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New Clients

New Clients

Call us at (434) 982-2252 to schedule an appointment.

Counseling is offered for both men and women individually, as well as for couples. We offer clients an empowerment-based counseling model through which we integrate evidence-based practice with a person-centered approach. We support survivors of all genders who have experienced rape; sexual assault; stalking; domestic violence; emotional, psychological and verbal abuse; as well as other concerns. Additionally, we are available to support survivors’ friends, family members and significant others.

The Process

When you first call the Counseling Office, a clinician will gather some basic information. We will then schedule either a consultation, add you to our wait list, or give you a referral to another provider. Your first appointment will focus on what led you to call the Women’s Center at this time of your life. It will also provide the opportunity for you and the clinician to assess whether counseling here at the Center feels like the right fit.

If you determine individual counseling is the right path, we will help you to summarize your concerns and identify some goals for your work. Together we also will determine appropriate services that will help you move you toward your goals, and make a follow-up appointment that fits your schedule. In addition to individual counseling, the Center offers group, and couples counseling, and provides referrals to medical, academic and other supportive services.

It occasionally happens that a prospective client needs help not available at the Women’s Center. In those cases, we will help connect you to the services you need. The Women’s Center does not provide crisis counseling, medication, or 24-hour mental healthcare coverage. We collaborate with CAPS, UVA Psychiatry at Northridge, Region Ten Community Services Board, and private therapists in the community for these services.

The number of counseling sessions varies based on client needs. Most sessions last 50 minutes. If you are going to be late for a session, we ask that you call to let your counselor know. To cancel a session, please give at least 24 hours notice so that other clients who are waiting for an appointment can be offered your cancelled time. Because we almost always have a list of clients waiting for services, we have a policy that if a client misses more than two appointments without a call, we will help you find services outside the Center that work better for your schedule rather than keeping you in a regular weekly appointment slot.

Common client concerns:

We see UVA students, faculty and staff with a breadth of concerns. Most common are:

Depression

Adjusting to College

Stress

Anxiety

Concerns with alcohol or other substances

Relationship Concerns (romantic, friendships, family, etc.)

Eating and body image concerns

Academic problems 

Family Problems

Sexual concerns

Identity Concerns

Sexual assault and other trauma

Confidentiality

Information you disclose in clinical sessions belongs to you. With only a few exceptions, it is confidential and may not be released to anyone outside of Counseling Services without your written permission. The Women’s Center adheres to professional, legal and ethical guidelines established by the Virginia Board of Counseling, State and Federal law, and the professional associations to which its counselors belong. Legal and ethical exceptions to confidentiality are provided to clients in writing and will be discussed in your first counseling session.

About your Counselor

The Women’s Center is a training site. Its staff include licensed clinical mental health counselors as well as residents in counseling and graduate students under supervision. At your first session, your counselor may also ask your permission to allow them to audiotape sessions, for their own training and supervision purposes. These tapes are not retained after review by a supervisor and the counselor.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling consists of one-on-one 50 minute meetings with a counselor, usually weekly. The sessions focus on understanding one’s story, and learning new ways of dealing with life problems and relationships. The length of counseling is determined by the client’s goals and circumstances. Your counselor will listen to your concerns and help you identify goals for counseling. We work within a strengths-based model that emphasizes human potential for growth, and change.

Group Counseling

Group counseling at the Women’s Center is facilitated by a counselor, and consists of 4-8 people who meet weekly over 6-10 weeks. Members have an opportunity to support one other, practice new behavioral skills, and receive feedback, all of which can be rewarding and enable positive changes in relationship patterns outside of group. The Women’s Center typically offers one or two groups a year. We also refer out to groups held at UVA CAPS, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), The Women’s Initiative, and other community providers.

Couples Counseling

The Women’s Center can occasionally provide couples counseling, defined as counseling between two people, whether they are roommates, friends, or romantic partners. This time-limited counseling is typically focused on improving communication and problem-solving skills, or working through an important decision. We also can do short-term consultations for individuals or groups worried about a friend.

 
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