What to Expect on Your First Visit 
and Other FAQ's

So you've made your appointment, you're preparing to make your first visit to Counseling Services, and you're wondering what will happen during that first session. If this is your first time in counseling, you're probably feeling a little nervous and uneasy. That's perfectly normal and expected. Perhaps some information about what happens in a typical first session will help ease your concerns.

 
What time should I arrive for my first session?

Just as when you visit a doctor's office for the first time and are asked to complete a few forms necessary for patient files, so too will you be asked to complete forms for our records. With this in mind, all new clients (for personal and career counseling) are asked to arrive at Counseling Services 20 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment in order to complete the necessary paperwork. This will help ensure that you have a full 50 minute intake session and the counselor will have ample time to complete a thorough assessment.

 
Will I be charged for counseling?

There's no charge for the initial assessment. A small fee (determined with your counselor based on your income and a sliding scale) will apply for ongoing counseling. Career testing and counseling is offered for a very reasonable fee. Your counselor will discuss these fees and work with you regarding any financial concerns you may have.

 
What can I expect during the initial session?

The main purpose of the initial session or "intake interview" is to gather information about you and your reasons for seeking counseling. Whether you're seeking personal counseling for problems such as anxiety or depression, or career testing and counseling because you're still not certain what you want to do with your life, the intake interview is essentially the same. Your counselor will typically begin the session discussing confidentiality and explaining the services offered at Counseling Services. As the intake interview continues, your counselor will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your current concerns and ask a variety of questions about these concerns and your personal history. Your counselor will use this information to better understand your presenting concerns and determine where and how your needs can best be addressed. Sometimes, more than one session is needed to gather enough information to complete assessment and make appropriate treatment recommendations.

 
What happens when the session ends?

After completing the assessment, your counselor may share with you some general impressions about your situation and concerns, and discuss with you your counseling options. If your counselor determines that your concerns can be addressed within the short-term treatment offered at Counseling Services, you'll be asked to identify specific goals for treatment so a treatment plan can be developed. If your counselor determines that you concerns would be better addressed in long term and/or specialized treatment, a referral will be made at that time. Please don't be alarmed if this happens. Our primary goal at UNO Counseling Services is to make certain our clients get the most appropriate help available. Sometimes, this necessitates a referral to other agencies and resources. 

 
What next?

If your counselor recommends counseling here at Counseling Services, you'll simply make an appointment for your next visit. There's no charge for the initial assessment. A small fee (determined with your counselor based on your income and a sliding scale) will apply for ongoing counseling. Career testing and counseling is also subject to very reasonable fees. Your counselor will discuss these fees and work with you regarding any financial concerns you may have.

 
What is "short-term treatment?"

Short-term treatment can be defined as time-limited counseling with a clear focus, specific treatment goals and measurable outcomes. When a student presents at Counseling Services with mental health concerns, counselors assess the student's current concerns and conduct a full psychosocial assessment to determine appropriate treatment recommendations. Many factors must be considered when determining treatment recommendations (e.g., nature, severity and duration of the presenting concern, presence of other mitigating or exacerbating concerns such as problematic substance use) and not all presenting concerns can be adequately or fully addressed in a short-term treatment. Counseling Services staff are trained to distinguish between concerns which can be addressed in short-term treatment and those which warrant longer-term or specialized care. When working with students with mental health concerns, the primary goal of Counseling Services is to help students access the services which will best meet their needs. Sometimes, this requires referring students for longer-term or specialized treatment, not unlike a primary care physician will refer a patient to another provider when the patient's needs are beyond the scope of services the primary care physician offers.

 
Why are some students who go to Counseling Services referred out for counseling?

The primary goal of Counseling Services is to assist students with securing the most appropriate services to address their concerns. When a student presents at Counseling Services with mental health concerns, counselors assess the student's current concerns and conduct a full psychosocial assessment to determine appropriate treatment recommendations. Counseling Services staff are trained to distinguish between concerns which can be addressed in short-term treatment (such as is provided at Counseling Services) and those which warrant longer-term or specialized care. If, at the end of assessment or at some time during treatment, your counselor refers you for services elsewhere, please know that Counseling Services staff have your best interest in mind and want to make certain you can access the services which will best meet your needs.