You are here: American University Campus Life Counseling Getting Started

REACHING OUT
We try to make it as easy as possible to meet with us. You can do this whichever way is best for you:

  • Call the Counseling Center at 202-885-3500
  • Stop by MGC 214

We’ll work with you to schedule an initial consultation where we can learn more about your situation and feelings.

Please know that you can always speak with someone in the meantime by stopping in during our Drop-In Hours (2-4 pm, Monday-Friday).

AT YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION (“INTAKE”)

First step: Paperwork. (Please arrive around 30 minutes before the appointment to fill this out.)

Second step: Meet with one of our clinicians, who will help you sort out your concerns, gather some background information, provide initial strategies for healthy coping, anddiscuss your options for further care.

WHAT’S NEXT
You and your clinician will choose an option based on what you discuss in your initial consultation. This could include:

Ongoing appointments will be arranged with the help of your clinician.

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Please call so that we can release the time to another student.

CALL (202-885-3500) to cancel.
Sorry, we can’t take cancellations or scheduling by text for confidentiality and security reasons.
If at all possible, please cancel the day before.

If you have an urgent concern and wish to see a clinician as soon as possible, please come in during our Drop-In Hours, 2-4 pm Monday-Friday.

These hours are open to everyone – new clients, ongoing clients, anyone who feels a need to see a clinician immediately. You also come to Drop-In Hours to get a referral to a private therapist in the community.

After hours, a student may call 202-885-7979 to speak to an on-call crisis clinician.(This is the number for ProtoCall, an extension of the Counseling Center.)

What is an Urgent Concern?
That’s something that each client defines for themselves. If you have an urgent need to talk with a clinician, please stop by or call.

If this is a crisis, please see information on hospitals, hotlines and other resources for help in a crisis.

What to Expect at Urgent Care Drop-In Hours
There will be some brief paperwork, and then you'll talk with a clinician.

(Paperwork can't be done online beforehand for privacy and security reasons. Thank you for understanding!)

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS

In an emergency
, you can contact the AU Police Department (x3636), call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.

From 2-4 pm, Monday-Friday: You can walk into the Counseling Center during Urgent Care hours to see a clinician.

Any time of day or night, a student may also call 202-885-7979 to speak to an on-call crisis clinician.(This is the number for ProtoCall, an extension of the Counseling Center.)

CRISIS RESOURCES

Local Hospitals

Crisis Helplines

Confidentiality

Confidentiality

Counseling often involves the discussion of sensitive personal information. It is important that you feel safe in your discussions with a clinician, and that your privacy is respected and protected.

The confidentiality of information you share with a Center clinician is protected by professional ethical standards as well as by state law. The primary governing regulation is the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act. Other professional guidelines include the American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Ethics, the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, and the American Psychiatric Association Principles of Medical Ethics.

The Center will not disclose your status as a client or release any information related to your counseling to anyone outside the Center without your written permission. This includes responding to inquiries from parents, friends, professors, advisors, etc.

There are a few very rare exceptions to confidentiality which you should know about:

  • The law allows for confidential information to be shared as necessary under the following circumstances:
    • to prevent you from injuring yourself or someone else
    • to halt or prevent child abuse or abuse of an incapacitated adult, or
    • when required by a court of law:
      • for a criminal case in which you are charged with killing or injuring another
      • for criminal proceedings in which you raise an insanity defense or such defense is raised on your behalf, or
      • for civil proceedings in which you have raised your mental or emotional condition as an aspect of a claim.

**Please note: Should such rare circumstance occur, we will discuss with you whenever possible any action that is being considered (although we are not legally obligated to do so) and we will release only the minimum information required by the circumstances.**

  • Clinicians may obtain necessary and confidential consultation or supervision with other mental health professionals to ensure the quality of your care.
  • Minor students under the age of 18 who voluntarily seek treatment in their best interests are generally afforded the same confidentiality protection as an adult student, but there are some limitations which a clinician will be happy to discuss with you. These limitations should not keep you from seeking help. Call and consult with a clinician about your confidentiality concerns.

If you have any questions, or your would like to learn more about confidentiality, call x3500 and ask to speak with a Counseling Center clinician.