Counseling Center

FAQs

What is the Counseling Center and who is eligible for services?

The Counseling Center is a mental health resource where currently enrolled students can receive assistance with adjustment issues, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, and a variety of other challenges. The Counseling Center is staffed by psychologists and mental health counselors who provide developmentally-based counseling, assessment, and crisis intervention services. Learn more about our services.

Students currently enrolled in tuition-based, degree seeking programs at the UW Seattle campus are generally eligible for services at the Counseling Center. Because the Counseling Center is funded through tuition and the Services and Activities Fee (SAF), students outside this central funding structure are not eligible for ongoing services. These students are welcome to call us to request assistance with referrals to resources in the local community.

We do not provide online or telephone counseling; students enrolled in online degree programs who are not located in the Seattle area are encouraged to call to request assistance with referrals to resources in their local community.

If your concerns are urgent, please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.


How can therapy help?

Your therapist will work with you to identify your personal goals for counseling and then tailor counseling to you and your goals. You can expect that your therapist will listen closely to understand your experience and then find ways to assist you in moving towards your goals. Therapy is a personalized experience, so how it helps differs from person to person. It will often involve things such as getting a different perspective on your experiences, exploring and discovering things about yourself, making changes in unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving, processing difficult experiences, and learning healthy coping tools.


How do I sign up for counseling?

If you are interested in counseling, please call 206-543-1240 or stop by 401 Schmitz Hall to make an appointment for an intake.


What is an intake? What happens when I come in for one?

An intake is time for you to meet with a counselor to determine if the UWCC is the best service to address your needs. Once you have scheduled an intake, you will arrive at least 20-30 minutes before the intake to complete paperwork. This information is reviewed by a counselor before the appointment, to ensure that we have an accurate, initial first impression regarding your needs. The intake counselor will spend approximately 45 minutes discussing your concerns with you. At the end of the appointment, the intake counselor will discuss next steps in regard to recommending services that may be a good fit for you. If UWCC cannot offer the services that best fit your needs, the intake counselor will work with you to get you connected to a more appropriate resource.


Why is the wait sometimes 2-3 weeks to meet with a counselor for an intake?

The UWCC does not charge for the majority of our services. While this provides a great service to our UW students, it also means that many people seek our services, especially during peak times in the quarter. In most healthcare settings, waiting 2-3 weeks for an appointment is fairly common. Please know that we are doing the best we can to meet the demand we have without compromising the quality of the services that we provide.


Does the Counseling Center offer drop-in counseling?

At this time, the Counseling Center does not offer drop-in counseling. However, we do offer same-day intake appointments. These appointments are available for scheduling starting at 8:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for appointment times that afternoon. There are only a limited number of same-day intakes available; therefore, we recommend that you call promptly at 8:30 a.m. to increase your chances of scheduling one of these appointments. We offer same-day intakes during the regular school year only; they are unavailable during breaks or summer quarter.


What if I am in crisis? Do you offer crisis services?

We do have a Counselor-On-Duty available during the times we are open (M, W, Th, and F from 9am-4:30pm and T from 9:30am-4:30pm) who can briefly meet with students who are in crisis (i.e. experiencing suicidality, having difficulties functioning, etc.). Please note that you will need to complete paperwork and there may be a wait if the Counselor-on-Duty is meeting with another student.


If I receive counseling at the Center, can anyone find out about it?

The counseling process is confidential, which means that we cannot release any information about you except under certain legally prescribed conditions. If you have concerns or questions about confidentiality, please discuss them with your intake counselor.


What does the short-term model mean?

The UWCC does not have session limits; however, we are within the range for counseling centers nationally, which averages 4-6 sessions. We do not charge for our services, which usually means that there is a high demand for them. In effort to meet the demand and see as many students as we can, we collaboratively work with students to ascertain if 4-6 sessions would be sufficient to have a positive therapeutic benefit based upon their presenting concerns.


My friend and I were both seen at the UWCC but she received more sessions than I did! Why?

Each person who is seen at UWCC has an individualized treatment plan. Due to our respect for client confidentiality, we cannot share the reasons why you may have been seen for fewer or more sessions than someone else. However, please know that we are doing our best to meet our students’ needs based upon their presenting concerns, resources and fit with the services we can provide.


Why was I referred to a community provider?

Our counselors are trained to assess the level of care that you need based upon your presenting concerns. Given that the UWCC operates under a short term model (on average between 4-6 sessions), you may have needs in which this would not be a good fit. Your counselor will work with you to help you connect to more appropriate resources if needed.


How is therapy different than talking to my friends?

Talking with friends is a great way to get support, but it’s not the same as talking to a counselor. Counselors are professionals with specialized training in helping people who are encountering difficulties in their lives. They can also provide an “outside”, objective perspective that is different than what your friends can provide. Also, sometimes people worry that if they talk with their friends about their problems that they will be a downer or that their friends will treat them differently. Since a counselor is a professional whose job it is to help you, hopefully you will feel more comfortable being open about your problems, which will make it easier to get effective help.


Who will my counselor be?

Our licensed staff includes psychologists and masters-level counselors who offer a broad range of interests, approaches, backgrounds, and perspectives, though they function primarily as generalists.

Within our role as a training facility at the University of Washington, we also have doctoral interns and practicum counselors who work under the supervision of the training staff. Your intake counselor will work with you to arrange an appropriate match if you will be returning to the Center for additional sessions. Read more about our staff.


Why do some of the counselors at UWCC record their sessions?

Some of our counselors are in the final stages of their graduate doctoral programs—therefore, despite having years of counseling experience they are not yet licensed and need to record their sessions. These sessions are only reviewed internally and with a supervisor—furthermore, they are erased regularly.


How much do the counseling sessions cost?

There is no charge for counseling; there is a fee (payable in cash or check) for some career services.


Can I receive a text reminder for my appointment?

At this time, UWCC makes reminder calls the day before intake appointments. We are in the process of reviewing other systems that would allow for us to send a reminder text message that you have an intake appointment.


Can I get a letter for a hardship withdrawal (or for DRS, etc.)?

Providing letters of documentation is a service that must occur within the context of an on-going therapeutic relationship. UWCC does not provide letters based solely on an intake/initial visit. On rare occasions, a UWCC clinician may provide a letter for an ongoing client; this decision depends on the nature of the letter you are requesting, the time frame of therapy and of concerns relevant to the letter, and your counselor’s professional opinion. There are some types of letters that are outside the scope of our services, including disability or accommodation assessments (DRS letters), and letters related to service or support animals.


Does the Counseling Center offer career counseling?

Our counselors can provide culturally informed individual counseling to help you decide and clarify your academic and career goals. Our services include on-line career assessments, in-person individual or group workshop interpretation, as well as exploration of your interests, values, and motivation. Visit our Career Exploration page to learn more about career counseling.


Does the Counseling Center offer help with study skills?

Students may schedule individual counseling sessions (after attending an intake) to address issues such as procrastination, test anxiety, and time management difficulties.

If you are seeking help with tutoring, please refer to the following UW resources:


Does the Counseling Center offer any special programs for campus groups?

Counseling Center staff members are available to meet with student groups and faculty or staff members to deliver outreach presentations on a wide variety of topics. Please contact the Counseling Center with outreach requests at least two weeks in advance. If your requested outreach will occur outside of business hours, please let us know three weeks in advance. Our staff’s calendars are often full weeks in advance, so the more notice we have, the better we are able to be present and well prepared at the time that works for you. This is especially true of after-hours outreaches which often require staff to make changes to their personal schedules and child care arrangements.

The Counseling Center also realizes that urgent outreach needs sometimes arise (e.g., debriefing in response to the death of a student or other tragedy); in these cases, please contact us and we will likely be able to respond promptly.

Past presentation topics have included the following:

  • Relationship enhancement
  • Eating and body image concerns
  • Assertiveness skills
  • Appreciating differences
  • Stress management
  • Sexual assault
  • Coping with seasonal depression
  • Overview of Counseling Center services
  • Life transitions