Texas A&M Health Science Center

FAQ Icon Frequently Asked Questions (please click a question to see the answer)

Why see a Counselor?

Counseling can often be beneficial to students in a variety of ways. Counseling offers the opportunity for you to address areas of concerns you may have and can be of assistance in helping you overcome personal or situational challenges that interfere with your academic, personal or social goals. Most people come to counseling when their usual ways of handling things aren't working well for some reason, causing distress and frustration. Some are dealing with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Others do not have a mental health diagnosis, but have found life is presenting more challenges than they feel they are equipped to handle.

Your Counselor will work with you to help identify different options available to bring about changes to resolve the presenting concern. The role of the Counselor is to help clarify the issues, not to give advice. A Counselor does not judge, is patient and is trained to be a sensitive and objective listener, who can support you and your decisions. Counseling can provide a safe place to discuss the issues you are facing and help you find healthy ways to deal with them.

What concerns are addressed in counseling?

There are a variety of reasons why someone may see a Counselor. Some common areas include:

  • Feelings of sadness or loneliness that won’t go away
  • Thoughts of suicide or just not wanting to be “here”
  • Family, parenting issues
  • Dating, relationship concerns
  • Gender, orientation or cultural concerns
  • Adjusting to college
  • Failing grades or struggling academically
  • Study tips, test anxiety, getting organized
  • Procrastination, time management
  • Low self-esteem
  • Grief and loss
  • Overwhelming stress and/or anxiety
  • Alcohol and/or drug related issues
  • Decision making
  • Difficulty managing anger
  • Social anxiety, communication issues
  • Trauma, sexual assault, abuse
  • Roommate issues or conflict with friends
  • Weight concerns, body image issues, eating disorders
  • Concerns about health issues
  • Balancing school, work, home life
  • Sleep disruption
  • And more…

Once you call in, demographics will be taken over the phone and you will be assigned counseling in your community or an over-the-phone appointment.

Who is eligible to utilize counseling services?
Students, their partner or spouse and their children.
How long does it take to get in to meet with a Counselor?
When you contact us to schedule an appointment, you will speak with someone right away or will be contacted within 24 hours if you leave a message.
Can I schedule a same-day appointment?
When you call (713) 500-3327, please notify us that you are requesting a same-day appointment. We will make every effort to accommodate your request.
What do I do if I need help right away?

We are mindful that a student may have an urgent need or be in an emergency situation. When you call (713) 500-3327, please indicate the urgency of the situation and briefly describe what you are experiencing in order to receive the fastest attention possible. You will either be transferred to the on-call clinician or the answering service will be able to assist you.

If you have a medical or mental health-related emergency outside of Student Assistance Program’s regular business hours, please call 911 immediately.

What is considered an emergency/crisis situation?
An emergency/crisis experience is individually based – it all depends on what it feels like for you based on your “normal”. We encourage students to call to discuss their emergency crisis and we will assist in finding a solution immediately. Some examples of a need for an emergency/crisis counseling session, include:

  • Imminent suicidal thought and/or a plan
  • Imminent homicidal thoughts
  • Severely losing emotional control
  • Gross impairment in thinking ability
  • Exhibiting bizarre behavior
  • Experienced a recent trauma
How long is a counseling session?
Counseling sessions last approximately 45-60 minutes - the exact duration will be up to your local counselor. Please let your designated local counselor know if you are unable to keep your appointment.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
If you must cancel your appointment, we ask that you notify your community provider at least 24 hours in advance.
What if I miss my appointment?
If you miss an appointment, it will be your responsibility to reschedule with your community provider.
What if I call after office hours?
If you call after hours, you will be able to speak with someone at the answering service who will assist your need and direct you accordingly.
Is there a fee for counseling services?
Counseling services are covered by your tuition and fees, so no additional payment is required when you come for an appointment. If you are referred to a counselor or community resource not affiliated with Texas A&M Health Science Center, a fee for services may be required.
How often would I meet with the Counselor?
You and the community Counselor will decide together how often you should meet. Usually, you meet once a week or once every other week.
Can someone join me in a counseling session?
Yes, students may be joined in a counseling session by their child, family member(s) or partner/spouse for family or couples counseling.
If I see a Counselor, does that mean I am “weak or crazy”?
You are not “weak or crazy” if you meet with a Counselor. It is often a sign of maturity and resourcefulness to seek help when it is needed. It is also usually better to consult someone while it is still a small problem and not wait for the problem to get worse and be harder to resolve. Counseling can offer ways to take responsibility for what is bothering you and recognize the coping skills that you already possess. In counseling, you can discover more about yourself and feel more confident and competent.
Do I need to be referred?
You do not need a referral in order to meet with a Counselor. You may call (713) 500-3327 to schedule an appointment at any time. Though family, faculty, staff or medical providers may recommend you make an appointment, you do not require a referral.
What qualifications do the Counselors have?
All Counselors in our community provider network hold professional Counseling or Social Work licensure by the State of Texas and have experience working in various counseling areas in academic, community and corporate settings.
Can I see a different Counselor?
Yes. You will be referred to a local provider, if you feel that the designated counselor is not a good fit, call us back and request another referral. Also, you have the right to discontinue counseling at any time.
Does Student Counseling Services provide medication services?
Our network does not include Medical Doctors. If you have health insurance, we can help you obtain referrals through your insurance. If you are non-resource (do not have insurance), we will provide you with a community referral in your local area.
What occurs during an initial session?

You will be asked to complete an intake form at the community provider of your choice (we ask that you arrive 10 minutes early for your first session in order to complete the required paperwork). You and your community provider will discuss this information and will both sign and date the documents.

During your initial session, time will be spent exploring your reason for seeking counseling, gathering history and background information and discussing your current functioning and needs. You and your community provider will develop a plan for future support.

What can I expect the counseling experience to be like?
We recognize it can be difficult to talk to a new person about personal things and hope to make this as rewarding an experience as possible. The Counselor may ask questions about you, your problem, your family and your background. This is in the interest of understanding you to help you find healthy ways of coping and regaining your footing. Counseling is a dialogue in which you and the Counselor work together to understand your issues, to clarify your concerns and to develop a plan to improve your situation. You should feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Will my discussion with the Counselor be confidential?

All records and conversations are personal and confidential as set forth by federal and state laws. The counseling record is separate from the academic record. With few exceptions (as noted below), we do not communicate with your friends, professors, parents or family without your written consent.

The exceptions to confidentiality are:

  1. if the Counselor assesses you are a threat to yourself or someone else
  2. if the Counselor learns of or have strong suspicions of abuse or neglect of a child, disabled person or elderly person
  3. if legal proceedings require disclosure of your counseling sessions
  4. if information is disclosed about client abuse or sexual exploitation by a previous mental health provider.

What is the process to obtain a copy of my counseling records?
Please call your community provider for assistance with obtaining your records.