Counseling Process

Ethics and Professional Standards

You have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, with nondiscrimination and with sensitivity. You also have the right to an individualized service plan that reflects your problems and/or needs. You have the responsibility to choose the treatment provider and treatment method that you feel is best for you, so if you believe you are not making adequate progress, please discuss that with us. We will make every effort to assist you in attaining the treatment goals you desire or in transferring to another therapist. If you have any questions about professional standards, also please feel free to discuss them with us. The Washington State Counselor Crediting Act protects your health and safety by providing a complaint process against counselors who would commit acts of unprofessional conduct. If you are not satisfied, contact the State of Washington Department of Health, PO Box 47869, Olympia, WA 08504-4869 or call (206) 753-2147.

Confidentiality and Records

Washington State Law requires that you be informed of the following information: All information and issues discussed in the course of therapy are strictly confidential with the following exceptions. Information concerning treatment or evaluation may be released only with the written consent of the person treated, that person's parent or guardian (if a minor), or in the case of marital, family or group treatment by all parties involved. Exceptions to this confidentiality are made by law if there is suspected child abuse or neglect, potential harm to oneself or to others, or if a court subpoenas or your insurance company requests access to your records. We keep a record of health care services provided to you. You may ask to see a copy of that record or to have portions sent to another treatment provider. Requests must be in the form of a written release of information with adequate time provided (15 days) in order for preparation of the record.

In order to stay current and provide the best possible service, Counseling and Testing Services counselors occasionally consult with community professionals in case conferences. Names of students are not given.

Counseling Sessions

Usually the first counseling session is exploratory in nature. In this first session, the counselor wants to get to know you and help you assess how Counseling and Testing Services can best serve you. Succeeding sessions will be devoted to finding ways of achieving the goals you established with the counselor. People tend to want quick and immediate solutions, but usually this does not happen in counseling. Instead, the counselor works with a student to discover their own unique solutions. Most students are able to meet their goals or work through their problem in six to nine sessions. Since we must meet the needs of all students, we limit the number of sessions to nine per year. If you need more extensive services, your counselor can refer you to an off-campus counselor.


The appointment for a counseling session can last a maximum of fifty minutes. This allows the counselor a ten minute period to prepare for their next appointment and allows you to get to your classes on time.

Having made an appointment, that time has been specifically reserved for you. It is your responsibility to notify our office in advance to cancel an appointment (if possible at least 24 hours in advance). Failure to assume this responsibility prevents us from scheduling an appointment for another student in that time slot, or may not allow us to utilize that time slot in the most effective way possible. Unfortunately, we can all forget at times. If you do forget your appointment, please call and let us know so we can reschedule you for another counseling session.

Discipline Mandated Treatment Programs

Students who are referred to counseling or the Student Assistance Program as a part of a mandated discipline program will be expected to provide permission for the counselor to keep all appropriate authorities informed as to their progress or status in treatment. You should know that failing to meet appointments or refusing to participate in any recommended treatment modality (i.e. laboratory testing for chemical analysis, an abuse therapy as prescribed by a physician, Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-Step Group Work, group therapy, Breathe Free Program) may result in your termination. We will be happy to assist you in making a referral to another Certified Chemical Dependency treatment provider for a second opinion of recommendations or if our services are not meeting your needs. Please refer to the WWC Student Handbook Drug and Alcohol Policies for clarification of college policies.

Is Counseling For Me?

"How do I know if I need counseling?" If one or more of the following statements describe you, you are probably at a point where counseling could be helpful to you.

  • I am anxious, worried, or nervous most of the time.
  • My sleeping or eating patterns have changed.
  • My moods change rapidly. I often feel like crying.
  • I am overwhelmed by everything that is expected of me.
  • My relationships with other people are not going well.
  • I feel confused and have difficulty making decisions.
  • I can't decide on a major or career.
  • I am not functioning effectively in an important area of my life (studies, job, family, relationships, marriage).
  • I am going through a significant change in my life.
  • I am experiencing difficulties in at least one area of my life due to the use of substances or other compulsive behavior.
  • I need more information on substance abuse.
Page maintained by Marilyn LaCome
Last update on July 12, 2010