Individual and Couples Therapy
The Counseling and Wellness Center’s individual and couples therapy services are best suited for students who are ready to accept professional support to make meaningful change. We practice from a time-limited, solution-focused model.
How do I get started?
If you are eligible for services, your entry point to starting therapy is via a same-day phone appointment. Simply call or schedule online to reserve an appointment time.
At your appointment time, a CWC therapist will call you to learn more about your goals. These 20 to 30-minute phone consultations help us gain a sense of which resources may best support your well-being. You may be asked about your existing coping strategies, salient identities, and current mental health.
What happens after my phone consultation?
Many students find that they have gotten the resolution they wanted after just one consultation. If, however, you choose to pursue your consultant’s recommendation for individual or couples therapy at the CWC, they will add you to the CWC assignment list.
Within two to three business days, our Patient Services Coordinator will reach out to you via phone or e-mail to schedule your first therapy appointment (“intake”). Intakes are typically scheduled within one week of your phone consultation.
When will I hear back from the CWC about scheduling?
Within two to three business days, our Patient Services Coordinator will reach out to you via phone or e-mail to schedule your first therapy appointment (“intake”). Intakes are typically scheduled within one week of your phone consultation. You are welcome to call us to check in on your assignment status.
Pro Tip: Please make sure your voicemail is set up and able to receive messages. We make three attempts to reach someone over the course of a week before removing them from our list. These delays may contribute to longer wait times for other students.
What is therapy like?
Individual and couples therapy are time-limited and solution-focused. We are best suited for students who have a specific goal or topic area they wish to address.
All of our clinicians are generalists, meaning that they are trained to work with students experiencing a variety of concerns. We most often work with students experiencing persistent depression, anxiety, identity questions, trauma, and relationship concerns. Some clinicians have sought additional training or certification in specialization areas, such as trauma, substance use, LGBTQ+ care, sport psychology, and neurodiversity.
While CWC therapists each have their own style, therapy is always collaborative and goal-directed. It can include exploration of past relational patterns that affect current functioning, practicing of coping strategies, and other evidence-based techniques shown to improve emotional health.
Is there a limit to how much therapy I can get?
The CWC offers individual therapy from a time-limited model. We are able to work with most students for up to 10 individual sessions each academic year.
We are sometimes able to make exceptions in cases where a student is engaged in our Survivor Advocacy Services specialty track, does not have health insurance, or otherwise has a compelling need that we are able to serve in-house. Any exceptions must be approved by the CWC team and cannot be granted without full staff consultation. Any exceptions are contingent upon available staffing and ability to treat the concern in our setting.
There is no limit to couples therapy, group therapy, or advocacy services.
Is there anything different about couples therapy?
Students interested in couples therapy at the CWC should follow the same process explained above. Partners should schedule separate same-day phone appointments to get started.
All partners participating in couples therapy must be currently enrolled at Western and eligible for services.
Can I request a specific therapist?
Students are asked during their same-day appointment whether they have preferences for a certain kind of therapist (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, specialization). We make every attempt to honor requests.
What if I don’t vibe with my therapist?
Not every therapist/client match is a perfect fit. If you would like to try a different therapist, we encourage you to check in with your therapist about what isn’t working, as they may be able to alter their approach or recommend a therapist who would be a better fit. This is ok to do!
If you are unable to continue with your therapist, you may be contacted by a supervisor to understand how we can improve the fit for your next therapist assignment.
I don’t want to meet for therapy every week. Can I attend less often?
Yes! It is common for our clients to be seen every other week or even monthly, depending on how much support they are needing. We schedule appointments one at a time, and clients are encouraged to communicate with their therapist about how frequently they would like to meet.
Why was I referred off-campus?
Just as your primary care doctor does not treat every medical conditions in their particular setting (i.e. chemotherapy, surgery, eye exams), the CWC is not the best fit for all concerns. We can do a lot, but we cannot do it all—our professional code of ethics prevents us from treating concerns outside of our scope of service. That doesn’t mean you are “too much” or somehow flawed! To the contrary, reaching out for help takes courage and strength. Some concerns deserve a higher level of care than we can provide, and we want students to get connected to the treatment setting that will best set them up for success.
How did you decide on your treatment model?
Inspired by the Okanagan Charter, the CWC strives to support each student’s autonomy and strengths in their healing. Although mainstream approaches to mental health center the role of therapist as professional healer, we acknowledge that healing comes in many forms and is not always from a professional. Healing can also come from nature, community, laughter, intergenerational connection, and inner resources.
The most common number of therapy sessions across all treatment settings is one. National data on collegiate mental health and our CWC-specific data support the idea that relief occurs after just one session, with most students achieving stability within ten sessions. Our model is informed by current data on collegiate mental health and our available resources. This approach supports the social and emotional well-being of our student clients and of our staff.
If you are interested in couples counseling, you and your partner must both call the Counseling and Wellness Center to schedule an individual assessment during which you will inform the assessing therapist that you are interested in couples counseling.
If you would like to provide general feedback about the Counseling and Wellness Center, please click on our feedback form.