Services at the NC State Counseling Center
To learn more about initiating services, please visit Getting Started.
The Counseling Center offers services according to a Stepped Care model. The Stepped Care model was developed as a means to address the increasing demand for Counseling Center services, use resources most effectively and make services more accessible for all.
- The primary goals of the Stepped Care model:
- to provide timely access to mental health services
- to create individualized plans addressing the needs of each student.
- to find the balance between providing the best care options for each student and ensuring that there is still room in our system for the thousands of students served each year.
- Some students will prefer individual therapy, but there are limited options for this type of care. The Counseling Center offers other types of resources that are just as effective, and in some cases more effective, and will save students wait-time as they search for relief.
The Counseling Center recognizes that reaching out for help is not easy, and will continue working to “stop the stigma” related to seeking counseling services. If you are feeling hesitant, please give the Counseling Center a try. The Counseling Center’s trained and compassionate clinicians will work hard to help you get connected to appropriate services that can help provide the relief you are seeking. To learn more about initiating services, please visit Getting Started.
NC State University Counseling Center Stepped Care Model
Step 1: Screening Appointment
Visit Getting Started for information about how to initiate services. Triage hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9am to 3pm and Wednesday, 11am to 3pm. Depending on whether you have been to the Counseling Center before, and, if so, how long ago that was, you will be asked to fill out or update paperwork. When you are finished, you will either meet with a triage clinician via our virtual walk-in system or schedule an appointment to complete the virtual triage process another day.
During the brief meeting with the triage clinician, you will have the opportunity to talk about your needs and goals, while learning about the various services available through the stepped care model. The purpose of the screening is to assess your needs, check for any safety-related concerns, and identify the best resources to meet those needs.
Step 2: Referral to on-campus and community supports and resources
The Counseling Center staff strives to be knowledgeable about a variety of resources and supports both on-campus and within the community. Referrals may include student centers (e.g., African American Cultural Center, the GLBT Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, the Women’s Center), Military and Veteran Services, Wellness and Recreation programs and/or Wellness Coaching services, and the University Tutorial Center, Student Health Services, among many others.
Step 3: Self-help psychoeducation and practice
Counseling Center staff can facilitate access to online resources that provide skills and education on a variety of mental health topics. Further, the Counseling Center website contains a variety of self-help resources as well as information on mental health (see Self-Help Resources). These are resources that students can access on their own time.
Step 4: Psychoeducation workshops and drop-ins
The Counseling Center has emotional wellness workshops that meet weekly, typically for three consecutive weeks. New workshops start every few weeks. Each workshop session is approximately 50-60 minutes in length and is designed to teach a variety of skills to address your concerns. Current offerings include:
- RIO (Recognition, Insight, Openness) – focuses on general emotional well-being and mindfulness
- Anxiety Toolbox – focuses on anxiety symptoms and teaches skills to manage those symptoms
- Getting Unstuck – focuses on depressive symptoms and teaches skills to manage those symptoms
- Relationships 102 – provides education and skills for building positive, rewarding relationships
- Mindful Living– teaches strategies to manage stress using mindfulness techniques
- Group Biofeedback– focuses on management of physiology to decrease stress and anxiety (*Note: must complete Anxiety Toolbox before attending this workshop)
There are also weekly drop-in options, which do not require any sign-up or commitment. Learn more about our drop-in spaces.
For students who may feel hesitant to pursue a workshop, it is important to note that workshop facilitators respect your right to share only what you are comfortable sharing and never require you to share sensitive or personal information about yourself.
Step 5: Therapeutic consultation (single session)
For students who would benefit from a focused consultation with a provider, the Counseling Center offers this in the form of a single session. Single sessions are scheduled when a student has a specific focus and ongoing therapy is not indicated. During this appointment, the focus is on the student’s primary concern and working collaboratively to either make a plan or find a solution for the concern. The single session is a one-time meeting and may include referrals, resources, or other services as appropriate.
Step 6: Short-term support group
The Counseling Center offers an open group, Connect & Cope, where students can learn coping strategies and receive support from other students. For this group in particular, students can choose how many sessions they attend, although attending several sessions consecutively is encouraged for increased effectiveness. This group is offered at peak times of the semester.
Step 7: Group therapy
The Counseling Center is proud to offer group therapy. Group therapy is the most effective treatment option for many concerns. We offer a wide variety of groups, including theme-based groups (e.g., groups focused on perfectionism), identity-specific groups (e.g., women of color group), and general personal growth groups, as well. These groups range in duration from a few weeks to the entire semester and it is expected that students who join the groups will commit to attending for the duration of the group.
Step 8: Individual short-term therapy
Short-term therapy at the Counseling Center is goal oriented, solution focused, and time limited. Therefore, it may not be the appropriate recommendation for all concerns. Students referred for individual therapy are willing to engage in the therapeutic process (including regularly attending sessions and compliance with treatment recommendations). Students and their clinicians will work together to determine a plan to address the primary goal. Frequency of meetings is variable but typically does not occur on a weekly basis. The average number of sessions students use is 4-5. For some students, up to 12 sessions may be offered based on need, but is not guaranteed for all students who engage in individual therapy.
Students may be recommended to complete previous stepped care options prior to being scheduled for individual therapy services. Further, students may receive referrals or other assistance connecting with off-campus treatment if it is determined that having more frequent or longer-term services would best meet their needs.
Step 9: Off-campus referrals and case management services
Some students come to the Counseling Center seeking or would be better served by longer-term or more frequent (i.e., weekly) therapy services. Students determined to be in need of longer-term services will be provided with appropriate referrals.
Additionally, the Counseling Center does not provide certain specialized services. Some examples include:
- Disability evaluation (for Disability Resource Office accommodations)
- Forensic evaluations/court-mandated or recommended treatment
- LD/ADHD assessment
- Emotional support animal documentation
- Inpatient mental health treatment
- Intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment
In some instances, clinicians are able to meet with students while working to get them connected to a community provider. The Counseling Center has two clinical case managers who are available to assist students in finding community providers who accept their insurance, are located in their area, and who provide the appropriate service(s). The Counseling Center also has an extensive referral database available to assist students in finding an appropriate off-campus provider: ncsu.rints.com
Helping a Student in Need
The Counseling Center consults with university students, faculty, staff, and parents who are concerned about the unusual, problematic, or potentially harmful behavior of others. If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, please call us at 919.515.2423.
Counseling Center clinicians will explore your concerns and help you develop ideas for dealing effectively with the situation. Additionally, the clinician may recommend you fill out a short form to make a CARES referral. NC State CARES is housed in Prevention Services which is a separate office from the Counseling Center. The behavioral case managers with CARES are able to reach out and offer support for students in crisis and who have been identified as exhibiting concerning or worrisome behaviors. For more information about making a CARES referral please see this link.
Although the Counseling Center is primarily a student service department, the Counseling Center also provides consultation services such as:
- Consultation with faculty, staff, or parents about how to help a student in distress
- Liaison relationships between Counseling Center staff and many campus organizations to assure continuity of care and timely exchange of important information
- Program planning and in-service training
- Orientation to Counseling Center services