The Scope of Counseling Services

The Scope of Counseling Services

The Counseling Services at Columbia College provides individual and group counseling services, consultation, and outreach to support full time students in the Women’s College.

Counseling Services invites all students to make an initial appointment to meet with Mimi Meriwether the Director of Counseling Services and to discuss concerns. During this initial meeting, the Director of Counseling Services, in collaboration with the student, will recommend services either on campus or in the community. When appropriate, students may be referred to on campus Counseling Services. In order to use resources most effectively, Counseling Services utilizes a short-term model of therapy (a maximum of 8 individual sessions per academic year) to assist students in addressing issues common in a college setting.

Some of the issues that are commonly addressed in short-term counseling are:

  • Personal Issues: Stress and anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, low self-esteem, grief
  • Relationship Issues: Romantic relationship difficulties, sexual concerns, roommate problems, family issues.
  • Developmental Issues: Identity development, adjustment to college, life transitions
  • Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, underachievement, low motivation
  • Other Issues: Effects of trauma, sexual assault, abuse, concerns from childhood or adolescence, spiritual concerns, body image, food preoccupation, healthy lifestyle choices

Students whose needs cannot be accommodated within short-term counseling, or whose needs require a particular type of expertise unavailable on campus, are referred to community resources.   Services provided on campus will NOT be an appropriate substitute for intensive, or long-term treatment. The Director of Counseling Services will provide referral services when it becomes clear that the student’s needs are outside of the scope of care. The counseling services director will follow-up with the student to facilitate the referral, offering assistance as necessary.

Some of the issues that are commonly addressed through referral to services outside of the Counseling Center include:

  • A desire to be seen more than once a week or for long-term therapy, or a need for such as indicated by:
    • History of multiple hospitalizations
    • Chronic suicidality and/or self-injury behaviors; history of repeated suicide attempts
    • Indication that short-term therapy may be detrimental or non-beneficial
    • Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning, requiring intensive intervention
    • Manifestations of psychotic symptoms without willingness to remain on medication for stabilization of symptoms
    • Inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms

Students who need specialized services not available through Counseling Services as indicated by:

  • Need for psychiatric (medical) intervention
  • Presence of significant drug and/or alcohol problems such as substance dependence, primary substance abuse, and/or past failed treatments
  • Presence of significant or long-standing eating disorder with no period of remission, no previous treatment, or that may pose a medical danger
  • Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose employment clearance or other nonacademic purpose
  • Services to fulfill students’ court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements

**The general guidelines listed above are only intended to serve as a guide to assist treatment decisions. The nature and complexity of presenting concerns and the broader context are considered in making the appropriate treatment recommendation(s). Cases are evaluated individually and the professional judgment of the mental health provider(s) will determine the treatment decision in a particular situation.