University Counseling Center
Scheduling an Appointment
To make a counseling appointment for any of our three locations, call (585) 275-3113 or visit the center on the third floor of the Universtiy Health Service (UHS) building River Campus.
Initial Assessment Appointment Information for New and Returning Clients
Please complete the following steps before your first scheduled appointment or your first visit of the academic year. The steps will take approximately 30 minutes to complete so we encourage you to do them prior to your appointment to maximize the time you have with your therapist.
Step 1: Sign up for UHSConnect
If you haven’t already, please sign up for UHSConnect prior to your first visit. The UHSConnect portal is the only secure way to allow communication between your UCC therapist and you as well as your UHS providers. Additionally, at the start of your initial session, the portal is used to send you the CCAPS—a comprehensive initial assessment tool which helps identify symptoms and areas of concern. The CCAPS is also administered at regular intervals throughout your treatment to assess change in psychological symptoms during treatment.
Step 2: Fill out the Intake Information and Consent to Treatment Forms:
Step 3: Arrive 15-20 minutes early to your scheduled appointment. You will be asked to log into the UHSConnect portal to fill out the CCAPS. Don’t forget to bring your Intake Forms and to remember your unique UHSConnect ID number and password.
Recording Therapy Sessions
UCC is committed to offering high quality services. We routinely make recordings of individual and group therapy sessions for review by our supervisory staff, for program evaluation, and for treatment planning. Your therapist can answer questions about this policy.
If you are unable to keep your appointment, we ask you to call our office to cancel or reschedule. If you do not keep your appointment, your therapist will contact you to determine your desire to continue in treatment. It is possible that your appointment time for the following session will be given to another student if we do not hear from you at that time.
While waiting for your appointment
Now that you’ve made the important decision to seek help with your difficulties, below are some ideas to take care of yourself while you are waiting for your counseling to begin. Not all of the ideas will work for everyone, but you can try a few of them every day to find ways to best help yourself.
If you are experiencing a crisis and need to talk to someone immediately, please contact one of the following services:
- Call UCC’s 24/7 on-call service:…………(585) 275-3113
- Call the community’s 24 hour LifeLine:……(585) 275-5151
The first five are basics that are helpful for just about everyone.
- Stick to a routine – get dressed, go to classes, go to meetings. Keeping structure in your day can help things feel less overwhelming.
- Be sure to eat regularly and in a healthy way. Skipping meals or overeating can wear down your coping resources.
- Get as much sleep as you need – and avoid sleeping too much. Six to eight hours are what most people need. To help with sleep, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, avoid napping, and do not study in bed.
- Do some physical activity that you enjoy – walking, running, swimming, working out, playing sports, etc. Moderate physical exercise can help you feel better emotionally. Start small with walks around campus.
- Talk to friends and family who are supportive and positive influences. Isolating yourself can make things feel even worse.
- Try to do at least one fun or enjoyable thing each day.
- Practice relaxation activities, such as meditation,progressive muscle relaxation, hot baths, massages, and yoga.
- Avoid using alcohol, other drugs, and caffeine for self-medication.
- Use deep breathing techniques.
- Keep a journal – write down your thoughts and feelings. Remember, this is just for you – so it doesn’t need to be perfectly written. It’s an outlet for you to express some of the things going on inside you.
- Self-soothe using one or more of your five senses – watch the beauty of snow falling, listen to your favorite relaxing music, wear your favorite perfume, give someone a hug, eat strawberries, etc.
- Visualize a pleasant memory, a relaxing place, an image of yourself feeling better. These can be real memories or imagined events and places. Visualize with lots of detail, using each of your senses to create as vivid an image as possible.
- Give yourself permission to not worry about your problems for a while. Save your worries for one 20 minute period each day and only think about them then. Visualize blocking away your worries or sad thoughts – build a wall, bury them, lock them up.
- Use humor – spend time with people who make you laugh, watch a funny movie, read a funny book.
- Challenge negative self-talk – pay attention to negative messages you may give yourself and challenge their validity.
- Distract yourself temporarily from your difficulties – watch a movie, read a book, play a game. Give yourself permission to attend fully to something besides your worries and concerns.
- Attend to your spirituality – go to church/synagogue/mosque – pray, read religious works.
Referring A Student
When a Student Needs Counseling
Some signs that indicate that a student may be experiencing more stress than she/he can handle:
- Marked decline in quality of course work, class participation, quality of papers or test results; increased absence from class or failure to turn in work.
- Prolonged depression, suggested by a sad expression, apathy, weight loss, sleep difficulties, or tearfulness.
- Nervousness, agitation, excessive worry, irritability, aggressiveness, or nonstop talking.
- Bizarre or strange behavior, speech, writing, or thinking.
- Extreme dependency on faculty or staff, including spending much of his/her spare time visiting during office hours or at other times.
- Marked change in personal hygiene.
- Talk of suicide, either directly or indirectly, such as, “I won’t be around to take that exam anyway” or “I’m not worried about getting a job, I won’t need one.”
Making a Referral
You should consider referring a student for psychological counseling when you believe a student’s problems go beyond your own experience and expertise or when a student indicates she/he is looking for someone to talk to.
One way of introducing the topic of a referral to UCC is to summarize for the student what you see as the content of the problem. Point out the emotional responses that you have heard from the student, perhaps with an expression of concern. For example, “You sound very upset about that. I have found that other students who have felt that way have benefited from talking to someone at UCC. How would you feel about that?”
If a student is reluctant to seek counseling, explain to the student that counseling is not only for very disturbed people. Most students come to UCC because they are unhappy with what is happening in their lives. (We see approximately 1000 students per year.) Counseling provides a chance to explore feelings and solve problems with the help of an objective, sensitive and concerned listener.
Counseling works best when the student actually wants help. Even though you believe counseling may be helpful to the student, coercing a student to go to UCC does not work. Maintain your positive relationship with the student and do not force him/her to contact us. If you are wondering about the seriousness of a problem or if a student is ambivalent, call a UCC staff member to discuss what next steps you might take.
Once the student has agreed that counseling might be useful, there are several possible steps to take, depending on the student’s attitude and the urgency of the situation.
- Give the student information about UCC and urge him/her to call for an appointment.
- Invite the student to call us from your office right then, excusing yourself to allow the student privacy while on the phone.
- Offer to accompany the student yourself to UCC and to provide a UCC staff member with some background information.
Once a student contacts UCC, an appointment will be scheduled. The appointment will usually take place within a few days of the time the student makes contact, depending largely on the flexibility of the student’s schedule. In an emergency, as defined either by you or by the student, arrangements will be made to see the student more promptly.
After the Referral is Made
It is reassuring to know that a student you have referred to UCC has actually made and kept an appointment. The best way to achieve this reassurance is to ask the student directly. This is also a way of showing continuing concern for the student. We will urge the student to confirm this with you. Concurrently, but secondarily, we will seek the student’s permission to contact you directly for this purpose.
There will be times, however, when the student will not want to share this information with you. In these instances, both UCC and you must respect the student’s wish for confidentiality, despite the uneasiness this creates.