Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Client Rights and Responsibilities in Counseling

Client Rights

As a client of Counseling Services, you have the right to prompt service, respect, and confidentiality.

Prompt Service.

Our goal is to see students within one week of their initial contact with our office. Daily walk-in hours enable us to see students who are in more immediate need of services. At your initial appointment your counselor will ask you questions about the nature of your concerns and your personal history. At the end of this first meeting you and your counselor will discuss the type of treatment that would be most helpful. You may continue to work with the same counselor or you may be referred to another staff member. If it is determined that your needs are beyond the scope of services provided by Counseling Services, you will receive referrals to other sources of assistance either on or off campus. Our goal is to provide the best possible service.

At some points in the semester, Counseling Services may have a waiting list for on-going counseling. Students are seen for an initial appointment to assess and start addressing their concerns and if placed on the waiting list, will be assigned to a counselor for ongoing treatment usually within 2-3 weeks.


Counseling Services staff members are committed to treat all clients with respect, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Staff members demonstrate this respect by keeping appointments, by making every effort to notify you if a change in time is necessary, and by giving you their complete attention and avoiding interruptions during sessions.


Counseling involves the disclosure of sensitive personal and private information and therefore trust is very important. In order to facilitate that trust, Counseling Services maintains a policy of strict confidentiality as required by our professional ethics and state and federal law. Essentially this means that all clinical contacts between students and Counseling Services are privileged and confidential.

No acknowledgment that you have been seen at Counseling Services will be made, nor will information about your actual counseling treatment be released to anyone, including professors, deans, administrators, parents, other students, or outside therapists, etc. without your written permission. There are several rare circumstances where your counselor may need to breach your confidentiality to protect you or another person. These include situations where the counselor believes that your life or safety might be in danger, or the life and safety or another person might be in danger, there is a current issue of child or elder abuse, or a court orders the release of treatment records. In these instances, the staff will only divulge as much information as is necessary or called for.

Client Responsibilities

In order to make progress in therapy, your active participation in the counseling process is essential. Fulfilling the responsibilities listed below is important in helping us to assist the many students who seek our services.


Counseling sessions are generally 50 minutes long. Arriving promptly for your sessions will allow you to make the most of the available time. If you know that you will be late for an appointment, please notify us.


It is your responsibility to keep scheduled appointments. If you need to cancel an appointment, please call the Counseling Services' secretary as soon as possible. If you decide to discontinue counseling, please inform your counselor or call the office and notify the secretary of your decision.

No-Show Policy.

If you miss a regular appointment, you need to contact Counseling Services within two working days if you wish to schedule another appointment with the same staff member at the same time. If we do not hear from you within this time, we are unable to guarantee your regular appointment time.

Effects of Counseling

Most clients can expect to benefit from counseling, making positive change in their thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors. However, some clients may not find counseling to be beneficial, and a very few may have a negative counseling experience. Even the most successful counseling and therapy may at times be uncomfortable, as you deal with emotionally difficult issues. As you make personal changes, changes may also occur in your relationships with others.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights and responsibilities, the possible effects of counseling, or any services you are receiving, you are encouraged to discuss them with a Counseling Services staff member.