Counseling Services Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive counseling?

Services are available to all enrolled NDNU students (who have paid tuition and student fees). Consultation and crisis services are available to students, faculty and staff at NDNU.

What is my first appointment (Initial Intake) like?

Typically, the first appointment is an information-gathering meeting that will help you and your therapist determine how the center can best meet your needs. This may include resolving your concerns in a single session, scheduling additional individual sessions, or providing you with a more appropriate referral(s) to off-campus resources.

How much do counseling sessions cost?

All counseling services are free for currently enrolled students.

Are counseling sessions confidential?

All information and the fact that you are in counseling is kept confidential by state law. Except for specific legal situations, we do not release any information unless you provide a written request for us to do so. These few exceptions to the rules of confidentiality are: cases of child or elder abuse or neglect, court orders to release information, or situations where we believe the client is a serious and immediate danger to self or others. Our records are separate from university educational records. There may be times when counselors and therapists within Counseling Services will share your information with each other in order to provide you the most effective services.

How many sessions can I attend?

There is no specific session limit, however Counseling Services operates under a “Brief Treatment” model, in an effort to better serve as many of our students as possible. Counseling Services therefore reserves the right to refer clients for counseling elsewhere as may be clinically indicated.

What if I have an emergency?

In an emergency situation during business hours, you may call Counseling Services at 650-508-3714 or 650-508-3578 and ask to speak to a counselor immediately. Suicidal intent, acute risk of violent behavior, severe loss of emotional control, and gross impairment in thinking ability are examples of emergencies.

If you are unable to reach anyone at Counseling Services, you may call the Dean of Students at 650-508-3513 or Public Safety at 650-504-0656 and 650-740-1483. If you are not on campus during the time of an emergency, please dial 911. You may also use the 24-hour Crisis Hotline by calling 650-579-0350. Check out our Crisis/Emergency Assistance page for more information.

How do I make an appointment?

Simply call the main line at 650-508-3714 and leave a message to request to schedule an appointment. You may also stop by and if someone is free they will assist you right then or schedule an appointment with you. The third option is to write your name and number on a card and drop it in our drop box by the front door. Someone in the center will call you to arrange an appointment. Please see our How To Schedule An Appointment tab for more information.

How long are counseling appointments?

The initial intake appointments are about 45-50 minutes in length but we ask that you arrive about 10 minutes ahead of your appointment in order to fill out the initial paperwork.

Individual sessions are also 45-50 minute in length. Couples sessions and group therapy sessions are both 90 minutes in length.

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment, please call Counseling Services at 650-508-3714 or visit our office in New Hall E18. Due to the heavy demand for services, we urgently request you cancel 1 day (24 hours) in advance of your scheduled appointment time. Appointments not canceled 24-hours in advance will be considered Late Cancels or No Shows.

What if I miss an appointment?

Counseling Services has critical demand for appointment times and a limited number of staff. As per our Cancellation/No Show Policy, if you No Show two appointments in a row, we may be unable to schedule further appointments with you. You may contact your therapist to discuss options for future services. Crisis/emergency services will always remain available to any enrolled NDNU student.

What do I do if I’m worried about someone? How do I refer them?

If you are asking yourself these questions then you are close enough to someone to realize they may be in need of some help. Even though that person may come to you with a problem and you are willing to help, there are circumstances which may indicate the need for professional guidance, especially if you feel like you are “in over your head” and unsure what to do for the person.

Some people accept a referral to a mental health professional more easily than others. It is generally best to be frank with the person about your concern for them and any limits of your ability to help–limitations of time, energy, training, objectivity, etc. It is often reassuring to hear that you respect their willingness to talk to you and that you want to see them get the best and most appropriate assistance available. If you are concerned about a student and want to refer them to Counseling Services:

  • Inform them about our services and help them make an appointment by calling 650-508-3714
  • During business hours you can have the student come (or bring them) to our office in New Hall E18. Identify the situation as urgent or a crisis in order to be seen immediately. If possible, call ahead so we can be ready for them when they arrive.
  • Call Counseling Services to discuss your concerns with one of our mental health staff.

If you have an urgent concern after our regular business hours, call the Public Safety cell phone at 650-504-0656 and 650-740-1483 and the duty officer will be able to assist you or help you reach other appropriate assistance. See our Crisis/Emergency Assistance page for more information.