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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Short-Term Individual Counseling

College life can often be challenging and stressful. Students can experience challenges in a number of different ways. Many students feel anxious, depressed, confused, or overwhelmed at some point during their college experience and need help dealing with feelings or problems that seem beyond their control. For college students, that help may come from friends, family, significant others, or mentors but in some cases, help is needed from a trained professional.

Counseling is a process that can help people identify more effective strategies to cope with difficult situations and achieve their goals. While some people who seek counseling have chronic emotional difficulties, most are dealing with normal life events and are simply in need of an objective listener - someone who doesn't judge and who can help them see new alternatives.

Short-Term Individual Counseling Services at CMHC

Currently enrolled UT students are eligible to receive services through CMHC. However, eligibility to individual counseling services may vary due to severity, appropriateness of services, and availability of resources.

CMHC offers short-term individual counseling services. A BART (Brief Assessment and Referral Team) counselor will help you determine which services are available and most appropriate. Students might be scheduled with a counselor at CMHC or they may be referred to an off-campus counselor. Off-campus counselors offer more flexibility for students to be seen more frequently or long-term and are also able to provide more specialized services.

You’ll speak on the phone to a BART (Brief Assessment and Referral Team) counselor who will talk with you, gather some information about you (e.g., name, phone number, whether you have been to CMHC before), briefly assess your needs, and make treatment recommendation(s) based on their professional opinion and in collaboration with you.

Counseling services are provided by licensed psychologists, social workers, and professional counselors. Services may also be provided by other mental health professionals, some of whom are in training. All professionals-in-training are supervised by licensed staff.

Information you share during contact with CMHC will be treated with the strictest confidentiality as allowed by law. In accordance with ethical and legal standards, this information will not be disclosed to anyone without your written consent, except in very specific circumstances as required by law. Counseling records are entirely separate from your academic record.

Learn About Confidentiality at CMHC


Who Can Benefit From Counseling?
When to Seek Counseling
What Happens During my Counseling Appointment?
What if I Have To Cancel My Appointment?
How to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience
Community Counseling/Mental Health Resources Off-Campus

Who can benefit from counseling?

Just about anyone can benefit. No problem is too big or small. Listed below are just a few examples of some common concerns which bring students to CMHC:

When to Seek Counseling

Our counselors are trained to intervene or provide support for a countless number of issues, far too many to list in any comprehensive way. While counseling might be helpful in numerous situations, there are some conditions in which we would strongly encourage you to seek counseling services:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience

Define your goals. Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to write a list of events, relationship issues, or feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. Self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly.

Be an active participant. This is your counseling experience, so be as active as you can in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the counselor and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.

Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns, and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time, so change can be difficult and slow at times.

Ask questions. Ask questions about the counseling process, any methods used by the counselor, or about any other services at CMHC. Your counselor is there to assist you.

Follow your counselor's recommendations. Take the time between sessions to complete any activities suggested by your counselor. Counseling is intended to improve your life in the "real world," so making efforts to try out and practice new behaviors, approaches, or ways of thinking could be a crucial element to the success of your counseling experience.

What Happens During My Counseling Appointment?

If you and a BART counselor determine that individual counseling at CMHC is the treatment recommendation that best meets your needs, you will then be offered the first available appointment that matches your schedule. If you have particular counselor preferences, this might increase the time you have to wait for your first appointment. Your appointment will usually be scheduled within a few days to a few weeks. (Please note that if you are in need of immediate help, inform our staff so that we can connect you to the appropriate CMHC resources immediately.)

You’ll be asked to complete some paperwork, including a demographic and clinical history form, treatment agreement, consent to treatment, and a notice of privacy practices. Your counselor will obtain information about your current concerns, relevant history and goals. Your counselor also will review relevant CMHC policies and procedures, such as confidentiality.

For subsequent or follow-up sessions, you will meet with your counselor for 45-minutes, weekly for a specified period of time. If you would like additional counseling beyond what CMHC can provide, then we will work with you to find a counselor in the Austin community.

Early on, you will work with your counselor to set goals for your counseling sessions. Establishing clear goals will provide direction as well as help you to monitor your progress in counseling. If you have any questions or concerns about the counseling process, don't hesitate to bring these up with your counselor, who will be pleased to discuss them with you. The exact direction of your counseling experience will depend on the issues you bring into counseling, your counselor's perspective, and the goals you set for your work together.

What if I Have to Cancel My Appointment?

Call the front desk at (512) 471-3515 as soon as possible after you become aware that you cannot come to your appointment. You can leave a message on the voice mail if you are calling outside of business hours. There is a $25 fee for missed or canceled appointments that are NOT canceled 24 hours in advance of your appointment.

How to communicate with my counselor between sessions

Secure Messaging: By clicking on the My CMHC to login and send your counselor a secure message. This is a secure and confidential way to communicate with your counselor. CMHC staff does not respond to messages sent via regular email. To insure consistent communication keep your e-mail current with the University.

Learn more about Secure Messaging

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