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Counseling Center
Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in setting up counseling - what do I do?

You can call The Counseling Center at (315) 470-4716, email us at or stop into our office at 110A Bray Hall between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you are in crisis and need to speak to someone immediately, please call (315) 470-4716 to speak with a counselor. This line is answered 24/7/365. 

I am concerned about my son/daughter/student, can you call him/her/them

Counseling is a voluntary service available to students who choose to seek it. We encourage you to refer your student to us, and we are happy to consult to provide you general information about resources available to your student. However, in an emergency situation, please call University Police at (315) 470-6666 or (315) 470-6667 to request a wellness-check.

How can I get help for a friend?

If you are concerned about a friend, please let them know about The Counseling Center. It is best if they make their own appointment and choose to seek counseling without pressure to do so. If you continue to feel concerned, and they choose not to seek counseling, feel free to call us at 315-470-4716 or email us  at to consult about how to best proceed.

How long are counseling appointments?

Most counseling appointments are 45 minutes long. Crisis appointments are not typical counseling and instead are focused on getting you back to baseline, they are typically 20 minutes long.

Are there limits on the number of counseling sessions allowed?

There is no set limit of counseling sessions allowed. ESF Counseling Center provides short-term solution-focused counseling and is available for all students. The average number of sessions students typically use is about 3-4, but this varies from student to student. For students who want or need longer-term services, we will assist them to find low-cost services. It is important to us that all students receive the mental health services they need; we will work with students until they are able to secure appropriate care.

Does counseling really help?

Yes, counseling has been shown to help people have improved communication and interpersonal skills, greater self-acceptance and self-esteem, better expression and management of emotions, and relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions.  

What crisis services are there?

Please call 315-470-4716 if you are in crisis and need to speak to a counselor during business or after hours. After hours and on weekends and holidays, our phone line is transferred to a crisis intervention phone service where you can talk to a trained counselor. Counseling Services has crisis/walk-in hours M-F from 10am-11am and from 2pm-3pm and is very responsive to students in immediate need of help. A crisis appointment is not a typical therapy appointment, the focus is to aid students in returning to their baseline functioning.

What if I need medication?

ESF Counselors do not prescribe medication, but they can assist you in obtaining medication from an outside provider.  ESF has a partnership with SUNY Upstate Psychiatry to provide remote telepsychiatry evaluations, followed by medication management if needed.  These services are free, the only cost students have is if they are prescribed medication. Please call us at 315-470-4716 to set this up. 

Why get counseling?

Why not?! Making the transition to college life presents with many challenges. Counseling is free, confidential and a safe place to process.  Students can come into counseling for any reason, good or bad, big or small. 

Can my friend come with me for my first counseling session?

We are so happy you have the support, we understand that starting therapy can be hard and it's ok to have a friend with you to make it easier. Your confidentiality is important to us so we ask friends to wait in the waiting room during the session in order to give you a chance to talk with your counselor.

Can anyone (like my parents, guardian, professor, or an employer) find out I've been in counseling?

No. Counseling information is not shared with anyone inside or outside the College without your permission. Your instructors, advisors, residence hall staff, parents or future employers do not have access to this information. Your counseling file does not become part of your academic record.
If you would like us to communicate with a someone else about your counseling, you would sign a Release of Information.
In order to keep people safe, confidentiality has a few exceptions:

  • If you want to hurt yourself
  • If you want to hurt someone
  • A minor is in danger

Do you do couples counseling?

Yes, we do couples counseling if both students are registered at ESF. 

Do you provide diagnoses?

While all of our clinical staff are able to diagnose, professionally trained and licensed therapists, we refer students to off-campus services if a diagnosis needs to be made.

Community Standards required that I see a counselor to complete a sanction. What can I expect?

You will meet with a counselor to complete a general assessment of your wellness, as well as discuss decision-making and support services available to you.

The Dean for Students is mandating contact with The Counseling Center after I was hospitalized for mental health concerns. What can I expect?

ESF is focused on your safety and wanting to assist you in any way we can. You will meet with a counselor for a general assessment of your wellness and create a safety plan to ensure that you are aware of all of the resources available to you. It is important you reach out in a timely manner as to ensure you have the support you need. 

Will you provide a letter to support a late course withdrawal or College withdrawal?

Assistant Dean, Renée McNamara, will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss all of your options regarding withdrawing, incompletes, and transfers. She can be reached at (315) 470-6660.