The Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) is a good place to get help and support if you’re dealing with a stressful situation, especially if it’s something that you might not feel comfortable talking about with friends, family members, or other supports. You are welcome to talk with someone at the Counseling Center whether it’s about a life-changing event or simply a worrisome one. CPG also can be a good resource if you’re worried about a friend and want advice from an experienced professional about how you can best help them.
No. Sometimes students in college find life difficult and overwhelming. A great many life stressors contribute to these feelings, such as academic stress, scheduling and time management, illness or injury, and devastating life events such as abuse, death, or a relationship breakup. Internal factors also can impact a person’s well-being, including issues around self-esteem, body image, or feeling different or isolated from other people. Regardless of “why,” many people experience times in life when events become overwhelming, and seeking support during those times does not mean something is wrong with you.
Students sit down with a counselor to look at their situation and decide together where the problem lies and what is needed. Your counselor will listen and prompt you to clarify your own thinking, rather than deciding what’s best for you or giving advice. The counselor will ask you guiding questions and also make suggestions and recommendations about what course of therapy might be the most helpful for you.
Ordinarily, students will see a counselor for a 45- to 50-minute appointment.
Because of the very high demand for counseling services, CPG had instituted limits in the past (six sessions per semester). However, we realized that counseling is not a “one size fits all” kind of service. Some students present with issues that can be quickly improved, and some may take more time. Therefore, this year we have eliminated the session limit policy. Instead, CPG will offer the appropriate amount of treatment that a student clinically needs. However, if your needs indicate that you need to be seen frequently for a longer period of time, or you need more specialized treatment, we will be happy to help connect you with a therapist in the community.
The Counseling Center is a confidential resource and a counselor would only talk to a University dean or parent if a student makes a request, or if there was an imminent risk of serious injury or violence. No other campus office has knowledge of a student’s visits to the Counseling Center without his or her explicit permission.
No. Because counseling records are confidential, they are not shared with the University. Also, students’ Counseling Center records are destroyed seven years after graduation.
If you are in need of psychiatric medication, CPG offers a limited amount of psychiatric care for the Clark community. Because the demand for these appointments is very high, CPG offers medication appointments with a psychiatrist for assessment and stabilization of symptoms. Once a student’s mental health symptoms are stabilized with medication, they are referred either to a physician at Clark University Health Services or a psychiatrist in the community for continued medication management.
Because psychiatric resources are very limited at CPG and in the Worcester community, we urge you to keep your mental health prescriber (or pediatrician/primary care physician) from home. Many students currently do this, and follow-up appointments can be easily scheduled during school breaks. However, if it’s not possible to keep your mental health prescriber from home, we recommend that you contact a Worcester-area mental health clinic to arrange an initial appointment. A list of specific mental health clinics in the Worcester area can be found on our Off-Campus Mental Health Resources page.
We want you to have a successful experience at CPG. If you don’t feel comfortable with your assigned counselor, please let us know. Ideally, this would be a concern that you can actually discuss with your counselor. However, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, please communicate this with the CPG Director , and we will try to work out a different arrangement for you.
It can be very difficult when someone you care about is in pain, but remember that it is very hard to make a person seek help if they don’t want to or don’t feel they need it. Counseling with an unwilling client is usually not very effective. Here are some ideas that might help:
- Let your friend know that you are concerned. Suggest that they make an appointment with a counselor to see if we can be of help. Try to phrase the communication using “I,” rather than “you,” language — e.g., “I care about you and I am sad to see you hurting,” rather than “You are in trouble and need help.”
- Offer to be with your friend while they request an appointment.
- Offer to accompany your friend to their first appointment. You may wait in the waiting area to be available when they finish.
- Come to the counseling center yourself and talk with a counselor about your worries about your friend. You will not need to tell the counselor your friend’s name, and you do not even need to let your friend know you came in. The counselor may be able to offer you suggestions about how to interact more effectively with this friend, as well as to manage your own feelings about the situation.
- Check out our online mental health resources and see if there is any information you can share with your friend.
Even though we clearly understand that you may be going through a difficult time, we encourage you to discuss these matters with your professor yourself. If your professor expresses that you need a medical note, we will ask for you to sign a Release of Information form, and we will sign a Certificate of Health form indicating that you attended a session with CPG. We will not divulge any other personal or health information to your professor.