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 receptionists are located in 127 O'Boyle. Take a right when you enter O'Boyle, and the receptionists are located through the first door on the right.

What to expect when you call or come to the Counseling Center to arrange an appointment:

When you arrive at or call the Counseling Center, you will first talk with a receptionist. The receptionist will work to find the first available appointment that matches your schedule. If you are in need of immediate help, please tell the receptionist and you will be seen as soon as possible.

What to expect when you come for your first (intake) appointment:

After you check in with the receptionist, you will 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 be called and will come to the waiting room to greet you and take you to his or her office. This appointment is called an "intake" and 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, in some cases, 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.

After your intake, the Counseling Center will contact you to schedule your first counseling appointment with your assigned counselor. Typically, you will meet with your counselor for a 50-minute session each week. Your appointment will generally be at the same time each week and will begin 10 minutes after the hour and end on the hour. At the end of the appointment, your counselor will escort you to the reception area to arrange your next appointment.

Getting started in counseling: 

During an early visit with your counselor, 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 pleased to answer them. 

What to expect from Counseling Center counselors: 

Counseling Center counselors 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.