What students can expect when they call or come into the Counseling Center for the first time:
When a student first comes to or calls the Counseling Center, they will speak with one of our program support assistants/administrative staff members. Our program support assistants will ask the student some brief questions about themselves, including their reason for coming to the Counseling Center at that time. Students will then be scheduled for an intake evaluation. The student will be invited to a 90-minute intake evaluation appointment. In some cases, the program support assistant may recommend you come in the same day, may consult with a clinician about your needs, or in rare instances have a clinician call you back to discuss your needs.
What students can expect when they come to the Counseling Center for an intake evaluation:
Students are asked to come to a 90-minute intake appointment. The first 30 minutes of that appointment would involve students completing intake paperwork on a computer tablet in the waiting room. If a student does not come to that first 30 minutes to complete the intake paperwork, they will have a shorter intake session and may have to return for an additional intake session.
The intake paperwork to be completed includes the Agreement for Counseling form, the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS), and the Intake Questionnaire. The Agreement for Counseling form provides informed consent about our services, confidentiality, maintaining professional and other boundaries, office hours, and our emergency services. The CCAPS is a normed psychological assessment used at many college/university counseling centers, which we also use to help assess mental health challenges, including progress over time. As part of the CCAPS, the student will be asked if they would like to contribute their de-identified data to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH), which helps to further develop the CCAPS as an instrument. The Intake Questionnaire asks for information about students’ current mental health concerns, mental health history, substance use history, medical history, academic life, environmental data, and social history.
After completing the intake paperwork in the waiting room, the student will then meet with one of our intake counselors. The intake counselor will review the Agreement for Counseling form with the student, and answer any questions they might have. The intake counselor will also review the Intake Questionnaire and CCAPS with the student; the intake counselor will ask any additional questions to help them assess the most appropriate level of care for that particular student’s needs.
At the end of the intake evaluation, the student’s intake counselor will determine the most appropriate level of treatment to suit their needs. It is our goal to tailor the most appropriate treatment to the specific needs of each individual student who comes to the Counseling Center. The previously mentioned treatment levels include group counseling/skill building groups, 1-2 time individual counseling sessions, short-term individual therapy (3-8 sessions ), or couples therapy (if you and your partner are PSU students). We also provide emergency services for students in crisis. Please note that the Counseling Center has a limited scope of practice, and certain mental health challenges may be better served at outside treatment resources (see Scope of Practice).
Research has demonstrated that group counseling is as effective and sometimes more effective for certain mental health challenges, as compared to individual counseling (American Group Psychotherapy Association). Once a student completes the 3 groups, they will be reassessed. If they are seeking services outside of our treatment model, the intake counselor will be able to refer the student to outside treatment and community resources.
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