University Counseling Services: Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I set up an appointment?
If you would like to schedule an appointment at UCS you may either stop by McKinney Center or you may call at 660-785-4014, NOTE: you will need to provide your banner ID number to schedule an appointment. Due to the non-secure nature of email, the confidentiality of such communications cannot be ensured and UCS discourages you from using email to share personal information or set up an initial assessment appointment. Also, please note that the staff at UCS does not maintain 24-hour access to email accounts.
*At this time we are unable to allow scheduling appointments online, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.
In the event of a crisis after regular hours please do not use email, instead contact Police Dispatch at 660-665-5621 and ask to speak with the Truman on call counselor. In the event of a medical or safety emergency please call 911.
- What if I need help after regular business hours?
UCS is open from 8 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. If you are in crisis and require assistance outside of these times, you may contact Police Dispatch at 660-665-5621 and ask to speak to the Truman on call counselor. The counselor will call you back as quickly as possible.
- What rights do I have at UCS?
You have the right to:
1) have knowledge of your counselor’s qualifications and training;
2) an explanation of any procedure or form of counseling used in your treatment;
3) end counseling with your counselor at any time without any consequences and, if you wish, begin counseling with another mental health professional;
4) review your file with your counselor, the Associate Vice President of Student Health & Wellness, or Assistant Director of UCS, and/or have records of your file released to other professionals with your written consent;
5) request a copy of the ethical codes that govern your counselor’s practice;
6) question your counselor’s competence, and to complain to the Associate Vice President of Student Health & Wellness at UCS or to file formal complaints with pertinent professional and/or legal bodies.
Please feel free to ask any questions or discuss your concerns with your counselor at anytime. If you feel like you cannot discuss something with your counselor, feel free to contact the Associate Vice President of Student Health & Wellness at UCS or Assistant Director of UCS or the Secretary of UCS by telephone, email, or written letter.
- Will UCS tell anyone that I’m in counseling?
No. All interactions with UCS, including attendance of appointments, content of your sessions, progress in counseling, and your records are not shared with anyone outside of UCS (including parents, faculty and staff members). Your UCS records are electronically stored on a secure and separate server and are not contained in any academic, educational, or job placement file. The only exceptions to maintaining confidentiality are 1) there is a serious and foreseeable risk of harm to self and/or others, 2) we strongly suspect physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect of a minor or incapacitated adult, or 3) we are issued a court order by a judge and are required by law to testify in a court hearing.
- Will my parents know that I am in counseling?
No. No one needs to know or will know that you are in counseling unless you want them to. You would need to sign a release of information form if you believe it would be beneficial for your counselor to have contact with a designated person. Otherwise, all information is kept confidential and no one will be told that you are in counseling, not even your parents. UCS does charge a fee for services. If you choose to allow your parents access to your student account AND you choose to have this fee on your student account your parents may notice a charge on your student account, UCS has ways to help you avoid this if it is a concern. Please talk to your counselor about a waiver for confidentiality reasons.
- Can my partner/significant other and I come in for relationship counseling even if they aren’t a Truman student?
Unfortunately, no. Both individuals in the relationship must be currently enrolled Truman students to receive relationship counseling.
- Can I receive medication from UCS?
No. UCS is not able to prescribe or monitor medication. You may make an appointment at the Student Health Center or we can help facilitate a referral for you to a practitioner in the Kirksville community.
- Is there a cost for services at UCS?
All assessment appointments at UCS are free and then each session is $10. A counselor will discuss the fee with you during your initial appointment. Please let your counselor know if you are concerned about the cost of services or confidentiality concerns related to billing and we will make special arrangements for you.
Most students should expect to attend the initial assessment appointment at no cost and begin paying $10 per session for all following appointments.
- If I talk about being suicidal will the counselor make me go to the hospital?
It is unlikely a UCS counselor’s first response would be to encourage or require hospitalization. UCS’s goal in working with students who are suicidal is to provide them space for healing in the least restrictive environment possible. For most students this means remaining at Truman and continuing all regular activities associated with being a student at Truman. If you share thoughts of suicide with your counselor they will talk to you about how to maintain your safety while you are on campus. If you are not able to guarantee your safety your counselor will likely want to collaborate with you to find appropriate outside resources (this may include: other faculty/staff, parents/guardians, support people, AND/OR hospitalization) in order to help ensure your safety.
After the Initial Assessment
- Will the counselor I am assigned to work with always be my counselor?
Most likely, yes. The only reasons that would necessitate you meeting with a different counselor would be you requesting a change in counselor or if you were in a crisis and needed to meet with someone and your regular counselor was unavailable.
- What if I need help before my first appointment or for that matter after I start counseling?
You are welcome to contact UCS at any time if you would like to speak with a counselor or if you have any concerns. You are welcome to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a general question or concern, you may contact your counselor directly at his/her email address or you may contact our office via telephone at 660-785-4014 (x4014 on-campus). If you are in severe emotional distress, a counselor is on-call 24/7 and can be reached after-hours by contacting the Police Dispatcher at 660-665-5621 and asking to speak with a Truman counselor.
- How do I switch counselors?
If you think that the work you are doing with your counselor is not helpful, the first thing we suggest for you is to discuss it with your counselor directly. All of the counselors at UCS are very comfortable with this type of discussion and understand that the main focus of our work is to help you achieve your goals. If we are interfering with this progress, we don’t mind stepping aside and letting you work with someone else. Most of the time we find that the discomfort you are experiencing can be resolved by having thoughtful conversations in session and trying different things.
If this does not work, please complete this form and let us know you want to switch. We will work with you to create an individual strategy to identify which counselor may be the best fit for you and help you begin meeting with that counselor.
- What should I do if I have a question that is not asked/answered here?
Ask. Your counselor should be able to answer any question you may have when you meet but you are also welcome to send us an email (email@example.com) or call our office (660-785-4014) if you desire a more immediate response.
- Can my counselor write a letter to the Academic Standards Committee and/or Financial Aid office?
UCS limits writing support letters for the Academic Standards Committee and Financial Aid appeals to students who have engaged in therapy during the time period being addressed in the appeal.
- What happens to my records once I am done with counseling? And may I access them?
According to the requirements of the State of Missouri, your records are stored for a minimum of five years. After a minimum of five years from the last activity on your file, your file will be deleted. If you would like to review your records, you are welcome to contact a counselor, the Associate Vice President of Student Health & Wellness at UCS or the Assistant Director of UCS in order to discuss questions or concerns you may have. However, due to confidentiality, you will need to sign a release of information if you would like a copy of your records sent to another professional party.
- Can I come back to UCS if I need counseling again?
Yes, you may return to UCS at any time as long as you are currently enrolled at Truman. Your file will be re-activated and you will need to complete paperwork to update your file.
- Are my records at UCS part of my insurance health records?
No. UCS does not report your mental health records to any group either at or outside of Truman unless you ask us to do so.
The ethics of the counseling profession require that all services offered by University Counseling Services (UCS) are confidential. Simply put, this means that, within ethical limitations, students who utilize our services are guaranteed that information concerning them will not be released to offices or departments outside UCS without the student’s express written permission, except in cases of imminent danger or as otherwise required by law.
If you refer students to UCS, you should be aware that we will be unable to answer any questions you have about that student’s contact with us without his/her written consent. If you have information you think we should know about a student who may or may not be utilizing our services, do not hesitate to contact us; we will be happy to listen to your concerns but we will be unable to provide any information about specific students.
The same guarantee of confidentiality extends to university employees who might make use of our referral service.