Counseling Process

When you first come in to the Counseling Center, you will be asked to review and sign the following Welcome Letter that describes our services and policies:


The URI Counseling Center offers a variety of services for students, including individual and group counseling, consultation, psycho-educational screenings, and referral services. Below is an outline of our policies. We would appreciate it if you would take the time to read this information. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss them with any of our staff.  You may also speak with our Director, Dr. Robert Samuels.

Your Initial Appointment (Intake): We want to provide prompt service, but sometimes due to high client demand, you may have to wait several days before your intake appointment. If you need assistance before your intake appointment, please feel free to call or come to the Counseling Center and ask to speak to the “Counselor on Call.”

Emergency Assistance: As always, if you need emergency help from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  you can always come to the Counseling Center. You can also call Health Services at 874-2246 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon. to Fri. and 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays when classes are in session, or may contact South Shore Mental Health Center 24 hours a day at 401-789-1367 or the URI Police at 401-874-2121.

Your Counselor: The Center staff is made up of psychologists, clinical counselors, and advanced graduate students-in-training. We want you to have confidence in your counselor, so feel free to inquire about your counselor’s background and training. You can be assured that our graduate students are nearing the end of their academic training and that they receive weekly supervision from our professional staff.

The Process of Counseling: The experience of counseling or psychotherapy varies depending on the counselor, the client, and the particular concerns which the client brings. There are a number of different approaches which may be used to help with the concerns you hope to address. In general, the process involves you speaking about your issues openly and honestly.  Your counselor will listen to you attentively and respectfully, ask you questions, and work with you collaboratively to address your issues. You should expect to be able to discuss with your counselor any concerns you have, whether about the challenges you are facing or about the process of counseling itself. While your counselor will help you meet your goals, he or she might not tell you exactly what to do. Rather, you will both work to energize your strengths to help you make the best decisions and to take action to improve your life.

The process of counseling often takes time, and it is rare for people to feel that their problems are solved in one or two sessions. After one or two sessions, your counselor should be able to offer you some initial impressions of what the work will include and what methods could be used. Since counseling can involve an investment in time and energy, you should use your own judgment to assess your level of comfort working with your counselor. If you have questions or doubts about the process, you should feel free to discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, your counselor will be glad to refer you to another counselor at the Counseling Center or off-campus. Your counselor knows that a good counseling relationship is a necessary condition of counseling and will be supportive if a referral to another counselor would be most helpful to you.

Length of Services: The URI Counseling Center, like most college counseling centers, generally provides short-term services. If it appears that long-term services are appropriate, your counselor will assist you in locating an off-campus provider.

Keeping Appointments: In order to make progress in counseling, it is important that you keep appointments. Should you need to miss a session, please call us at 401-874-2288, at least 24 hours in advance, so that another student who may need services can be helped. After your initial session, if you should miss an appointment without canceling, please call the Center within 24 hours to arrange your next appointment.

Evaluation of Services: We value feedback regarding our services. In addition to any verbal feedback you wish to give us, we would encourage you to fill out our anonymous evaluation forms, which are presented to clients at various times during the semester. Your comments are used as a basis for modifying and improving our services.


The University Counseling Center: A Confidential Service

The Counseling Center has a strong commitment to keeping the information you share confidential. Below is an outline of our policies regarding confidentiality.

Confidential Services: Confidential information is kept securely at the Counseling Center and is only shared with other Counseling Center staff for the purposes of professional consultation, training, and clerical record keeping. Beyond our own commitment to confidentiality, Rhode Island and Federal law requires it. The laws state that counseling information must remain confidential and secure within the agency, except in certain rare situations (listed below), or unless you indicate in writing that you wish the information to be communicated to specific persons outside the Center.

Exceptions to Confidentiality: Exceptions to confidentiality arise but they are a rare. These exceptions are designed to preserve health and safety. They include: 1) Cases of imminent physical or psychological danger to yourself or another. 2) Cases of suspected child or elder abuse. Generally, only current abuse is reported. However, when there is an old pattern of abuse, it may be reported if there is a strong likelihood that it is continuing with identified minors. 3) Extremely rare instances when a court subpoenas Counseling Center records. If we ever need to act on one of these exceptions, we will do so in a caring manner, and an attempt will be made to try to include you in the process whenever possible.

Training and Professional Consultation: The Counseling Center serves as a training facility for graduate students in the mental health field. In order to assure our clients the best possible treatment, trainees regularly review assigned cases with staff supervisors and/or in case conference. Cases may also be presented by senior staff for educational purposes. In addition, staff members may consult with one another, individually or in case conference, when the need arises. All case presentations are handled in a professional manner for the purposes of ensuring quality care for our clients. Finally, Health Services often works in conjunction with the Counseling Center, in a professional, interdisciplinary capacity, on issues where psychological and physical health coincide. Be assured that only pertinent information will be exchanged between agencies to ensure you receive the best possible interdisciplinary assistance.

Group Sessions: Group and workshop participants are asked to promise to respect the privacy of others by not sharing information from or about group members with anyone else.

Career Services: Although Career Services shares offices on the second floor of Roosevelt Hall, they are a separate agency. If you have questions about your career or your major, we would be happy to make a referral to a career counselor.

Thank you for reviewing this information. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss them with your counselor or the Director of the Counseling Center.

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