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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Counseling Center & where is it located?

The Counseling Center is the College's counseling center dedicated to student mental health and well-being. We are housed within Dartmouth College Health Service and are located on the second floor of Dick's House, 7 Rope Ferry Road. We offer a variety of psychological services to assist students in managing the many demands and developmental challenges of college. These services, provided by a diverse and multicultural competent professional staff, include short-term counseling, group counseling, medication evaluation and monitoring, and consultation. Additionally, we provide same-day services for crisis and emergency situations.

What is counseling?

Counseling can provide students with support and help in finding ways to cope with the emotions that go along with a difficult time period. The goal of the Counseling Center is to provide students with an opportunity to explore their concerns and problems with professional mental health providers in a confidential setting. We provide crisis intervention, brief individual and couples counseling and groups for students on a variety of personal, academic and career related issues.

What can one expect from their counselor?

Students can expect to meet with a counselor who is interested in listening to their concerns. Furthermore, counselors will help students better understand and deal more easily and effectively with those concerns. Often during difficult times it can be hard to navigate the different options. The Counseling Center staff members help students consider all possible options and help decide what will be most conducive to the healing process for their individual situation. The counselor will not give direct advice, but will instead help explore alternatives so that a student can make the best possible decisions.

What can I expect from an initial session?

Your first appointment with the Counseling Center is called a "triage" appointment. The total appointment time is 45 minutes. The first 15 minutes are spent completing paperwork and an online assessment. You will then meet with a counselor for 30 minutes to discuss your concerns. At the end of the appointment the counselor will make recommendations for the next step. Sometimes, students find the triage appointment has met their needs and no further services are necessary. When further services are needed, the triage counselor will discuss their recommendations with you. Options might include the following: a) a referral to one of our workshops or therapy groups; b) an appointment for an Intake for short term therapy within the Counseling Center (Intake appointments are usually scheduled the following week to give students time to think about what their goals for therapy are); c) a referral to other campus or community resources; d) a referral for a psychiatric medication evaluation; e) a referral to an off-campus mental health provider; f) if your situation is critical, we offer same-day crisis appointments.

Why do students go to the Counseling Center?

Each year between 20-25% of all Dartmouth students come to the Counseling Center for help. The reasons vary, but students do come for help with the day to day issues they face like stress, anxiety, procrastination, and difficulty with relationships. Additionally, some students come for help with concerns that involve depression, eating disorders, trauma, and substance use/abuse among other reasons.

Is there a session limit?

The Counseling Center provides counseling services to all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. In order to meet significant student demand and use its resources most effectively, the Counseling Center utilizes a short-term therapy model. Working together, the counselor and student determine the number and type of sessions that are needed for the student based on the nature of the student's concerns and available resources. If longer term counseling is needed, the counselor will help a student find a referral to a therapist in the community.

How much does counseling cost?

Our clinical services are available to all full-time enrolled students at Dartmouth College. There is no charge for counseling services at the Counseling Center. To schedule an appointment, call (603) 646-9442 or stop by the Counseling Center on the 2nd floor of Dick's House.  At your first appointment, you will meet with a counselor to discuss your personal concerns and expectations from counseling. The counselor will ask questions that will help to clarify immediate issues. At the end of the session, you and your counselor will discuss treatment options that will best address your needs. These options may include: individual counseling, group therapy, psychiatric medication evaluation, or a referral to an off-campus mental health provider.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Appointments are scheduled by phone or in person. Counseling appointments cannot be scheduled online. To schedule an appointment by phone, please call the Counseling Center at (603) 646-9442. Typically, an appointment is arranged based upon matching the student's schedule to available counselors. If a student has previously received services at Counseling Center, we will first try to schedule that student with the previous counselor to facilitate continuity of care. In some situations, the choice of an appointment may depend upon certain preferences or specializations to meet a student's needs. For example, one may prefer to see a male or female counselor. Students are encouraged to make special requests known to the office staff when making their appointment. Attempts will be made to accommodate your request or to discuss the options.

What if it is after business hours or a weekend and I need to talk with a counselor?

The Counseling Center offers 24-hour crisis counseling for enrolled students or for those who are concerned about an enrolled student. After Regular Business Hours: the counselor on-call can be reached by calling Dick's House Inpatient Department (IPD) at (603) 646-9440 or by calling Safety and Security at (603) 646-3333.  During Regular Business Hours: call (603) 646-9442 and ask to speak with the counselor on-call or come to the Counseling Center on the second floor of Dick's House. Please inform our administrative staff that you have an urgent concern.

Will my counselor share with others what I talk about in my sessions?

All Counseling Center clinicians recognizes the importance of privacy and safety as the basis of effective therapy. We do not share information about students seeking help at the Counseling Center with anyone without written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality are rare and specifically mandated by law and professional ethics. We make sure to review confidentiality during our first contact with all students and are available to answer any questions about confidentiality as they may arise in the course of treatment.  Safeguarding information shared by students in the context of the counselor-client relationship is an ethical and legal responsibility of all Counseling Center clinicians.  For further information, please see Confidentiality & Release of Information

How do I borrow a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. For many people who experience SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months. It is normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and can't get motivated to do activities that you normally enjoy, you should consult with a Counseling Center counselor. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy, psychotherapy, or psychotherapy and medications. Light therapy is often the first line of treatment for fall-onset SAD. Research on light therapy is limited, but it seems to be effective for many people in relieving SAD symptoms. Students interested in light therapy can borrow one of the SAD lamps from the Counseling Center. We allow students to check-out the lamps for one to two weeks, depending on demand.

How can I get help for a friend whose behavior is troubling?

The Counseling Center provides consultations for students who are concerned about friends. We will work with you on how to express your concerns in a respectful and effective manner. We can also provide information about campus and local resources. In situations where a student of concern may be engaging in behaviors that present a danger to self or others, please call Safety & Security (S&S) at 603-646-4000. S&S will immediately assist you.

Last Updated: 5/15/18