WHAT IS COUNSELING?
Counseling is the process of speaking with a mental health professional about your problems or concerns. The mental health professional listens with an objective ear and helps you learn more about yourself, and new ways of looking at situations. This process can help you feel more capable of identifying and solving problems on your own. The primary goal is to help you develop the skills and abilities to solve problems as they arise, in order to make the most of your academic experience.
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT THE COUNSELING CENTER?
Many students decide to pursue counseling. It does not mean you aren’t “normal.” It is not a sign of weakness but of strength – if you initiate counseling, it is evidence that you are taking charge of your own wellbeing. Many students have found Counseling to be helpful when they are having trouble functioning here at Pratt. Some common reasons for seeing a staff therapist include relationship problems, depression, anxiety, academic worries, and family difficulties.
You may benefit from two or three sessions to address a specific area of concern, or you may find it helpful to use more sessions to address concerns that warrant more attention. Our services are focused on short-term counseling but referrals are often made for students who wish to consider longer-term counseling or psychotherapy.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY COUNSELOR?
Your counselor is a licensed mental health professional (clinical social worker, psychologist) who has been trained to help you identify and begin to resolve the issues and problems that are of concern to you. It is perfectly common and understandable to have some anxiety about seeing a counselor – your counselor will establish a safe and structured environment in which you can feel comfortable discussing your thoughts and feelings. The approach is non-judgmental and collaborative. Counselors help clarify options, provide support and understanding, assist with setting goals, explore feelings and correct misconceptions.
WHAT IF I TRIED COUNSELING BEFORE AND I DIDN’T HAVE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE?
Sometimes your initial experience with counseling doesn’t go as you thought or hoped it would, which can be disappointing or discouraging. There are multiple reasons this might be the case: talking about painful thoughts and feelings can be difficult; counseling may not offer the immediate relief you expected; and sometimes it takes more time to better understand and work on your difficulties.
The Counseling Center is happy to talk to you about your experience and welcomes your feedback, so if you feel that a previous experience with counseling/therapy was dissatisfactory, we encourage you to let us know and give counseling another try by reaching out to us at email@example.com.
WHEN IS PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION USEFUL?
Medication for mental disorders can be helpful when a student’s mood or thoughts seem to be getting in the way of work or the ability to sustain a meaningful social life. Although many students are opposed to taking medication, there are conditions that can be significantly improved through its use. Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse-practitioners are specially trained to perform medication evaluations so we highly recommend utilizing their expertise. If you are in need of medication for the first time or require a reevaluation of current medications, then we can provide referrals to a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse-practitioner. If you have been doing well on a prescription from your hometown psychiatrist and need a new one while you are at Pratt, one of the prescribing providers can help with new prescriptions for a previous medication. Please have a copy of your medical records including information related to your prescription in your Pratt medical file.
WHAT IF MY PROBLEM IS WITH ALCOHOL OR ILLEGAL DRUGS?
All conversations that occur between and your therapist in the Counseling Center are confidential and private. By law, your privacy is protected. If you are having difficulty with your use of alcohol or drugs, you can speak safely with one of us. The information will not go on your academic record, and we do not share information with other departments in the school. We can help you explore your use in a non-confrontational and non-judgemental manner, and you decide what you would like to do next. We have many options for students who are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse (including our Clean Cats College Recovery Program). We can also make referrals to therapy, treatment locations and provide support to the student who is struggling.
WHAT IF I JUST CAN’T FUNCTION AT ALL THIS SEMESTER?
Occasionally, psychological problems prevent a student from being able to complete a semester’s work. A serious depressive episode is a common reason to temporarily suspend study. In this situation, the counseling office can help the student arrange a medical leave until the student is ready and able to continue at Pratt.
WHAT IS A PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY AND WHAT DO I DO?
A psychiatric emergency occurs when someone’s mental health condition deteriorates to the point that they are unable to function and/or is a threat to their safety or the safety of others. This decline may be caused by a reaction to overwhelmingly bad news, a drug or alcohol overdose, a medication problem, or an acute mental condition. This may happen when someone threatens to commit suicide, or does not seem to be fully in control of their mental faculties.
In the case of a psychiatric emergency, you should contact The Counseling Center at 718.687.5356 for assistance. We also have after-hours contact available by calling our main number. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 or Campus Security at 718.636.3540. If you are a student living in an on-campus residence hall, the RA or RD on duty may also provide assistance during a psychiatric emergency.
WILL MY PROFESSORS OR FAMILY MEMBERS FIND OUT THAT I AM SEEING A COUNSELOR?
Counseling records are not part of your academic record. The counseling process is confidential and your counselor will strictly maintain that confidentially. Some exceptions to confidentiality do apply. Your counselor may need to share information in the event of a psychological emergency requiring hospitalization or in circumstances involving your safety or the safety of others. When these exceptions occur, you will be informed.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?
You can call to make an appointment at 718.687.5356 or you can come to The Counseling Center in the ICS Building to schedule an appointment with the Admin.