COUNSELING CENTER FAQS
When Might Counseling Be Helpful?
Counseling provides students with a safe, confidential, and nonjudgmental space to voice their concerns and address these concerns with a counselor. Counselors provide students with feedback, listen, reflect, and validate students’ emotions, and offer support and strategies for coping with challenges. Counseling has been shown to be helpful with a wide range of concerns and is effective for both chronic problems and situational difficulties. Most students learn that counseling offers tremendous benefits in helping them work through problems that are affecting their lives. The City College Counseling Center offers short-term counseling. Students who want to continue counseling beyond their allotted counseling sessions, will receive assistance connecting with a new counselor off campus who can provide them with ongoing support.
Below is a list which includes many, but not all of the reasons students come to counseling:
- Enhancing relationships with friends and family
- Managing stress more effectively
- Exploring issues related to one’s sexuality
- Improving academic performance
- Coping with the loss of a loved one
- Overcoming loneliness or homesickness
- Reducing alcohol and drug-related problems
- Addressing eating/body image concerns
- Recovering from assault or abuse
- Coping with acts of discrimination
- Overcoming depression
- Reducing anxiety
- Making decisions about transferring or withdrawing from college
- Helping a friend
- Addressing difficulty with living situations
- Managing sleep disturbance
Am I Eligible to Use the Counseling Center?
Any student who is actively enrolled at City College can make an appointment to consult with a counselor at the Counseling Center. You and your counselor will discuss together what your concerns are and what resources might be of help in resolving them. You and your counselor may continue to work together for support, problem solving, or counseling. Alternatively, your clinician may help you connect with off-campus psychotherapy referrals, which may be a better match for you. Your counselor may also recommend an on-campus program or group instead of, or in addition to, individual counseling.
Where Is the Counseling Center Located, and What Are the Hours of Operation?
The Counseling Center is located in the Marshak Science Building, room J-15.
Our hours of operation are:
Monday - Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
How Can I Make an Appointment?
You can schedule an appointment by phone, e-mail or in person. To schedule an appointment, please call (212)650-8222 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also stop by our office, in the Marshak Building Room J-15, to make an appointment.
When you contact the Counseling Center, you will be offered the next available appointment. If this is an emergency that affects your own or others’ safety and you need to be seen immediately, please let the front desk staff know so that they can make certain you have the opportunity to speak with the counselor on call.
Who Provides Services at the Counseling Center?
The Counseling Center is staffed by three full-time licensed clinical psychologists, three part-time staff members, psychology doctoral externs/fellows and a consulting psychiatrist (off-site). We are located in the Marshak Science Building, Room J-15 and the Counseling Center’s phone number is (212)650-8222.
Are there any Charges for Services?
There are no charges. Groups, workshops, individual counseling sessions, and consultations are all free of charge.
How Long Do Sessions Last?
Counseling sessions typically last 45-50 minutes. When you schedule your first appointment, you may be asked to arrive a few minutes early to provide some background information.
What Should I Do in an Emergency?
If you find yourself in an emergency situation that affects your own or others’ safety and would like to speak with a counselor, please feel free to stop by the Counseling Center anytime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Thursday.
In you are experiencing an emergency involving physical harm or a threat to life outside of Counseling Center business hours, call the CCNY Public Safety at (212) 650-7777 if you are on campus or, if you are off campus, call 911. If you are at the Towers, please contact the Resident Director on duty, by calling the residence hall front desk at (917) 507-0011.
What Will Happen when I First Arrive at the Counseling Center?
Upon arrival at Marshak J-15, you will be welcomed warmly by our front desk staff and asked to complete our electronic intake and confidentiality forms. These forms ask you to provide your contact information, general academic information, and mental health information. You are asked to provide this information so that your counselor can understand how you are feeling and the reason(s) why you have chosen to come to the Counseling Center. Included in this will also be a confidentiality form and a consent for services form, which you will need to read and sign electronically.
What Occurs during an Initial Session?
At your first appointment you will meet with a senior staff member who will explain informed consent, confidentiality, and general procedures at the Counseling Center. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about counseling. During the first meeting you will discuss your decision to seek counseling and provide relevant information about your background and history, which may be helpful in your treatment. At the conclusion of this meeting, you will discuss and create a plan to locate future support, which may include counseling at the CCNY Counseling Center or connecting with an off-campus mental health provider. If you would like to engage in counseling at our office, you will be assigned a counselor and you will be given a follow-up appointment(s).
What Happens in Individual Therapy?
You and your counselor will decide together what the focus of your work together should be. You may also set some specific goals and/or a timeline and schedule of meetings. During individual sessions, you'll talk about what is important to you at that moment. Your counselor can help you put your feelings and thoughts into words. Over time, we hope, the two of you will build a trusting and collaborative relationship.
Talking to someone who is not involved in any other part of your life and who is committed to helping you figure out what you want can help you understand things about your life and choices you may not have known before. Once you know yourself better and understand your situation more clearly, you are usually able to find creative solutions to problems and difficulties. Your counselor may have also direct advice, suggestions and information for you as you consider how to help yourself.
What Happens in Group Therapy?
In group therapy, four to eight students meet once a week with one or two group therapists. Group therapy is an opportunity to get help and to help others at the same time. Group members often learn that they are not alone in their experiences or feelings. Group is a great opportunity to practice new ways of being with others, of asserting yourself, or of taking a new role in a social situation. It is also a chance to give and receive feedback about interpersonal patterns of which you may not be fully aware. All groups at the Counseling Center are confidential.
What Are My Responsibilities in Counseling?
To make the most of your counseling experience, it is best to attend your scheduled sessions, talk about what is bothering you as openly and honestly as possible, and challenge yourself to explore new ways of meeting the challenges you face.
Can I Obtain or Renew Prescription Medication for Mental Health Concerns?
Counselors at the Counseling Center do not prescribe medication. However, they can put you in touch with quick, limited psychiatric services, which are available to students who are also engaged in counseling in our office.
Many medications work best in conjunction with psychotherapy, not instead of it, so many students who are prescribed medication by a psychiatrist are also encouraged to attend counseling. Psychiatric care, like ongoing psychotherapy and specialized services, are generally a student's private health care responsibility. A Counseling Center counselor can help you find a good psychiatrist and/or therapist in the NY area who is familiar with the concerns of students and will work with your insurance or on a sliding fee scale.
If you already have a prescription, don't wait until your prescription has almost run out to arrange for a refill. Think ahead. The first person to consider contacting for a refill is the health care provider who originally gave you the prescription. If that provider is not available, not acceptable to you, or is located outside of the NY area, you can contact the Counseling Center for a referral to a local provider. The Counseling Center staff will need to meet with you before being able to provide this referral. No responsible provider will refill your prescription without meeting with you for an initial evaluation, so you must leave enough time before your prescription runs out to connect with a new provider -- allow at least two to three weeks.
I Think My Friend Needs Help. How Do I Get Him/Her to Come in to See You?
It can be very difficult for you when someone you care about is in pain. You might find yourself feeling helpless, frightened, frustrated, or angry. You can't make your friend seek help if they don't want to or don't feel they need it, but here are some things you might offer them as a friend:
- Let your friend know, in a private setting, that you are concerned. Suggest that he or she makes an appointment with a counselor to see if we can be of help. Try to phrase your communications in "I" language, rather than "you" language: for example, "I care about you and I am distressed when I see you hurting" rather than "You are in trouble and you need help."
- Offer to sit with your friend while he/she calls for an appointment.
- Offer to accompany your friend to their first appointment, and either wait in the waiting area or go in to the appointment with him/her.
- Invite your friend to look at the Counseling Center website with you if you see something here that might be of interest to him or her -- for example, the descriptions of services, the information about confidentiality, etc.
Come in to the Counseling Center yourself and talk with a counselor about your worries about your friend. You do not have to disclose to the counselor your friend's name if you think it might upset them. By coming in yourself, you will be showing your friend how to seek out consultation and support, and making it more possible for them to do the same.
What Happens after I Have Used All My Allotted Sessions at the Counseling Center?
At the end of the sessions allotted to you at the CCNY Counseling Center, you may agree with your counselor that you have reached your personal goals for counseling and end sessions. If you would like to continue services beyond the allotted sessions, your counselor will help you connect with off-campus psychotherapy referrals.