Let's Talk FAQ

What is Let’s Talk?

"Let’s Talk" is a program for Northwestern students that provides easy access to informal and confidential support and consultation with counselors Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).  Any student is welcome at any site. There is no appointment or fee necessary. Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, and usually there is not much of a wait.

What are Let’s Talk locations?

Right now, Let’s Talk is at two locations on campus:

International Student Office
630 Dartmouth Place
Mondays, 1-3pm

Multicultural Student Affairs
1936 Sheridan Road
Wednesdays 1-3pm
(English and Spanish)

Norris University Center (Check Room Location (.PDF))
1999 Campus Dr
Wednesdays 11am-1pm

What are common concerns that people bring up at Let’s Talk?

Students come in with a variety of concerns; no topic is off limits.  Some common concerns students talk about include:

  • stress
  • sadness
  • worry/anxiety
  • adjustment/culture shock
  • cultural barriers
  • relationships
  • building friendships
  • homesickness
  • academic performance
  • difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • family problems
  • financial struggles
  • sleep difficulties
  • romantic relationship
  • sexual orientation/gender identity

What happens at a visit to Let’s Talk?

When you come to the site, look to see if the office door is open. If it is, please come on in. If the door is closed, knock on the door and have a seat in a nearby chair and wait a few minutes until the counselor consultant comes to greet you. When you two meet, the counselor consultant will listen closely to your concerns, possibly ask questions and provide support, perspective, and suggestions for resources.

What should I do if the Let’s Talk counselor consultant is already meeting with someone?

If the counselor consultant is already meeting with someone, the office door will be closed with a sign indicating that the office is occupied. In this case, knock on the door and please have a seat in a nearby chair and wait for the counselor consultant to come out and greet you. The wait is usually not long.

How is Let’s Talk different from counseling at CAPS?

Counselors at CAPS provide ongoing counseling, which usually consists of weekly or bi-weekly 50 minute appointments. Let’s Talk is not formal counseling; it is a drop-in service where students can have an informal consultation with a counselor consultant from time to time.

Who should visit Let’s Talk?

Let’s Talk is open to all Northwestern graduate and undergraduate students. Let’s Talk is the best fit for the following people:

  • Students who are not sure about counseling and wonder what it’s like to talk with a counselor.
  • Students who are not interested in ongoing counseling but would like the perspective of a counselor.
  • Students who have a specific problem and would like someone with whom to talk it   through.
  • Students who have a concern about a friend/family member and want some ideas about what to do.

I think I have a problem that would benefit from counseling, but I don’t know anything about it. Would going to Let’s Talk help me figure out what to do?

Absolutely. The counselor consultant will help you talk through your issues and help you determine the best way to get help. If you feel comfortable with the counselor consultant, it is sometimes possible to meet with him or her at CAPS in an on-going way.

I am on the waitlist at CAPS and I would like to see someone sooner. Can I stop by Let’s Talk in the meantime?

If you believe you need to be seen sooner and you no longer can wait for services, it’s best to call CAPS directly and explain your situation.  CAPS counselor will help you get into appropriate services as soon as possible that may include getting connected to an outside provider in your area.

I went to CAPS and spoke with a counselor.  She recommended a referral to a therapist in the community. Can I come to Let’s Talk instead?

Since regular counseling appointments are not available at Let’s Talk, following up with the referral is a good idea.  If you have questions about your referral please contact CAPS.

I am currently seeing a therapist at CAPS and would like to talk with someone sooner than my next appointment. Can I go to Let’s Talk?

If your next appointment is not soon enough, it is best to contact your counselor directly to see if he or she can see you sooner.  

I am currently seeing a therapist at CAPS, and I’m not happy with the way things are going. Can I go to Let’s Talk instead?

The best thing to do in your situation is to talk directly with your counselor or call CAPS to request counselor change. Counselors are eager to get your feedback, positive or negative. Often, an open conversation about your concern helps smooth out any wrinkles and helps get things back on track.

What else do I need to know?

Although Let’s Talk counselor consultants are professionals, Let’s Talk is not a substitute for psychotherapy or formal counseling and doesn’t constitute mental health treatment. Let’s Talk counselor consultants provide informal consultations to help students with specific problems and to introduce them to what it’s like to speak with a counselor. Your Let’s Talk counselor consultant can help you determine whether formal counseling at CAPS would be useful to you and, if appropriate, assist you in getting connected at CAPS.

Let’s Talk visits are confidential. Are there any limits to confidentiality?

Conversations with Let’s Talk counselor consultants are confidential. However, one exception is that counselors may need to share information in a situation in which safety for yourself or others is a concern.

Let’s Talk counselor consultants keep brief written notes of their contacts with students only in the event that there is an emergency, or when a student is referred to CAPS.  In these situations, other CAPS counseling staff may see these notes. Information is also collected about attendance, so that we can keep track of the students we are serving and those we need to continue serving.

Let’s Talk visits are never reported on a student’s official university record.

We don’t want anything to be a barrier to students accessing help. If you have further questions about confidentiality, we encourage you to discuss them with a Let’s Talk counselor consultant.