With students raising concerns about time for appointments, the UNF Counseling Center has started limiting sessions to a maximum of six per student.
Last fall, the Counseling Center received concerns that students could not get in quickly enough as the semester went on. As appointments filled up, students calling in for appointments could only find them later and later into the semester. The Counseling Center tried to solve this with walk-in appointments for 30 minutes of triage for each student. Despite this, the wait list for further appointments built up to 169 students.
“What we’re advocating is for student calls; they make an appointment, and to accommodate as many students as possible,” Counseling Center Director Andrew King said. “I really need them (counselors) to see more students fewer times individually.”
Last summer, the Counseling Center started counting the number of students coming in per year to prepare for the next academic year. According to King, the Center saw 1452 students last year in total, while May 2018 to the end of Fall 2018 saw 1214 students just for the first part of the academic year. This build-up bucked the usual trend of the Center, which should allow for training outside of student sessions and outreach before the semester or after it ends.
Part of the Counseling Center’s new approach is greater advocacy for group sessions in addition to individual appointments. The group sessions should, in theory, reinforce individual treatments because of their weekly occurrence, offering more sessions for students to take part in. It should also provide room for more students to take treatments simultaneously, streamlining the process after reviewing last year’s approach.
With so many students coming in and filling slots before they could be seen in time last semester and beyond, the Counseling Center is hoping that the group sessions can offer students more interpersonal skills and tutoring while reinforcing the individual sessions’ treatment.
“Our goal is to see as many of the students as we can, because every time we hire somebody, that costs money,” King said. “We’re trying to meet the students’ needs, but not make it more expensive for them. We’re trying to strike this happy balance, and sometimes it’s difficult.”
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