What to expect at Counselling Services

Counsellor and student talking

Deciding to seek help for your mental health can be a tough decision. Oftentimes the fear of not knowing what will happen when you go for help can be enough to deter some people from going at all. We’ve put together this blog post to help you understand what you can expect when you come to visit us.

Everything is confidential

One important thing to know is that your participation in our services is confidential. Visits to our offices are not recorded on your transcripts and we do not share that you have visited us with anyone unless we are required to do so by law in the case of a safety risk or legal matter. What you share with us is treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect.

Your first visit

The first step to making an appointment is to come to our office in Needles Hall North and have an intake appointment. You will complete forms and a questionnaire to help us understand your reasons for seeking an appointment. You’ll then meet, or be scheduled an appointment, with one of our intake specialists who are qualified mental health professionals who will interview you to determine the severity of your concerns.

If you are in immediate danger of self-harm, harming others, or other crisis that requires rapid attention, you will be scheduled with an emergency or urgent appointment. Concerns that don’t meet an emergency or urgent criteria might have a longer wait period in order to accommodate the need for others to be seen in emergency and urgent appointments.

The intake specialist determines your triage level by listening to the words you are using in the interview, so it is important to be as detailed as possible during the interview to provide us with an accurate assessment of your situation. The intake specialist will help you develop a wellness plan. 

Your wellness plan may include workshops, group therapy, coping skills seminars, psychological assessment, meeting with our MATES peer support volunteers, and the plan may also include individual psychotherapy. 

Follow up appointments

If your wellness plan includes an individual appointment with a counsellor, then the appointment will be booked for you.

During your 50-minute appointment, you and your counsellor will work together to determine the best approach for you. This could include cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness exercises, and many other approaches that will be tailored for your situation.

Important: If you are waiting for your follow-up appointment and you feel your situation has changed or worsened, please come back to Counselling Services and let us know. A note about waitlists: We know it can be disappointing to hear an appointment might not be available for you immediately. We work like a hospital and we need to triage people according to the severity of concerns that are brought to us. This does not mean that your concerns are not important and we look forward to working with you as soon as we are able.

Summary

You are not weak or a failure for being seeking help. It is a sign of great courage to reach out when you need it. Everyone needs help at some point in their lives, so well done for recognizing that. If you are interested in finding out more about Counselling Services please stop by our offices in Needles Hall North on the Second Floor.

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