Counseling Services


Who can use the services offered by Counseling Services (CS)?

All services are available to faculty, staff, and currently enrolled, degree-seeking students.

What type of problems do students typically seek counseling for?

It would be impossible to make a list of all the situations that cause people to seek counseling and you are free to talk about any issue with your counselor. Some of the most common things people discus with us are adapting to college, family or relationship issues, feeling anxious or depressed, feeling lonely or unmotivated, eating issues, past abuse or trauma, perfectionism, academic issues, and other mental health issues.

How much does it cost to attend counseling?

There is no charge for individual and group counseling appointments.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes. Appointments are required unless it is an emergency. If you are experiencing an emergency or need immediate assistance, call (205) 665-6245 or stop by the CS office during normal business hours, and let our staff members know this is an emergency.

How do I schedule an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, call (205) 665-6245, stop by the CS office, or email us at during regular business hours, and one of our staff members will assist you.

Where is CS located?

CS is located in Puryear House.

Can I request a particular counselor?

Counselors are generally assigned based on schedule and fit. If you have a preference or request, please let the staff member who meets with you during intake know and we will try to accommodate that request.

What should I expect during my first appointment?

During your first appointment, you will complete intake paperwork, review our informed consent, (about-um–administration–student-affairs–counseling-services–Counseling-Services-Informed-Consent) and then meet with a CS staff member. During that meeting, you and the staff member will work to explore your current situation and develop a plan to address it. After this initial appointment, you will be assigned to the counselor you meet with regularly.

What should I expect during my weekly appointments?

Each counselor has a different counseling style and varies in their technique; however, you may expect that your counselor will listen and take your concerns seriously, work to help you to address your issues, maintain confidentiality and professionalism, and answer your questions directly and honestly.

What are the qualifications of the CS staff?

CS is committed to providing a high quality level of care. Our staff is made up of licensed counselors, a master’s level case manager, and advanced graduate interns under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor.

Is it true that my counselor may be a student?

Yes. In addition to licensed professional counselors, CS also has advanced graduate interns who see clients under the clinical supervision of one of the licensed counselors.

Will my sessions be recorded?

If your counselor is a graduate intern, they will audio and/or video tape your sessions and use them to consult with site and faculty supervisors, as well as peer counselors in order to ensure quality of care. Your identity will be protected in these circumstances, and all audio and/or video tapes will be destroyed after use. You are NOT required to consent to audio/video recording in order to receive counseling services, and taping WILL NEVER occur without your consent.

What if I want to change counselors?

Sometimes you and the counselor are just not a good match or you do not feel comfortable talking with a particular counselor. We understand that, and would rather you change counselors than stop coming. If you would like to change counselors, we encourage you to speak with the counselor you have been meeting with about changing counselors. They genuinely want you to get the help you need, so they will not get angry or offended and will help you get rescheduled with another counselor. If it is too uncomfortable or difficult to speak with the counselor you have already met with, you can contact the office and request to speak with the CS director about changing counselors.

How confidential are the things I say and my contact with CS?

Federal and state laws along with professional and ethical standards generally prohibit the counselor from disclosing any information you provide us unless we have your prior written consent. However, there are a several exceptions that require the counselor to break confidentiality. Those exceptions are: 1) if you provide information indicating abuse or neglect of a child or dependent adult; 2) If your counselor is court ordered to disclose information about you; 3) if your counselor believes you or someone else needs protection from serious and foreseeable harm.

Who has access to my counseling records?

Counseling records are separate from your academic records and are confidential in accordance with Alabama law. Only CS clinical staff will be able to access clinical notes and documentation.

Does CS prescribe medication?

CS staff do not prescribe medication. However, CS works closely with UM Health Services and off-campus providers to assist students with obtaining a new prescription or managing current medications.

Can I get documentation for missing class, an extenuating circumstances withdrawal, or accommodations through Disability Support Services?

Typically, CS does not provide documentation for these situations. Under certain circumstances, if there is an ongoing, long-standing relationship with a CS counselor, the possibility of providing documentation for these specific needs may be discussed with your counselor.

Can I get a letter or documentation stating I need an emotional support animal?

Due to the short-term nature of our clinical practice and the complexity of this issue, CS cannot provide documentation for an emotional support animal. CS can refer you to community provider upon request.

What if I am a parent, another student, faculty, or staff member, and I am concerned about a UM student?

If you are concerned about a student, call CS at (205) 665-6245, and ask to speak to a counselor or the case manager regarding your concerns. Our staff will talk with you about your concerns and help determine the best way to address those concerns.

Can someone from CS come speak to my organization?

CS staff members are available to come to your organization’s meetings or classroom and give presentations on a variety of topics relevant to college life. Some of our prepared presentations include Emotional Intelligence, Stress Management, Time Management, Healthy Relationships, Communication, Overcoming Anxiety, It’s Your Move – Bystander Intervention, and Suicide Prevention. If you are interested in one of these presentations or a presentation on another topic, please call us at (205) 665-6245.