Frequently Asked Questions
The University Counseling Center is committed to promoting the psychological well-being of Binghamton University's undergraduate and graduate student community and in providing assistance to students in their pursuit of personal and academic growth. It's a positive step that you are considering obtaining counseling help. Counseling can be very helpful for many difficulties, and can help provide support, insight, solutions and information about other resources. While you wait for an appointment, we hope that this list helps to answer any questions that you may have about the process.
I am scheduled for a triage appointment. What does that mean?
The triage counselor will talk with you briefly (25-30 minutes) about your needs and the options for counseling. Depending on what fits best for you, the next step may be an initial consultation appointment at the Counseling Center or it could be a referral to another service. It is possible to use a triage appointment if you are only looking for one meeting.
What happens in an Initial Consultation Appointment?
The initial consultation interview allows us to gather information about your current situation and goals, and determine how we can best help. A counselor meets with you to discuss your reasons for seeking help at this time. The counselor also asks some general questions that help us to get to know you. At the consultation interview, you and the counselor will discuss the best treatment options for you.
*Note that the counselor you meet for the consultation interview may or may not be the one you work with if brief, on-going treatment is recommended.
What does it mean that I have been placed on a Wait List?
During times of peak demand for services, students sometimes have to wait to access on-going counseling appointments. The wait list means that you are simply waiting for a counselor who has an open spot in their schedule to see you. The time a student remains on the wait list varies. Feel free to check in with the reception staff if you have questions about wait time. While a student is on the wait list, Emergency Counseling is still available during weekday crisis hours, available from 2-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
What other treatment options do I have while I am on the Wait List?
While waiting, other options you may wish to consider include a number of group therapy options we offer throughout the year. Or, you may want to consider a referral to a provider in the community, with whom we can assist in helping you connect. Let us know if you would like to be removed from the wait list and want a referral off campus. If you already have an established relationship with a provider from your home town, you may also wish to consider online video conference appointments. This option is available to all students through the Decker Student Health Services Center (DSHSC), where they offer a quiet and confidential place to participate in Skype sessions via a large-screen television. For more information on this option, contact DSHSC at 607-777-2221.
What other resources are available to help me while I wait?
The Counseling Center also has an extensive self-help library, complete with text and workbooks on a variety of concerns or issues. You are free to borrow any of the books, at your request, throughout a school semester. To borrow one, simply provide your contact information to our front desk staff.
For academic difficulties related to your distress, there are many resources on campus such as the University Writing Center, Center for Students with Disabilities, the Dean of Students Office and the Student Association Office that may address your concerns.
What happens if I have an emergency?
Counselors reserve time every day to see any student in crisis who needs immediate attention. Call 607-777-2772 or come to the Counseling Center and explain that you need to be seen that day. To help students who are experiencing a crisis or emergency, we provide emergency appointments from 2-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, we can work to arrange for urgent counseling times at other points in the day, if needed. These are brief, evaluative sessions where we provide you with options for treatment and any other available actions that are relevant to your immediate needs. After this emergency appointment, we may schedule you for a follow-up appointment at the Counseling Center or refer you to an off-campus therapist.
At night or on the weekend, you may also contact the 24-hour Crisis Service Line at Binghamton General Hospital Psychiatric Crisis Center at 607-762-2458. At any time there is a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
What is group Therapy?
Group Therapy is a form of counseling in which about four to 10 people come together under the guidance of one or two of the staff counselors. In group, not only do students receive tremendous understanding, support and encouragement from others facing similar issues, but they also gain different perspective, ideas and viewpoints on those issues. Group therapy, like individual therapy, is a powerful vehicle for growth and change, and is intended to help people who would like to gain support, increase self-awareness and learn new ways to cope with personal or interpersonal challenges. See more about Group Therapy in our What is Group Therapy handout or our web page on Group Therapy.
How do I get medication?
Another option available to you is to request a psychiatric evaluation to discuss medication options. It is also possible that a counselor may recommend this to you. An evaluation is completed at the Decker Student Health Services Center (DSHSC), and treatment options will then be discussed. If an evaluation is recommended, we will provide you with a packet of information and paperwork to be completed and brought into your first appointment. Appointments are made by going to the online student portal, signing in with your PODS username and password and choosing New Appointment from the menu at left, or by calling 607-777-2221 between the hours of 9 a.m.-noon or 1-4 p.m.
Can I request to see a psychiatrist and a counselor at the same time? Do I have to?
Yes, you can meet with both a psychiatrist and a counselor as needed, but this is not typically required. Both psychiatrists and counselors work in the mental health field. A psychiatrist possesses a medical degree and can prescribe medications, whereas the counselor provides "talk therapy." At the UCC, the counselors and psychiatrists work collaboratively to provide the best possible treatment for students as part of a treatment team. Oftentimes, one is referred to the other in order to enhance the best possible outcome. If you are waiting for an appointment at the UCC, you may contact the DSHSC for an appointment with a psychiatrist, if desired. See #8 above for contact information.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment at the University Counseling Center?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, call the Counseling Center at 607-777-2772 or visit our office in Old O'Connor 264 (OO-264) - or you may communicate with your counselor via the Online Student Health Portal. Due to the heavy demand for services, we strongly request that you cancel or reschedule one day (24 hours) in advance of your scheduled appointment time.