Counseling FAQs

Where are you located?   

Counseling and health services is located on the first floor of the Ellison Campus Center on North Campus.

How do I make an appointment?  

You can make an appointment in person by coming into counseling and health services or by calling 978.542.6410 (ext. 6410 on campus).

Who will I meet with?  

We have a highly skilled staff of psychologists, mental health clinicians, graduate level interns, and postdoctoral fellows. You will be scheduled for an intake with a clinician whose availability best matches yours.

What if I can’t make my scheduled appointment?  

If you realize you cannot make your scheduled appointment, please call counseling and health services as soon as possible to let us know. Please try to give 24 hours notice so that the appointment time can be open for another student.

What can I expect at the first appointment?  

We ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out some paperwork that will help us more effectively help you. You will then meet with one of our staff clinicians for 45-50 minutes for an initial assessment. During the initial meeting, the clinician will ask you some questions in order to begin to get to know you. The primary purpose of this first meeting is to understand what brings you into counseling at this time and to begin to determine what would best meet your needs. This process may take one to three sessions.

What happens next?  

In the first one to three sessions, you and your counselor will discuss how to proceed based on your concerns, your needs, and your goals. Some students find that the initial conversation with a clinician is all they need and choose not to proceed with additional counseling. It is important to keep in mind that, unless it is an emergency, the decision about whether or not to proceed with counseling or other recommendations is yours.

Additional options may include, returning for brief weekly counseling at counseling and health services, a referral to a provider in the community (this would usually involve using your health insurance), or some combination. Our goal is to get you the help that will work best for you.

How long are counseling sessions?  

Sessions are generally 45-50 minutes long. They may be shorter depending on your needs

How does counseling work?  

Different counselors have different approaches to the work, but it is helpful to look at counseling as a collaborative process in which the counselor and the client (you!) work together to understand and address your concerns. Counseling may involve talking about your thoughts, feelings and experiences, as well as learning strategies to resolve or reduce your concerns or increasing your ability to cope with them. Counseling usually helps you understand of yourself better and move forward in your life. Sometimes counseling can bring up painful thoughts and feelings that you and your counselor will explore. Counseling works best when you are actively involved in the work you and your counselor are doing. You can help the process by:

  • Keeping your scheduled appointments.
  • Being as open and honest with your counselor as possible.
  • Taking time between sessions to think about the conversations you have had with your counselor.
  • Following through with suggestions your counselor has made.
  • Let your counselor know if you have any concerns or questions about the work you are doing in counseling or your relationship with your counselor.

What do people talk about in counseling?  

Counseling can help with a range of issues and anything that is causing you concern is appropriate to discuss with a counselor. Some common issues in college students include:

  • Adjusting to college
  • Anxiety or worry
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Grief
  • Relationship problems
  • Cultural identity
  • Family difficulties
  • Low self-esteem
  • Managing stress
  • Issues with food
  • Difficulties with alcohol and other substances
  • Sexual concerns
  • Sexual and gender identity

Will anybody know I am seeing a counselor?  

The answer is no. Counseling services are confidential [PDF].