Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about counselling services at MHC

What is counselling?

Counselling is a process whereby the counsellor helps the client (student) develop problem solving strategies to help them cope with concerns or problems that are happening in life. This involves developing a collaborative relationship whereby the counsellor works with the student to identify personal goals. The counselling process involves the student exploring their thoughts, feelings and behaviours to better understand themselves and how they can change to improve their personal circumstances. Counsellors address emotional, social and personal aspects of the individual as well as the cognitive challenges of the educational process.

How do I know if I need counselling?

Most people are able to handle some level of personal stress. However, there are times in people’s lives when the stress demands become overwhelming. Some of the reasons people attend counselling include; anxiety/ panic and mood problems (depression, suicidal thoughts), abuse and assault issues, academic engagement or direction, substance use, coping with grief and loss, relationships (family, romantic, platonic), eating/ body image difficulties, self-harm, homesickness/loneliness, Self confidence and self-esteem, sexuality and sexual orientation, stress, transition to university, social functioning and dealing with discrimination.

How can counselling help me?

Depending on the nature of the difficulties addressed the potential benefits of counselling include:

  • Facilitating coping and wellness
  • Changes in problematic behaviour
  • Removal or reduction of symptoms
  • Problem resolution
  • Improvements in confidence, self- esteem or overall mood
  • Improvements in ability to perform academically
  • Positive change in personal relationships

It is important to note that counselling is meant to be a helpful experience but this cannot be guaranteed – either with regard to the process itself or the eventual outcome. It is not uncommon for clients to experience an increase in symptoms or emotional discomfort prior to any potential improvement or to realize that there are other concerns to be addressed.

Who will know I’m coming to Counselling?

No one will know that you are attending counselling unless you choose to tell others. For example, if a relative called to enquire or an Instructor wanted to find out if you were attending sessions we would not disclose that information. Unfortunately we are not able to control for other students you may meet whilst in the waiting room! There are however, some limits to our confidentiality where we may have to break confidentiality. These include:

  • Serious harm to self (suicide) or others
  • Threat to campus security (Violence threat risk assessment)
  • Abuse or neglect to a child under the age of 17
  • Subpoena by court If you have questions regarding these potential breaks of confidentiality, please inform your counsellor.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions usually depends on the presenting issue and will vary from student to student. Some concerns can be addressed with just one session, some can take longer. Demand for counselling at Medicine Hat College can be high so is typically short term (up to 6 sessions per fall/winter semester). Some concerns or issues would be better addressed through longer term services due to their complexity and history. In these cases we will try to help you connect to community resources.

How can I get the most out of my sessions?

Counselling offers no magical solutions to the concerns you bring with you. Clients may find that as they begin to work on their problem, things can get worse before they get better. To a great extent, the progress you make in counselling depends on your genuine, honest and active participation in the process. There are several things you can do to help make the counselling process work for you:

  • Keep all scheduled appointments. If you can’t attend and don’t let your counsellor know 24 hrs prior it will count as one of your allocated 6 sessions.
  • Be honest and open about the issues you present in sessions and be willing to explore the role you play in a given problematic situation.
  • Since you are responsible for most of the work, be thoughtful between sessions about issues explored and try out new ideas and strategies.
  • Follow through on homework
  • Be willing to consider replacing current, unhelpful ways of doing things with more positive, new and uncertain ones.
  • This is your process, if something isn’t working for you let your counsellor know – feedback any concerns you may have.

How do I make an appointment?

You can make an appointment by calling 403.529.3819 or visiting the advising desk in the center core of the college. You will initially be asked to complete an intake form to help the counselling team fully understand the presenting concern and severity of the need. An intake appointment of 30 minutes will be booked. At the intake meeting your counsellor will assess your counselling needs and determine the best course of therapy depending on the need.