Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below you will find more information about our services. If you still have questions after reading our FAQ, please contact the Counseling Center at 541-962-3524.
WHAT IS COUNSELING?
Counseling is the process of talking with a trained professional to assist you with sorting out emotional, interpersonal, behavioral, and social difficulties. This process may include individual, couples/marital or group counseling. This process can help you become more aware of yourself and the personal options available to you for effective problem-solving and decision-making.
Your scheduled sessions with a counselor may be the first steps you take to bring about positive changes in your life. Your active participation in the counseling process is critical in reaching your personal goals and greater self-understanding. If this is your first experience with counseling, you are encouraged to discuss this with your counselor.
WHY DO STUDENTS SEEK COUNSELING?
Students seek counseling for a variety of concerns. The following are examples of the types of problems common to college students:
- Anxiety and depression
- Relationship issues
- Eating behavior and body image issues
- Academic stress, test anxiety, and time management
- Grief and loss
- Concerns related to one’s racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender identity
- Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse
- Traumatic experiences
- Alcohol and drug use
AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE COUNSELING SERVICES?
Our Counseling Center services are available to all students who have been assessed the Health Service Fee. Local students who have not automatically been assessed the Health Service Fee may “opt in.” Please talk with the Student Health and Counseling Center front desk for more information. Faculty, staff, and parents may consult with Counseling Center staff regarding student concerns.
HOW DO I BEGIN SEEING A COUNSELOR?
The best way to begin receiving services at the Counseling Center is to come in during one of our drop-in times:
- Mondays & Wednesdays: 9:30 – 11:30 am
- Tuesdays & Thursdays: 1:30 – 3:30 pm
No appointment is necessary during these times. Arrangements may be made if these drop-in times do not work with your schedule
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
When you first arrive at the Counseling Center you will be greeted by our receptionist and asked to fill out, and submit a few confidential forms, including a brief questionnaire inquiring about your demographic information and personal history. You will also be given a ‘Client Information and Consent Form’ that you will be asked to read and sign. After filling out the paperwork, you will bring it with you to the downstairs waiting area.
Your counselor will be informed that you have arrived and you will meet privately in his/her office for your initial appointment which is called an ‘intake’. The intake is a 20 to 30-minute session in which you and a counselor will go over your paperwork, and discuss your reason for coming in. The goal of this meeting is for you and your counselor to get to know one another and develop a plan to address your concerns. Treatment options might involve (but are not limited to) returning to see this same counselor again, referral to a different counselor on our staff; referral to a therapy group, and/or referral to some other on-campus or off-campus resource.
HOW LONG CAN I BE SEEN?
Each person who is seen at the Counseling Center will have a different treatment plan and will thus be seen for various lengths of time based upon their presenting issues, resources, and fit with the services that the Counseling Center has available. However, please know that we are doing our best to meet the growing needs of our students’ with the resources we have available. If you decide to discontinue your counseling, we encourage you to discuss your plans with your counselor.
The Counseling Center does not have session limits. However, because we do not charge for our services, there is often a high demand for them. In an effort to meet the demand and see as many students as we can, we collaboratively work with students to ascertain if short-term therapy (1-10 sessions) would be sufficient to have a positive therapeutic benefit based upon their presenting concerns. If a student wants or needs longer-term therapy, has concerns that require multiple sessions per week, or are in need of a higher level of care, a referral to a mental health professional in the community may be made.
IF I RECEIVE SERVICES AT THE COUNSELING CENTER, WILL ANYONE FIND OUT ABOUT IT?
All counseling services are confidential. In general, no information is released to individuals outside the Student Health and Counseling Center without your consent. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, as permitted by law and our professional ethics:
- We may disclose confidential information when we judge that there is a strong possibility of serious harm being inflicted by you on another person or on yourself and we are unable to develop a plan with you to ensure safety.
- Should you disclose information relating to probable child abuse, elder abuse, or abuse of a vulnerable adult (for example, someone who is developmentally disabled or mentally ill, or who has a disabling illness), we may be required to notify state authorities. Also, should you be over the age of 18 and engaging in sexual activities with someone under the age of 18, we may be required to report this matter to state authorities.
- Should you be involved in legal proceedings that are related to your counseling concerns, the court might subpoena your records and/or our testimony could be required. In such cases, we will work to ensure your rights are protected
- If you file a worker’s compensation claim, this constitutes authorization for us to release your relevant mental health records to involved parties and officials.
- Should you die, the personal representative of your estate (whom you have appointed) will have a legal right to access your treatment records. If you have not appointed a representative, your relatives may gain access to your records.
- The Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners may subpoena relevant records from our agency should our staff become the subject of a complaint. If a client files a complaint or lawsuit against the Counseling Service, we may disclose relevant information regarding that client—so that we may provide our side of the circumstances in dispute.
- We may be required to disclose your health information, without your knowledge, to authorized federal officials who are conducting national security and intelligence activities.
- Additional limitations on confidentiality apply to students under the age of 18. If you are under 18, your counselor will discuss these limitations with you.
IF I DISCLOSE THAT I HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, WILL YOU REPORT IT?
If you disclose information to your counselor about a sexual assault, or an interpersonal violence or stalking incident, your counselor will inform the Title IX Coordinator that an incident has occurred, but no identifying information linking you to the statistical report will be made without your consent.
WHEN IS THE COUNSELING CENTER OPEN?
The Counseling Center is open from 8:00 AM to Noon and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, with the exception of University and national holidays. The Counseling Center is closed for student appointments during the winter, spring, and summer breaks.
WHERE IS THE COUNSELING CENTER LOCATED?
We are located on the Northwest corner of campus, on 6th Street and L Avenue, across from the La Grande Police Department. We share a space with the Student Health Center (see “SHC” on the map below).
WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL AN APPOINTMENT?
We ask that you notify the center (541-962-3524) at least 24 hours in advance if you cannot make your scheduled appointment. Should you miss two sessions without canceling in advance, your scheduled time slot may be filled with another appointment. We understand that illness and other unexpected emergencies will occasionally require a shorter cancellation period.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET IN CONTACT WITH MY COUNSELOR?
If you need to contact your counselor or the Counseling Center, please call the Center at 541-962-3524. Since email is not a secure form of communication, its confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Email may be used, however, for scheduling and cancelling appointments. Please also be aware that Counseling Center staff does not routinely access email during non-business hours, and cannot guarantee an immediate response. Therefore, we advise against the use of email to communicate emergency or urgent needs.
WHAT IF I NEED AFTER-HOURS HELP OR EMERGENCY CARE?
If you have an after-hours emergency, please call the Center for Human Development at 541-962-8800 or call 911. Additional “after hours” resources are available on our website HERE, while additional self-help resources can be found HERE. If it is not an emergency, you can leave a message with the Counseling Center and a counselor will return your call.
WHAT IF I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH MY COUNSELOR OR THE COUNSELING CENTER?
Our counselors adhere to the Ethical Principles of the American Psychological Association. While a trusting relationship is a key ingredient of successful counseling, conflicts and tensions are sometimes part of the therapeutic process. Should you ever have concerns about our services or your counseling, we encourage you to first discuss these concerns with your counselor. When such issues cannot be resolved through discussion, it is the counselor’s responsibility to facilitate an appropriate transfer to another counselor or service. As a student, you always have the right to raise a concern about your treatment with your counselor and/or the Director of the Counseling Center.
WHAT DO I DO IF I’M CONCERNED ABOUT ANOTHER STUDENT?
It can be hard when someone you care for is struggling. However, it is very difficult to make someone seek help if they do not want it or feel they need it. Further, counseling with an unwilling client is usually not very effective. Here are some suggestions that might help:
- You can let the student know you are concerned. Try to speak from your own experience when talkingg with the person you are concerned for.
- You can suggest that he or she make an appointment with a counselor.
- The more information the student has about our services, the less likely they will refrain from coming in due to misinformation. You can let the student know that our services are confidential. It may also be helpful to inform them there is no commitment necessary on their part if they feel they are not ready for ongoing counseling or do not find the process helpful after meeting with a counselor.
- If you feel comfortable, you can offer to accompany the person to one of our drop-in times. You may wait in the waiting area to be available when they finish.
- You can call or come into the Counseling Center yourself, and consult with a counselor about your concerns. You will not need to tell the counselor the other person’s name. The counselor may be able to offer suggestions on how to engage more effectively with the person of concern
- When experiencing a friend, child, or loved one who is struggling, it is common to struggle yourself with many issues, including those related to anxiety, personal boundaries, and self-care. Seeking counseling to help you manage your own feelings can often be beneficial.
- Staff and faculty may find our Reaching Out Brochure helpful in supporting students struggling with specific concerns.
- You can always check out our Self-Help Resources Page on our website and see if there is any information you can share with them that may be of assistance.
WILL THE COUNSELING CENTER DOCUMENT MY NEED FOR AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL?
Students occasionally request letters from our counselors for their pets. While we understand that a pet can be an important source of support during demanding times, emotional support animals are not prescribed or specifically recommended by Counseling Center clinicians. Therefore, our counselors do not provide letters for emotional support animals.
Sometimes students face eviction, fines, or loss of their animal when they make the decision to bring an animal into their housing without the owner’s knowledge or proper documentation. This is also not a situation under which our counselors will write a letter.
If a mental health professional outside of the Counseling Center has prescribed or recommended an emotional support animal, they may be willing to write a letter that will meet the requirements.
DOES THE COUNSELING CENTER PROVIDE PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION?
The Counseling Center is staffed by mental health therapists that do not prescribe medication. We routinely refer students to the Student Health Center when they are interested in exploring medication options for their mental health concerns.
The Student Health Center is staffed by a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Both providers are able to prescribe medications for many mental health concerns. The EOU Student Health Center does not perform evaluations or prescribe medications for ADD/ADHD. If you have an existing prescription for ADD/ADHD medication, you will be encouraged to continue your treatment relationship with your own provider. For more information, you can contact the Student Health Center at 541-962-3524.