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The Center for Mental Health Care and Resources is the primary provider of mental health care and resources at Georgia Tech. Through the Center you can be referred to a variety of on campus resources and services. However, sometimes a student's needs may be better served by a referral off campus. The Center can also provide support with these referrals and connecting to community-based counselors.  

This guide below is intended for Georgia Tech students and is designed to be used whether or not a student schedules and attends an initial assessment at the CMHCR. This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not imply the formation of a professional relationship with the reader nor a specific recommendation of any of these services.  

How to Find Professional Support

We suggest that you seek mental health services only from a licensed professional (or from a graduate-level trainee under the direct supervision of a licensed professional). In the state of Georgia, one may search for licensed professionals on the website of the Secretary of State.

Professionals who provide counseling (aka psychotherapy) include licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Psychologists are doctoral-level trained professionals and have either a PhD degree or a PsyD degree. Social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists are masters-level trained professionals. A social worker’s academic degree is typically the MSW, and their Georgia state license designation is either Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Counselors typically have a MS (Master of Science in Counseling) degree, and their licensure designation is LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor). Marriage and family therapists often have a MS degree, and their licensure designation is LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist).

Professionals who prescribe medication include primary care physicians and psychiatrists (physicians who specialize in mental health). Both types of professionals typically have a MD degree). You can check for licensure status with the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

How to Choose a Counselor

It is important to find the right counselor you are comfortable with and who is competent in what you are seeking help for. Building good rapport with your counselor is critical; it’s ok if you must visit more than one counselor to find a good match for you.

Consider counseling if….

  • You constantly worry about things that are out of your control.
  • Constantly on edge or always expecting the worst.
  • A sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or sadness.
  • You find it difficult to carry out everyday activities, like concentrating on your schoolwork or finishing something.
  • You’ve been increasingly more aggressive or argumentative towards friends and family members.
  • You’ve been abusing alcohol or drugs.

Questions to consider asking the counselor before your first visit.

  • How many years have you been practicing counseling?
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • What experiences do you have helping people in a similar situation as mine? (Briefly explain why you are coming to counseling).
  • What therapeutic theories do you practice or follow?
  • What can I expect from treatment? What might it look like?
  • After your first visit with the counselor reflect on your session and think….
  • Did I feel understood and valued?
  • Did the counselor give me their full attention?
  • Do I feel comfortable sharing more with this counselor?
  • Do I see myself working with this counselor?

If you have a positive answer to these questions, then consider thinking about continuing counseling with this particular counselor.

How to find a Counselor

Each person will have their own specific needs, wants, and goals for therapy. Because of this, choosing a counselor based on what you need for counseling will help increase the likelihood of participation, understanding your experience, and being able to address the mental health needs you are coming with to your appointment. It’s okay if you don’t know every answer, and some of these questions may help in your process.

What is your reason for seeking therapy?

Long-Term or Short-Term Counseling?

Short Term Counseling
  • Common issues for short term counseling: relationship issues, adjustment/transitional issues, stress, situational problems, family issues, grief, mild depression, or anxiety.
  • Goal-Oriented: Developing coping skills, solutions and focuses on the here and now.
  • Common length for short term counseling is a couple of months.
Long Term Counseling
  • Common issues for long term counseling: PTSD, abuse, trauma, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and eating disorders.
  • Self-discovery dealing with multiple goals or challenges. Exploring root causes, influences and feelings.

When Searching for a Counselor Consider

  • Available days and hours?  
  • Virtual sessions? In Person?  
  • Their location?  
  • Do they work with your age group?  
  • Do they accept insurance? How much are sessions?  
  • Do they work with certain populations or identities that are important to you?  
  • Do they work with the presenting problems that are of concern to you?  

Referral Databases for Counselors

If you are looking for a counselor with a particular specialty, the major professional associations have online referral databases that you can search, including: