Students sometimes have mixed feelings about coming to the Broene Counseling Center due to uncertainty about what to expect. We hope that the answers to some common questions below will take the mystery out of what it will be like when you make an appointment. Feel free to call us if there are any other questions that we can answer.
You may wonder whether it would be appropriate to talk about your concerns with a counselor. Perhaps others who know you well have suggested counseling, or you have thought yourself that talking with a counselor might be helpful. You are always welcome to schedule an appointment at Broene to discuss whether counseling would be appropriate for you. Some specific indicators that counseling might be beneficial include:
If you are still unsure about whether counseling would be useful, you might want to take one or more of our online screenings and follow the suggestions.
Appointments at the Broene Counseling Center can be made by calling 616-526-6123 or stopping by the front desk. Our office is located on the third floor of the Spoelhof College Center, next to the Residence Life office. We will do our best to find an appointment time that fits well with your scheduling needs. During the school year, appointments are available Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. For students experiencing a mental health emergency, crisis care hours are available each weekday from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
When you first arrive, you will be asked to fill out an intake form with contact information, demographic information, and basic mental health history. You will also be given an informed consent form to read and sign. This paperwork typically takes 5-10 minutes to complete. You will then be introduced to your counselor. The first session provides an opportunity for you to give an overview of your concerns, provide some background information, and determine your goals for counseling. You and your counselor together will identify a plan for treatment, including how frequently to meet and for how long. Counseling appointments typically last for 45-50 minutes.
Your counselor will want to make sure they have a clear understanding of your concerns prior to beginning counseling. Initial questions may relate to your moods, family history, physical health, substance use, general interests, and past experiences. Your counselor will respect the pace at which you want to disclose information and work on issues.
Yes! The Broene Counseling Center takes confidentiality very seriously, and no information will be exchanged with individuals or agencies outside of our center unless you provide us with explicit consent to do so. Your counseling record is not a part of your academic record, and information shared within counseling is not reported to Judicial Affairs, your parents, or anyone else without your written consent. We recognize that a safe and confidential environment is crucial in order for you to feel comfortable sharing personal information.
In rare circumstances, the confidentiality policy requires unauthorized disclosure of information. Such circumstances would include when the counselor believes the student's life is in danger, when the safety of others is at risk, when there is suspicion of child or elder abuse, or when requested by subpoena or court order. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality policy, please feel free to talk them over with your counselor.