Family & Friends FAQ

Where is the Georgia Tech Counseling Center located?

 

The Georgia Tech Counseling Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Smithgall Student Services Building in Suite 238.

 

What types of services are provided?

The Counseling Center offers several types of counseling, including individualcouples, and group counseling, consultationreferral servicestesting and assessment, and life skills workshops.  Please see our Services page for more information about these and other services we provide.

The center also offers a wide variety of workshops and presentations on mental health topics for student organizations, residence halls, and the university community.

Who provides services at the Counseling Center?

The Counseling Center staff is made up of Licensed Psychologists and Mental Health Counselors. Services are also provided by advanced doctoral interns and practicum therapists under the supervision of licensed professional staff.

Who is eligible for counseling services?

All students currently registered in a degree-seeking program are eligible for services at the Counseling Center.  A student must be registered in the current semester to utilize our services.  If a student is on co-op or internship and not registered for classes, then they would not be eligible during that semester.  In this instance we would be happy to provide appropriate referrals for services.  See our Referral Services page for more information.

What can I do if I am concerned about my child?

As the parent of a Georgia Tech student you can talk to a counselor at the Counseling Center during office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time. Counselors will be able to help you with many questions and concerns you may have about your child’s well-being. They also can help you decide if your child needs assistance and where he or she can get it. The number to call is 404.894.2575.

 

Can I make an appointment for my student?

Appointments must be made by the student themselves, in person at the Counseling Center during open business hours.  You are welcome to accompany your child to our office and wait with them in the lobby.

Do you prescribe medication?

No.  The Counseling Center does not prescribe medication.  However, we are proud of our strong working relationships with psychiatrists in the Psychiatry Clinic of the Stamps Health Center, or psychiatrists off-campus.  We are happy to provide referrals. 

What can I expect from my child?

Your son or daughter will very likely be experiencing a range of emotions as he or she leaves for college. Remember that these emotions, such as joy, anxiety, excitement, and sadness are perfectly normal. During the college years your child will be continuing a process of independence yet also establishing new and intimate connections with friends, faculty, and other mentors. He or she will be exposed to many new ideas and may experiment with new ways of being with friends and with you. Remember that many of these changes are a normal part of growing up. Also remember that every child is different and has his/her own experiences of adjusting to and dealing with the challenges and rewards of college life.

What can I expect as a parent?

Like your child, you can expect to experience a wide range of emotions when your child leaves for college. You may experience the joy of new freedom as your child leaves home, as well as sadness at his or her departure. You may experience a great deal of pride and joy about your child’s achievements. You also may worry about whether he or she will be able to adjust well to a new life, and you may worry about "losing" your child as he or she experiments with new ideas, behaviors, and relationships. These are normal feelings and ones that are often good to share with other family members and friends.

What can I do to help my child with this adjustment?

Listen:  One of the most important roles of a parent is that of listener and supporter. You cannot overestimate how important this role is. Be an active listener. Work hard at understanding what your child tells you about his or her feelings or experiences. Be sure to listen before making suggestions or giving advice. Listening is always necessary and often sufficient.

Support Independence:  Offer suggestions when appropriate but also allow your adult child to make up his or her own mind. Resist rescuing your child from a problem but rather let your child know how confident you are in his or her ability to resolve things independently. Help your child find the appropriate resources on campus. Remember that while it may be difficult for some parents not to talk to their children every day, developing autonomy is an important aspect of emerging into adulthood.

Communicate:  Stay in touch with your child. Let him or her know what is going on at home, when appropriate. Remind your child that he or she is still part of the family. Seek your child’s input on how to use his or her old bedroom!

Deal with problems effectively:  If there are problems at home, a divorce or illness, for example, work hard to resolve them effectively. Just as you want to know that your child will be able to take care of him or herself, your child needs to know that you can deal with these situations effectively on your own. In the case of a divorce, work especially hard to keep your child out of the marital argument.

Know Warning Signs:  Children are not always direct about letting parents know when they are experiencing even serious problems. Some warning signs are: a drop in academic performance, an increase in sadness or anxiety, calling home more or less frequently than usual, physical complaints, depression, eating problems, alcohol- or drug-related problems, a lack of social supports. If you see these signals do not hesitate to ask your child how he or she is doing, or call the Counseling Center to find out how you might get your child needed help.

Identify Resources:  This is particularly important if your child has a previously identified physical or mental health-related condition or requires ongoing treatment or medication. Find out where important resources are for your child. Do not be shy about calling these resources if you or your child needs help.

 

What should i do if my son or daughter is reluctant to seek services?

 

Beginning counseling is a personal choice; however sometimes it can be help to encourage your student to speak with a counselor about their concerns.  The following guidance may help a student who is unsure whether they wish to seek counseling:

  • Inform your daughter/son that information shared during counseling is confidential to the extent permitted by state law and will not be disclosed without written permission.
  • Reduce the stigma associated with counseling. Tell your daughter/son that our counseling services are regularly used by many students for a variety of concerns and that utilizing counseling services is a sign of strength and a good use of Georgia Tech resources.  Just as it is common to visit a doctor when one has a medical problem, there should be no shame in meeting with a counselor to discuss a personal issue or concern.
  • Remind your daughter/son that she or he can meet with a counselor for one an Initial Consultation without committing to ongoing counseling.
  • Refer you daughter/son to the Georgia Tech Counseling Center website so that she/he can learn more about the services offered.

 

How can i tell if my son or daughter is distressed?

 

At one time or another, everyone feels upset. However, when some of the following are present, your son or daughter is probably in distress:

 

  • Abrupt changes in behavior, hygiene or appearance
  • Anxiety about a family situation or a relationship difficulty
  • Bizarre behavior or disjointed thoughts
  • Chronic fatigue and lack of energy
  • Extreme dependency on family, including exceptionally long/distressing phone calls or visits home.
  • Inappropriate behavior which interferes with other students functioning in the classroom
  • Irritability, aggressive or abrasive behavior
  • Marked change in personal hygiene.
  • Nervousness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking.
  • Noticeable fearfulness, tearfulness, or nervousness
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Poor class attendance
  • Self-injurious behavior (e.g cutting)
  • Sense of aimlessness-“no purpose in life” or feeling like a burden to friends or family
  • Signs of alcohol or drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts-“I want to go to sleep and never wake up”
  • Withdrawal from friends or family

 

Any one of the above signs present in someone does not absolutely indicate serious distress.  However, you may become alarmed by changes which are extreme or by significant changes that last longer than is typical. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult with a Georgia Tech Counseling Center staff member about evaluating the situation and taking the most appropriate steps.

 

What should I say to my distressed daughter or son?

It is important to talk to your student about your concerns. Asking someone if she or he has thoughts about suicide will not put the idea in the person´s head, but you will provide the person with a safe space to discuss their feelings.

  • Communicate your concern to the student: “I’ve noticed you’ve been visiting home more frequently. How have you been?”
  • Ask questions: “Your last email home mentioned that you are feeling down and thinking about death and dying. Have you had thoughts about death or suicide?”
  • Refer to resources:
    • During regular business hours:
      • The Georgia Tech Counseling Center 404-894-2575
      • Office of the Dean of Students 404-894-6367
    • Anytime (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
      • Georgia Tech Police Department 404-894-2500
      • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
  • Encourage help-seeking: Support your student by helping them schedule an appointment or walk them over to the GTCC. If you are especially concerned that student is in imminent danger of harming him or herself, or others, call the GTPD at 404-894-2500.

What happens if my son or daughter experiences a mental health crisis?

If a student is in crisis during Georgia Tech Counseling Center business hours they should visit the Counseling Center to meet with a counselor for a crisis appointment.  If a student calls in crisis when the Counseling Center is closed, they may follow the prompts on the message to reach the Counselor-on-Call or call the Georgia Tech Police Department at 404-894-2500, or 911.

 

My child is not a student at Georgia Tech yet but is planning on enrolling for the semester. May we speak to you about services?

 

While we cannot begin seeing a student who is not currently registered, we are happy to consult about the needs of incoming students.  Please call us at 404-894-2575 during regular business hours to speak with a counselor.

 

Is it possible to receive an update on what my son or daughter talks about in counseling?

 

Confidentiality of our services is very important to us. The therapeutic relationship and what is discussed by a therapist and client are considered private.  This is not possible to receive any information about your student’s counseling without their explicit written permission. Federal and state laws require that counseling conversations and records remain strictly confidential, even from members of the immediate family.  We realize that not knowing what your son or daughter is discussing in counseling can be frustrating, especially when you are concerned about his or her well-being. However, it is important to understand that confidentiality is an essential element of the counseling process, as it creates a safe environment for students to discuss their personal concerns openly and honestly.  There are some additional limits to confidentiality.  Please see our Confidentiality page for more information.

 

You should not expect anyone from the Counseling Center to confirm in any way whether your child has been seen at the Counseling Center.  However, you should always feel free to contact the Counseling Center if you have any concerns about your child, want the Counseling Center to be aware of something concerning your child, or have questions about how the Counseling Center works.

 

Will other staff or faculty know that my son or daughter is receiving services at the Georgia Tech Counseling Center?

 

All information about you student is confidential and cannot be released without their written permission.  Faculty and staff will not be informed unless the student is having a mental health emergency or the student provides consent to speak to a faculty or staff member.

 

Will counseling become a part of my son or daughter’s academic record?

 

No.  Similar to medical records, counseling records are not included in any of other university records.  Our records are confidential and are kept entirely separate from student’s academic records.