Frequently Asked Questions

The information that follows may answer many of your initial questions. These questions and answers are specifically about the services provided at the Binghamton University (BU) Psychological Clinic. In addition we have provided links to other mental health clinics in the area.

What is the Binghamton University Psychological Clinic?

  •  The Clinic is an outpatient facility run by the BU Department of Psychology. It has been providing services to people in Broome County and from the BU campus for over 30 years.
  • The Clinic's major objectives are:
    • To provide psychological services to the local community and campus
    • To serve as a training facility supporting the Clinical Psychology doctoral program.

What services are provided at the Clinic?

  • Evaluating Your Needs
    • The Clinic provides evaluations for specific referral questions and treatment planning by using interviews, questionnaires, and — when appropriate — measures of personality and intelligence.
  • Therapy and Counseling
    • Children, adolescents, families, couples, and individual adults dealing with a broad range of psychological, behavioral, and/or emotional problems receive counseling services. Various treatment approaches may be used, depending on the circumstances of each person.
  • Please note that the Psychological Clinic does NOT provide medication management and/or psychiatric care. Instead, Clinic services may often be coordinated with those of your medical providers.
  • Assessment
    • In addition to our treatment services the Clinic also offers assessment services for children, adolescents, and adults.

What kinds of problems do clinicians at the Clinic treat?

  • The Clinic treats a wide range of problems, such as:
    • Anxiety and fears -- interpersonal difficulties
    • Depression -- low self-esteem
    • Habit control – Alcoholism
    • Relationship problems
    • Parenting issues/Developmental problems
  • If you are uncertain as to whether your current concerns would best be dealt with by this form of treatment, discuss this with your therapist during your first session.

Who will be my therapist?

  • The Clinic is staffed by advanced graduate students in the clinical psychology doctoral training program, working with clinical psychology faculty supervisors. Your individual therapist will be assigned to you after our intake interview has been reviewed or accepted. This person is your therapist and all of your appointments will be with him or her unless you are told otherwise.

Can I choose my own therapist?

  • All of our therapists have received similar training, and the Clinic will make the best judgment on which therapist will right for you. You may however explain particular therapist characteristics that may be important to you.

What will therapy be like?

  • The majority of the time you spend in therapy will consist of talking about the issues you have presented to your therapist. 
  • However, along with "talking therapy," other methods may be employed, such as relaxation and assertiveness training, hypnosis, and role-playing.
  • Treatment can involve an individual, family, couple, or group, depending upon the nature of the problem. 
  • The specific form of your therapy will also depend upon the theoretical orientation and background of your therapist.

How long will it last?

  • Treatment sessions are typically scheduled once each week for approximately 50 minutes, but individual circumstances often necessitate flexibility about these limits. 
  • The duration of evaluation or treatment is quite variable, and may last from several meetings to provide an assessment or determine a plan, to many months for particular kinds of treatment.
  • Depending on the problem, some people see satisfactory change in 6-12 therapy sessions, others take substantially longer. After several sessions, the therapist may be able to give you some idea of the estimated length of treatment.
  • The Clinic typically collects follow-up information on all clients, so clients should expect to hear from us even months after treatment has concluded.

What are the responsibilities of my therapist?

  • The first few sessions usually entail a detailed assessment of the types and extent of problems or concerns you have. During this process the therapist will ask detailed questions about your history, life situation, and present distress to get the best possible picture of your current situation
  • After the therapist has identified the specific problem areas, the two of you will agree upon a therapy plan. This will include goals, methods to accomplish these goals, and approximate length of time to achieve these goals. 
  • Periodically, there will be a joint assessment of progress, which may include reformulation of the goals.
  • If you require some medical treatment such as medication, the therapist will refer you to a physician, usually a psychiatrist. Therapy ordinarily will continue at the same time that you are receiving the additional medical treatment.

What is expected of me?

  • It is important to attend all your scheduled appointment times. If you need to cancel you must do so no later then 24 hours before your appointment or you will be charged for that appointment, unless in the case of an emergency.
  • It is also important that you are on time for your sessions. Therapy will start promptly at the designated time and arriving late will not give you the benefit of a full session.
  • For therapy to be successful you must be active open, and honest with your therapist
  • Finally your most important responsibility is to work towards the goals you and your therapist have set. This includes doing activities outside of sessions such as thinking about the material covered in your sessions, making yourself aware of your behavior, or working on specific tasks agreed upon by you and your therapist.

Who will have access to my information?

  • The codes of ethics for psychologists and the state laws regulating most kinds of therapists consider the personal information you discuss to be confidential.
  • This means that your therapist may not reveal the personal information that you discuss to anyone without your written permission.
    • In a very small number of situations, therapists are legally required to disregard confidentiality. 
    • For example, if you reveal information that indicates a clear danger or injury to yourself or others (e.g., potential suicide or homicide), the therapist will need to contact appropriate authorities or family members.
    • Also, all helping professionals are required by law to report any knowledge of the abuse or neglect of a child or an elderly, incompetent, or disabled person.
    • In rare instances a patient's records may be subpoenaed for court.
  • Even the fact that you are a patient of the Clinic is considered confidential.
  • Records of this information are kept in locked files.
  • There are cases where sharing the some information about your case is necessary
    • The therapist may discuss your case with a supervisor or with other professionals clearly concerned with the case.
  • Finally, with your permission, some therapists may make audiotapes or videotapes of your treatment sessions for their own review or for supervision of their work. However, they will not disclose the contents of their tapes to others without your written consent.

Are there risks involved with therapy?

  • At times this process may involve the stirring up of painful or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. 
  • It may also lead indirectly to the loss of important relationships; such as when a client is experiencing marital difficulties decides to seek a divorce.
  • Nevertheless, the overall gains you achieve through therapy should generally outweigh these potential risks.
  • If you have any questions about personal fears of risks of therapy be sure to discuss them early on with your therapist

What if I am unhappy or dissatisfied with my therapy?

  • It is not unusual to feel angry and upset at times about what happens in therapy.
  • If possible questions or concerns about the treatment you receive should first be raised with your therapist. 
  • If after discussing the issues with your therapist you are still not satisfied, you have several options.
    • You may seek a second opinion concerning your treatment. 
    • Another approach would be to switch to a new therapist. Competent therapists recognize and accept that they will be able to serve the needs of some clients better than others.
  • If you believe your therapist's behavior is either unusual or does not adhere to professional standards, you again have several alternatives.
    • First you can speak to the Clinic Director about the problem
    • Another option you may choose is to contact the appropriate state or national professional association or the state licensing or certification board.

What are some alternative sources of help?

  • Additional sources of help that can be used either in conjunction to or possibly in place of therapy include:
    • Individual self help such as educational books, recreational activities, or changes in your living or job situation.
    • Peer support groups such as Parents Without Partners, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Weight Watchers.
    • Crisis intervention services including crisis hotlines, rape crisis centers, and shelters for battered women.
    • Assistance from other kinds of agencies such as legal, vocational, or pastoral counseling
  • It is important to discuss the usefulness of any alternative with your therapist to make sure it will be beneficial for you.

What are some important questions for me to ask my therapist at the beginning of therapy?

  • You should feel free to ask your therapist any question that you have about the therapy process.

What will it cost and when do I pay?

  • The Clinic operates on a sliding scale fee based on an individual's gross annual income. Our fees range from $5 to $45.
  • Fees for assessment services range from $300-$600, depending on the depth of testing provided.
  • We are not reimbursable by most insurance plans, but we will try our best to accommodate your financial circumstances.
  • It is your responsibility to pay these fees promptly. You will have the opportunity to pay either before or after each of your sessions.
  • Therapy will be suspended after three missed payments.
  • You will be responsible for payment if you do not provide 24 hour notice.
  • Questions about fees should be discussed with your therapist, and the matter will be brought to the attention of the Clinic Director, who will give your concern every consideration.

How do I get in touch with the Clinic?

  • Simply call (607) 777-2l03 to obtain more information or to schedule an initial appointment.
  • Typical office hours are:

    Monday
    Tuesday
    Wednesday
    Thursday
    Friday
    8:00am – 8:00pm
    8:00am – 8:00pm
    8:00am – 8:00pm
    8:00am – 8:00pm
    8:00am – 4:00pm

    *Closed daily from 12:00-1:00pm
  • We will be glad to answer your questions about the Clinic and/or its services. If you reach our answering machine when the Clinic is temporarily closed, please leave a message or call us back at your convenience. Thank you.

Last Updated: 11/21/16