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Psychological Counseling Center

FAQ - Parents and Family Members

College years can be challenging for both students and families. It is a time for students to develop independence and individual identities, and can be at once fun, exciting, intimidating, and lonely. Your child may encounter challenges during his/her college years, and most of these will be predictable and usual. When challenges become overwhelming, the Psychological Counseling Center (PCC) can be a valuable resource for helping students to navigate their struggles. Please explore our web site to learn more about our services.

Commonly-asked questions and answers:

What kind of counseling services does the Psychological Counseling Center (PCC) provide for New Paltz students?

The PCC provides group and time-limited individual psychological counseling for registered New Paltz students when clinically appropriate and available. Our after-hours "Emergency Contact" service links PCC staff with campus police, residence life staff, and students to provide 24-hour crisis intervention. PCC staff offer campus workshops, and also provide referrals to community providers. The volunteer, confidential, peer support programs, OASIS and HAVEN, operate under PCC supervision, and provide crisis intervention telephone hotline and walk-in services. There is no fee for PCC services.

What are the credentials and accrediting standards of the PCC?

The PCC professional staff may include licensed social workers, licensed psychologists, and licensed mental health counselors. Our consulting psychiatrist has a M.D. in adolescent and young adult psychiatric services.

The PCC is the college's primary training site for the graduate-level mental health counseling program. Additionally, graduate trainees in mental health counseling, social work, and psychology doctoral candidates from other schools, may intern at the PCC as well. All trainees at the PCC provide counseling only under the clinical supervision of PCC senior staff.

The PCC has received accreditation from the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc. and adheres to the ethical, professional, and confidentiality guidelines of the psychology and social work professions.

What might I expect during my child's transition to college?

Every student responds to the challenges of college differently. If this is the first time your child has left home for any period of time, the transition may include periods of feeling lonely, isolated, apprehensive, and insecure. It is important to listen to your child's feelings and reinforce personal strengths. Encourage your child's involvement with other students in campus activities and remember the personalities of your child. Family members and students can work together to develop a new more adult relationship of mutual respect, sharing stories, and enjoying the college years. Family still represents important guidelines for decision making, even as your child matures towards adult independence.

What is homesickness?

Homesickness is a longing for home, familiarity and security, and may be experienced as physical symptoms of nausea and sleeplessness, and psychological symptoms of apprehension or sadness. Speaking directly to your child about losses and sadness may decrease feelings of homesickness. It is also important to encourage your child to establish a sense of security in the new environment, by developing new friendships, connecting with faculty members, or speaking with the Resident Assistants (RAs). Homesickness, regarded as a typical part of the transition to college, may occur within the first six weeks, or as late as the second semester of the first year. Referral to the PCC is suggested if the symptoms begin to interfere with the student's functioning.

What is the best way to arrange for counseling services for my child?

If your child already has a therapist, we recommend that this topic be discussed as a part of therapy, with the knowledge that services at PCC are short term in nature. If your child's therapist advises that open-ended counseling is appropriate, suggest that your child contact the PCC just prior to, or soon after arriving at college, and we will facilitate a referral to a local private practitioner. There are many counselors within walking distance of campus who routinely work with college students.

If your child wants to begin short-term psychotherapy when in residence at New Paltz, encourage your child to contact the PCC to schedule an Intake appointment. PCC staff can assess if group therapy, short-term individual therapy, or referral to a local practitioner would be most helpful for your child's transition to college.

Although college is an exciting time, it is also very new and therefore may be stressful. This is NOT a good time to stop therapy or to stop medication! While some students do well with "phone therapy," we have found that face-to-face therapy sessions seem to prevent the development of crises, thus, we recommend continuing face-to-face sessions or establishing a therapeutic relationship with a local therapist in the New Paltz area.

May I speak to my child's therapist at the PCC?

If you are worried about your child, we welcome your call. We will listen to your concerns and provide suggestions about how to help your child. 

Federal law and ethical standards on confidentiality prohibit us from acknowledging, without the student's consent, whether or not your child has been a client of the PCC. Also, we are prohibited from revealing whether a student has scheduled an appointment at the PCC. 

If your concern is that your child may be suicidal or in imminent danger, PCC staff may liaison with residence life staff, other involved parties, and/or the student directly, to provide immediate support.

What if my child is hospitalized for psychological reasons?

The PCC has a collaborative relationship with Health Alliance Hospital in Kingston, Ulster County's mental health emergency medical facility. When the PCC is involved with a student's transport to hospital, we encourage the student to inform a family member about the transport. PCC staff will make every effort to obtain consent to include family support during this time. Once at the hospital, the student will be asked by hospital staff to inform family member(s) about the hospitalization or emergency room visit. If the student is admitted to the hospital, the hospital's clinical social worker works to facilitate the student's contact with family. 

Students and family members may contact the PCC and request that we inform professors of a student's absence from classes in the event of a hospitalization or family crisis.  We will facilitate this through the Office of Student Affairs.

The PCC encourages family members to contact us at 845-257-2920.

ALSO SEE: Untying the Apron String, a program presented by Dr. Gweneth Lloyd, Director of the Psychological Counseling Center.