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 counseling@calvin.edu.

Who seeks help?

Every year, hundreds of Calvin students come in to the Center for Counseling and Wellness. They come with issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship struggles, stress, eating disorders, substance abuse and other life challenges. Statistics show that students feel understood by their counselors and are recommending others to the Center for Counseling and Wellness.

Eligibility and cost

Students who are currently enrolled in classes are eligible for our counseling services at no cost. While counseling is free, there will be a $15 charge for “no shows” to appointments which have not been canceled or rescheduled prior to the appointment.

Students sometimes have mixed feelings 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 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.

  • 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, 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 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, completing an appointment request form online, or stopping by the front desk. Our office is located on the third floor of the Spoelhof College Center, next to the Residence Life office. During the school year, appointments are available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Quick-access screening appointments are available each day for new students, and crisis care is available for mental health emergencies.

  • What will happen at my first appointment?

    Your first appointment will be a brief screening. 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 typically takes 10–20 minutes to complete. A counselor will review your information and meet with you for approximately 20 minutes. The goal of the screening is to assess your needs and customize services to best fit your personal goals. You and the counselor will review Counseling and Wellness 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.

  • 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 Student Conduct, your parents or anyone else without your written conesnt. 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.

It is our privilege to be placed in a position to assist Calvin students. If your son, daughter or family member is a Calvin student and in need of counseling services, be assured that we are eager to help. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

  • I think my family member needs your services. How can I know for sure?

    Family members and parents are often the first to notice when students have trouble coping. Academic performance, personal relationships and daily behavior can all be negatively impacted by emotional difficulties. The following signs suggest the need for a counseling evaluation at the Center for Counseling and Wellness:

    • changes in sleep, appetite or energy level
    • social withdrawal or isolation
    • changes in behavior or personal hygiene
    • signs of excessive alcohol and/or drug use
    • expressions of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, mistrust or anger
    • changes in academic performance or absenteeism in class
    • loss of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable or meaningful
    • physical complaints without a known medical cause
    • unusual repetitive or ritualistic behavior
    • relationship problems with family or friends
    • talk or reference to suicide (whether direct or indirect)
    • previous, chronic emotional disturbance or treatment
    • recent traumatic event or loss
  • My family member refuses to seek help even though I'm convinced they need it. What can I do?

    It can be a helpless feeling when a family member seems to need help but is not open to seeking counseling. Provide gentle encouragement toward counseling and avoid making the issue into a power struggle. Continue to listen and be supportive. If you have concerns about the safety of your family member, do not hesitate to call their Resident Director or Campus Safety at (616) 526-3333.

  • If my family member seeks help from the Center for Counseling and Wellness, will I know?

    A confidential treatment setting allows participants to feel comfortable and safe while addressing their concerns. Counselors are legally and ethically mandated to maintain client confidentiality. As a result, families are not provided with counseling information unless their family member has provided written consent. We want you to know that we value your relationship with your family member and are committed to providing them with quality care.