The Counseling Process
In the context of counseling, we believe that each student is the expert of his or her own life. Although the student may meet with a qualified and trained mental health professional, it is ultimately the student who knows themselves best. We believe counseling is a collaborative effort between the client and counselor that involves teamwork based on mutual respect.
The student is an active participant in counseling, and the counselor functions as a consultant and teammate. We encourage the student to feel free to share feedback with the counselor. Students should feel empowered to let the counselor know if anything needs to be changed about the counseling sessions, or if there is anything that the student believes the counselor could do to be more helpful and meet individual needs.
Whatever is discussed with the counselor is private and confidential, with just a few exceptions. By federal and state law, a counselor is required to break confidentiality if there are any reasonable indications that a client poses an imminent risk of harm to themself or others, or if there is any information disclosed about potential child abuse, dependent and vulnerable adult abuse, or elderly abuse. Court orders and subpoenas may also require the release of confidential records. In addition, students under the age of 18 need parental consent for any treatment.
The counseling process begins at the first meeting. An initial intake session gives the student a chance to discuss their issues or concerns and for the counselor to ensure that these concerns would best be served by short-term rather than long-term treatment. Counseling at the Florida Poly Health Clinic is intended for a short-term basis only, so any concerns that require long-term, intensive or inpatient treatment will be referred to one of our local community providers. Also, students who need prescription medication as part of their mental health treatment will receive an external referral as well.
Assuming short-term counseling is appropriate for the situation, the student and counselor would then schedule to meet on a weekly basis for appointments that would last approximately 45-50 minutes. Sometimes a student may not need multiple sessions, in which case he/she and the counselor may decide together to meet only for one or two appointments or, if preferred, to have just one or two check-in sessions on a monthly basis.