Frequently Asked Questions

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We will be offering on-going tele-counseling for students who are residing in the state of Vermont, and can provide tele-counseling consultation for out of state students.  The Counseling Center is providing these services via telephone and Zoom.

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If you have never used our services before, please click on the "Make an Appointment" button or contact us at counselingcenter@champlain.edu to be assigned to a counselor. If you have used our services before and would like to schedule an appointment with someone you have previously met with, please contact your counselor directly or log on to Symplicity to request an appointment.

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The Counseling Center recognizes that with constant media coverage and changing information related to the Coronavirus pandemic, some students may experience an increase in health-related anxiety. Learn more here and view resources related to the possible effects of the coronavirus on mental health. The CDC have provided helpful guidelines for mental health and coping during the Coronavirus which can be found here.

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Feelings of frustration, uncertainty, worry, and loss for canceled events, distance from friends or family, and other significant and unexpected changes are normal reactions to the Coronavirus. Below are some additional self-care options as we work to create new routines amidst current public health recommendations.

  • Consider making use of one of the many health and well-being apps that are available for free during this time.
  • Be kind to yourself and practice self-care.
  • Get the facts, but limit worry and distress by reducing the amount of time you spend on social media or news sites that are upsetting. Ongoing Champlain updates on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation are being posted at The View page. For further information, see the dedicated CDC website.
  • Eat well, get exercise and prioritize sleep.
  • Meditate.
  • Seek support and ask for help (friends, family, mental health providers).
  • Practice deep breathing 4-6-8 - Inhale for 4 counts, Hold for 6 counts, Exhale for 8 counts.
  • Practice acts of empathy, gratitude and kindness.
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Here are some tips for you to support your student during this time:

  • Model calmness.
  • Make sure to carve out time for your own self-care in order to model stress-management for your student.
  • Maintain a sense of normalcy and routine as much as possible.
  • Listen actively to your student's fears and worries about Coronavirus.
  • Ask questions in a way that's non-judgmental and empathic.
  • Validate your student's feelings by informing them that it's normal and okay to feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, etc.
  • Help your student sit with their anxiety rather than avoiding it.
  • Your student might want to distract themselves from uncomfortable feelings, but it's important to experience and talk about worries and anxieties.
  • Know the facts and encourage your student to seek out information that is accurate.
  • Additional tips for parents and caregivers can be found here on the CDC website.
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Detailed information about to support and refer a student in distress or crisis can be found here.

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Additional crisis resources are available here.

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We are located in Skiff Hall (Skiff 100), 163 South Willard Street, Burlington, VT 05402. Skiff Hall is the yellow brick building on the corner of South WiIllard and Main Street.

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During the academic year, our hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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If you have never used our services before, appointments can be made by emailing  counselingcenter@champlain.edu, calling (802) 865-5731, or in person at our office. Appointments are required (unless you are experiencing a mental health crisis). If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the on-call counselor at (802)865-5745 or Campus Public Safety at (802)865-6465.  

If you have used our services before and would like to schedule an appointment with someone you have previously met with, please log in to Symplicity and request an appointment, or contact your counselor directly via email.

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Upon entering the counseling center for your first appointment, you will likely be greeted by a receptionist. Please tell the receptionist your name and who you're scheduled to see. The receptionist will help you get started on the intake paperwork, unless you have already completed it online. If the receptionist is not at the desk, a staff member will greet you and help you get started

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Once the intake paperwork is completed, your counselor will introduce themselves, show you to their office, and begin your first counseling session. During a first session, your counselor will explain what to expect from counseling, listen to your concerns, and, before the end of the session, develop a follow-up plan with you.

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The first questions will probably involve the concerns that led you to the counseling center. Your counselor may also ask about your immediate symptoms and experiences and inquire about the specific details. Subsequent questions will cover a wide range of different issues that will help your counselor better understand what you are going through. Although your counselor may ask many questions during the first session, the main focus of that meeting will be to try and build rapport.

Examples of questions that may be asked on your first visit:

  • What brings you in today?
  • How long have you been experiencing your difficulties? When did they start?
  • Is there anything that you think triggered or caused your difficulties?
  • Have you ever received any previous mental health treatment? When, and with whom, and what did it involve? What worked well for you, what could have been better?
  • Do you have any significant medical issues (current and/or past)?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of mental health issues? Who are they and what do you know about their treatment?
  • What seems noteworthy about your personal history? Has most of your life been good, complex, traumatic? What has your relationship been like with parents, siblings, and other significant people?
  • What's been your experience in school; academically and socially?
  • Are you questioning or exploring any aspects of your identity (gender, sexuality, etc)?
  • What's been your experience with substance use (current and past)? Is there anyone in your family with a history of substance abuse?
  • What strengths are helping you? What coping skills or strategies have worked well in the past?
  • Who is supporting you with dealing with the issues your are experiencing currently?
  • What are your hoping to get out of counseling? What goals do you have for yourself?
  • Is there anything else about your background, culture, or identity that you think is important for me know?
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All enrolled traditional undergraduate Champlain students are eligible for counseling services.

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Individual Counseling: A counselor will meet with you one-on-one for 30 or 50 minutes to explore personal issues of concern or importance.

Group Counseling: Typically two counselors will co-facilitate a discussion with a small group of students who have expressed a common issue. Groups might be centered around family stress, disordered eating and body image, concerns related to gender, or anxiety and depression. Group members share experiences, learn different perspectives, and provide each other with support. Groups typically meet once a week for 6 to 8 weeks and sessions may run between 1 to 2 hours.  

Consultation: Formal and informal collaborations with faculty, staff, students, parents, and family members who seek advice and information on issues of concern to them. Most commonly, consultation affords faculty, staff, students, parents, and family members the opportunity to develop strategies on how best to help or guide students who may be experiencing distress or mental health challenges. Consultation with a counseling center staff member may involve an in-person meeting or a phone conversation.

Outreach and Education: Includes a wide variety of services such as facilitating workshops, conducting screening days, crisis event responses/debriefing, liaison relationships with departments and organizations on campus, attending/being present at campus events to reduce stigma/support other departments, interviews, tabling, social media, psychoeducational materials (printed as well as web-based), and community campaigns.

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We do not offer counseling via phone, chat, video, or email for a number of reasons:

  • Concerns about confidentiality.
  • Legal and ethical issues related to licensing and providing counseling across state lines or abroad.
  • Delayed response to crisis situations.
  • Difficulty addressing severe or complete mental health issues via phone, chat, video, or email.
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Champlain College provides short-term individual therapy with a limit of 8 sessions per semester.

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Due to the substantial increase in demand for services over the last eight years, the Counseling Center instituted a limit of 8 individual psychotherapy sessions per semester, beginning Fall 2018.  The session limit does not include emergency appointments, consultation appointments, and group therapy appointments. After reaching the session limit, students will be offered appropriate referrals for care in the community. Students continue to be welcome to use emergency and crisis services as needed.

Session limits mean we can prioritize keeping the Counseling Center accessible to all students in a timely way. The Counseling Center reserves the right to offer additional appointments to students who have significant financial need and cannot afford off-campus counseling, and in cases where it would be therapeutically detrimental to terminate counseling, such as a recent loss or traumatic event that has occurred.

If you have questions or concerns about this policy, please don't hesitate to contact Skip Harris, Director of Counseling, Health and Wellness at sharris@champlain.edu or (802) 651-5961.

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Please email or call your counselor directly to cancel or reschedule. As counseling services are in high demand at Champlain, students who miss 4 individual counseling appointments in a semester will not be eligible for additional appointments until the subsequent semester. Students are always eligible for crisis services. If notification of a missed appointment is received at least 24 hours prior to the appointment, it will not be counted toward the session limit.

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Not all types of counseling problems are best dealt with at the Counseling Center. Students with mental health issues or conditions rising above the level of those addressed by short-term therapy, treatment for severe psychological disorders, court-mandated treatment, or highly-specialized treatment may be best treated by off-campus resources. We also encourage students to continue working with their current psychiatrist, physician, or a mental health provider at home for continuity of care and for access to support when not at Champlain College.

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If a student requires longer-term or more-intensive psychotherapy or specialized care the Counseling Center cannot provide, we will make a referral to a clinician in the community who can provide that care. If you are referred to a clinician in the community, you will need to use your health insurance or pay out of pocket for that care. We work with local providers to find ones that have openings and that work with the student's insurance. There are several resources in the community that lower fees for students who cannot afford counseling or that see students regardless of ability to pay. Students are also informed about the best ways to get transportation to off-campus appointments. We will make every effort to make sure that referral fits your clinical and practical needs. If the referral is not working for you, for any reason, you are encouraged to contact the clinician at the Counseling Center that you initially saw to discuss your options.

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Students come to the Counseling Center for a wide variety of reasons. These might include relationship problems, academic anxieties, concerns about gender or sexuality, feeling unusually sad, irritability, sleep problems, eating problems, difficulty paying attention, feeling lonely, suicidal thoughts, worrying too much, and adjusting to college life.

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Champlain College Counseling Center staff are ethically and legally required to ensure all counseling interactions are kept confidential. No record of counseling is included in a student's academic file. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur in the case of court-ordered requests for records, mandated counseling, if a student is a danger to themselves or someone else, or where staff are required by law to report current child abuse or elder abuse.

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If you are experiencing a mental health emergency please contact 911, Campus Public Safety (802)865-6465, or go the emergency department at the nearest hospital.

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Whereas isolated behaviors may not indicate a problem, students in a state of distress may exhibit a pattern of behaviors including (but not limited to) any of those listed below.  

Academic Indicators 

  • Decline in attendance or stopped attending.
  • Significant decline in grades or quality of work. 
  • Continual requests for extended deadlines or other special consideration. 
  • Excessive dependency on faculty. 
  • Sustained erratic performance. 

Mental/Emotional Indicators

  • Tearfulness.
  • Expressions of concern from another student. 
  • Withdrawal from social interactions or isolates self. 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse. 
  • Death or serious illness of friend or family member. 
  • Extreme shyness/lack of social skills. 
  • Change in ability to focus, loss of memory, confusion. 
  • Signs of eating disorder.

Physical Indicators

  • Decline in personal hygiene/appearance. 
  • Visible change in weight. 
  • Excessive fatigue. 
  • Appearing sick or ill. 

Safety Indicators

  • Preoccupation with death. 
  • Self-injurious or self-destructive behavior. 
  • Suicidal or other emotionally distressed content reported through course work or classroom discussion. 
  • Exhibiting disruptive or bizarre behavior. 
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility.  

Students not in immediate danger but experiencing a mental health emergency might fall into one or more of the categories below:

    • Is experiencing significant, acute, emotional distress or anxiety.
    • Does not feel they are able to cope or be in control of a situation.
    • Is communicating thoughts about suicide or self-harm.
    • Is experiencing hallucinations and/or hearing voices.
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Campus mental health is the responsibility of all of us. It is vital to reach out to others, particularly those who are isolated or engaged in self-destructive activities. If you have a concern about a student who is displaying behaviors that may interfere with their ability to be successful, or if you are concerned that a student's behavior or well-being are negatively impacting those around the them, please let the Student Care & Response Team know.

You can refer a student by completing the form linked here.  If you are with a student who is experiencing a mental health emergency, it is acceptable to stay "in role" as a staff or faculty member. Be compassionate, but do not take on the role of counselor. You can refer the student to the Counseling Center by emailing counselingcenter@champlain.edu. The student can also speak with someone immediately by calling (802) 865-5745. This crisis line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It may feel necessary to walk them to the Counseling Center. When you arrive, please let the staff person at the front desk know the student would like to meet with the crisis counselor on-duty. If the crisis counselor on-duty is free, they will meet with the student immediately. If they are assisting another student in crisis, they will meet with the student as soon as they are able to. Please note the Counseling Center is a safe place; you are welcome to wait with your student, but you are under no obligation to do so.Due to confidentiality requirements, it may be difficult to "close the loop" and directly inform you what occurred following your student referral. In most cases, the Counseling Center can confirm your concern has been received, but cannot confirm or deny if the student has agreed to crisis or ongoing services.

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The Counseling Center partners with the Student Health Center for psychiatric medication management. However, psychiatry services on campus and in the surrounding community are extremely limited and we do not have the capacity to manage all students' medications. We suggest you schedule follow-up appointments with your home healthcare provider well in advance to correspond with school breaks and other visits home. If your home healthcare provider would like to be in touch with the Student Health Center directly to provide additional support, we are happy to do so, provided we have a signed release on file.

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