Confidentiality

The therapeutic relationship and what is discussed by a therapist and client are considered private and protected under the law. We adhere to professional, legal, and ethical guidelines established by the State of Maryland and the American Psychological Association. Information about any aspect of your counseling relationship, including your appointments and records, will not be disclosed to anyone outside of Counseling and Referral Services’ professional staff without your written permission. Please note that clinical records are completely separate from educational records and cannot be accessed by parents, faculty, staff, administrators or others without your written permission or court order.

However, Maryland law establishes that in order to protect the client and/or the public, disclosures without the permission of the client may apply under the following circumstances:

  • You are considered at immediate risk for harming yourself
  • You are considered at immediate risk for harming others
  • Previous or current child abuse
  • Abuse of elderly persons or persons with disabilities
  • A court order

Counseling FAQs

What is Counseling and How Does it Work?

Counseling is your chance to think out loud with an experienced and objective listener who can help you explore your options, offer new ways to cope with situations, provide information about helpful resources or just simply listen.

What does the initial session look like?

MUIH counselors provide free, short-term counseling services. Appointments are generally 50 minutes in length. It’s common to feel anxious during the first counseling session, but counselors are here to support you. Typically, during this first meeting, your counselor will want to learn more about you and what concerns brought you to Counseling and Referral Services. In subsequent sessions, your meetings will likely be more focused on helping you address your concerns.

What is short-term counseling?

Counseling and Referral Services (CRS) applies a short-term model to individual counseling. In short-term counseling, issues are addressed over a few sessions in a solution-focused manner. The goal is to facilitate adjustment to college, reduce emotional distress, and foster resilience to help students continue attending college and pursue their academic, career, and personal goals. Counselors work to facilitate adjustment, healthy functioning, problem resolution, or symptom relief as quickly as possible. Students who present with persistent and chronic psychological concerns and require continuous long term treatment are best served by community providers who can offer uninterrupted treatment and care.

Since therapy issues vary from person to person, the length of treatment also varies and is based on goals set by the therapist and client and on ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of treatment. While the CRS provides a maximum of 8 individual counseling sessions per trimester, most students achieve their therapeutic goals and end counseling in six sessions.

Click here for information on short-term therapy.

Does going to counseling mean I am “weak” or have something “wrong” with me?

Not at all. In fact, talking with a counselor is a healthy way to address the challenges you are facing, establish coping skills, develop personal insight, and achieve academic and personal success.

What kinds of things do people talk about in counseling?

Counseling can help you deal with many different issues and concerns, including those listed below. Please visit these pages for a wealth of information, including coping techniques.

Are counseling services confidential?

Confidentiality is an important aspect of counseling. Most of the information that is shared with a counselor is confidential, unless you give written permission for the counselor to speak to someone. In addition, based on legal and ethical requirements, there are some circumstances when confidentiality may be broken, such as when you or someone else is in imminent danger or if there is a possibility that a child or a vulnerable adult is being abused. You are always welcome to ask your counselor more about confidentiality.

Do I need an appointment to be seen by a counselor?

Generally, yes. Exceptions are made in the event of an emergency if counselors have time slots available. If you have an immediate health-related emergency outside of the Counseling and Referral Services’ regular business hours please call 911. To make an appointment, email .

How much do sessions cost?

Counseling and Referral services are free of charge.

How often can I see a counselor and are there any limits to the number of times I can see a counselor?

Counseling sessions are typically 50 minutes in length. Every registered student is eligible to receive up to 8 sessions a trimester, if their needs fall within Counseling and Referral Services’ scope of practice. If longer-term services are warranted, your counselor may refer you to appropriate community resources, including resources that offer payment on a sliding scale.

Does MUIH’s Counseling and Referral Services prescribe medications for mental health issues?

No. However, we do provide referrals to community agencies for evaluation, medication, and long-term therapy.

I need help right away. What do I do?

If you have a situation where you are unable to wait for your next available appointment or if you have an immediate health-related emergency outside of CRS regular business hours please call 911.

Student/Client Rights and Responsibilities

You Have a Right to:

  • Receive considerate, safe, and respectful care regardless of age, race, creed, disabling condition, gender, national origin, religion, social status, sexual orientation
  • Receive private and confidential care, except in the case of an emergency, court order, threat of self-harm or harm to others, or evidence of child abuse or neglect
  • Know who is responsible for coordinating your care
  • As for and receive complete and understandable information about the care you received, including your diagnosis, evaluation, prognosis and any risks involved
  • Participate in decisions regarding your care
  • Provide us with a copy of your Advance Directive for Healthcare or Living Will
  • Access your medical record under the discretion of you provider
  • Receive an explanation of your bill
  • Change your primary care provider if other qualified providers are available
  • Exercise your cultural and spiritual beliefs
  • Voice concerns to administration and clinic staff
  • Access to the compliant and grievance process

You Have a Responsibility to:

  • Keep your appointments or cancel them in a timely manner
  • Provide complete and accurate information about your health, including medications taken, over the counter products, supplements, and any allergic or sensitivities
  • Ask questions when you are in doubt
  • Communicate changes in your health and/or condition to your provider
  • Accept personal responsibility for charges not covered by your insurance
  • Follow your health care provider’s instructions or discuss with them any obstacles you may have in complying with your prescribed treatment plan
  • Accept responsibility for refusing treatment or not following your treatment plan
  • Show respect and consideration for others around you, including other patients and staff
  • Follow all policies affecting patient conduct and care
  • Inform your provider about any living will, medical power of attorney, or other directive that could affect you care

Telehealth

Talk to a Counselor from Your Very Own Couch

Did you know that we offer video counseling services (telehealth) so you can meet with a counselor from the comfort of your own residence?

Counseling and Referral Services (CRS) offers counseling sessions via face-to-face video conferencing (telehealth) to currently enrolled MUIH students who meet the eligibility criteria for distance counseling services. Due to licensing laws, counselors may only provide ongoing therapy to those who are currently in the state of Maryland. Additionally, this service is available to students assessed as being appropriate for this form of counseling. If a student is not eligible for telehealth their counselor will provide support, resources and referrals to appropriate services.

The initial consultation will be an opportunity for your counselor to get a good understanding of your needs and gauge the best possible way to assist you. This may be through short-term, solutions focused telehealth therapy sessions or a more appropriate service.

It is important to note that video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in misunderstanding. This can be limited to a degree by using a stationary device such as a laptop or large tablet and remaining in the same room for your sessions. Should misunderstandings happen, it is important to assume that your counselor has positive regard for you, and to check out your assumptions with your counselor. This will reduce any unnecessary feelings of discomfort.

Telehealth sessions are held via a secure and confidential video conferencing platform. You will sign in through your client portal and click on your session time to activate the video session. It is recommended that you sign on to your account at least 5 minutes prior to your session start time to ensure you have a working connection. You are responsible for informing your counselor if you have trouble connecting to your session or need to cancel/reschedule.

Limitations of Distance Counseling

Distance counseling should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling. For example:

Due to the use of technology, video counseling may have disruptions in service and quality of service.

If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, video counseling might not be appropriate for you needs.

Emergency Management for Distance Counseling

So that your counselor is able to get you help in the case of an emergency and for your safety, the following measures are important and necessary:

Your counselor will need to know the location/address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions and will need to know if this location changes. (please maintain updated information in the portal)

Your counselor will request that you identify someone, whom you trust, to give your counselor permission to contact should a situation occur that your counselor believes you to be at risk. You, and/or your counselor, will verify that this emergency contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency, and if your counselor deems necessary, call 911 and/or transport you to a hospital. You will also provide the name/location of the nearest Hospital Emergency Room.

Backup Plan in Case of Technology Failure

Your counselor will provide you with a secure zoom link in case there are technical difficulties with the portal platform. This link will be sent to your student email.

If you get disconnected, re-start the session on the original platform. If you are unable to reconnect within 5 minutes, please utilize the link sent to your email. Should none of those work, email your counselor.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is essential to your counseling progress. Our counselor is ethically and legally bound to maintain your confidentiality. A written and/or electronic record (date, time, nature of meeting) of your contacts will be maintained in a secure manner.

Video conferencing sessions in our office are provided behind a closed door. All video conferencing correspondences will be done through a secure video platform encrypted to the federal standard.

To schedule your intake appointment, obtain more information about our services or additional resources contact us at .
 

What is so great about telehealth?

It’s convenient

There’s no need for you to travel to and from the campus or to worry about getting to class before or after your session; It can happen wherever you choose.

It’s comfortable

Sometimes it’s just easier to share private information when you’re in the comfort of your own space. With no need to come to the campus, you can even attend in your PJs!

Does this really work?

Online counseling services continue to be a growing trend. According to recent research, it’s just as effective for most issues and is a fine alternative to meeting with a counselor face-to-face. Telehealth is also a wonderful resource to the campus community in the effort to practice appropriate social distancing.

Am I eligible for Tele-health Services with Counseling and Referral Services (CRS)?

Students eligible for tele-health must:

  • Be enrolled at MUIH
  • Be located in the State of Maryland or a state that permits out-of-state mental health providers to practice
  • Have a stable internet connection
  • Have access to a webcam
  • Have a private location for attending scheduled appointments with no distractions.

Not eligible?