All counseling services are confidential. Counseling Services staff takes its policy on confidentiality extremely seriously. No matter who calls seeking information about students or alumni, the answer is always something like this: “We are not allowed to disclose any information about students without a written release of information from that student. Therefore, we are not even able to tell you whether a person has ever sought services here.”
That means that students can seek services with the confidence that no one will know their business unless the student gives his or her permission for the counselor to release information. There are only three exceptions to this policy.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
The first involves safety: If a student discloses to a counselor that he or she feels like they cannot prevent themselves from killing or seriously harming themselves or another person, the counselor may need to break confidentiality. That doesn't mean that students can’t talk about suicidal feelings or thoughts of rage. It’s just that if a person feels these things to such extremes that they can’t control themselves from acting out, their counselor may need to break confidentiality to protect a person from harm.
Another exception to the policy is when the student tells the counselor about someone being abused who is either under age 18, over age 65 or disabled. In these cases, the counselor is mandated by law to disclose that information to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services.
The final exception to the policy is when a judge requires a counselor to turn over records to a court of law. This is rare and only occurs when students are involved in some sort of legal proceedings such as custody cases and law suits.
Our policy about confidentiality is based on state law and the ethics of the counseling profession. We believe strongly that students should be aware of how these policies work before they begin counseling. This is known as a client’s informed consent. Counselors talk with students about these and other related issues in their first session.
Short-Term Individual and Couple Counseling
All registered Bridgewater State University students are eligible for an initial consultation appointment with a counselor at Counseling Services. Some students don't need more than that one appointment. Those students who need or desire follow-up sessions are seen on a short-term basis (typically 1-12 sessions) at Counseling Services or they are referred off campus for follow-up counseling.
We provide counseling to individuals and to heterosexual, same sex, and transgendered couples. Counseling sessions will be provided at a maximum of one session each week.
Group Counseling Offerings
Each semester Counseling Services offers a number of therapy and support groups about a variety of topics.
Counseling Services provides workshops and presentations on various mental health and wellness topics for students, organizations, staff, faculty and other campus groups. Our staff speaks on a variety of topics including stress management, relationship issues, eating concerns, substance abuse, sexual orientation and adjustment to college life. We are always open to suggestions and will work with you to develop a presentation that meets your club or organization's need.