CCS offers distance counseling via face-to-face video conferencing to currently enrolled NMU students who meet the eligibility criteria for distance counseling services. This service is available to students assessed as being appropriate for this form of counseling. CCS is a voluntary, confidential, brief counseling support for currently enrolled students. We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve you.
Prior to beginning telehealth services, you will complete a telehealth screening by phone with a CCS clinician. This process protects you from another person posing as you, and assesses whether telehealth is clinically appropriate to meet your needs. Video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in misunderstanding. Should this ever happen, it is important to assume that your counselor has positive regard for you, and to check out your assumptions with your counselor. This will reduce any unnecessary feelings of discomfort.
Video conferencing counseling sessions are held via Zoom, a HIPAA compliant video conferencing platform. It is recommended that you sign on to your account at least 5 minutes prior to your session start time. You are responsible for initiating the connection with CCS via the provided software link at the time of your session. You are also responsible for ensuring you are in a private and confidential setting, free from interruptions.
How to Prepare for Your Telehealth Session
Before the Day of Your Appointment:
- Identify a private area to participate in your session. This space should be a safe/quiet place where you will be alone and not interrupted for the entire time you are speaking with your CCS counselor. The space should be free from others walking in on the confidential conversation. It is important to remember that your counselor can only protect your confidentiality on their end and not on yours. You are responsible for making your area confidential.
- The area should have good lighting and you should be dressed as if you were physically in the office.
- Check your technology. You will want to consider what technology you plan to use for the video session. This might be a laptop or tablet. Check to ensure that the location for your session has a strong internet connection and your device is fully charged.
- Headphones are strongly encouraged to be used to increase confidentially, lessen distraction, and improve the overall hearing experience.
- Prepare your thoughts. Think about what you want to discuss with your counselor by making notes ahead of time.
On The Day of Your Appointment:
- On the morning of your appointment, make sure that your device is charged. Verify that you have the login link you need to access your video session. Fifteen (15) minutes prior to your video session, have your device ready, and make sure your space is quiet and without any distractions.
- Turn off all apps and notifications on your device.
- Do not forget to verify you have your notes, headphones, chargers, and a pen and paper in case you need or want to take notes. If you wear glasses to read or view things on a screen, do not forget them.
Start Your Appointment:
About five (5) minutes before your appointment, sign in to your Telehealth Video Session. Make sure your camera is at eye level. Your CCS counselor will join you and verify your name, phone number, address, current location, and review privacy and other basic information.
Scope of Service and Eligibility
CCS provides services to currently enrolled students, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. If it is determined by the clinical staff that an individual’s needs exceed the scope of service or expertise available at NMU Counseling and Consultation Services, or that your needs cannot be adequately met by participating in distance counseling, we will assist you, where possible, to identify an appropriate referral to meet your needs. Counseling and Consultation Services does not pay the costs of therapy or community resources/treatment services to which you may be referred.
Limitations of Distance Counseling
Distance counseling should not be viewed as a substitute for in person counseling. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling. For example:
- Due to the use of technology, video counseling may have disruptions in service and quality of service.
- If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, video counseling may not be appropriate for your needs.
Backup Plan in Case of Technology Failure
- The most reliable backup is a phone. Students participating with CCS in telehealth should always have a phone available. Students will make their CCS counselor aware of their phone number at the beginning of the telehealth session.
- If the telehealth session is disconnected, the student should end and restart the session. If the student is unable to reconnect within five minutes, their counselor will attempt to reach them by phone.
- If attempts at reconnecting via phone or Zoom are unsuccessful, the student will contact the CCS main phone line (906) 227-2980 to reschedule the appointment.
Emergency Management for Distance Counseling
The following measures are important and necessary to assist NMU Counseling and Consultation Services with getting help in the case of an emergency and for your safety:
- Your counselor will need to know the location/address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions and will need to know if this location changes.
- Your counselor will require you at the beginning of each session to identify someone, whom you trust, and whom you give your counselor permission to contact, should a situation occur in which your counselor believes you to be at risk. You will verify that this emergency support contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency. If your counselor deems it necessary, your counselor will call 911 and/or emergency response teams in your area.
Confidentiality is essential to your counseling progress. Our counselors are licensed mental health professionals who are ethically and legally bound to maintain your confidentiality. Written and/or electronic records will be maintained in a secure manner. Counseling records are not part of your college educational record.
Video conferencing sessions in our office, or from a remote office, are provided in a private setting, and will be conducted through Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted, secure software-based video conferencing platform.
To schedule a telehealth screening appointment, or for questions, you may contact the CCS office at (906) 227-2980.