Finding a Counselor in the Community
Helping Your Student Identify Resources On and Off Campus
Many of us remember that first day of Kindergarten. You held your child’s hand, watching them carrying a backpack on their shoulders almost as big as they were, leading them through the door of their new school. They either panicked and clung to your legs for dear life or gleefully sprinted away in excitement with little regard for goodbye, leaving some of us to take a painfully quiet walk back to the parking lot where sobbing commenced in the privacy of our car.
Fast forward a decade+ through many “First Day of School” experiences…but none like this. None where they may not be coming home directly after classes finish for the day and where they may be living on their own for the first time, learning how to adjust to college life, managing their schedule, diet, sleep, finances, etc. This time can be a mental and emotional challenge for caregivers. And it can be a far more significant (and scarier) transition for the new college student. How might we better support our student’s mental and emotional well-being during this transition? If your student is struggling and might benefit from counseling, here is some information to help navigate that process.
Some folks get tangled and confused within mental health language and terms. For this blog, some words have the same meaning: counselor, therapist, mental health counselor, mental health therapist, psychologist, clinician, psychotherapist, psychological counselor, professional counselor, clinical social worker, social worker, etc.
The Counseling and Wellness Center offers a brief counseling model. Students’ complete paperwork online and then attend an intake appointment with a counselor. During this initial assessment, the counselor will gather important information and thoroughly explore the best options for matching needs and services. If a student is assigned to a CWS counselor for ongoing sessions, they will work with their counselor to set goals and evaluate progress. Ongoing counseling typically consists of up to 6 scheduled sessions per academic year. In-person and telehealth options are available at the Cheney campus and the Spokane Catalyst building. If your student needs long-term counseling, they will be referred to our case manager to find services in the community.
Things to consider when searching for a mental health therapist in the community:
- Find out which mental health providers your insurance covers. You can go to your insurance website and look for “find a provider” or “find a doctor.”
- Search under mental health (may have to play with word choice such as a counselor, mental health counselor, etc.).
- Identify the zip code where you would like to find services.
- Identify preferences for a counselor and filter options as needed (i.e., gender of counselor). *Remember to play with and adjust the filters.
- Click the option “accepting new clients” before finalizing the search.
- Reduce distance range to compile a more concise list and consider sorting the list by distance, best match, etc.
- Determine if in-person or virtual sessions are the best modality for your student. Note: Most long-term counseling providers are located in Spokane, so it is important to consider transportation ability/restrictions.
- Hit “Search” and adjust the list as needed, knowing you can broaden your list at a future date simply by changing the filters used or expanding the search radius (distance).
Finding a counselor can take some time, but our case manager at Counseling and Wellness can help! Also, sometimes, you will attend a few sessions and realize the counselor is not a good fit for you. That is OK. You can look for a different counselor if it is not working out.