What is counseling?
What kinds of services does the Counseling Center provide?
Who is eligible to use the Counseling Center?
How can someone get in to see a counselor?
Can someone request a particular counselor?
Can someone come in to talk about someone else (friend, roommate, family member, etc.) that they’re worried about?
What about confidentiality in counseling?
What are someone’s rights in the counseling process?
What if someone just needs information about a referral?
To whom are counselors accountable?
Can someone receive counseling by email, Instant Messaging, Facebook, etc.?
Where can someone get help with study skills like note-taking or doing better on exams?
Where can someone get help with career-related questions?
Where can someone ask health-related questions or get help for medical problems?
Which office can help with disability questions or requests for accommodations?
What is counseling?
A more formal definition: “Counseling is a cooperative process in which a trained professional helps the student identify the sources of difficulties or concerns that he or she is experiencing. Together they develop ways to deal with and overcome these problems so the person has new skills and increased understanding of themselves and others. The effectiveness of counseling is measured by student’s increased ability to function successfully at Linfield College and in other important areas of their lives.
Examples of the kinds of concerns for which students might seek counseling include:
- Difficulties with friends or family members
- Missing friends at home
- How to do better in courses
- Feelings of sadness, depression, moodiness or irritability
- Concerns about alcohol or drug use
- Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- Questions about body image and diet
- Issues with food: eating too much or too little
- Concerns with self-esteem
- Feelings of anxiety and/or fear
- Lack of clarity on an educational or career direction
- Anger management
- Difficulties in romantic relationships
- Unwanted habits
- Questions about whether to remain in college
- Feelings of always being "stressed out"
- Issues related to having been sexually abused, harassed or assaulted, either recently or in the past
- Questions about sexual orientation
If a student’s problem or concern is something the counselor is unable to help with or if the student’s concerns require services beyond what The Counseling Center can reasonably provide, the counselor will refer the student to an appropriate off-campus resource. Another reason for a referral to a provider off-campus is a personal preference on the part of the student and again the counselor will assist the student to access a qualified off-campus resource.
The Counseling Center typically provides short-term counseling for the kinds of concerns and difficulties students encounter in early adulthood. These can be “developmental” or “psychological” in nature. Examples of developmental concerns include homesickness, choosing an appropriate major and a future career direction, learning or improving interpersonal and communication skills, and developing one’s own identity separate from family. Examples of psychological concerns include depression and low self-esteem, recovering from traumatic incidents, eating disorders, anxiety and substance abuse.
Students who are currently enrolled on the McMinnville campus may see a staff member of the Counseling Center without charge. College employees, alumni, and community members are not eligible to receive counseling services through the Counseling Center. Instead, the College offers an employee assistance program for faculty and staff members. Information on this service is available from the Linfield College Human Resources office (503)-883-2594. The Counseling Center also maintains a list of community resources and mental health practitioners available to provide mental health and related services to residents of McMinnville and neighboring communities.
The Counseling Center staff will always try to see a student who comes to Walker 124 with an urgent problem immediately.
For non-urgent situations, the best way to schedule an appointment is by calling (503)-883–2784 or by coming to the office in Walker 124. The student will be asked to provide some information such as name, campus address and phone number, and why she or he is seeking counseling. A first appointment is typically fifty minutes long and appointments are usually scheduled on the hour.
It may also be possible to see a counselor on a walk-in basis but this will depend on whether a staff member is available immediately. If a counselor is not available, the student will be offered an appointment time within the next day or two.
A student may request to see a particular counselor. If the individual does not have a preference, the student will be offered a choice of available counselors. Deciding which counselor to see is typically based on the student’s concerns or questions, the student’s preference for a female or male counselor, and which counselors are available at a convenient time for the student. In the event someone wishes to see a particular counselor, and that counselor’s calendar is full, the student may elect to see another counselor or to wait for an appointment with the preferred counselor. When that counselor has an opening, the student will be notified and will have one week to set an appointment.
The Counseling Center staff members are always available to consult with students worried about someone else and provide advice on possible options for how to help the other person. Examples include someone worried about a roommate’s alcohol abuse, a sorority sister’s eating problem, or how a younger sibling is struggling with parents’ divorce.
In the overwhelming majority of situations, what someone tells a mental health professional will be confidential. This means that NO information can be disclosed to anyone (including parents, professors, coaches, other Linfield offices, etc.) without a written authorization from the client
The rare exceptions in which confidentiality would not be guaranteed are:
if the client is determined to pose an imminent danger to self or to others
if the client is under the age of eighteen and currently being abused
if the client reports abusing a minor child or senior adult
if a court of law orders that information disclosed in counseling be made available to a specified party or parties
Except for the circumstances noted above, information about someone’s contact with the Counseling Center will not be released to other parties without a Release of Information authorization form signed by the student. This written form will specify to whom the information is to be released, the type(s) of information to be released, the purpose(s) for releasing the information, and the dates for which the release is in effect. The student may revoke a Release of Information authorization at any time.
Another important thing to know: Information kept about the counseling someone receives from the Counseling Center is not part of that student’s official Linfield academic file. Counseling records are kept separately in the Counseling Center under lock and key. No one except Counseling Center staff members has access to these records.
This means that the Counseling Center will not provide information that someone has requested counseling, is currently receiving counseling or has received counseling in the past, what has been discussed with a counselor, etc. If a professor, coach, parent, friend or anyone else contacts us and asks for information, we will politely explain that we are unable to provide this information without a signed form from a client specifically authorizing us to do so.
All members of the counseling staff are supervised by John F. Kerrigan, Jr., Ph.D., Director of The Counseling Center, and they consult with him regarding students they are seeing. In addition, a counselor may consult with other Counseling staff members or our consulting psychiatrist regarding their students. Information discussed during such consultations is for the purpose of improving our services and will remain confidential. Reports on Counseling Center activity are made to the Dean of Students periodically. Such reports are based on a compilation of data gathered from many students and do not identify any student by name or other identifying information.
A student has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to receive services that are nondiscriminatory, and to receive services from qualified staff. A student has the right to be fully informed regarding the treatment and techniques the counselor proposes to use and the intended outcomes. Moreover, someone has the right to be informed of alternative ways of working with a concern or difficulty. A student has the right to stop working with a counselor at any time or to request a different counselor.
The Counseling Center maintains a list of local mental health professionals and agencies and we are happy to share this information.
The counseling staff members of the Counseling Center are accountable for the quality of their work with students. If someone has concerns about the services he or she is receiving, the student should discuss these with the counselor being seen. If the student still is not satisfied or has reason to think the staff member is practicing unethically or unprofessionally, he or she may discuss this with the director of the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students, or the president of the college. If the counselor with whom the student is working is licensed, the student may direct a letter of concern to the appropriate ethics committee or state licensing board. These addresses will be provided to the student upon request.
Confidentiality of e–mail communications cannot be guaranteed. For this and related ethical and professional reasons, counselors will not provide counseling services using email, IM, Facebook, etc. If a student wishes to communicate with a member of the counseling staff we recommend that the student make an appointment by calling (503)-883–2784 or come in person to the office in Walker 124 during office hours.
The Office of Learning Support Services (LSS) can help with these and related areas. The Associate Director is Eileen Dowty and the LSS office is in Walker 126. The phone number is (503)-883-2562.
Learning Support Services is also in charge of helping students with disabilities
The Career Development office is located in Walker 124 (along with the Counseling Center) and is a good source of information on topics like choosing an appropriate academic major or career direction, finding an internship or part-time job while attending Linfield, writing a resume, and finding out about potential employers. They also maintain an extensive career library with information on different career fields, employers, job search strategies and how to write effective resumes. Individual and group career counseling as well as career testing is available to currently enrolled students. Career Services also brings employers to campus to interview Linfield students seeking full–time employment after graduation. The Director of Career Development is Michael Hampton; the Associate Director is Kristi Mackay. The phone number is (503)-883–2733.
The Student Health Center is located in Walker 105 and offers a full range of primary care medical services to Linfield students. The phone number is (503)-883-2535.
After hours medical treatment is available from Physicians Medical Center (503)-472-6161 by the caller identifying him/herself as a Linfield student.
The Willamette Valley Medical Centerin McMinnville is the nearest hospital. The phone is (503)-472-6131.
Appointments with Linfield’s consulting psychiatrist can also be scheduled at the Student Health Center.
Which office can help with disability questions or requests for accommodations?
Learning Support Services is the campus office that can help with disability-related issues including requests for accommodations.