Procedures | Counseling Services | ESF Students
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Counseling Procedures  

How To Begin Counseling:

  • For students seeking Counseling Services, please call (315) 470-6660. You will be asked several questions to determine the type of appointment you are needing and which counselor will be a better fit for you and your identifying issues. There are 3 levels of appointments:
  • Standard appointments are for recent or ongoing issues for which Uyou want to begin counseling services
  • Urgent (you will be seen within the business day) Urgent appointments are for suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts WITHOUT immediate threat to self or others, a recent sexual/physical assault, or a recent death of a loved one.
  • Crisis (you will be seen as soon as possible) Crisis appointments are for immediate risk for suicide, or if a suicide attempt has been made.
  • After the initial phone call, you will receive 2 forms to complete, sign, save, and return. One form allows us to provide Telehealth (Video) Counseling during Covid-19. The second form is our Client Intake Packet which asks for basic demographic information and contains assessments for Depression, Anxiety, Alcohol and Marijuana Use, and Eating Disorders/Body Image issues. If you have difficulty completing these forms, please contact the Office Assistants at Lauren Becksted lebeckst@esf.edu or Megan Thurston mthurston@esf.edu.
  • During the first counseling session, your counselor will go over the Client Intake Packet you completed to ask any clarifying questions and will ask you specific questions gathering history on your family, your early development, academics, health, trauma, and to ask safety questions. Our goal is to have a client leave their first session with some information/skills to take with them. It is important to note that rarely are situations resolved after a single counseling appointment.

What to Expect During Counseling:

  • Working with your counselor, you, hopefully, will be able to process the issues that are bothering you, identify and improve patterns in your life, and in your communications and boundaries with others, you will develop improved coping skills and learn better ways to manage your thoughts, moods, and actions, improve self-esteem and self-worth, and develop positive self-care routines. Your counselor will work with you to develop goals you wish to accomplish in counseling. In order to best use your limited counseling sessions, be sure to mentally prepare yourself by having things you want to discuss and process in session, and understand you may be given meaningful homework assignments to do between sessions.

Standard Operating Procedure

  • Canceling Appointments. Office Assistants will send reminder emails to clients, typically the day before the session. Monday appointments are sent reminders on Fridays. Clients are responsible for making and keeping appointments. If you must miss an appointment, it is imperative that you contact the counselor and/or an Office Assistant more than 24 hours before the appointment time. If you don't give 24 hours' notice, this is considered a "Late Cancel" and is indicated in your file. If you are late to cancel 3 appointments, your file may be closed as Counseling Services was left with 3 hours that could not be filled by another client. If you are unable to reschedule at the time of the cancellation, your counselor will try to reach out to you twice within a month.
  • No-Showing Appointments. This should be avoided at all costs as it considered disrespectful to the counselor and other students who are also trying to receive counseling services. If a client fails to show for an appointment, it is a "No-Show". Your counselor will document in your file, and reach out to you immediately that day and then, again, within a month to ascertain whether you would like to continue with counseling or if you need to take a break. If you No-Show to 3 appointments, your file may be closed due to inactivity.
  • Conflicts of Interest. If a counselor is currently seeing Client A and another client enters Counseling, and Client B has had difficulties (relationship, abuse/assault, breakup, other issues) with Client A, Counseling Services will work closely with the Office Assistants to ensure that the clients are not scheduled with the same counselor, and are not in the waiting area at the same time for appointments. If it is discovered that there is a Conflict of Interest after both clients have started counseling with the same counselor, Counseling Services with consult to determine the best avenue forward for both clients while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Referrals. Any client, who needs or wants longer term care than what ESF Counseling Services can provide, will work with their counselor to find appropriate referrals to counselors out in the community. Clients may remain with their ESF Counselor until they are established with their off-campus provider. It is often beneficial to sign a Release of Information so the 2 counselors can communicate with each other for the most successful continuation of care. After a referral is given, your ESF counselor will reach out to you twice within a semester to see if that referral is a good fit.
  • Switching Counselors. It is important to feel connected to your counselor and to feel it is a good fit. Not every counselor fits with every client. If you find that you are not fitting well with your counselor, please know that you may change counselors. Counselors do NOT take this personally and want you to get the most out of your counseling experience. In order to request a new counselor, all you need to do is ask one of the Office Assistants to schedule you with another counselor. Your new counselor will have access to your file and you can start where you left off. Counseling Services will try to make the switch seamless for clients.
  • Grievances. ESF Counseling Services works hard to ensure that we are able to offer quality, timely, effective counseling to our students. If you are unhappy with your counselor, or unhappy with something they did or said, please speak up to your counselor. Counseling is the safe place that you can practice your assertiveness skills. Talk with your counselor about your concerns. If you do not feel resolved after this interaction, please contact the Director of Counseling Services to express your concerns. If we are unaware of an issue, we can’t fix it. If your concern is about the Director of Counseling Services, or if you feel unresolved after speaking with the Director, you are encouraged to speak with Dean Anne Lombard. Your concerns will be taken seriously and every effort will be made to resolve the situation.
  • At the end of every semester, Counseling Services sends out a Client Satisfaction Survey to everyone who received services during the semester. This information is helpful to us and we request everyone respond.

Counseling Services Links

Location and Hours

110A Bray Hall
Monday-Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Call 315-470-6660 to schedule/change an appointment.

Call 315-470-4716 to make an appointment for non-crisis related issues, or stop in.

Ruth A. Larson may be contacted at rlarson@esf.edu

Maggie McCurdy may be reached at mcmccurd@esf.edu

Crisis Help

  • If you are having a mental health crisis and want to speak to a counselor after hours: 315-470-4716.
  • If you are having a mental health crisis 8am-4:30pm, please call: 315-470-6660 to get scheduled during our crisis hours at 10am or 2pm.
  • If you need to reach University Police for an urgent matter, call 315-470-6666 or 315-470-6667.
  • If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.