This guide is for people who think someone they know (or they themselves) might benefit from psychotherapy. It answers some of the questions students frequently have about counseling, including how to get help.

What is Personal Counseling?

Personal counseling is a chance to consider one’s emotional health and fulfillment, to examine one’s relations and activities, to learn how to resolve personal problems or to talk with someone not personally involved with a situation who can give feedback from a different perspective. In this way, one can learn new skills and ways of looking at situations and become more capable of solving problems in the future. The Rutgers-Camden Student Wellness Center includes both Psychological & Counseling Services and Alcohol/Drug/Nicotine Counseling & Assistance. These departments are staffed by clinical psychologists, a certified addictions specialist, and a consulting psychiatrist. We offer individual, couples and group psychotherapy. 

(There is a charge for LD/ADD/ADHD Assessments)

Why do people seek Personal Counseling?

Most people come to Psychological Services when their usual ways of handling problems aren’t working well for some reason. Many students who come feel upset in some way — depressed, angry, stressed, scared or confused. These upsetting feelings can occur in response to a number of situations such as: 

    1. Trying to begin or maintain a relationship,
    2. Feeling the loss of someone close,
    3. Concentration problem, or sleep disturbances,
    4. Anxiety about tests or speaking in class,
    5. Becoming aware of a problem with alcohol or drugs,
    6. Wondering why one is in college,
    7. Struggling to become independent from parents,
    8. Feeling homesick for family,
    9. Concern about family members or friends who have something wrong, such as a drinking problem, divorce, serious illness or death,
    10. Reacting to an unwanted pregnancy or a traumatic experience such as rape or childhood sexual abuse,
    11. Concerns about one’s sexuality.

How do people feel about coming to psychological services?

Students often feel hesitant about seeking psychotherapy for a variety of reasons. For example, they may feel that they should be able to handle all their problems themselves, or they may feel a lot of shame and guilt about their difficulties. In addition, some students are concerned that if they seek psychological services this fact will appear on official records. 


What happens when someone comes to psychological services?


The first step is to make an appointment for an introductory interview by calling or coming to the health center. An appointment will usually be scheduled within a couple of days. If anyone feels he or she must see someone sooner they should tell the secretary, who will almost always make an appointment the same day. 


The therapist will gather information about the client and why he or she chose to seek help at this point. The therapist will ask about what is troubling the person, how long the problem has existed, what kinds of thoughts and feelings the person has about it and what has been done about the problem in the past. The therapist will also want to know something about the person’s life and family background. Clients will have an opportunity to decide whether to begin ongoing therapy, obtain a referral to another office, or handle their concerns in another way. 


If a client decides he or she would like to begin ongoing therapy, and the therapist agrees, the client is usually assigned the therapist he or she has seen for the introductory interview. If a client requests another therapist there may be a delay in assignment but every effort will be make to honor their request. At busy times of the year, it may take up to two weeks for ongoing counseling to begin. However, if the client and/or the therapist feel it is important to begin sooner, this usually can be arranged. Once regular therapy begins, sessions are most commonly scheduled once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. (In instances where it seems more sessions are needed and not other resources are available, the number of sessions may be adjusted.)  

Closing words

If someone is still uncertain about whether psychological counseling is the right step, we encourage making an appointment for an introductory interview to discuss any reservations they may have. The service incurs no out of pocket expense and there is no obligation to continue. Students may also make appointments to discuss concerns about people they know and how best to refer them for psychotherapy.