The Catholic University of America

What to Expect

Where to Find Us

The Counseling Center is located on the first floor of O'Boyle Hall. The waiting room is located in 127 O'Boyle. Make a right when you enter the building's front entrance, and Room 127 is the first door on the right. 

 

First Contact

When you call or come to the Counseling Center to arrange an appointment, the receptionist will work to find the first available appointment that matches your schedule. If you are in need of immediate help for a crisis situation, please tell the receptionist, and you will be seen as soon as possible.

 

First Appointment

For your first appointment, called an intake appointment, you will check in with the receptionist and fill out several short forms. These forms ask questions such as your name, address, year at CUA, and other demographic information. In addition, they ask what concerns brought you to the Counseling Center and ask you to review a list of symptoms and experiences you may or may not be having.

 

After you fill out the forms, a counselor will come to the waiting room to greet you and take you to his or her office. This appointment is typically used to gather information about you and what brought you to the Counseling Center. The intake counselor is likely to ask you to describe what prompted you to come for counseling, as well as other questions that may help him or her better understand who you are and how the Counseling Center can best help you. The intake counselor's primary job is to get information from you to help him or her determine which counselors at the Center are best suited to work with you or whether your needs would be better met by a clinician or agency outside of CUA. It is common to feel a little nervous and self-conscious during your intake appointment. In fact, it may be helpful to share these feelings with the intake counselor.

 

If your intake counselor recommends off-campus therapy services, you will be offered one to two follow-up appointments to assist you with the referral. This is an opportunity to discuss how to contact off-campus providers and how to use insurance, as well as address any questions you have about the referral process.

If your intake counselor has recommended individual therapy within the Counseling Center, an administrative support staff member will then contact you to schedule your first counseling appointment with your assigned counselor. You will meet with your individual therapist for a 50-minute session each week. Your appointment will be at the same time each week and will begin 10 minutes after the hour and end on the hour.

If you are recommended to participate in group therapy, your intake counselor will help you schedule a pre-screen session to learn more about the therapy group. Once the therapy group starts for the semester, you will meet with your group for weekly sessions.

 

Getting Started in Counseling at the Counseling Center

Early in counseling, you will work on establishing goals for counseling. Students may choose to engage in a limited number of individual sessions each school year, based on their concerns or goals. The counseling needs of students vary; you and your counselor will collaborate in making the best plan to meet your needs or to reach your goals. 

 

The time you spend in counseling will consist of talking about your concerns. There is likely to be some balance between talking about your present-day experiences and adjustments and discussing the past experiences or situations in your life that may have contributed to the problems you currently face. The exact focus and balance of your counseling experience will depend on the issues you bring into therapy, your counselor's perspective, and the preferences you voice over the course of counseling. 

 

Successful counseling can be expected to have ups and downs. Sometimes you may feel you are making rapid progress; at other times you may feel stuck. You can make important contributions to ensure the success of your counseling. Counseling is most helpful when you are willing to change and willing to be open and honest about your feelings. In counseling, the more you share your thoughts and feelings about yourself, your problems, and the counseling process itself, the more you are likely to benefit. It is also important to attend all scheduled sessions, give some forethought as to what you want to discuss during each session and apply things you've spoken about in counseling to your life throughout the week. Coming to the Counseling Center often marks a student's first experience in counseling. As a result, your counselor will expect you to have questions about the counseling process and will be happy to answer them. 

 

Counseling Center Therapists

Counseling Center therapists will help provide a safe place for you to express your thoughts and feelings and for you to work toward resolving your problems. It will be mostly your responsibility to determine the content that is discussed during your sessions. Your counselor will listen as you discuss your concerns and experiences, and will try to understand things from your point of view. While counselors are unlikely to give you direct advice, your counselor will help you explore alternative points of view and choices you have to make. Your counselor may also clarify the connections between your immediate concerns and the complexities of your personality and personal history.