credits. During the summer, students enrolled in any class are eligible for services, though the number of sessions may be limited because of reduced staff availability.
Although faculty, staff, and administration are encouraged to use the Counseling Center for outreach programs and consultation, individual services for University of Maine employees are provided by the Employee Assistance Program.
During Fall and Spring semesters when school is in session, initial appointments occur between 1-3:30 pm Monday through Thursday. Students can walk in during those times and be seen on a first come, first served based. At other times of the year, or if you are unable to meet during the drop-in times time, you can schedule an appointment in person or by calling 581-1392. Before your appointment you will need to fill out some paperwork. You can complete this paperwork in advance (see below) or get it when you come in. Initial appointments usually last about 30 minutes. The counselor will work with you to understand the nature your concerns and then set up a follow up appointment as needed.
If this is your first visit to the Center, you will be asked to fill out a few forms. These provide the counselor with important background and contact information and provides you with information about our services. You get these at the front desk . They usually take 15-20 minutes to fill out, so try to arrive early to your first appointment. Students are asked to update contact information each new school year or if major changes have occurred in your life. There is also a very short form we will ask you to fill out before each visit that you get at the front desk. That form helps us to assess how effective our services are in helping you meet your goals. If you are considering joining a group, please fill out the Group Placement Form (PDF) and give it to your therapist or someone at the front desk.
If you want us to release information to a health or mental health professional or others outside the Center, you must fill out and sign a Release of Information Form. On the PDF all sections must be filled out. If you have questions about what to put in specific items, please call and talk to a clinician or an administrative staff member. Once you have filled and signed it you may hand deliver, fax (207) 581-4975, or mail them to us. They must be signed and so cannot be e-mailed to us.
The Counseling Center is a national training site for doctoral-level students in clinical and counseling psychology, and is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Pre-doctoral Psychology Interns have finished all their doctoral course work, are completing or have completed a dissertation, and done psychotherapy part-time under supervision for at least 2 years. They are fulfilling a year-long, full-time internship–like a medical residency–before receiving their doctorate. The Counseling Center is also a training site for advanced Master’s students in the mental health field. All services rendered by trainees are supervised by licensed psychologists on staff at the Counseling Center. Their work is recorded (audio or video) as part of supervision. They cannot record sessions without your consent.