Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some commonly asked questions about Counseling Services at the Curry Health Center. If you have additional questions please give us a call at (406) 243-4712.
How do I know if I’m eligible for services?
You are eligible to use Counseling Services, including psychiatry, if you are currently registered as a student and have paid the Health Service fee. To use services during the summer, you must have been registered as a student and have paid the Health Service fee in the previous spring semester, or be registered for summer courses.
What services are available?
Counseling Services provides distance-counseling and psychological services to U of M students. We offer individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, and substance abuse services.
The Counseling Services staff includes psychologists and master’s-level counselors who have a broad range of interests, backgrounds, and perspectives, though all staff function primarily as generalists. As part of our role as a training facility at the University of Montana, we also have master’s and doctoral interns who work under the supervision of licensed staff.
Based on our mission and resources, Counseling Services offers short-term counseling and emphasizes a brief treatment approach for up to 12 sessions each academic year. If it is determined in the initial appointment that your treatment requires services beyond what we can provide, then we will assist you with a referral to an appropriate mental health provider in the community.
Counseling Services offers therapeutic support at significantly reduced fees compared to off campus providers. While this provides a great service to our UM students, it also means that many students seek our services, especially at peak times in the semester. During these peak times, you may experience a 2-3 week wait for appointments. However, if you are experiencing a crisis and cannot wait for a regular appointment you are encouraged to use our urgent one-time counseling services available during office hours. Please know that we are doing the best we can to meet the demand during these times without compromising the quality of services that we provide.
What is the cost for services?
The first visit to Counseling Services in an academic year, either for a scheduled counseling or walk-in appointment, is free. Subsequent counseling appointments are $25. This applies to individual Behavioral Health Options counseling appointments as well. There is no charge for group counseling or seminars (other than some Behavioral Options groups and seminars).
Summer fees: If a student is enrolled in summer session and has paid the Summer Health Services fee, the charges are as above. If you are a student who was enrolled during spring semester but are not taking summer classes, you can still use Counseling Services fee-for-service: $45 per individual counseling session.
Cancellation and no show fees: If you need to cancel your appointment, please call Counseling Services at least 24 hours in advance. During peak times in the semester, if you need to reschedule your appointment to a later date, you might have to wait 2-3 weeks to get another appointment. If you do not call Counseling Services to cancel your appointment and you do not show up for your appointment, you will be charged $25 for this no show. If you do not reschedule your missed appointment within two weeks, your counseling file will be considered closed at that time. Should you decide to return to counseling at any point, your file will be reopened when you attend your next appointment.
Are services confidential?
You have the right to expect that the information you share with Counseling Services and even the fact that you are speaking with someone at Counseling Services will remain confidential with the following exceptions: a) Counseling Services is a division of the Curry Health Center which means that other Counseling Services providers, doctors and nurses may review your counseling record when, in their judgment, it is necessary to ensure the highest level of healthcare; b) you provide written permission for the sharing of information with others outside of The Curry Health Center; c) Counseling Services staff has reason to believe that you are an imminent danger to yourself or others; d) you are a minor and you disclose that you have been a victim of a crime; e) you report a case of child, dependent adult, and/or elder abuse; f) you bring legal action against a counselor for a claim arising out of your relationship with the counselor, in which case, you are considered to have waived your right of confidentiality; or g) as otherwise required by law.
What are the qualifications of the counseling staff?
Counseling Services is made up of licensed clinical psychologists and licensed clinical professional counselors as well as masters and doctoral level graduate student trainees from various departments on campus (i.e. social work, psychology, and counselor education). Please see our staff page for pictures and brief bios of our counseling staff. Counseling Services therapists are all experts on college mental health and use a generalist approach in working with students. Counseling Services therapists are all trained in various evidence based treatment modalities and some staff have specialized training in working with certain students and mental health concerns. If you would like to see a specific therapist, you may request this upon calling to schedule an appointment.
Will I be scheduled with a graduate student?
Counseling Services employs graduate student trainees from both master’s-level and doctoral programs on campus. All trainees are supervised in their work with students by licensed professional staff. Graduate student trainees are responsible to uphold the same ethical and legal considerations as licensed professional staff when working with clients. You may request to be scheduled with either a staff person or a graduate intern, depending on your preference.
What can I expect at my first appointment?
When meeting with your therapist during this first visit, you will be able to spend time discussing your immediate concerns. Your therapist may also ask you other information based on your paperwork in order to get to know you and your experiences better. You and your therapist will take some time at the end of this session to decide on a plan for next steps in terms of therapy. This may involve individual or group therapy at Counseling Services or a referral to longer-term therapy in the community. Your therapist will also help connect you to other resources and services on and off campus if needed.
What can I expect from my counseling sessions?
Counseling Services uses a short term, or brief counseling model. Brief counseling has several important features: (a) the focus is on identifying specific and attainable goals, (b) attention is given primarily to the present rather than the past, and (c) both counselor and client are active in the process. For those who may require more intensive work, Counseling Services can provide referral options that are available locally. A counseling session is typically 45-50 minutes in length and starts on the hour. Counseling sessions are not necessarily scheduled weekly, but rather may be every 1-4 weeks, depending on need and availability. Clients who arrive late for their appointment will have a reduced amount of time in their session or may be required to reschedule.
How will I know when I’m done with counseling?
You and your therapist will decide together when the therapeutic relationship will end. This generally occurs when treatment goals have been met. Due to the brief treatment model at Counseling Services, it might not be possible for you to work on all of your goals through counseling. Should you want to continue with counseling after meeting the session limit, your therapist will help connect you to a new provider in the community.
You have the right to conclude therapy at any time and are encouraged to discuss this with your therapist. As stated, if you do not show up for your counseling session and do not reschedule, your counseling file will be considered closed after two weeks and the counseling relationship will be considered concluded. You can return to Counseling Services at any time to resume treatment with your provider or request a new one.
What if I don’t have an appointment but am in crisis?
Although Counseling Services operates on an appointment basis, you may face an urgent concern or crisis that feels too overwhelming to wait for a scheduled appointment. Counseling Services professionals are available for single 'same-day' or 'next day' urgent counseling appointments. Therapists are also available via phone to consult with faculty, staff, and students if there is concern about someone else.
Crisis counselors are available for phone consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling the Montana Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK. Crisis counseling is also available via text by texting “MT” to 741-741.
Are there psychiatric services available?
CHC medical provides psychiatric services. Please schedule a consultation appointment with a CHC medical provider (406-243-4330) for an initial assessment. If you are already on psychiatric medication, our providers can monitor and refill them while you are at UM. CHC medical also has a psychiatrist, Dr. Blair Davison. Talk with your medical or counseling provider if you require specialized psychiatric care.
What services are available for substance use and abuse concerns?
The Behavioral Health Options Program is part of Counseling Services within Curry Health Center and is committed to educating and motivating students to address high-risk behaviors, often associated with heavy alcohol or other drug use. The Options program provides substance abuse prevention/intervention and standard outpatient treatment. The program is run by the Options Coordinator and graduate student interns. Groups may also be available through the Options program for substance use education and treatment. There are some fees associated with some of the groups and seminars; ask your provider for more information.
What about group therapy or other alternatives to individual counseling?
Group therapy is as effective as individual therapy. We offer several different groups for different concerns: mindfulness, anxiety management, grief, and understanding yourself and others. Some groups require a brief meeting with the group leader to make sure the group is a good fit for the student, and vice versa. Groups generally include about 6-10 students. For a list of current groups and to sign up for a group, contact 406-243-4711. Groups are free to students and there is no limit on participation in group therapy (with the exception of some Behavioral Options groups). Some students choose to participate in a group in addition to their individual therapy and others choose group therapy in place of individual therapy.
What assessment services are available?
Are there services offered during Summer Sessions?
Yes, Counseling Services is open during summer sessions, Monday through Friday, 9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm. In the summer, there are fewer students seeking services and therapists have more flexibility. This allows for potentially more sessions than the standard 12 during the academic year and students may continue beyond that limit. Fee for service eligibility for the summer is dependent upon having been a registered student during the prior spring semester and paid the Health Service fee (if registered for 7 credits or more, the fee was automatically paid).
What is the Student Health Portal?
The Student Health Portal is a secure means of communication regarding your health care. You can access the Portal through the CHC main webpage, and can sign in using your NetID and password. Because your confidentiality cannot be guaranteed with email, any communication from your Counseling Service clinician will be done through the Portal. The Portal is also where students can access health tips. www.umt.medicatconnect.com
What is your Email and Social Media Policy?
Email is not a confidential form of communication. If you need to speak to your therapist, you can call 406-243-4711 and leave a message if your provider is unavailable. Your therapist will call you back within two business days. Should your therapist need to send you information, they will communicate with you via the Student Health Portal. Counseling Services staff members do not engage in any social media platforms with current or former therapy clients.
How are health records handled?
Curry Health Center providers are required to maintain a health record regarding information on your health and appointments. Your health record is electronic and you have only one record for both your mental health and physical health needs. In this way, Curry Health Center providers work as a treatment team. If you wish to have your records released, you will need to complete a release of information, which will ask you if you want your counseling, psychiatric and/or medical records release. You can choose to have one or more released of the records released.
Does Counseling Services provide documentation of a disability?
Disability determination can only occur within the context of an on-going therapeutic relationship. Counseling Services does not provide letters based solely on an initial visit. On occasion, a clinician may provide documentation for a hardship withdrawal or support for financial aid reinstatement if appropriate criteria are met.
Can I get an assessment for an Emotional Support Animal (Companion Animal)?
Curry Health Center (CHC) does not provide assessments for companion or emotional support animals for students living on or off campus. Students can reach out to us or Office for Disability Equity (ODE) for guidance on possible providers in the Missoula community that could assist with this.
Companion or emotional support animals are not allowed in the Curry Health Center facility. Certified Service Animals are allowed in all University Facilities.
What are my rights as a client?
You have the right to:
- review credentials of all Counseling Service staff members including but not limited to: education, experience and professional counseling certification and licensure(s);
- request a particular counselor; (e.g. based on gender preference);
- terminate the counseling relationship at any time;
- have your conversations treated confidentially and be informed of any limitations on confidentiality in the counseling relationship;
- ask questions about the counseling techniques and strategies used by a counselor;
- participate in setting goals and evaluating progress toward them.
- Lodge or file a complaint (see: Curry Health Center's Patient Rights and Responsibilities)
What are my responsibilities as a client?
You are responsible to:
- please arrive on time for your counseling session appointment;
- cancel an appointment at least 24 hours in advance;
- actively participate in counseling by asking questions, providing feedback to the counselor and staying involved in the counseling process, including development and follow through of a plan;
- respond to providers and other staff with respect and consideration.
- ask for clarification if information or instructions are not understood;
- let Curry Health Center employees know your degree of satisfaction with your care;
- provide valid identification at each visit and to pay for costs incurred.
- for more information on Curry Health Center's Patient Rights and Responsibilities