What is counseling?
Personal counseling is a helping process that takes place between a client and a professional counselor. In an atmosphere of acceptance, clients develop trust in a counselor as a person who is there to promote growth and self-direction. A counselor does not tell a client how to live his or her own life. It is through a sharing of ideas in a caring, respectful relationship that clients can make important decisions in their lives. The counselor's role is to help clients examine their lives by talking about themselves and their experiences. In this way, both client and counselor can gain a clear understanding of the client’s strengths and life difficulties. The counseling relationship can help a person build on his or her strengths and address problems constructively. The counseling process is confidential. What is discussed between client and counselor is private, and cannot be disclosed to parents, faculty, etc., without the client’s written permission, except in the case of certain emergency situations. [See Privacy Policy for more information on confidentiality.]

How do I set up a counseling appointment?
The counselors and psychologists at Counseling Services provide personal counseling sessions for students, faculty, and staff at UMSL. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, simply call 314-516-5711 or stop by Counseling Services during office hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

When you contact our office, you will speak confidentially with a screening counselor as soon as one is available; we may have to call you back. The screening counselor will ask you some questions about your experiences and symptoms in order to match you with an intake clinician.  You will then be provided with an appointment date and time to come in for your free intake session.

What can I expect in the first session?
Your first session with a counselor at Counseling Services may last 45 to 50 minutes. As you will be asked to fill out some paperwork prior to your initial appointment, you must arrive at our office 15 minutes before your session actually begins, as the screening counselor will explain to you.  If do not arrive early enough to complete your paperwork, your intake session may be rescheduled to allow you the full time with your intake clinician. 

During the first session, your counselor will ask some questions to learn more about you and about the issues that have brought you to our office. One purpose of the first session is to help match the client with the type of assistance that best fits their needs. For some clients, one session is sufficient to address their concerns satisfactorily. In other cases, you and your counselor will work together to plan options for additional assistance. These options may include continued individual therapy (which may be with the intake counselor or with another provider at Counseling Services), and/or referrals to outside providers when appropriate. Because the services we provide are primarily short-term, goal-oriented in nature, we often help arrange outside referrals for those clients who are in need of longer-term, process-focused counseling.

For additional information on the counseling experience, read "What To Expect From Counseling"