FAQ for Prospective Clients
For many students, counseling is a new experience, and it's common to feel nervous about it. You may have some questions about what counseling is and what the experience may be like. This page can help answer some of those questions. If you decide to request an appointment to talk with a counselor, you are encouraged to follow up with any questions you may still have.
At John Brown University, our counselors provide individual therapy for a variety of concerns, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and relationship and/or family problems to name a few. Whether you feel stuck in one of these areas or in a different area, counseling may be a place to gain a new perspective. If you are not sure if counseling is the best fit for you, you can request a consult to help you determine the best course of action. Our counselors also provide opportunities for students to meet with other students in therapeutic growth groups. All services are provided on campus at no charge to full-time, JBU undergraduate students. We can also assist you with off-campus resources/referrals if your concern requires treatment beyond what we can provide in this setting.
What can I expect from my counselor?
Counseling is a collaborative process and works best when rapport is developed between the client and the counselor. You can expect your counselor to make every effort to be punctual with appointments, to treat you with dignity and respect and to provide a nonjudgmental environment in which to work. You can expect your privacy to be maintained and confidentiality to be guaranteed (See below for more about privacy and confidentiality). This is of utmost importance. Your counselor will guide you toward understanding your concerns and what you would like to see change. To do this, your counselor will help you to develop specific, concrete goals for therapy and help you monitor your progress.
What does my counselor expect from me?
In order to help you, we need you to be open and honest about your situation and feelings. We need you to keep appointments faithfully and to give advance notice if you find it necessary to cancel an appointment (preferably 24 hours). Often your counselor will suggest homework between sessions to help in attaining established goals. Finally, your counselor needs you to express any concerns or questions you have about the therapy itself, so that the two of you can truly be working together for your benefit.
When will my appointments be?
Appointments are scheduled Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and occasionally on Friday mornings. Appointments are scheduled based upon yours and your assigned counselor’s availability. Every effort is made to coordinate a time within a week of your request. Sessions typically last 45-50 minutes occurring once a week or as needed. Services are offered when classes are in session during the Fall, Spring and May terms.
What if I need to talk to my counselor between sessions?
If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, you can do so by emailing StudentCounselingCenter@jbu.edu or calling our office at 479.524.7251. If you have any other concerns to discuss, it is encouraged that you take a note of it and bring it up at your next appointment. Since confidentiality cannot be guaranteed over email, it is encouraged that you do not email personal concerns. Email is used by our office for scheduling purposes only. In the case of an emergency, contact campus safety at 215-5000 or dial 911.
What about confidentiality?
We understand that counseling is a very private matter, and we take seriously our responsibility to maintain confidentiality in counseling. Therefore, we do not confirm or deny who we see — your anonymity is maintained and we do not disclose anything that is said in a counseling session. There are two exceptions: in the case where child abuse or elder abuse needs to be reported and in the case where there is imminent threat of harm to yourself or someone else. It is also important that we ensure high standards of care. For this reason the Director of Counseling and Health Services has access to client records and routinely consults with the other counselors. Sometimes you may be asked for permission to record/videotape counseling sessions for supervision purposes. In addition, if a referral to JBU's health services is needed, your counselor may provide relevant information to the university nurse. Any release of information about your counseling to any outside person or agency requires written permission from you.
Will you tell my parents or professors I'm in counseling?
No! Sometimes parents or professors contact us about a student they are concerned with. Our practice is to listen to these concerns but not to offer any information about our clients without their knowledge and written permission. Your counselor will talk with you if he or she feels that it is in your best interest to communicate with someone of support about your counseling. If, with your written permission, your counselor talks with others about your treatment, he or she will only discuss issues relevant to the person’s involvement with you, and will tell you when the conversation occurred and what was said.
Do you ever use medication along with counseling?
Medication along with counseling is an option. You can discuss this option with your counselor and a referral can be made to an off-campus physician or psychiatrist.
What happens when I don't need counseling anymore?
You and your counselor will discuss when your counseling goals are met and you are ready to stop counseling. If you decide you'd like to stop counseling before your goals are met, please bring it up and discuss your reasons at a counseling session, rather than simply canceling or not coming to appointments. This gives you and your counselor a chance to review the work of counseling and achieve closure, which is an important part of the counseling process. However, you may at any time during counseling decide not to partake in the services and have the right to cancel them.