Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)


NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic all appointments must be scheduled and conducted over the phone or by Zoom. The Counseling Center is not currently conducting in-person appointments.

What is the Counseling Center & where is it located?
The Counseling Center is dedicated to student mental health and well-being. We are housed within Dartmouth College Health Service and are located on the second floor of Dick's House, 7 Rope Ferry Road. We offer a variety of psychological services to assist students in managing the many demands and developmental challenges of college. These services, provided by a diverse and multicultural competent professional staff, include short-term counseling, group counseling, medication evaluation and monitoring, and consultation. Additionally, we provide same-day services for crisis and emergency situations.

What is counseling?
Counseling can provide students with support and help in finding ways to cope with the emotions that go along with a difficult time. The goal of the Counseling Center is to provide students with an opportunity to explore their concerns and problems with professional mental health providers in a confidential setting. We provide crisis intervention, brief individual and couples counseling and groups for students on a variety of personal, academic and career related issues.

How do I schedule an appointment?
Appointments are scheduled by phone or in person. To schedule an appointment by phone, please call the Counseling Center at 603-646-9442. The first appointment within the Counseling Center, called a triage, is typically scheduled within 1-3 business days. Appointments are scheduled based upon matching the student's schedule to available counselors. Students may request a specific counselor based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or professional training, but it may mean a longer wait until such a counselor becomes available. 

What can I expect from a triage appointment?
During a triage appointment, students are encouraged to talk freely and in confidence about a personal concern or problem. Counseling Center counselors are experienced in supporting students and will help sort out thoughts, feelings and help to clarify and assess presenting issues. At the end of the triage appointment, the counselor will make recommendations for the best next step. Possible next steps could be continued short-term counseling within the Counseling Center, a referral to a group or workshop, a referral for medication management, a referral to see a dietician or if there is a long-term therapy need, the Counseling Center can assist with the referral process to a community provider. 

What can one expect from short-term therapy?
Students can expect to meet with a counselor who is interested in listening to their concerns. Furthermore, counselors will help students better understand and deal more easily and effectively with those concerns. By the end of the first session, students may expect to have worked with their counselor to identify an agreed upon goal, a general plan for working toward that goal, and some idea of the length of time it may take to achieve that goal. The counselor will not give direct advice but will instead help explore alternatives so that a student can make the best possible decisions.

Why do students go to the Counseling Center?
Each year between 20-25% of all Dartmouth students come to the Counseling Center for help. The reasons vary, but students do come for help with the day to day issues they face like stress, anxiety, procrastination, and difficulty with relationships. Additionally, some students come for help with concerns that involve depression, eating disorders, trauma, and substance use/abuse among other reasons.  

Is there a session limit?
The Counseling Center provides counseling services to all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. Due to the demand of counseling services, the Counseling Center operates on a short-term model. There is not a set number of sessions allotted to each student as each situation is different. Students who are referred for short-term counseling will discuss with their counselor the frequency of when they will meet and the duration. If long-term therapy is needed, the Counseling Center can assist with a referral to a community provider.

How much does counseling cost?
Counseling services within the Dartmouth College Health Service are free and available to all full-time enrolled students at Dartmouth College. Students on a Leave Term and spouses of students are eligible for a one-time free consultation. Students referred to a community therapist for long-term therapy will incur fees and may need to utilize their insurance.

What if it is after business hours or a weekend and I need to talk with a counselor?
The Counseling Center offers 24-hour crisis counseling for enrolled students or for those who are concerned about an enrolled student. Crisis services can be accessed by calling the Counseling Center phone number, 603-646-9442. If it is after hours, you will be prompted to select option #1 to access the on-call provider.

Will my counselor share with others what I talk about in my sessions?
All Counseling Center counselors recognizes the importance of privacy and safety as the basis of effective therapy. We do not share information about students seeking help with anyone without written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality are rare and specifically mandated by law and professional ethics. We make sure to review confidentiality during our first contact with all students and are available to answer any questions about confidentiality as they may arise during treatment.  Safeguarding information shared by students in the context of the counselor-client relationship is an ethical and legal responsibility of all Counseling Center clinicians.  For further information, please see Confidentiality & Release of Information

There may be times when a student and their counselor decide it would be beneficial to turn to others for additional support. i.e. parents, Deans, coaches, or Community Directors. If a student requests such contact, they will be asked to sign a release of information giving permission for their counselor to communicate with the person(s) designated on the release. 

How can I get help for a friend whose behavior is troubling?
The Counseling Center provides consultations for students who are concerned about friends. We work with students on how to express their concerns to a friend in a respectful and effective manner. We can also provide information about campus and local resources. In situations where a student of concern may be engaging in behaviors that present a danger to self or others, please call the Department of Safety & Security at 603-646-4000. DoSS will immediately assist you.

Our Commitment to Diversity
We value the uniqueness and diversity of all students. We are dedicated to creating an environment where all students feel welcome.
Cultural competence in the delivery of services is important to the psychological well-being of all students. Each student's identity is influenced by many factors—family upbringing, religion, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Since many of these identities are learned early in life, they work as a lens for interpreting, understanding, experiencing, and participating in the world as well as a way of connecting with and identifying with others. All Counseling Center counselors strive to obtain an understanding of the ways in which these experiences may relate to a student's presenting concerns. 

How do I borrow a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. For many people who experience SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months. It is normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and cannot get motivated to do activities that you normally enjoy, you should consult with a Counseling Center counselor. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy, psychotherapy, or psychotherapy and medications.
Light therapy is often the first line of treatment for fall-onset SAD. Research on light therapy is limited, but it seems to be effective for many people in relieving SAD symptoms.
Students interested in light therapy can borrow a sun lamp by contacting the Counseling Center at 603-646-9442. We allow students to check-out these lamps for up to two weeks. However, if demand for the lamps increases, a student may be asked to return the lamp after one week.