Individual Counseling

You may choose to see an individual counselor to discuss your concerns. The Counseling Center usually provides short term counseling and the sessions usually last 45-50 minutes.

The staff at the Counseling Center adheres to state laws and professional ethical standards which require that all client information be held in strict confidence. Within our agency, any services you receive are completely confidential within the limits of the law. Confidential information about the services you receive from the Counseling Center are kept separately from your academic records at ASU. No information about you or the services you receive from the Counseling Center may be released without your written consent.

Exceptions to confidentiality may be required by law.

When to Seek Counseling

Students commonly seek counseling when they encounter a level of distress which they feel unable to handle alone. In the past, students have most commonly sought individual or group counseling services at the Counseling Center to address the following issues:

  • Depression/Apathy/Low Energy/Poor Motivation
  • Anxiety/Persistent Worry/Panic Attacks
  • Relationship Issues/Difficulty with Intimacy/Abusive Relationships
  • Sexual Concerns
  • Family Issues
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Sexual Assault/Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anger
  • Loneliness/Homesickness
  • Sleep Disturbance

Students typically attempt to work with these issues on their own for some time before reaching-out for assistance. Some discuss their concerns with family, friends, or perhaps even faculty, but sometimes this isn't enough. By seeking the assistance of a counselor, you can find nonjudgmental acceptance, and a level of expertise and objectivity that others who are closer to you may not be able to provide

Many students report significant improvement in functioning following the completion of their sessions with a counselor from the Counseling Center. For others, a positive experience with individual counseling provides students with the confidence to pursue other sources of support such as group therapy, couples therapy or support group attendance.

What to Expect from Counseling

Assessment

What will happen in counseling depends on the special needs and strengths of each person seeking assistance. For this reason, each counseling experience is unique, just as each individual is unique. The first one or two meetings are usually spent clarifying the problem and examining what solutions have already been attempted. This is often referred to as the assessment phase of counseling. During this time your counselor may gather information about your past, your personal style and relationship patterns, as well as your intellectual and emotional functioning. This aids the counselor in determining which counseling strategies might be most helpful for you. Once given the chance to clarify your issues, you and the counselor will be better able to formulate realistic, achievable counseling goals.

Problem Resolution

There are many different approaches available to you in working toward problem resolution. Typically this phase of treatment will include learning new problem-solving or coping skills, increasing self-understanding, exploring life patterns, and gaining a better sense of how you are influenced by relationships and your surroundings. Counselors frequently focus on students' unique strengths and past success experiences in this phase of treatment. Working together, you and your counselor can identify and implement the most effective solutions based on your unique circumstances.

It is important to address any concerns you have about your working relationship with your counselor, including any expectations or concerns you have about the counseling process. You have a right to be informed, and the counselor has a responsibility to address your concerns.

Getting the Most Out of Counseling

Define your goals

Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to jot down a list of events, relationship issues, and feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. As counseling progresses, longer-term goals may emerge along with some ideas about how to progress toward these goals.

Consider how you feel about the counseling relationship

Since a good working relationship is vital to successful counseling, you will want to experience a satisfying level of trust and understanding with your counselor. Nonetheless, self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Therefore, it may be unrealistic to expect that you will feel completely comfortable at all times with your counselor. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly. Because counseling is a mutual enterprise, you and your counselor may also make adjustments in your working style to better meet your needs for both encouragement and support.

Be an active participant

This is your counseling process, so be as active as you wish in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the counselor and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.

Recognize and express feelings

The recognition, acceptance, and expression of feelings pave the way for personal growth and change. Thoughts and feelings are equally important in working through difficulties. Your counselor will work with you to integrate your thoughts and emotions in a balanced way.

Be patient with yourself

Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time. Changing what has become such an integral part of yourself is very difficult and at times slow. By having patience with yourself and accepting and understanding the natural resistance we all feel toward change, you set the foundation for developing and changing in more appropriate and satisfying directions.