Assessment and Triage
The Counseling Center invites students seeking counseling to come in during our walk in hours (Monday – Friday from 8 - 11 am) for an initial consultation appointment to discuss their concerns.
This conversation between the counselor and the student generally involves a discussion of the student’s current difficulties and how they are impacting other areas of their life, as well as some strategies to help the student cope. The counselor will discuss with the student next steps and review of treatment options. Very often, the student is scheduled for a comprehensive intake assessment which entails a more thorough evaluation of the student’s issues, after which the next level of treatment is determined.
Recommendations may include receiving services at the Counseling Center (individual or group therapy), connection to other campus resources, or a referral to community resources when appropriate.
In an effort to effectively meet the needs of Brockport students, the Counseling Center utilizes a brief, short-term therapy model focused on helping students to resolve or effectively manage a specific problem or challenge, or to make a particular desired change. Working together, the therapist and student determine the number and type of sessions that are needed for the student based on the nature of the student’s concerns and available resources. The frequency of sessions are typically every other week.
In addition to individual counseling, group counseling can provide unique benefits including learning with and from peers, receiving feedback and support from peers in a counselor-facilitated setting, and learning specific skills in a group environment. The Counseling Center has many group offers that are quite popular and effective. The menu of group topics and types offered is dynamic and evolving. In addition to being the best treatment option for many presenting problems, group counseling may allow a student to receive more long-term services than would be available through individual therapy.
Substance Use Counseling
Substance use is a common experience for many college students, and, for most, occasional use does not get in the way of what they want to do. However, sometimes:
- Students find that their substance use is interfering with day-to-day activities and/or leads to negative personal or legal consequences
- Students might come to college with a history of substance abuse and may need help maintaining their sobriety or dealing the consequences of a relapse.
- Students encounter legal troubles as a result of their substance use and need an evaluation and/or intervention as part of their court proceedings. These services are available at the cost of $100.
Our drug and alcohol specialist is available to talk with students no matter what their substance related concern may be. Students can call the Counseling Center directly (585-395-2414) or come to our offices in Hazen Hall to make an appointment with the substance abuse counselor.
Same-Day Urgent Counseling
Same-day urgent sessions are generally available for all students. These urgent meeting times are in the morning during walk in hours, between 8 and 11 a.m. For students with repeated use of urgent services, there may be discussion about referral to alternate or additional resources.
Consulting Psychiatrist Services
It is the policy of the Center that any student who wishes to meet with the consulting psychiatrist must have already been seen by a counselor for a comprehensive intake assessment at the Counseling Center. Students may be referred any time by their CC therapist, after the appropriate background information has been gathered and clinical need has been established. The consulting psychiatrist may also refer students for services that are not part of the psychiatrist’s scope of care. More information regarding psychiatric services is available on request.
Emergency Psychiatric Services are not Available
Walk-In students seeking medication refills or experiencing an urgent need for psychiatric evaluation will be referred or otherwise assisted according to their needs.
There may be times when you as a student, faculty member, or staff member may have concerns about someone with whom you are close, is in your class, or may just be someone who is within your sphere of responsibility. We encourage you to contact us about such students, and we can:
- Discuss the nature of your concerns about the student
- Discuss options to deal with your concerns
- Facilitate a referral to the Counseling Center if indicated
Please be aware that if the student does come to the Counseling center, you can accompany the student on his or first visit if eases the referral process. It should also be noted that if the student does make a connection with us, we are bound by confidentiality guidelines not to reveal the nature of our work together. However, we always encourage students to sign a release of information so we can talk with you and/or encourage the student to share with you about what is going on in counseling.
Counselors in the center are available to students, faculty, and staff who may want the staff to do an introductory lecture about the Counseling Center and/or present on a specific issue of concern. The latter might focus on such areas as crisis management, problems in group dynamics and interpersonal communications, or other issues affecting the campus environment.
Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed in short-term counseling at the Counseling Center are:
- Personal Concerns: Stress, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, low self-esteem, grief
- Relationship Concerns: Romantic relationship, roommate problems, family problems, social life
- Developmental Concerns: Identity (e.g., personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity), adjustment to college, healthy lifestyle choices, decisions, life transitions
- Substance Use: Concerns related to alcohol or other drug use/abuse
- Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, academic difficulties
Some of the concerns commonly addressed through a referral to specialized services not available through the Counseling Center:1. A desire or need to be seen more than once a week, or desire for ongoing long-term therapy, as indicated by:
- Presence of severe or long-standing eating disorder symptoms
- History of multiple hospitalizations
- Chronic thoughts of suicide, frequent self-injurious behaviors, or history of repeated suicide attempts
- Clear indications of a need for more intensive services
- Indication that short-term therapy may be detrimental or non-beneficial
- Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning that requires intensive intervention
- Inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms
2. A need for specialized services not available through the Counseling Center, as indicated by:
- Presence of significant drug or alcohol problems such as substance dependence and/or past failed treatments; a need for drug testing
- Presence of significant or long-standing eating disorder symptoms with no period of remission or that may pose a medical danger
- Request for formal psychological assessment (e.g., ADHD or psychoeducational evaluations)
- Request for medications that require access to a provider 12 months a year
- Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance
- Request for services to fulfill students’ court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements
The general guidelines listed above are only intended to serve as a guide to assist treatment decisions. The nature and complexity of presenting concerns and the broader context are considered in making the appropriate treatment recommendations(s). Students are evaluated individually and the professional judgment of the mental health providers(s) will determine the treatment recommendation in a particular case.
What is Brief Therapy?
Brief Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is short-term in nature and typically focuses on solutions rather than problems. In doing so, the counselor utilizes a collaborative relationship with the client. The aim is to emphasize students' strengths and to help them to work actively towards well-defined goals. Brief Therapy is often about bringing successes into the client's awareness which tends to increase hopefulness.
Why is it a good approach?
Many clients find that Brief Therapy helps to keep the meetings focused and productive. The time limited nature of counseling can encourage the client and therapist to work together effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, brief therapy has been shown to be suitable for a wide variety of clients and problems, such as anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, stress, and lifestyle changes.
What research supports it?
Research has shown that various forms of time-limited therapy yield very good results. For example, a comprehensive study on solution-focused brief therapy found that it had a positive effect in less time and satisfied the client's need for autonomy more than other forms of psychotherapy (Stams, et al., 2006 as cited in Bannick, 2007). Brief counseling is widely used in the mental health field and has become the most preferred mode of individual service delivery nationally in college counseling (Cooper & Archer, 1999).
When and why did the Counseling Center change to brief therapy?
We adopted the brief therapy model of care at the CC in the spring 2019 semester in order to reallocate counseling services by spreading resources in the most beneficial way, so that we can serve more students with quicker access. As a result, we hope to reduce our wait times for intake as well as ongoing counseling appointments.
How brief is Brief Therapy?
The Center does not maintain a formal and exact session limit. Instead, working together, the therapist and student determine the number, type, and frequency of sessions that are appropriate for the student based on the nature of the student's concerns as well as available resources. The limits to service are explained within the context of a discussion about each student's presenting concerns. Sessions are usually scheduled every other week.
How to get the most out of it?
To get the most out of a brief therapy experience, clients are encouraged to think about their goals, about how they would like things to be different. Clients are also encouraged to be willing to engage in work. With the help of the counselor, clients will explore ways that will bring them within reach of their goals. This also involves a willingness to devote energy to out-of-session work that the counselor may recommend.
What if a student needs treatment beyond Brief Therapy?
As described above, brief therapy is appropriate in many circumstances. However, for students who may benefit from longer-term, more frequent, or more specialized counseling, the CC works to coordinate access to resources in the local off-campus community. Consideration may be given about a student's resources in deciding whether, when, and where to refer to off-campus services. The CC has an excellent database of community agencies and individual providers, so that a referral can be individualized to the student's insurance, location, type of issue, or other criteria.
Bannink, F.P. (2007). Solution-focused brief therapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 37(2), 87-94.
Cooper, S & Archer, J. (1999) Brief therapy in college counseling and mental health. Journal of American College Health, 48(1), 21-29.
We are excited to introduce Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)! TAO is a platform of tools and educational modules to help students learn about and change how they think and feel. These materials can be used as “self-help”, with the guidance of a counselor during therapy, or as an adjunct to in-person counseling services.