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Frequently Asked Questions

About Counseling & Psychological Services

Plus IconWho is eligible for services?

Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS) provides short-term counseling to registered full-time undergraduate and graduate students on the Henrietta campus as well as registered part-time matriculated students.   Services provided are based upon a determination of your goals for counseling.  If CPS is unable to meet your needs, we will work with you to identify an appropriate resource.

Plus IconWhat do services cost?

Short-term counseling services are provided to eligible Henrietta campus students at no cost.    

Psychiatry services are available to all students as part of the Student Health Fee.  Full-time undergraduate students at RIT are charged a mandatory Student Health Fee each term.  Part-time students, graduate students and students on co-op are not billed automatically but may choose to pay the term fee or a fee for service at each visit.

Plus IconWhere can I park?

There are a very limited number of parking spaces available in the Student Health, Counseling, and Wellness lot behind the August Center.  As these tend to fill quickly during the academic year, we advise that you leave enough time to find parking in one of the standard RIT lots in case our lot is filled.

Plus IconAre there walk-in hours?

Due to the high demand for counseling services we are not able to offer walk-in services.  With the exception of emergency services, all services provided are by prior appointment.  However, if you are in urgent need of immediate assistance you may come to the Counseling & Psychological Services on the second floor of the August Center during normal business hours and let our front-office staff know this is an emergency.  (If possible, it would be helpful if you could call us at (585) 475-2261 before coming to our office.)  Please know that you may be asked to wait in our reception area until the next available staff member is able to see you. In the case of such immediate same-day emergency sessions, the focus and interactions are limited in content and information gathered.  Emergency sessions do not involve a thorough history and complete delineation of the issues and concerns but rather focus on assessing for imminent risk to self (i.e., suicidality) and identifying a later time when you can return to conduct a more formal assessment and consultation.

Plus IconIs there a wait time?

We make every effort to schedule students as soon as possible (generally within 2 business days), and this is part of why we utilize our telephone consultation/triage model, so that we can have a brief discussion about your needs soon after your initial request for services.  When requesting an appointment through the front desk for a non-triage/consultation appointment, the first mutually convenient open appointment will be offered.  While efforts are made to make that appointment occur in under a week, competing demands from the student’s schedule and availability as well as momentary limits in the available resources may occasionally cause the delay in requested appointment to take longer. Because many students use our services, there may as the semester goes on be a wait (usually from a week to 2 weeks) until the date of the requested appointment. In those instances, however, we will inform you of additional resources for support in the interim.

Plus IconIs what I say in counseling kept private?

To facilitate trust, openness, comfort and safety in a process that often requires the sharing between student and clinician of sensitive, personal, and private information, our clinicians are committed to ethical practices and principles that promote respect for and protection of the student’s dignity, privacy and rights. To this end, we maintain high standards to ensure your privacy and confidentiality and generally do not share details and information you discuss in sessions with outside parties unless required by law or ethics.  For example, if you disclose information that may indicate you are in immediate danger or risk of serious harm to yourself or others, we could be  required to disclose a limited amount of information sufficient to get you immediate help and/or to protect others.  In these cases, we would only share the necessary information to the necessary individuals (for example: RIT Public Safety or a local hospital).

Plus IconWill my parents find out that I’m getting help at Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS)?

We will not release information about you (including information kept in records, content of therapy sessions, information about services received at CPS to parents, as long as you are 18 or older and are not presenting an imminent risk of harm to yourself or others, without your written or verbal permission.  You can sign a Release of Information form to authorize us to speak with them.  If you are being prescribed medication by RIT’s psychiatrist, and you are utilizing insurance coverage under a parent’s plan, however, this information may be accessible by the policy holder.

Plus IconHow often will I meet with my therapist?

This will depend on the goals, treatment plan and estimated number of sessions you develop with your therapist after your first meeting, and may be subject to change over time.  In cases where there is high risk involved, you may be encouraged to meet more frequently to ensure your safety is closely tended to.  If you are participating in group therapy, groups will generally meet on a weekly basis, and you might be scheduling individual check-in sessions every 3-4 weeks.

Plus IconHow long are appointments?

Individual sessions typically last 50 minutes, although check-in sessions may be 30 minutes in length.  First time, in-person appointments will often last 90 minutes, which includes 30 minutes allotted for intake paperwork.  Group sessions tend to range between 60-90 minutes.

Plus IconWhat if I have to cancel my appointment?

Call the front desk at (585) 475-2261 as soon as possible after you become aware that you cannot attend your scheduled appointment.  You can leave a message on the voice mail if you are calling outside of business hours.  If for some reason a counselor cannot keep a scheduled appointment with you, we will attempt to contact you by phone or through your RIT email.

Plus IconHow long will I be in counseling?

Duration of services is dependent on your needs and condition as well as your identified goals, your progress toward attaining those goals, and the work you do both in session and between sessions to practice and apply the insights, skills and strategies you are developing.  This is a good subject to discuss with your therapist.  Some students only require 1-2 visits to meet their needs, while others may require more sessions.  If you feel you need regular long-term individual therapy, we may discuss possible referrals to community providers who can better meet these needs.  There is no rigid limit to the number of group sessions you can participate in with us although there are guidelines and recommendations for insuring that the time, energy and resources of the student as well as the center are being used effectively, constructively and prudently. For example, progress and service plan can be reviewed as one approaches 9 individual therapy sessions in order to determine if an alternative service model is advisable.

Plus IconAll I need is a prescription refill - what do I do?

If you are only looking to have your medication continued by RIT’s Student Health Center and are not interested in therapy services, you may not require a psychiatric referral from our staff.  In this case, we ask that you obtain a letter from your current prescribing physician detailing your diagnosis and prescription information, which you can then bring or fax to the Student Health Center (fax: 585-475-7788).  You may then request an appointment with any of the prescribing physicians at the Student Health Center, who will then work with you to continue prescribing your medication(s) either by themselves or by making an internal referral to the psychiatrist.

Plus IconDoes Counseling & Psychological Services offer Couple’s or Family Counseling?

At this time, we do not provide any formal ongoing Couple’s or Family Counseling services, but we do regularly allow for partners/spouses to be involved in a client’s treatment, provided that this is requested by the client and is appropriate within the context of your treatment. Also a consultation session can be scheduled by parents or partners at the consent and agreement of the student client to discuss specific concerns or issues.

Getting Started with Us

Plus IconHow do I get started?

For deaf and hard-of-hearing students, please go to this page.

For hearing students, please go to the following page.

If a student needs to be seen immediately, emergency services can be accessed.

Plus IconWhat happens during the initial phone consultation?

At the scheduled time, you will be called by one of our Clinical Intake Coordinators, who will begin by reviewing some basic information about you.  These calls generally last 20-30 minutes.  They will be asking you a number of questions about your reasons for requesting services, and will also review questions about your mental health history.  These questions will include asking about medications, suicidal thoughts, trauma history, hospitalizations, self-harm, and more, in an effort to best determine the urgency of the next steps.  In all cases, you will also be discussing an initial plan for treatment with us, which will typically involve scheduling an in person appointment with one of our mental health providers.   In some cases, you may be asked to come in for a same-day assessment, if we feel you are in need of immediate help. 

Plus IconWhat will happen at the first appointment?

If you have not yet completed paperwork, you will spend some time initially completing forms upon arriving to your first appointment.  The mental health professional will meet with you for about 50 minutes during an intake session, or 30 minutes for a group consultation visit.  During your first appointment with the mental health professional, that person will ask you questions about your relevant history, current problems, resources and strengths, as well as help you determine your goals for coming to Counseling and Psychological services.  The mental health professional will work with you to determine a plan for therapy, consultation or referral to other resources.

Plus IconWho will be my assigned therapist?

Your assigned therapist will be determined based on mutual availability, and a match based on the needs and goals of your work together.  The therapist you work with will have specific experience in working with college students.  Your individual preferences will also be considered in the decision.

Plus IconWill my counselor be the same person I speak to during my telephone consultation or intake appointment?

As a priority, you will be referred to a therapist with the most availability and who specializes providing treatment for your need and goal areas.  This person may or may not be the mental health professional you spoke with during your initial telephone consultation.  Sometimes, a Clinical Intake Coordinator will want to meet with you for an additional assessment appointment to make sure they have a full picture of your needs and goals before referring you to a therapist.

Plus IconWhat can I do to prepare for my first appointment?

Once you are scheduled for a first face-to-face appointment at Counseling & Psychological Services (often following your initial phone appointment), we will ask that you complete some paperwork (*link to Client Information Form*) (these forms take about 20 minutes to complete).  You can come to Counseling & Psychological Services at any time to complete this paperwork, or you can come about 30 minutes before your appointment to do so.   At your first face-to-face appointment, your assigned therapist will talk with you and ask questions to get to know more about you, your goals, and your reasons for seeking services. You will work together with your assigned therapist to determine the most appropriate plan to address your needs.

Plus IconWhat if I need to be seen right away?

If a student needs to be seen immediately, emergency services can be accessed. 

Plus IconHow do I obtain information about the person/service to whom I am being referred?

Ask your therapist about the referrals you are receiving.  They can provide you with written materials, web resources and other suggestions so you are informed.

Most resources and referral sources will have information and profiles on the web. See our Self Help Resources page, too.

Plus IconWhat if I do not like the person/service to whom I am referred?

As a client of the RIT Counseling and Psychological Services, you have the right to request a change and ask questions about the therapist or services to whom you are being referred.  If you request this change, it may be reviewed among the treatment team and the decision will be discussed with you.

Individual Counseling and Psychotherapy

Plus IconWhat happens after I am referred to my therapist for services?

After beginning meetings with your therapist, you and the therapist will collaborate on your goals and begin a therapy structure to your needs.  You will agree on a plan for your therapy, which may include an estimate of the number of sessions expected to be needed as well as a timeline or schedule for frequency of contact, and then meet as often as planned.  The plan may change based on your needs and efforts as the therapy progresses.

Plus IconHow do I tell if I am making progress in therapy?

You and your therapist will determine goals for your work together.  You will be encouraged to periodically review your goals, talk about how the work is going and give feedback to the therapist about how the therapy is going.  You may also be asked to periodically complete standardized measures of symptoms, expressed concerns and clinical signs to check on levels of change over time. Hopefully, your problems will start to improve as you put your strengths, coping strategies, resilience and resources into practice.

Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

Plus IconHow is confidentiality upheld in group?

The “bottom-line” is that there can be no guarantee on the part of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) that there will be confidentiality or no disclosure of information presented during a group therapy session.  Student members of a therapy group are not bound by legal and/or ethical standards in the way clinicians are. While non-clinician group members can be instructed, encouraged and reminded to maintain respect for and protection of the privacy and dignity of other group members, to not discuss specifics presented in group sessions and to not identify outside of sessions other group members by name or recognizable details, and while group facilitators can model by example a standard of confidentiality, group members cannot be monitored and forced to comply. (Once an infraction is identified and confirmed, corrective actions can be taken which could include removal of the offending member from the group but this is not preventative.) Additionally, it must be remembered that even with the professional clinicians of CPS there are limitations to confidentiality including situations where they may be legally mandated to report and disclose elements from therapy sessions (e.g., statements indicating that there is risk of suicidal or homicidal actions).

Plus IconHow many groups are held each semester?

Depending on the needs of students each semester, we determine the number and focus of our group program.  We typically run 4-5 different groups each day and offer about 10 different kinds of groups each semester.

Plus IconHow will I know if I am making progress toward my goals in group?

Along with your individual therapist, the group will help you determine your goals.  You should have a clear idea about some of the things you would like to achieve in the group at the start or shortly into the weekly sessions.  You and your individual therapist/group facilitator should check in periodically throughout the group session series to determine your progress toward these goals. You may also be requested to periodically complete standardized measures of symptoms, expressed concerns, and clinical signs to assess for change in levels over time.

Examples of group goals may include: improving ability to trust others, challenging assumptions about interpersonal patterns, increasing authenticity in relationships, gaining practice in opening up to others. Each group may also have specific goals depending on group topic - with Stress Management, for example, group members might have specific goals to improve their ability to manage stress and increase relaxation.

Plus IconWill I have to talk at each group?

The group will encourage disclosure and the exploration of personal issues. However, members should never feel forced to disclose. Members will disclose at their pace. Additionally, with some of the more psychoeducationally focused groups emphasizing provision and exploration of information pertaining to the related topic, some students can, just as in their academic classes, use the time in therapy to listen and take in information which they can apply to themselves later in the privacy of their own thoughts and lives.  In all situations, however, the greatest benefit for individuals and the group is the free and open exchange and sharing of information and perspectives by all persons.

Plus IconHow do I decide what group is right for me?

Your initial intake/telephone consultation mental health professional or ongoing individual therapist may suggest group therapy for you based on your unique needs and goals.  Groups are tailored to fit the current and most common goals of students who come to Counseling and Psychological Services.

Crisis and Emergency Services

Plus IconWhat is a mental health crisis?

Although the definition of crisis is different depending on the uniqueness of each individual, an emotional crisis is generally defined as an intense and painful response to a difficulty that exceeds the ability of the person to respond with their own healthy coping skills.  Responding to crisis is critical when the individual has experienced: 

  1. suicidal or homicidal thoughts or impulses;
  2. sexual or physical assault;
  3. hearing voices or otherwise misperceiving reality;
  4. any major disruption in ability to function
  5. experiencing an overwhelming loss or tragedy
Plus IconHow do I refer a student of concern to Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS)?
  • You can encourage the student to come to CPS and provide information about the location, phone number, how to make an appointment, and any positive experiences you may have had with CPS.
  • It might also be helpful to assist the student in making the first contact with CPS.  You could offer to assist by making the first call to schedule a counseling appointment together or you could escort the student to the Counseling & Psychological Services office in the August Center.
  • If you are unsure of how or when to refer a student, you can always contact CPS for consultation.
Plus IconWhat can I expect after referring a student to Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS)?

Check in with the student later about whether they were connected with the appropriate resource.  Ask about their experience.  Offer to advocate for them if needed.  

Request consultation or follow-up from CPS if you have questions. 

If the student follows through and attends an appointment at CPS, the therapist meeting with them will encourage them to understand, sign and review consent forms that may allow us to speak with referral sources and other important supports in the student's life.  If the student signs a consent to speak with you, future collaboration about how to best support the student can take place. 

In some emergencies or urgent situations, a counselor may not require written consent by the student, and may consult with you for purpose of assessing and planning for the student's safety. 

Plus IconHow can I address disruptive behavior in my classroom?

Although many instances of disruptive behavior in classrooms can be dealt with directly and quickly, disruptive behavior, such as violent, threatening, or insulting language or actions should be taken seriously.  If even mild disruptive behavior is exhibited repeatedly by the same student,  contacting campus resources early and often may prevent safety issues. These campus resources such as Public Safety, Student Behavioral Consultation Team, or Counseling and Psychological Services are willing to listen and work with you. 

Plus IconWhat is Student Behavior Consultation Team (SBCT)-?

The Student Behavior Consultation Team (SBCT) assists students who may be in distress or experiencing challenging or difficult life circumstances. SBCT also provides consultation and intervention when students exhibit aggressive, concerning or disruptive behaviors.

Plus IconWhat to do if a student is having a “break down”' or “'panic attack"?
  1. Know that a panic attack is not dangerous.  It cannot cause someone to pass out, have a heart attack or 'go crazy'.  The process of calming down from a panic attack generally takes about 10-20 minutes. 
  2. Stay with the student and stay calm.
  3. Ask the student what they need. 
  4. Make sure the student is in a quiet place if at all possible. 
  5. Speak to the student in brief, calming statements. "you can get through this, I am going to help you stay safe". "let's focus on taking one breath at a time". 
  6. Help the student slow down breathing, demonstrating deep breaths yourself and or by counting slowly from 1-10
  7. Offer to help the student get to resource they might need after they have calmed down.  You can offer to contact a friend or family member, connect them with Counseling and Psychological Services, or contact Public Safety
Plus IconWhat to do if a student is expressing thoughts of suicide?

In most cases, talking to the student and referring the student to Counseling & Psychological Services is the best option.  If you are concerned about the student's immediate safety, please contact Pubic Safety on campus or see Get Help Now.   

The following exceptional website includes a comprehensive list about how to respond to a person who might express thoughts of suicide.

Plus IconWhat happens during a crisis appointment?

Crisis Appointment Steps


During a crisis appointment, a therapist will talk with you to assess the situation and provide immediate support. Sometimes talking through a crisis situation with a therapist will be all that is needed.

Safety Planning:

After assessing for your immediate safety needs and wellness, the therapist will also help you to plan for your future safety and wellness, and a plan for linking to further services if needed.  This may include a plan for self-care, a plan for seeking family or other natural supports.  We will help you decide the best course of action to meet your needs

If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of someone else, we will work with you to develop a plan of action to address your concerns.     

Follow-up Plan:

The therapist will help you decide what to do in the longer term to help prevent future crisis, to link you to any needed resources, information or referrals.  The therapist may give you some ideas to try at home, some information to read or some suggestions for how to respond if the problem comes back.

Training Program

Plus IconI have a question/concern about the trainee I’m working with. Who do I talk to?

Any concerns about trainees are taken seriously and directly addressed by supervisors of trainees as well as the Training Coordinator.  If you are working with a trainee, and you have questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Raquel Bateman (you may contact the office of Counseling & Psychological Services at 475-2261 and ask to speak with Dr. Bateman). 

Plus IconWhat if I don’t want to work with a trainee?

As a client of RIT Counseling & Psychological Services, you have the right to refuse to be treated by a therapist in training.  If you choose to refuse, there will be no adverse consequences for that decision.