Scope of UCC Clinical Services

The Binghamton University Counseling Center (UCC) is committed to promoting student psychological well-being so that students may fully and effectively engage in all the opportunities available at the University. The UCC provides assessment, counseling, referrals and related services to students in their pursuit of personal and academic growth, including the strengthening of their emotional, intellectual, behavioral, cultural and spiritual development.

Assessment process

The UCC invites students to make an initial consultative appointment with one of our counselors to discuss their concerns. This conversation between the counselor and the student generally involves a discussion of the student's current difficulties, a review of treatment options, and recommendations to assist the student in obtaining the appropriate services. Recommendations may include receiving services at the UCC (individual or group therapy), which is based on the brief therapy model, connecting to other campus resources, facilitating ongoing therapy with home providers in a private tele-counseling facility, or providing referrals to off-campus providers.

Services within the Counseling Center

Individual counseling

In order to meet significant student demand for service and use resources most effectively, the UCC utilizes a brief therapy model. Brief therapy is short-term and focused on helping students to resolve or effectively manage a specific problem or challenge, or to make a particular desired change. The therapy is typically solution-oriented, and sessions are geared towards direct and active intervention to help clients achieve specific goals. The frequency of sessions may be weekly at first, but more often are every other week.

Group counseling

In addition to individual counseling, group counseling can provide unique benefits including learning with and from peers, receiving feedback and support from peers in a counselor-facilitated setting, and learning specific skills in a group environment. The UCC has many group offers that are quite popular and effective. The menu of group topics and types offered at the UCC is dynamic and evolving. In addition to being the best treatment option for many presenting problems, group counseling may allow a student to receive more long-term services than would be available through individual therapy.

Same-day urgent counseling

Same-day urgent sessions are generally available for all students. These urgent meeting times are in the afternoon between 1 and 4 p.m. For students with repeated use of urgent services, there may be discussion about referral to alternate or additional resources.

Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed in brief therapy at the UCC are:

  • Personal concerns: stress, anger, loneliness, guilt, grief
  • Relationship concerns: Romantic difficulties, interpersonal conflicts, family problems
  • Developmental concerns: Adjustment to college, life transitions, identity (e.g., personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity)
  • Mild to moderate mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, as appropriate to brief therapy
  • Substance use: Concerns related to mild or moderate alcohol or other drug use/abuse
  • Academic concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, or mental health issues that affect academic difficulties
  • Trauma or interpersonal violence: Assessment, stabilization and treatment within a brief therapy model

Referral to community resources

The UCC brief therapy treatment approach is time-limited due to the natural limits of resources. In keeping with the brief therapy model at the UCC, students whose needs require long-term and/or intensive support will generally be referred to community resources for ongoing treatment. Similarly, students whose needs require a particular type of expertise that is not available in the UCC are also referred to community resources.

During periods of high demand for service, our providers may no longer have openings for new clients, and in that situation the UCC may keep a limited wait list based on anticipated availability in a reasonable time frame; however, in an effort to avoid a delay in care, we may help students to connect with community providers rather than place them on a substantial waitlist.

In cases where a student's ongoing needs warrant a referral to community resources, the UCC may provide some interim support to the students as they are connecting to the appropriate community resources. The UCC may provide referrals during or after the initial assessment meeting, or as these factors become more apparent during the course of services. Same-day urgent appointments are also available to students as the need arises.

Some of the concerns that are commonly addressed through referral to services outside of the UCC include:

A need for intensive, long-term or open-ended therapy. Possible indicators for longer term or more intensive therapy include:

  • Recent or multiple psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Chronic thoughts of suicide, frequent self-injury behaviors or history of repeated suicide attempts
  • Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning that requires intensive intervention

A need for specialized services not available through the UCC, including but not limited to:

  • Presence of significant drug or alcohol problems such as substance dependence and/or past failed treatments
  • Need for drug testing
  • Presence of severe or long-standing eating disorder symptoms
  • Request for formal psychological assessment (e.g., ADHD testing)
  • Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance or other non-academic purposes
  • Request for services to fulfill students' court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements

The general guidelines listed above are only intended to serve as a guide to assist treatment decisions. The nature and complexity of presenting concerns and the broader context are considered in making the appropriate treatment recommendations(s). Students are evaluated individually and the professional judgment of the mental health providers(s) will determine the treatment recommendation in a particular case.