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 (603-646-9442), online, or in person, 5 Rope Ferry Road, 2nd Floor.
- The first appointment is called a 'Triage'. The 'Triage' appointment is generally scheduled within 1-3 business days; however, demand for appointments can affect this timeframe.
- 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?
- Students are encouraged to talk freely and in confidence about their personal concerns.
- Our counselors are experienced in supporting students; they will ask a variety of questions to help clarify and assess presenting issues.
- At the end of the triage appointment, the counselor will make recommendations for the best next step which could include a referral to short-term therapy within the Counseling Center, a group or workshop, medication management, a dietician, and/or long-term therapy with a community provider.
What can one expect from short-term therapy?
- Students meet with a counselor who will help them better understand and deal more effectively with their concerns.
- By the end of the first session, students may expect to have worked with their counselor to identify goals for treatment, a general plan for working toward those goals, and some idea of the length of time it may take to achieve those goals.
- The counselor will not give direct advice but will instead help explore concerns so students can make the best possible decisions for themselves.
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 and duration of their meetings.
- 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.
Will my counselor share with others what I talk about in my sessions?
- All Counseling Center counselors recognize 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.
How do I borrow a Sunlamp?
- 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 sunlamp 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.
- Other campus locations with sunlamps are: Student Wellness Center; Library (checkout is done through the library circulation system).