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Scope of Practice

Short -term, Solution-Focused Counseling Services

The SUNY Potsdam College Counseling Center (CCC) serves to provide an opportunity for students to address psychological and emotional challenges to promote a healthier, more successful student body.  The CCC provides consultation, assessment, counseling, referrals, and related services to students while they pursue their educational goals. Our services assist students with identifying and addressing facets of their behavioral, psychological, emotional and cultural experiences which may present as barriers to their success. Through our work together we strive to act as change agents to empower our students to become fully engaged members of the campus community as well as active contributors to their home communities.

Initial Consultation Process

The CCC encourages students to make an initial consultative appointment by contacting the CCC at (315) 267-2330.  At the time of your consultation meeting you will fill out a computer based consultation form at the College Counseling Center regarding your mental health history, prior treatment experience, as well as your anticipated goals for therapy. Upon completion of this form you will meet with a professional counselor to discuss your needs and what services may be most appropriate for your presenting concerns. Some possible recommendations may include brief individual or group therapy at the CCC, connecting to other campus resources, or providing referrals to off-campus providers.

At times of peak service demand students may be placed on a wait list. Those who call and are not able to be scheduled for an appointment within two weeks are encouraged to clarify at the time of contact the nature and severity of their concerns. This information can best help our staff triage and determine how to best meet the student’s needs. If students wish to seek services off campus at that time the CCC staff will provide a list of off campus resources the students may explore.

Services within the Counseling Center

Individual Counseling: The CCC utilizes brief, solution-focused therapy.  With the time limited nature of college semesters brief therapy invites students to focus on achievable goals within the timeframe of the available sessions. Typically students are seen on a bi-weekly basis, although at times of acute crisis this can be weekly. As a student develops the needed skills to address the issues which brought them to therapy, sessions will become less frequent until it is determined the student no longer needs to be seen on a consistent basis.

Group Counseling:  The CCC also offers group therapy. This milieu provides students access to professional counseling amongst their peers. A licensed counselor facilitates group sessions and assists students throughout the group process. Topics for therapy groups vary depending on need and student generated requests. This unique approach allows students greater access to services on campus while promoting peer-generated insight and feedback.

Crisis Appointments: Walk-in crisis sessions are generally available for all students.  The CCC has at least two hours each day set aside for students in immediate need. These appointments are reserved for students exhibiting acute crisis where their safety and that of others is of concern.

Common Presenting Concerns seen at the College Counseling Center:

  • Personal Concerns: stress, anger, loneliness, guilt, grief
  • Multi-cultural related Concerns: Difficulties related to experience of racial bias, micro-aggressions, or other such xenophobic related prejudice resulting in emotional distress.
  • Relationship Concerns: Romantic difficulties, interpersonal conflicts, family problems
  • Developmental Concerns: Adjustment to college, life transitions, identity (e.g., personal, cultural, sexual orientation, gender identity)
  • Mild to moderate mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, as appropriate to brief therapy
  • Substance Use: Concerns related to mild or moderate alcohol or other drug use/abuse
  • Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, or mental health issues that affect academic difficulties
  • Trauma or Interpersonal Violence: Assessment, stabilization and treatment within a brief therapy model

Referral to Community Resources

The CCC brief therapy treatment approach is time-limited due to the natural limits of resources.  In order to best serve the needs of our students, those who require long-term and/or intensive support will generally be referred to community resources for ongoing treatment.  Similarly, students whose needs require a particular type of expertise that is not available in the CCC are also referred to community resources.

In cases where a student's ongoing needs warrant a referral to community resources, the CCC may provide some interim support to the students as they are connecting to the appropriate community resources.  The CCC may provide referrals during or after the initial assessment meeting, or as these factors become more apparent during the course of services. 

Referral to off-campus providers may occur due to the following reasons:

  • A need for intensive, long-term, or open-ended therapy.  Possible indicators for longer term or more intensive therapy include:
    • Recent or multiple psychiatric hospitalizations
    • Chronic thoughts of suicide, frequent self-injury behaviors, or history of repeated suicide attempts
    • Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning that requires intensive intervention
  • A need for specialized services not available through the CCC, including but not limited to:
    • Presence of significant drug or alcohol problems such as substance dependence and/or past failed treatments
    • Need for drug testing
    • Presence of severe or long-standing eating disorder symptoms
    • Request for formal psychological assessment (e.g., ADHD testing)
    • Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance or other non-academic purpose
    • Request for services to fulfill students' court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements

The general guidelines listed above are only intended to serve as a guide to assist treatment decisions.  The nature and complexity of presenting concerns and the broader context are considered in making the appropriate treatment recommendations(s).  Students are evaluated individually and the professional judgment of the mental health providers(s) will determine the treatment recommendation in a particular case.