Stephen F. Austin State University

What Should I Expect?

Scheduling the First Appointment

When you call to set up your appointment with Counseling Services, the first available appointment will be made that fits your schedule.

Your first appointment is an initial consultation lasting up to 30 minutes. This meeting is not designed to be a counseling session. Prior to this meeting, you will complete intake paperwork. During the meeting, you will discuss with the clinician the reason you are seeking services and make a plan and schedule for your counseling sessions. Please arrive 15 minutes early for the initial consultation in order to complete intake paperwork. To save time, if you cannot arrive 15 minutes early for your initial consultation, please print out the paperwork from the following link, complete it, and bring it with you to your initial consultation meeting.


You may request a specific counselor (see Our Staff for information about our counselors), or you may be placed with the counselor who has the earliest opening available.

Initial Consultation Process

When you arrive for your initial consultation, check in at the Counseling Services desk in room 332 on the 3rd floor of the Rusk building. If you have already completed your Initial Consultation paperwork, please inform the staff member who checks you in that you have it completed & will provide it to your counselor. A staff member will escort you to the private waiting area and give you the Initial Consultation Paperwork if you have not already completed it. Please try to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete this paperwork if you have not completed it before your appointment.

This meeting is not designed to be a counseling session.Your counselor will meet you in the waiting area and walk you back to the counselor's office. During this 30 minute consultation, your counselor will review paperwork, gather information about why you are seeking counseling and any relevant history, and help you develop a plan & schedule for future sessions.

Exploring your concerns and gathering information can sometimes take more than one session. Counseling sessions may include a combination of individual and group counseling sessions. Your counselor will discuss this with you in your initial consultation appointment.

Group Counseling

Working through issues in a group can have many benefits for everyone attending. In group, students receive support, feedback, and connection with others. In addition to this, group counseling also provides the opportunity to gain different perspectives, insights, and realizations that you are not alone in your struggles.

After your initial consultation with your counselor, you may have the option of attending weekly group counseling sessions which last 50 minutes. Counseling Services offers several groups throughout the week and each session is tailored to fit the needs of those attending. Groups, typically consisting of 4-6 people, will focus on sharing and processing concerns, building relationships, and increasing coping skills. The Fall 2017 semester is our first in offering ongoing group counseling to students and we are so excited to add such an important and beneficial service to our delivery of services.

Concerns About Counseling

It is normal to feel nervous about meeting with a counselor for the first time. Most people feel much more comfortable after meeting their counselor and discussing things with them.

For more details on what to expect from counseling, see Frequently Asked Questions.

What Not to Expect

Life brings a variety of challenges and students often find that they have a difficult time making decisions. The counselors are happy to help individuals reach conclusions, explore feelings and gain greater insight into their lives. Counselors will do this through collaboration with the student and by offering guidance but they will not do so by giving advice.

Counseling Services does not have the training or practice to determine if a student has a disability that limits an area of functioning that would require the presence of an animal so they cannot provide documentation to students that will support an Emotional Support Animal. While having an animal may provide support there is a lot to consider before having an animal, especially for those students living on campus. It is recommend that students take time to consider all benefits and risks before deciding to obtain a letter.

Counseling Services cannot provide recommendations or prescriptions for medications of any kind. Counselors can refer students to the medical clinic on campus where they can discuss such options with a medical provider.

Deciding on a major or considering changing a major can sometimes be a complicated and difficult decision. Counseling Services is happy to meet with you to discuss any emotional distress you may be experiencing because of these decisions but they cannot advise a student of what major to choose or what courses to take. Each individual college within SFASU has appointed professional and academic advisers that can assist with this.

Counseling Services cannot determine if a student is in need of academic accommodations. We recommend students contact Disability Services to discuss options.