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Counseling Services - FAQs

What is counseling?

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.

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Who can benefit from 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:

  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Identity questions
  • Stress related to school/family/friends
  • Alcohol and drug concerns
  • Reactions to traumatic experiences
  • Difficulty adjusting to change
  • Depression
  • Body image and eating concerns
  • Career concerns
  • Personal growth

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What should I expect from a counseling relationship?

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).

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Will you keep confidential what I share?

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.

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Am I eligible for services?

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.

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How do I make an appointment?

When classes are in session during the Fall and Spring semesters students can schedule an initial consultation (iConsults) on Mondays – Thursdays between 1-3:30 pm.  iConsults are brief meetings (usually 15 minutes) to determine what service best fits a student’s situation. To schedule an iConsult please call 207-581-1392, or stop in after 8:30 am on the day you wish to come for an appointment. Normally, we can provide an iConsult meeting on the day students call, however, the number of appointments are limited so we recommend you call in the morning to try to get in that afternoon.

When classes are not is session (summer and semester breaks) students can make an appointment for an initial meeting by stopping by the center or by calling 207-581-1392 between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.  There may be times between 12-1 when no one will be available to answer calls or schedule appointments – please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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What forms do I need to fill out?

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 please plan 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 on a computer kiosk near the front desk before each visit. 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.

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Release of Information Forms

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 out and signed the form you may hand deliver, fax (207) 581-4975, or mail them to us. Due to privacy and confidentiality laws, these forms may not be e-mailed to us.

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What are Doctoral Interns and Masters Interns?

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. 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 degree. 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 and will discuss this with you when you meet.

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