Counseling Services Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do in Counseling Services?

We provide counseling to Fitchburg State University students. For most students, this means that we meet one-on-one to talk about your concerns. Students often seek counseling for help with issues related to family, relationships, depression, anxiety, grief, or dealing with stressful situations.

We also provide outreach to the Fitchburg State University community, usually in the form of programs or presentations to groups of students in classrooms or residence halls. Sometimes we offer a series of talks that are offered to anyone in the University community. Topics include the following:

  • Stress management
  • Suicide prevention
  • Bereavement
  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship violence issues
  • Alcohol abuse

We are always open to new topics that students are interested in learning about.

Who can come to Counseling Services?

Any currently-enrolled Fitchburg State University student can be seen in Counseling Services. Consultation services are available to students, faculty and staff.

Where are you located and when are you open?

Counseling Services is located on the third floor of the Hammond Building, in Room 317. Our hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sessions are arranged by an appointment (i.e., students are invited to call the office at 978.665.3152). In emergency situations, Counseling Services offers an "Urgent Hour," from 2 to 3 p.m. weekdays. During this time, Counseling Services staff make an effort to see students for briefer, problem-focused discussions, when a student is unable to make an appointment.

How do I make an appointment to talk with a counselor?

Call 978.665.3152 or stop by our office in Hammond Room 317.

I need to speak with someone right away. Is that possible?

If it is urgent that you be seen right away, during regular office hours, please contact the office for assistance (978.665.3152). Counseling Services offers an "Urgent Hour" (see above), from 2 to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. "Urgent" visits are usually 15-20 minutes in length, versus a regular appointment, which is typically 45 minutes in length. Please also see Emergencies regarding these sorts of situations.

What does it cost?

There is no cost to students for using Counseling Services. However, if you are referred to an outside provider, you will be responsible for the cost of those services (e.g., insurance reimbursement).

Who provides services in the Counseling Services Office?

Counseling is provided by professional staff members, as well as interns who provide care under the supervision of licensed supervising staff members. A list of current staff members can be found on the Counseling website. Professional specialties vary by staff member.

I want to talk with a counselor, but I don't want anyone to know. Is my information kept confidential?

All visits to Counseling Services and conversations with staff are considered confidential unless you have specifically given your consent for us to share information with a particular person. State law and professional ethics protect your privacy as a client, however there are exceptions to this. In general, all contacts are confidential unless any of the following occur:

  • We determine that you are at risk of hurting yourself or another
  • You inform us of child abuse or elder abuse
  • Under rare circumstance, if a court of law orders that we provide certain information

Please see Confidentiality on our main page for more information on this topic.

I'm not "crazy" and I'm not suicidal. Isn't counseling only for people who are?

Certainly not. Counseling services are sometimes used by people troubled with a major mental illness or people who are in crisis. However, most of the students we meet with are struggling with the stressors of daily living and are having difficulties coping as effectively as possible. The approach we take is one of health promotion. That is, a student does not have to be in "critical condition" to request our services. When possible, we are just as happy to work with you to prevent a crisis from happening. Counseling can help you improve problem-solving abilities, and assist you in developing flexible coping strategies.

I think my roommate (or friend) has an eating disorder, or a drinking problem, etc. Can I talk with someone in Counseling Services about this?

Absolutely. We can assist you to identify if there is a problem, to decide what you should do, if anything, and provide you with support.

What kinds of things can I talk about with a counselor?

You can talk with a counselor about basically anything that is important to you. No problem is seen as too big or too small. The following are examples of issues that students discuss with counselors:

  • Feelings of depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety (including test anxiety)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Family problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability issues
  • Past sexual assaults
  • Substance abuse
  • Family or parental alcoholism
  • Abusive relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • Anger management
  • Loneliness
  • Grief and loss