Counseling FAQ

The Counseling & Wellness Center can schedule informal consultations for those who wish to "just talk to someone." It is not uncommon, especially during these stressful times, for people to just need a listening ear. This free and confidential service is available to students who would rather talk to someone sooner than later, and who don't necessarily want a "formal" counseling appointment.



Counseling is a collaborative effort between a counselor and a client. According to the American Counseling Association, "Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health."

Every day, some form of counseling makes a difference in the lives of individuals around the world. Counseling can be beneficial in many instances. For example, counseling can help when a person is making a life-changing decision and needs assistance in putting things in perspective, or when a person needs help with improving or developing life skills.

The counseling is your best choice if you are seeking information and/or counseling for personal issues that are not primarily about your academic or career choices. Other advising services are available for information on those topics.
Examples of personal issues may include:

  • Relationship issues
  • Family problems
  • Depression, including grief
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance Use
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management

Almost anyone will benefit from having a skilled listener who is both compassionate and nonjudgmental to assist us in dealing with a problem. You may have already turned to a friend, family member or member of the clergy, but if you feel you are struggling, then you would benefit from the services of a professional counselor. Some considerations in deciding to seek professional counseling include:

  • You want the privacy and confidentiality guaranteed in a professional relationship with a counselor.
  • Your problem seems to be either not going away or getting worse.
  • You are away from the people you would normally turn to.
  • You are suggested to see us by a physician, professor, friend or family member.
  • You are experiencing symptoms (like anxiety or depression) that are interfering with your ability to function normally.
  • You are experiencing a recurrence of a previous condition or problem.
  • You want help in order to find appropriate community medical/counseling help.

The Counseling and Student Development Department offers students an opportunity to discuss whatever personal concerns they might have in a confidential and non-judgmental setting. Students experiencing difficulties often benefit from individual sessions with a therapist. If a student needs services that the department is unable to provide, that student will be referred to other resources. If a student prefers a referral to a community provider,  your counselor will work with you and your insurance company to locate a referral source in the community for you.

Counseling & Wellness Center services are provided at no additional charge to all Central students, including part-time students.

If a referral is required to another agency or a professional where there is a fee, the counselor will work closely with you to ascertain the coverage offered by your insurance benefits for mental health treatment.

All the counselors have a minimum post-graduate degree at the master's or doctorate level in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or other related disciplines. Staff are additionally licensed in the State of Connecticut as independent practitioners in their respective discipline. To get and maintain these credentials, counselors must adhere to a strict code of ethics, serve in clinical internships, have their clinical practice supervised, pass comprehensive exams in their field and participate in ongoing professional education to keep their practice current. In addition to our, staff, we also provide training opportunities for graduate level interns and practicum students who work under the supervision of one of our licensed counselors.

Call the Student Wellness Center at 860.832.1926 or stop by Willard-DiLoreto Complex, 1st Floor to make an appointment. Appointments are available Monday through Friday  between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Every effort is made to work with each student's schedule and to ensure that an appointment is provided within five working days.

Please visit our What to Expect: Your First Visit page for more information.

Cancellations are required 24 hours in advance. Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you by your counselor and is part of his or her professional commitment to help you. It is extremely important that you arrive for appointments on time and ready to begin. Please arrive 15 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out paperwork.

You will be asked to come about 15 minutes early for your first appointment in order to fill out a basic informational form. You can download and fill out the Personal Data Sheet  to help expediate this process. In the waiting area, you will fill out a brief personal history form which you will give to the counselor. The counselor will then take you to his or her office to meet with you for approximately fifty minutes to one hour.

During the first meeting with a counselor, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling.

The counselor's goal in the first meeting is to listen and understand why you are seeking counseling, what you are hoping to accomplish and what is the best way to help resolve your concerns. That may mean weekly sessions with the counselor to work on specific goals over a specified period of time. Referral to an off-campus professional for additional evaluation is sometimes suggested as well as referral to other on-campus services when needed. Some students are able to resolve concerns in just one or two sessions; others may require more time or referral to more intensive treatment services off-campus.

The Student Wellness Center is not staffed on a seven day a week, twenty-four hour a day basis and therefore cannot operate as an emergency service. We operate on a scheduled appointment basis and have a responsibility to protect the time of those clients who are coming in for appointments. However, if someone comes to us in crisis during office hours, we make every effort to have the student seen immediately or that same day, in order to assess the situation and ensure immediate safety concerns are addressed.

In rare cases where an immediate medical/psychiatric emergency exists, we access the services of New Britain General Hospital's Emergency Service.

In any mental health emergency, always call 911.

There are several reasons why you may not feel completely comfortable in the initial process despite the counselor's efforts to put you at ease. It may be new and awkward for you to discuss intensely personal concerns with someone you've just met. Your counselor may be of a different gender or racial background or age, causing you to wonder if he, she or they can truly empathize with you. This is not unusual and reasons may vary.

Remember that your counselor expects that these issues may be of concern to you and will be very receptive to you raising them in session. This discussion usually resolves discomfort for a student. However, if it does not, it is possible to change your counselor.

All counselors at the Student Wellness Center are ethically and legally obligated to protect every client's right to privacy. Mental health records are strictly confidential and maintained in compliance with federal and Connecticut state laws, and the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA). Information about clients cannot be shared beyond the Student Wellness Center’s clinical team without the written authorization to release information.

Your counselor is legally and ethically bound to maintain your confidentiality. The office does not divulge any information about you to anyone on or off campus, including that you attended services, without your specific written permission. The only exception to this would occur if you reveal information that indicates that you, or someone else, is in immediate danger due to a safety concern. Your counselor can discuss this further with you.

Individual case records are maintained by counselors in an electronic health record (EHR). These records are secured  and can only be viewed by the professional counselors in the department on a need to know basis, as well as the department’s director and associate director.

The Counseling and Student Development Department has started to offer counseling on-line through a secure network system. The sessions are conducted through the use of a computer and maintain confidentiality standards consistent with face to face counseling.  There may be some limitation regarding on-line counseling based for students who live out of state.

We cannot guarantee that your e-mail will remain confidential. We will do our best to keep your communications private. However, our university administration, like many other employers, reserves the right to monitor our e-mail usage and might therefore see the text of your message. If you are in any way concerned about the contents of your e-mail being read by someone other than the person you are contacting, you should consider alternate ways of contacting us.

It is important to note that  e-mail is not always secure and therefore not an appropriate medium for communicating with a counselor about personal issues or concerns.  Therefore, please refrain from communicating with your counselor via email.   While we try to check our e-mail regularly, you have no way of knowing if one of us is unavailable due to illness, vacation, or other reasons, or if there are problems with the network itself. This means that your message may not be received immediately.  Please call your counselor’s office phone or our office at 860.832.1927 if you need to leave a message for your counselor.

We have a wealth of self-help handouts, brochures, and flyers on topics related to various counseling issues and much more on this website. Much of this material is on-line where you can browse through information on a broad range of topics, and print or download what you want for your own use. Self-assessments are available for educational and informational use only and are not meant to be a replacement for proper mental health care or diagnosis. If you find yourself concerned about the results of the self-assessments, print them out and bring them with you to your appointment with your counselor.

Central's Student Wellness Center is not responsible for any misinformation that may appear in external links.