Below we've answered some of the questions that are frequently asked by students and family members. If we didn’t answer a question that is important to you, please contact us at (616) 526-6123 or

Students sometimes feel afraid about coming to the Center for Counseling and Wellness due to uncertainty about what to expect. We hope that the answers to some common questions below will help to take the mystery out of what it will be like when you make an appointment. Feel free to call us if there are any other questions that we can answer, or just swing by to check us out before you schedule.

Who seeks help?

Approximately one out of five Calvin students seeks support from the Center for Counseling and Wellness each year, including students from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds as well as a wide variety of majors and interests across campus. The center is available to all students, whether they consider their concerns to be big or small, and the Stepped Care Model utilized by the center ensures that all students have access to helpful resources no matter their level of distress. Some typical presenting concerns include stress, anxiety, sadness, depression, relationship struggles, self-harming behavior, grief/loss, body image concerns, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other life challenges.

What is the eligibility and cost?

Students who are currently enrolled in classes and residing within the state of Michigan during their studies are eligible for Counseling and Wellness services at no cost. While all of our services are free, there is a $15 charge for “no shows” to appointments which have not been canceled or rescheduled prior to the appointment.

How do I know that Counseling and Wellness services is for me?

You may wonder whether it would be appropriate to talk about your concerns with a counselor. Perhaps others who know you well have suggested Counseling and Wellness, or you have thought yourself that talking attending a workshop or using an online resource related to emotional health might be helpful. You are always welcome to schedule a screening at Counseling and Wellness to discuss whether our services would be appropriate for you. Some specific indicators that Counseling and Wellness services might be beneficial include:

  • emotional difficulties, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, etc.
  • relationship problems
  • difficulty sleeping
  • declining academic performance
  • recent traumatic event or loss
  • concerns about substance use
  • suicidal thoughts
  • difficulty functioning on a day-to-day basis

If you are still unsure about whether Counseling and Wellness would be useful, you might want to take our self evaluator and follow the suggestions.

How do I make an appointment?

Appointments at the Center for Counseling and Wellness can be made by calling (616) 526-6123, using the button below, or stopping by the front desk. Our office is located on the third floor of the Spoelhof University Center, across from the Financial Services office. During the school year, appointments are available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. All first-time students begin with a screening appointment, and crisis care is available for safety-related mental health emergencies (with additional mental health support available in the community through Pine Rest).

Sign-up request

What will happen at my first appointment?

Your first appointment will be a screening with one of our counselors. You will be asked to come early to complete electronic intake information with demographic information, reason for your visit, and mental health history. This will include an informed consent form to read and sign. The registration process takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. A counselor will then review your information and meet with you to assess your needs and customize services to best fit your personal goals, based on a Stepped Care Model. You and the counselor will review both on-campus and off-campus resources available to you, and will decide together on the next steps.

What kinds of things will they ask me?

Your screening counselor will want to make sure that they have a clear understanding of your concerns prior to making recommendations. Initial questions may relate to your moods, family history, physical health, substance use, general interests and past experiences. Counseling and Wellness staff will respect the pace at which you want to disclose information and work on issues.

Will I be set up with individual counseling?

Our primary mode of treatment is group therapy, due to its effectiveness in reducing mental health symptoms and strengthening feelings of healthy connection with others. Your screening counselor will talk with you about your presenting concerns and recommend the best resources to fit your needs based on a Stepped Care Model. This recommendation will take into account resources on-campus and off-campus, and may or may not include short-term individual therapy. Online resources and peer supports are also very helpful tools for students looking to grow and thrive during their university years. Counselors are skilled at crafting a customized treatment plan for each student, using a strengths-based approach that is tailored to the specific goals for that individual.

In some instances, students may wish to seek individual counseling (or other mental health services) off-campus in order to supplement available services at Counseling and Wellness. A searchable list of active community providers is provided for Calvin students through ThrivingCampus, which also supports students in navigating logistical questions of insurance, accessibility, and making an appointment. Counseling and Wellness staff are available to assist students with community referrals as needed.

Are Counseling and Wellness services confidential?

Yes! The Center for Counseling and Wellness takes confidentiality very seriously, and no information will be exchanged with individuals or agencies outside of our center unless you provide us with explicit consent to do so. Your Counseling and Wellness record is not a part of your academic record, and information shared within counseling is not reported to university personnel, your parents or anyone else without your written consent. We recognize that a safe and confidential environment is crucial in order for you to feel comfortable sharing personal information.

In rare circumstances, the confidentiality policy requires unauthorized disclosure of information. Such circumstances would include when the counselor believes the student's life is in danger, when the safety of others is at risk, when there is suspicion of child or elder abuse, or when requested by subpoena or court order. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality policy, please feel free to talk them over with your counselor.

Sign-up request

Concerned about a student’s well-being? Submit a Student Concern report for follow-up by caring staff members on campus. In case of emergency, call 911 or Campus Safety (616-526-3333).