Frequently Asked Questions
The UCC can help you get connected to the appropriate care and services in the Pittsburgh area and within Point Park University. We recommend you schedule a consultation session for us to learn more about your needs and preferences with the purpose of making the appropriate recommendations, which may include services at the UCC, campus support services, or local community providers. Our clinicians try to provide recommendations and referrals that are tailored to individual preferences and/or current circumstances (e.g. insurance coverage, gender, cultural or spiritual background, specific specialties or approaches of the provider).
If you are not wanting to schedule a consultation session, the UCC can help you obtain general referrals based on your insurance without a consultation. While it won’t be as tailored, we can still help you get started. If you have any challenges getting appointments or finding a good fit, you are always welcome to call back for more help.
All services at the UCC are free. If students are interested in continuing psychotherapy beyond our short-term model, or if they are in need of specialized or more intensive treatment, we can help them find services in the community that would fit their needs. These services in the community are usually paid for through the student’s health insurance.
Protecting the privacy of students receiving UCC services is of the utmost importance to us. In accordance with law, we do not release any information about a student to anyone outside of the UCC without the explicit written permission from the student. If you want a therapist to communicate with family members, faculty/staff, or other providers you can discuss this with a UCC clinician and complete a Release of Information Form (ROI).
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania any individual over the age of 16 has the right to keep treatment private from his/her parents. Accordingly, we do not release confidential information to parents or family members unless a written consent has been signed.
There are limits to confidentiality. By law we are obligated to disclose personal information without permission in emergency situations where information is needed to protect the safety of someone whose life may be at risk. You can discuss any concerns you have about the limits to confidentiality with your UCC therapist at any time.
The UCC offers mental health services to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Point Park University. Students come to the UCC for a variety of reasons, in some cases students use therapy for self-exploration as a way to better understand themselves. Other times, students are looking for emotional or psychological support on how to deal with a psychological difficulty.
Here are some examples of reasons students come to the UCC:
- Self exploration
- Depression, feeling too sad too much of the time
- Stress and anxiety
- Friendship issues, loneliness, isolation
- Adjusting to college, homesickness
- Problems with self-esteem, feeling bad about yourself
- Romantic relationship concerns
- Family of origin issues
- Roommate problems
- Sense of identity and personal growth
- Sexuality concerns
- Dealing with loss
- Academic issues, test anxiety, motivation, procrastination, career uncertainties
- Alcohol and drug use
- Concerns about problematic eating
- Sexual assault or abuse
It does not matter if what you are going through seems big or small to you; let’s talk about it!
We all go through stressful situations and tough times in our lives. This is especially true during our college years, when we face new challenges and many changes. Reaching out to someone at the UCC will help you get the support you need to grow personally and thrive in college. Asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity; it is not a sign of weakness.
We encourage you to come to the UCC before your personal struggle becomes overwhelming. Some students wait until they are in a panic or reach a breaking point before seeking help, which can result in undue hardship and pain. You might want to consider seeking professional help when things in your personal life are not feeling quite right or when you are in distress and don’t know how to handle it. Many students engage in psychotherapy to learn more about themselves to be better equipped to manage life’s challenges.
Here are a few examples of indications that you may be distressed and want to consider coming to the UCC:
- Sleep – difficulties falling asleep, difficulties sleeping throughout the night, sleeping too much, not wanting to get out of bed, avoiding sleep by staying up all night. Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is essential for mental health and for sustaining high levels of academic performance.
- Appetite – eating more, eating less, or choosing foods you don’t normally eat. Doing things like this with food is often a sign that something is going on psychologically and it is not being adequately addressed.
- Social Withdrawal – withdrawing from family and friends (not wanting to talk to them or see them), staying by yourself too much, avoiding social situations, avoiding classes.
- Focus/Concentration – difficulty paying attention in class, difficulties focusing on assignments, having to re-read the same paragraph over and over again in order to understand what you are reading.
- Mood – increased moodiness, sadness, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, worries, fear, or hopeless.
- Energy Level – sustained decrease in energy level and motivation, or having too much energy (for example: unable to sleep or turn off your thoughts)
- Motivation – loss of interest in academic work, feeling uninterested in pleasurable activities, apathy.
- Behavior Changes – acting differently than usual (e.g. talking back at people, “not caring” attitude, not performing like you used to, not engaging in activities you used to enjoy, increased substance abuse, engaging in other self-destructive behavior.
If you are still uncertain whether the UCC is the right place for you, you can call and ask to consult with a therapist. We will meet with you, talk about what is going on for you, and we will then discuss your options for treatment, if appropriate.
The UCC is attentive to issues of diversity and equality. We respect and value each person as a unique individual. We offer a safe and supportive space for students who identify as LGBTQ+ to navigate the challenges of exploring and integrating their gender and sexual identities. We are happy to help you learn about and connect with LGTBQ-informed and supportive treatment providers in the Pittsburgh area.
Psychotherapy is often called “counseling” or “therapy.” Psychotherapy is a process of addressing mental health and personal growth issues by talking them through in a private, confidential setting with a trained professional. The process involves weekly meetings to allow for the development of trust and comfort in the relationship between you and your therapist. This exploration in a supportive environment is a process that can lead to greater understanding and self-awareness. It can facilitate maturation and growth as well as help one develop the skills necessary to deal successfully with personal problems and life challenges.
A psychologist is a doctoral-level (Ph.D.), licensed professional that has expertise in talk therapy, psychological assessment and knowledge of issues of psychological health and disorder. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, is a licensed medical doctor (MD) who has expertise in medication and biological treatment of mental disorders. Some psychiatrists provide “talk therapy, though most do not. Psychologists do NOT prescribe medications.
As an advanced training facility, the UCC has several therapists-in-training on staff. These are psychology doctoral students practicing under the close supervision of a licensed psychologist. You can be confident that your therapist has the appropriate knowledge and experience to help you address your struggles. If you have any questions or feel you need to see a senior therapist, please call us at 412-392-3977 and let us know of your concern. While the clinicians on staff at the UCC represent a variety of disciplines and styles, we all share a passion for working with college students and a vested interest in their well-being and personal growth.
Sessions at the UCC are 45-50 minutes in length. At first, the meetings are usually focused on information gathering. Your therapist will ask questions about the concerns which brought you in and about your life in general in order to get to know you and have a better understanding of your needs. One of the important goals of these meetings is to determine the right kind of treatment for you.
Subsequent sessions may take different shapes or forms but, for the most part, your therapist will encourage you to talk freely about your thoughts, feelings, and whatever is troubling you. As sessions progress, you should feel more comfortable with your therapist and you may focus on many different subjects or themes. Don't worry if you find it hard to open up about your feelings. Your therapist can help you gain more comfort as time goes on. It is important you are open with your therapist and share with him/her your experience of your work together. Both you and your therapist are in this together and communication and collaboration will be important for its success.
The UCC offers a range of different services to help students in need. Some students have needs that require long-term or specialized services in the community. The consultation appointment is the time for you and a therapist to determine the best way to address your needs.
Therapy is a process that involves regular meetings with a professional so that trust and intimacy can develop. Consultation is often a single encounter with a professional that is aimed at clarifying a discrete issue or problem and identifying some ways to cope or respond. Your first encounter with a therapist, whether for a routine or urgent visit will be a consultation. Additionally, therapists provide consultation to faculty, staff and concerned family members.
One of the reasons group work is so beneficial is that it provides the opportunity to learn and grow through interaction with others in a supportive, safe, and confidential setting. Groups also help by connecting students with others who share similar concerns, allowing them to experience acceptance and belonging, give and receive support, and reduce isolation.
Group therapy helps group members experience new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. A main focus in group therapy is your process of relating to other group members. This work can involve group members developing trust, building intimacy, or working through conflicts together. As group therapists facilitate a safe and confidential environment, group members are able to give support, offer feedback, help raise awareness of interpersonal patterns, and help address difficulties. Like other forms of therapy, what you get out of your group experience will depend largely on what you invest into it.
It may seem scary to think about discussing personal stuff with your peers. If you’re feeling hesitant—and many people do up front—that’s not necessarily a reason to not pursue group work. In fact, that may be a clue that group could be helpful to you, indicating that you could benefit from practicing your relationship skills and increasing your willingness and comfort in sharing your experiences (including your struggles) with others.
When you begin the process of seeking professional help, it’s not easy to know where to start. We encourage students to use the UCC as the first step in figuring out what type of help is needed. Your first encounter with a UCC therapist will help determine the right path, whether at the UCC or with a provider in the community.
The UCC provides short-term psychotherapy. In cases when there is a desire or need for longer-term or specialized care, UCC staff will help students connect with the right resources in the community. These might include long-term psychotherapy, psychiatric care, psychological testing and evaluations, or intensive specialized care for eating disorders or substance abuse.
The UCC can help you find a therapist in the community but if you want to do this yourself here are a few tips and suggestions:
- Find out what your insurance benefits are. It would be helpful for you to know what your mental/behavioral health outpatient benefits are. Find out if you have a deductible and if there is a co-payment (out-of-pocket cost) for the services.
- Find out who your insurance covers. There are many times when you can access your insurance website for a list of providers in the area. If this is not readily available online, you can also call them and ask them to fax/tell you a list of providers in your area.
- Narrow down your search. Once you have a list of therapists to choose from consider the following questions: do I have a gender preference? What area/location works better for me? Some therapists list areas of specializations, if that is the case, think what areas would be helpful to you.
- Identify two or three therapists. Because therapists may not always have openings or availabilities in the time frame that you want, we recommend you select two or three therapists from the list that meet your criteria. Be prepared to call and leave a clear message with your name and a phone number for them to reach you in order to schedule an appointment.
- Meeting your therapist. We encourage you to approach the first encounter with openness and honesty, while also recognizing that you are trying to find a therapist who feels like a good fit for you. Notice how you feel when you talk to the person, get a sense of what it feels like when you are with them, and attend to your level of comfort or discomfort with them.
The APA Psychologist Locator can also help you find a provider in your area.
We offer same day urgent appointments to support students in distress. Students can walk-in or call the UCC to be screened for a same day urgent consultation. At the time of the meeting, a therapist will evaluate your personal situation and formulate a plan with you on what is the best next step to take.
The UCC offers students short-term psychotherapy. Most students come for 6-8 sessions, but the number of sessions you will receive will be determined by you and your therapist. If you desire or need long term care we can help you identify appropriate therapists and mental health professionals in the community. There are no limits for consultation, crisis support, and referral services.
No. The UCC is not able to accept private pay nor insurance. As students near the end of their sessions at the UCC, therapists will discuss recommendations for ongoing care and will help facilitate any referrals to providers in the community when appropriate.
Any student with urgent concerns during business hours can be seen in a timely manner to ensure they are supported and safe. All students are seen with in a relatively brief time frame for the initial screening consultation (approximately 2-7 business days). If through the screening it is determined that brief therapy at the UCC is appropriate, at busy times of the semester you might experience a delay in starting therapy. The wait to start psychotherapy will depend on the student’s availability as well as that of the therapist. For this reason, there is significant variation in how long it might take to start psychotherapy. Often it can be within a few days of the initial consultation.
The UCC clinical staff consists of two staff members. As an advanced training facility, the UCC has several therapists-in-training on staff as well. These are psychology doctoral students under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. You can be confident that your therapist has the appropriate knowledge and experience to help you address your struggles. If you have any questions or feel you need to see a senior therapist, please call us at 412-392-3977 and let us know of your concern. While the clinicians and therapists on staff at the UCC represent a variety of disciplines and styles, we all share a passion for working with college students and a vested interest in their well-being and personal growth.
For routine new patient appointments, the amount of time to get in to see a provider can vary widely based on your availability and their openings. However, it generally takes several weeks (1-4 weeks on average) from appointment request to actual appointment with therapists. For psychiatrists, it can take longer (6-10 weeks on average) from appointment request to actual appointment. It is important to plan ahead for care to ensure no lapse in your medication. For new students moving to the area, we recommend calling several months in advance of moving to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist.
Some of the same symptoms of ADHD such as distractibility, difficulty sustaining concentration, etc. are common symptoms of other conditions (depression, anxiety, trauma, significantly increased stress, adjustment to new demands/changes, significant sleep disruption, underlying medical conditions, side effects to medications, etc.). Therefore, it is important to obtain a thorough evaluation to determine whether the problems are specific to an ADHD diagnosis because treatment could be quite different based on the origin of the problem.
The first step is to schedule the evaluation, called a “neuropsychological evaluation.” The neuropsychological evaluation will help determine the diagnosis and the treatment options (i.e., therapy, medication, academic accommodations, etc.). While these evaluations are not available at the UCC, we can help you find a community provider that accepts your insurance and could provide this. Feel free to call the UCC to schedule a consultation and talk to us about your concerns and how to get started.
Pittsburgh has multiple private providers who specialize in neuropsychological evaluations and diagnose ADHD. There is also a specialty clinic within walking distance of campus that provides evaluation and treatment of ADHD, ADHD Across the Lifespan Program at WPIC.
Finding the right treatment for you will be important in learning how to manage your symptoms of ADHD. The following supports are available:
- Therapy: As students transition to college and/or graduate school, it can be quite overwhelming to establish new routines and establish new relationships in the face of increased demands and less structure. Individual and/or group therapy can help. The UCC can help you get connected to the appropriate therapy to support your needs. Please schedule a consultation at the UCC to discuss.
- Medication: If you are interested in establishing psychiatric treatment with a provider in Pittsburgh, the UCC can assist with this process. Please keep in mind the following three details given that stimulant medications are controlled substances.
o Stimulants are highly regulated medications at the state and federal level. Your current physician will likely give you a 30-day supply before coming to school, but it takes some time to get in to see a psychiatrist (sometimes 6-8 weeks). Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and schedule an appointment with a Pittsburgh physician prior to finishing up with your current provider. If you are close to running out, our recommendation is for you to contact your most recent provider and ask for a new script to get you through until you see your next doctor.
o Extensive documentation of diagnostic evaluation and treatment records are usually required in order to continue prescriptions for stimulant medication. Therefore, you will need to sign a release of information for your records to be released. If you are interested in the UCC helping with this, schedule a consultation session at the UCC. We will ask that you sign a release of information for your current provider to release your evaluation and medication records to the UCC. If the documentation of evaluation and diagnosis is missing or found to not be thorough enough, new doctors may refuse to prescribe until a new evaluation is completed.
- Executive Functioning/Academic Coaching: Some students have had this service in high school or are interested in connecting for the first time. This is a service that includes individual appointments with a coach who helps the student organize, plan and prioritize tasks for their week with classes and other demands. This coach also teaches strategies to increase independence at the college level, so that students can experience the most success. The UCC can help students connect with a specific community provider who can provide this service. It is important to note that this service is not covered by insurance and is private pay, but there are sometimes scholarships available.