How much does it cost to see a counselor?

Services are free of charge to currently enrolled Houghton College students. Nominal fees may be charged for special services or testing.

How long does counseling last?

Individual counseling sessions are normally planned weekly and usually last about 50 minutes. The length of time a student spends in counseling varies, but most students are seen on a “short term” basis (three to eight sessions or less).

How do I make an appointment?

Simply stop and complete an “intake form.” This provides background information and your schedule. Our counselors review these forms and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Appointments can be made for individuals, couples, or groups.

More information about Appointments

If educational or career planning is a concern, a staff member will talk with you specifically and decide which of our career services is best suited to your needs. You can also visit Career Services for assistance.

Who can use the Counseling Services?

The Counseling Center is a service established for currently enrolled Houghton College students. We provide services to more than 20% of our students each year. This includes both individual and group counseling for students who wish to discuss a wide variety of concerns.

Due to time and staff limitations, we are not able to extend services outside our currently enrolled student population. Find counselors in your area.

Professional training of the counselors?

Staff counselors are professionals with graduate degrees in counseling, psychology, or social work. Each staff person is committed to applying Christian principles as a foundation for their work with students. Counselors at the college recognize that there is no healing apart from the work of God. They understand their discipline and, at the same time, understand the work of grace in each person’s life.

The Center is also used for the training of graduate interns for the counseling profession. Interns are closely supervised by a doctoral-level staff counselor who is responsible for the intern’s work with students.

More information about our Staff

What about confidentiality?

What you share with the counselor will be held in confidence, unless you give your counselor permission to discuss it with others. This is the case except for incidents of suspected abuse of children or elderly persons, or when you present a serious danger to yourself or others, or in the extremely unlikely event that records are requested by a court of law. You will be asked to sign a specific release form before any information is provided to outside parties.

More information about Confidentiality

Concern for a friend/Consultations

If you are concerned about a friend who may need help, you can discuss this with a counselor without being asked to reveal the identity of your friend. A brief consultation at such a time may be just what you need to decide how best to help your friend. A counselor can often assist you with ideas about suggesting counseling to a friend or about handling a difficult situation. Students are often relieved after these consultations, and grateful for this type of assistance.

Problems students talk about

Students come to counseling for a number of reasons, but mostly because they are temporarily “stuck” in the middle of working out a personal problem. Being stuck usually relates to several common themes as noted.

Family: communication with parents, parents’ divorce, independence

Spirituality: questions about faith, confusion about God’s will, differences among Christians

Friends: helping friends with problems, conflicts with friends, over-dependent friends

Decision Making: keeping commitments, difficulty with decisions, setting limits/priorities

Intimacy/Sexuality: building lasting friendships, confusion over sexual behavior, issues of sexual orientation, break-up of a steady relationship, effects of past sexual abuse, sexual harassment, physical/verbal abuse in dating relationship

Managing Emotions: depression or anxiety, expressing anger, recognizing emotions in ourselves, forgiving others

Problem Behaviors or Situations: anorexia/bulimia, alcohol or drug abuse, other “compulsive” behaviors, unplanned pregnancy

Most of the above behaviors are the typical struggles of many students. Making use of counseling available to you as a student may be one of the best decisions you make, rather than some sign of weakness or sickness. Normal people seek help when help is needed.

Focus Groups and Additional Resources

The Counseling Center offers several group opportunities each year, which are advertised on campus as they occur. Counseling Center staff are also available to lead small discussions or seminars for your dorm floor or hall covering many of the topics listed in the next section. The Center also houses a small library of paperbacks, brochures, cassettes, and videotapes on topics of interest to students. Stop in or call the receptionist at extension 6220 for more information about any of the above.