Frequently Asked Questions
Why do students seek counseling?
The college years are often referred to as the best years in one's life. It is a time when students engage their intellect, forge their individual identities, and explore future life paths. Ideally, this can be an opportunity for growth, challenge, and self-discovery. It is also common for students to experience heightened stress while adjusting to these life changes, particularly within the context of a competitive academic environment.
Students come to counseling in the Wellness Center for a variety of reasons. Some are looking for help in coping with the pressures associated with adjustment to college life. Others want to learn more effective ways of developing, negotiating, or maintaining relationships. Counseling can be beneficial for students who are feeling depressed or anxious, as well as those who want to examine their beliefs or explore their current life situation. The Wellness Center offers students the opportunity to look at themselves and their environment, and to change the way they think, feel, and behave so they can make the most of their time at PLNU and beyond.
What can a parent do?
While many students seek our services on their own, a parent is often the first person to recognize a student is not functioning at his or her best. Students who are struggling or facing new challenges may turn to you for help in figuring out what to do because they know and trust you. You may find it helpful in these situations to have some basic information about the resources available to your student at PLNU, and to direct them to these. The Wellness Center is available to provide professional counseling services to students, and to consult with you when you have concerns about how to best help your student.
What counseling services are available for students at PLNU?
Any enrolled undergraduate PLNU student is eligible for counseling services. All counseling services are confidential. Students are typically seen first during a scheduled intake session. At this time, their problems are explored and the intake counselor helps them decide what services might be most helpful to best meet their needs. Students needing continuing counseling services may receive up to eight individual sessions each academic year. For those who need longer-term services, we have many high-quality community referrals available.
A student in crisis can come directly to the Wellness Center and an assessment will be done as soon as possible. The counselor will provide immediate care and work with the student to form a plan to help him or her through this difficult time.
In addition to individual counseling services, group and couples counseling are offered, as well as information and training resources including outreach presentations, educational workshops, pamphlets, and our Wellness Center website.
What is available for parents at the Wellness Center?
We understand a child leaving for college can also be a difficult adjustment for parents. You can expect to experience a mixture of emotions, ranging from pride in what your child has accomplished and concern over how they will handle the transition to a more independent stage of life to anxiety or frustration regarding personal choices and decisions being made with what seems to be decreasing parental input. We encourage parents to be realistic about their reactions to a son or daughter moving away, and be patient with the process of negotiating this new phase of relationship with your child.
Most of our students would agree that, although this is a time of exploring new freedom and autonomy, parents still play a critical role in supporting and nurturing them through this stage of life. Your relationship with your son or daughter will continue to be one of the most important contributors to his or her success at PLNU. We encourage parents to communicate openly with students, providing support while at the same time honoring your child’s development into the unique individual God desires him or her to become.
Parents and Confidentiality
As a professional counseling service, our staff is required to restrict the sharing of counseling-related information. In accordance with professional ethics and California state law, any information disclosed in the context of a professional counseling relationship is considered confidential. This means what is shared by a student in counseling sessions is not discussed with any person outside the Wellness Center, with the following exceptions: (1) the student gives written permission to share his or her counseling-related information with a third party; (2) a counselor believes the student may harm himself/herself or another person; and (3) a counselor suspects the abuse of a child, elder, or other dependent adult. Unless the counselor has obtained a signed release from a student, or perceives a student may be in immediate danger, the Wellness Center counselors will not be able to share any information with a parent related to the student's sessions.
We understand parents feel they should be able to know about what their son or daughter may be discussing in counseling, so confidentiality requirements are often a source of frustration. We encourage parents who desire to know more about their particular student’s counseling experience to talk with their son or daughter. On the whole, students tend to respond positively to open, honest communication. Though at times a student may choose to limit parental involvement, we find the majority appreciate parental concern, acceptance, and guidance in the midst of the struggles they may face while at PLNU.