Counseling FAQs

Why seek counseling?

Counseling makes sense when you are having trouble coping with a stressful situation or solving a personal problem.  It offers emotional support, new perspectives, and help considering possible solutions.  So if you are in a lot of distress, or feel overwhelmed by a problem, or find that you keep repeating the same mistakes, then you might consider seeking counseling.

More specifically, we see students with the following concerns:

  • psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse,
  • broader personal issues, such as self-esteem, communication problems, relationship issues, identity development, sexual orientation or family conflict,
  • educational issues, such as procrastination, test anxiety, studying difficulties, career counseling, and time managment,
  • crisis situations, such as suicidal thoughts, date rape, or the death of someone close.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does give you a sense of the range of issues we address at the Counseling Center.

How much does counseling cost?

Our services are free to enrolled William & Mary students as part of their tuition and student fees.

How do I get started?

Make an appointment by calling us at 221-3620 or coming by our office at 240 Blow Memorial Hall. In your first session with a counselor you will discuss the reasons for your visit and make an initial plan.  That plan may include one of the services offerred here at the Counseling Center, but it may also include other resources in the community. If the plan involves services outside of our scope, we will make appropriate referrals.

For emergencies come directly to the Counseling Center and we will see you immediately.  After hours, call the Campus Police at 221-4596.

Is there a waiting list?

Most of the school year we do not have a waiting list.  During our busiest times, students sometimes have to wait a week or two after the intake appointment for assignment to an available counselor. If you know you have something to work on it is best to get started early in the semester when availability is greatest.

How long does counseling take?

The length of counseling depends on the problems and the goals.  Often, a situational problem or concern about a friend may require only one or two sessions.  More substantial crises or recurring problems in relationships usually take more time.  We generally try to provide enough help for you to be able to make progress and move forward with the issues on your own, even if they are not fully resolved.  In other words, we generally take a short-term, problem-oriented stance aimed at helping you manage the issues and move on.

How does counseling work?

There are a variety of counseling approaches tailored for different problems.  In general, counseling is a collaborative process that involves joint problem-solving in a confidential context.

Almost all counseling is based on:

  • the development of a trusting and open relationship between the client and the counselor;
  • honest exploration of feelings, needs, and concerns; and
  • efforts to try new solutions to old problems.