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Personal Counseling FAQs

1. What is personal counseling and how does it differ from academic counseling?
Personal counseling helps students solve personal or emotional problems. Academic counseling focuses on solving problems directly related to school.  These include time management, grades, studying, homework assignments and stress management. Personal counseling usually helps students function better academically, even though that is not the main focus. Both services are available free of charge to all students currently enrolled at BMCC.

2. What are some common reasons students seek counseling? How do I know if I should speak with a counselor?
Counseling helps you understand and cope with feelings, behaviors and situations.  This can lead to a more satisfying life. Common reasons that students seek counseling are depression, stress, anxiety, panic, relationship or family problems, increased drug or alcohol use, mood swings, or anything that is getting in the way of functioning in school, at work or at home. At times, everyone feels stressed out, depressed, angry, anxious, or confused. Sometimes a good friend or a relative can help. However, there are times when these problems do not go away and become overwhelming. These are the times when someone should seek personal counseling.

3. How do I get started?
Please call us at 212-220-8140 or come to the Counseling Center in S-343 to make an initial appointment to speak with a counselor. You will usually be given an appointment within a few days. If you are in a crisis and you need to be seen sooner, let us know and the next available counselor will see you. Examples of crisis situations are the recent death of a family member or close friend, being abused or assaulted, or thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else.

4. What can I expect in my first counseling visit?
Your first appointment is a brief screening to review your concerns and talk about what you hope to gain from counseling. Based on this conversation, the counselor may recommend additional meetings at the Counseling Center. We will help you get connected with a therapist in the community if longer-term treatment is the best option for you. The appointment usually lasts about 30 minutes. You will need to arrive 5 minutes early to fill out a form describing the reason for your visit.

5. What happens after my first visit?
Many students get the help they need in one meeting with a counselor. If your counselor recommends specialized treatment off campus after your first visit, the counselor can still meet with you a few more times to support you while you get connected to a counselor in the community. If we are going to see you for short-term counseling, the counselor will schedule an Intake appointment. You need to arrive 15 minutes early for this appointment to fill out paperwork. This information will help you and your counselor set goals for counseling and discuss expectations.

6. What can I expect from my counselor?
Your counselor will listen closely to your problems, answer your questions directly and honestly, offer support, and suggest changes that you can make to reach your personal goals. Each counselor works differently, but they are all trained mental health professionals who want to help you.

7. How can I get the most out of my counseling experience?
To have the best counseling experience possible, be honest, open, and willing to try new things. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Plan ahead for what you want to talk about each week. Be on time for your sessions, and call to reschedule if you need to cancel an appointment.

8. How long does counseling last?
Some students feel better after two or three meetings. Others choose to come every week for an entire semester.

9. What if I need more than the Counseling Center offers?
If you need more services than the Counseling Center can provide, we recommend that you look for community-based providers.  Your counselor can provide you with suggestions. You can also look at ‘in-network’ providers by calling the number or checking the website on the back of your insurance card.

10. What happens if I can’t make my appointment?
It is important to come to all of your appointments. If you need to cancel or change an appointment, please let us know in advance.  If you do not show for two sessions in a row without calling we may not be able to offer your preferred time slot. If you are thinking of ending your counseling, discuss it with your counselor first. Your counselor can help you find possible future options and referrals.

11. Are services confidential—will anyone know that I am getting counseling?
Because of the rules of law and of the counseling profession, no information about you will be shared with anyone else unless you give us written permission (except when your counselor believes you or someone else might be in immediate danger). Counseling records are entirely separate from your academic record.

12. Who are the counselors?
The counselors at BMCC are licensed psychologists, mental health counselors, or social workers. They have training in the treatment of anxiety and depression.  They can also help with stress reduction, academic success, and time management.  The counselors are non-judgmental, supportive, and trained to help students build skills and coping strategies that will improve their lives. We offer sessions in Hindi, Punjabi and Spanish.

Counseling Center

199 Chambers Street, Room S-343 New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 220-8140
Email: counselingcenter@bmcc.cuny.edu

Appointments Are Available:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
(last appointment is at 6:30 p.m.)
Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(last appointment is at 4:30 p.m.)
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

After hours, students can speak to an after-hours crisis counselor by calling (212) 220-8140 and pressing “2”.