Counseling Center
Counseling Center
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The Division of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the fall 2014 decisions of the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) and the American Psychological Association (APA) to continue full accreditation of the Counseling and Testing Center’s clinical services and doctoral internship program.

“To receive confirmation from these prestigious national accrediting bodies that our innovative service delivery model meets the highest standards of professional practice is an important validation of the merits of the groundbreaking approach undertaken by our Counseling Center at Georgia State.”
~ Dr. Douglass F. Covey, Vice President for Student Affairs

In 2012, the Counseling and Testing Center initiated a data-driven service delivery model designed to increase the number of students served by licensed mental health professionals while decreasing the wait time for appointments. Within the first two years of studying the model’s effectiveness, it has become apparent that one of the most beneficial features is the addition of a same-day walk-in service. Prior to implementing the new model, same-day services were only available to students who indicated they were experiencing a crisis. As a result, the vast majority of students seeking counseling services waited one or two weeks for an initial consultation appointment and then as long as another four weeks to begin receiving individual counseling. All students now receive an initial consultation appointment on a same-day walk-in basis regardless of their reason for requesting services, thus, eliminating the wait time for an initial consultation as well as decreasing students’ subsequent wait time for follow up counseling. The walk-in service has dramatically increased the number of students accessing counseling services from 250 during the Fall 2011 semester to more than 500 in each subsequent Fall semester (2012, 2013, 2014). Further, the number of individual counseling sessions provided to students by licensed mental health clinicians increased from 847 in Fall 2011 to 1516 in Fall 2012.

When students arrive at the Counseling and Testing Center, they complete brief questionnaires on iPads that are automatically scored and sent to the walk-in counselor with whom they will meet. This initial visit generally takes about 40 minutes and is not designed to be a therapy session, but rather a consultation to assess needs and make a follow-up plan. Students are then referred, as appropriate, for follow up individual or couples counseling, to the Mind-Body Clinic, a nutritionist, an MD for medication, a sports psychologist in the Performance Enhancement Center, for a substance use risk reduction consultation and/or tobacco cessation in Student Health Promotion, or for group counseling. Students may also be referred to a Client Advocate in the center who can assist them with referrals or make appointments for services from other on-campus or off-campus resources.

Data collection throughout students’ utilization of services is key to ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of the service delivery model. For example, given that 68% of students who have utilized the walk-in service reported that their academic performance was moderately or severely impacted by the problem that led to their having sought services and 58% indicated that their problem affects their school performance often or constantly, increasing students’ access to and timeliness of service delivery provides an important means of supporting their academic performance. Additionally, data collected from students about their perceived progress toward resolving their problem after having participated in a series of 5 counseling sessions helps the counselors know if the strategies they are using are working well for students or if changes are needed. Clinical data also assists the center in evaluating both individual clinician effectiveness with symptom reduction as well as measure the center’s overall effectiveness in providing treatment across broad symptom categories (e.g., depression, eating disorders). Such information is useful because it can suggest the need for specific staff development to ensure that the optimal treatment is provided for Georgia State University students.

In addition to clinical service data, student satisfaction data is also collected; each semester, students are asked to provide anonymous satisfaction feedback about service delivery including identifying factors they believe have contributed to successful psychotherapy. 96% of students report feeling that they are cared for by their counselors, 95% report feeling understood, while 98% reported feeling respected. In addition, 88% of students report that what they learned from their counseling sessions led them to make positive changes in their lives and 83% said that the counseling services they received positively influenced the chances of their remaining enrolled at Georgia State. Finally, 98% of students seen at the Counseling and Testing Center reported that they would return to the center if they felt the need.

Beginning in January 2015, after-hours service is now available to all students, commuter and residential; specifically, they are able to talk with an on-call crisis counselor who can be reached by calling the main Counseling and Testing Center telephone phone number (404-413-1640). This new service is also available to faculty or staff who have emergency concerns about students outside of regular business hours and need a crisis consultation with an on-call counselor.

For more information about the services of the Counseling and Testing Center located at the Citizen’s Trust Building, 75 Piedmont Ave. Suite 200A, please call 404-413-1640 or visit us online.