Why do students see a counselor?

People come to counseling for many of reasons:

  • because some crisis or series of crises has occurred in their lives and their normal coping strategies are not working

  • because of concern regarding their relationships or academics

  • because of worry about family.

  • people also use the counseling center if they are stuck in certain feelings or noticing patterns of behavior that are destructive or self-defeating

  • if they need someone to listen to their feelings and experiences

During the course of their four years, many Middlebury students talk with us about a variety of personal feelings, issues and predicaments. By the time a senior class graduates, between 33 and 40% of the class has talked with a counselor at some point during their four years.

Counseling is about learning effective self-management skills that enable you to live in a way that enhances your day to day relationships and to realize your full potential. It is about getting help in developing insight, evaluating your choices, and creating meaning and well-being in your life.

How does counseling work?

Counseling provides a safe, confidential space for students to explore aspects of themselves about which they may feel they cannot talk completely to close friends or family. It provides an opportunity to examine personal dilemmas or talk about painful issues. It is often a useful means of developing a sense of self worth and provides a supportive platform from which to make change.

The role of the counselor is to listen, to reflect with you and clarify the topics under discussion. He or she may support you in identifying and evaluating your options and/or assist you in choosing a course of action.

In most instances, you will feel supported in your counseling, however, at times the counselor may point out attitudes or behaviors that are self-defeating or self-destructive and are preventing you from meeting your full potential.

What can I expect when I come to counseling?
  • The counselors at counseling services are licensed psychologists who are trained to listen carefully to your concerns and to clarify various life dilemmas and troubling feelings.

  • You can expect us to protect the confidentiality of your visits and to maintain professional boundaries. That is, the relationship with your counselor will be maintained within the bounds of the office.

  • We encourage you to let us know how you would like us to respond if we should meet by chance on or off campus.

  • We appreciate the importance of feeling comfortable when talking about personal matters. If a session does not seem helpful, please let your counselor know or ask for a different counselor if there is some significant incompatibility.

What will counseling services expect of me?
  • If for any reason, you cannot attend your session, it is important to notify the administrative associate (X5141) in advance so the time can be used for other students.

  • We encourage you to be as candid and open as possible about your concerns.

  • In order to receive the most benefit from counseling, often the topics that are most painful, embarrassing, or difficult are the ones that are most useful to discuss and work through in this supportive relationship.

What kinds of problems do people come to counseling for?

Students come to counseling services with a wide array of difficulties.

Students talk to us about:

  • persistent and uncomfortable moods

  • study problems

  • adjusting to a new environment or culture

  • anxiety in test taking and paper writing

  • decision making

  • loneliness

  • shyness

  • coping with personal loss, grief and crisis

  • conflict with parents, friends, teachers, intimate others, and roommates

  • concerns about sexuality, alcohol and other drugs, or food and body image

  • uncertainty about personal worth

  • diversity issues

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • or simply a wish to know more about oneself

Language Schools students often wish to talk about the stresses of being in an intensive language-learning environment.

Is there a cost for counseling?

Counseling services are free of charge for students at Middlebury College. This includes summer language school students and students enrolled in the Breadloaf School of English.

How long will I need to come?

The number of visits varies, depending on the issues, clinical indications, and counselor availability. Some students' needs are met with one session; others come to the counseling center for several sessions or even a full semester, In order to meet the needs of all Middlebury students, we are limited to meeting with students for no more than the equivalent of a semester, as availability and counselor time allows. Students needing or wanting more long-term counseling may be referred to licensed mental health providers in the community.

How do I make an appointment?

You can schedule an appointment by calling Donna Stark, our administrative assistant at x5141 or by stopping by our office on the third floor of Centeno House, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. You may also drop by anytime, to see if a counselor is available.

After 5 p.m. on weekdays, and on weekends, you can talk with an Emergency Counselor by calling x5135 or coming to Health Services. If the Health Services is closed you may go to Porter Hospital Emergency Room.

Why see a psychiatrist?

In some situations, it may be beneficial to consider medication as an adjunct to counseling. At other times, counseling center staff may wish to consult with our psychiatrist in order to provide you with optimal care. The counseling center has a consulting psychiatrist who is available to confer with you about medication or other issues. Psychiatric services are located at the Counseling Services of Addison County in Middlebury.

If you are referred for a psychiatric consultation, this service is not free of charge. We encourage you to utilize your medical insurance. If insurance is unavailable, your counselor will work with you to seek other payment options. Bills from the Counseling Service of Addison County may be sent to your parents unless you request differently.

Center for Counseling and Human Relations
Centeno House 3rd Floor
136 South Main Street
Middlebury VT   05753
802-443-5141 - Phone
802-443-3407 - Fax