Dear Counseling

Students and staff have the opportunity to email the counseling office directly. Counseling staff will reply to individual emails within 24-hours and offer advice on a variety of topics ranging from mental health, academics, to resources and supports on campus. 

  • How should I refer a student to counseling?

    Dear Counseling, I’m a faculty member at the college. How do I best refer a student to counseling?

    Dear Faculty,
    Thank you for your email. There are several ways to best refer a student to counseling services here on campus.

    #1: Tell the student you are concerned for his/her welfare or safety. Discuss specific, observable behaviors that have made you concerned (missed classes, grades dropping). You want to avoid diagnosing or blaming.

    #2: Anticipate reluctance and be positive about getting help. The Counseling Center is free and confidential. There is no shame in asking for help. Getting help means you are taking responsibility and know what you need. Students mistakenly believe their problems “aren’t as bad as everyone else’s problems.” Students at Maria College utilize the counseling services for a variety of different challenges.

    #3: Leave the option open, even if the student won’t commit to counseling. Let students know they can contact the center via email ( at any time.

    #4: Follow up with the student on how they are doing at a later date.

  • Is what I say in counseling kept confidential?

    Is what I say in counseling kept confidential?

    Maria College Counseling Services follows the professional, legal and ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association and the state of New York. This means that information about your counseling sessions or what is discussed in the session is not shared with anyone without expressed written consent by you. Counseling records are not kept as part of your academic record or disclosed to any faculty, staff, or parents/guardians without your written consent. There are some exceptions to confidentiality. If there is the possibility of harm to the client or another person, or in cases of child or elder abuse, Counseling Center staff are mandated by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. A court of law can order a mental health professional to release an individual’s records. In such cases, a counselor would be required to release your record, with or without your consent. Your counselor will review confidentiality with you at the beginning of treatment and answer any additional questions you may have.

  • What is counseling like?

    I am thinking about obtaining counseling services at the college but was curious as to what that would entail. What is counseling like? What should I expect from my first meeting?

    Students seek help from mental health counselors for a variety of reasons. Motives for seeking counseling might range from wishing to solve a particular problem, enhancing their own personal development, working through past issues, to managing symptoms of a chronic mental health condition. There are many different techniques that may be used to process the problems that students hope to address. Counseling is not like visiting a medical doctor. It calls for collaborative work between student and counselor to address the problem at hand. Each counseling session fosters an environment for genuineness, empathy, and acceptance for each student as they make progress towards their individual goal.


    The first session will cover confidentiality, student concerns, and allow the counselor an opportunity to gather demographic information on why that student has sought counseling. At the end of that first meeting students discuss whether they want to move forward with counseling and identify goals they would like to work towards. It is normal for some students to be nervous about their first meeting with a counselor. All students are encourage to email the counseling center with any questions or concerns they may have regarding their appointment.

  • How do I refer a friend to counseling?

    I think my friend should talk to someone at the counseling center. What can I do?

    It might be helpful for you to have a consultation with one of our mental health counselors. Encourage your friend to reach out to our office by emailing to schedule an appointment. While you cannot counsel your friend or force them to go to counseling, there may be ways to talk with them about your concerns and share with them the resources you know about counseling services or other community services. We can walk you through this conversation as well as provide you with support.

    Here are some basic strategies for how you can help:

    • Listen and be supportive. Listening is perhaps the one most important thing you can do to help your friend. Effective listening involves taking the time to listen, encouraging the other person to talk about their feelings, keeping your own feelings and advice in check, validating what your friend is going through, and being compassionate.Brainstorm and problem-solve potential solutions. Although your friend may resent your attempts to simply give advice, you can engage your friend in problem-solving by helping them to generate possible course of action.
    • Encourage your friend to talk with other friends and/or family members. The larger your friend’s support system, the better–not only does this help your friend, but also it takes some of the pressure off you.
    • Direct your friend to available resources. If your friend is resistant to counseling, you could also suggest that s/he check out available self-help resources online, including our free online screenings for depression, anxiety, and alcohol use.
  • How does remote counseling work?

    How does remote counseling work?

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maria College Counseling Services currently offer remote counseling for all eligible students. These services are offered via a HIPPA-compliant video and audio-conferencing platform and/or the telephone when appropriate. Upon your initial contact with a counselor, you will be sent an invite for your first session via email. You and your counselor will engage in sessions only from a private location where they will not be overheard or interrupted. Like traditional in-person counseling services, counselors will maintain documentation of sessions in accordance to ethical and legal standards as set forward by the American Psychological Association and the state of New York. All rules regarding client confidentiality will still apply. Information about your counseling sessions or what is discussed in the session is not shared with anyone without expressed written consent by you. Counseling records are not kept as part of your academic record or disclosed to any faculty, staff, or parents/guardians without your written consent.

    Maria College Counseling Services maintains discretion to determine if remote counseling services are an appropriate level/mode of care on a case-by-case basis. Remote counseling may not be appropriate, or the best choice of service for reasons including, but not limited to:

    • If the student is at heightened risk of harm to oneself or others
    • Lack of access to, or difficulty with, communications technology
    • Significant communication service disruptions
    • Need for more intensive service