The University Counseling Service provides assessment, referral, and brief interventions for matriculated students of the College. The UCS staff consists of two licensed clinical psychologists who specialize in the types of problems college students experience. The counseling relationship is voluntary, free, and confidential.
In Tennessee what we discuss is considered a privileged communication with the same status as an attorney-client communication. However, there are limits to the privilege of confidentiality. These situations include: 1) suspected child, elderly person or disabled person abuse or neglect, 2) if you become a clear and imminent danger to yourself, 3) if you report that you intend to physically injure someone, or 4) when otherwise required by law or court order. With these exceptions, unless you specifically sign a release of information authorizing your therapist to talk to someone, all communications here are kept private, confidential, and privileged.
Psychotherapy is a unique process by which a client and a therapist work together to solve a problem, improve a situation, or alleviate distress when the issue is emotional or psychological nature. In a traditional medical relationship between a doctor and a patient you describe a symptom and the doctor directs actions to reduce the symptom. Psychotherapy is different from this model in that it can only be fully effective if the therapist and the client collaborate on identifying the problem and agreeing to an approach to resolve it. This means you need to be actively involved throughout this process, including completing activities between sessions. We will typically spend one to three sessions clarifying what it is you what to change. Following this we will discuss options and agree on a plan to bring about this change. We will then spend the remainder of our time implementing that plan, modifying it as is necessary. Throughout this process we want to know how you feel about our work. You need to know that in addition to the benefits of psychotherapy, sometimes the process of discussing difficult aspects of your life may cause you to experience unpleasant feelings of various sorts. You may discontinue treatment at any time, but please discuss any decisions about stopping with your therapist before you leave treatment.
Short Term Services
The Counseling Service is limited to providing short-term treatment. This means we may not be able to work on all the issues you would like or to provide you with treatment for ongoing problems. If you need further psychological services at the end of our work together, we will make every effort to provide you with appropriate referrals. However, as you may know, there are very few mental health professionals in Sewanee's immediate vicinity and it is possible you will have to drive to Chattanooga or Murfreesboro if you want to continue with another therapist after our short-term work. Additionally, while all the services of the Counseling Service are free, other providers charge for their services. It will be your responsibility, not the University's, to arrange for any payment that is necessary.