Myths About Counseling

Myth: Counseling is only for people with a diagnosable mental illness.

Fact: Seeking treatment for a mental illness is one of many reasons someone might see a counselor. Some people are seeking self-improvement. Others are dealing with difficult relationships, academic challenges, or college adjustment issues. Others are looking for healthy ways to manage stress. If you are looking for something a little better out of life or your college experience, counseling may be right for you.

Myth: Counseling is too expensive.

Fact: During any semester you are enrolled in credit classes, you are entitled to FREE counseling in the Counseling Center.

Myth: Counseling is not "really" confidential.

Fact: Counselors are bound by ethical and legal guidelines to never disclose what you have talked about in counseling without your permission: they could lose their licenses for doing otherwise! The only cases in which a counselor may be professionally obligated to disclose what you have said in counseling are the following: you report abuse of a child, senior citizen, or person with disability; you are an imminent danger to yourself or others; your records are ordered to be released by a court of law. See our Confidentiality Policy for more details.

Myth: If I see a counselor, it will be noted on my academic record.

Fact: Neither the fact that you have seen a counselor nor anything you say in counseling will ever appear on your academic record. Your current professors and the institutions you attend in the future will never know you are or were in counseling. Your counseling and academic records are completely separate. See our Confidentiality Policy for more details.

Myth: Using Counseling Services is a sign of weakness.

Fact: It can take a lot of emotional strength and courage to seek help for problems that may be too overwhelming to manage by yourself.

Myth: Counseling involves taking psychiatric medications.

Fact: Counselors are not able to prescribe psychiatric medications. That is the realm of physicians, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners. If you are interested in medications, our counselors can refer you to a prescriber in the community. While medications help some people, taking them (or not) is your choice. 

Myth: Counseling is unnecessary because I have supportive friends and/or family.

Fact: While friends and family may offer excellent support, they may give advice that reflects their values, not yours, or turn the conversation to themselves when you talk about a problem you are having. Counselors do not give advice: they help you find answers that are right for you, not themselves. They are also trained to listen to you and validate your feelings: they will not interrupt you to say, "That reminds me of when I..." They are unbiased, and, with rare exceptions – see our Confidentiality Policy – anything you say to them will never leave their office.

Myth: Seeing a counselor is a long-term commitment.

Fact: The counseling offered at NCC is short-term, typically six to eight sessions. While our counselors will refer students who would like longer-term support to mental health care providers in the community, the six to eight session format is adequate for most students.

Myth: Mental health issues are not real problems and counselors are not reputable professionals.

Fact: Mental health counselors hold advanced graduate degrees and study for years under the supervision of an experienced counselor. After graduating, counselors receive thousands of hours of supervised practice before becoming licensed and treating clients on their own. Mental health issues are real problems — counselors can address these problems and help clients find relief from issues that are weighing them down.

Myth: Counselors are all the same. If counseling doesn't help the first time, it never will.

Fact: Counselors represent a diverse group of people who have unique types of experience, training, specialties, and expertise. No two counselors offer exactly the same treatment: if one counselor does not meet your needs, there are other choices.