University of Washington
Counseling Center

Personal Counseling
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What is Counseling?

Counseling is a process by which you learn to make better decisions, improve your personal skills, develop increased confidence, and acquire a keener awareness of your needs and the needs of others. A wide variety of concerns can be discussed in counseling such as choosing or changing a major, proving communication with parents or friends, changing behavior patterns, learning effective time management, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety, or defeating substance abuse.  Counseling also means using therapeutic techniques to help another person deal with mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, or to develop human awareness and potential.

You may receive counseling in individual, couple, or group sessions.  Individual, couple or group counseling consist of several steps.  First, time is spent discussing concerns and getting to know each other.  It is important to develop a trusting relationship with the counselor in this early stage of counseling.  As trust is developed, it becomes easier to discuss your feelings and needs. 

This results in a better understanding of yourself, and the development of plans for making changes in your behavior.  Realistic goals can be set and alternatives can then be explored.  Your active involvement, both during the counseling session and outside of counseling, is required in order for change and growth to occur.

Because many UW students seek counseling, the Counseling Center is able to provide short-term therapy only.  Individual sessions are typically scheduled for once each week and last 45-50 minutes, giving the counselor the remainder of the hour to complete case notes.  When longer-term counseling is therapeutically appropriate, the Counseling Center will refer you to other individuals or agencies who provide this.  Group counseling sessions are held weekly and last one to two hours, depending on the type and size of the group.

For more information about counseling at the CC, please review the following sites:
Frequently Asked Questions
Client Rights and Responsibilities
Professional Staff 

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