College life can be challenging and stressful, and many students report feeling overwhelmed by anxious or depressed feelings at some point in their college careers. Getting support during such times (whether from friends, family, faculty, or staff) is a sign of a resourceful student, one who knows when it's time to take action in order to move through the challenges of life. While some students who seek professional counseling have ongoing emotional difficulties, many are dealing with normal life events and are simply in need of an objective listener – someone who doesn’t judge and who can help them see new alternatives and further develop their coping skills and strengths.
It’s easy to get started with counseling services by coming to Walk-in Hours any weekday afternoon from 1-3 pm. No appointment is needed. You can call to set up a time, or just drop by (be aware there could be a wait during busier periods). During this first meeting, which will last about 20-25 minutes, your intake counselor will talk with you to get a better understanding of your concerns and how Counseling Services may be of most help to you. At the end of this first appointment, you and your intake counselor will select a plan which best meets your needs, including group therapy, individual counseling, one session only, or a referral to another campus office or a community mental health provider. If you decide to continue with group or individual counseling, the intake counselor will match you with a counselor who can address your specific concerns. After you leave your appointment, congratulate yourself for taking this important step in your life!
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man [or woman] can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Group therapy is a powerful tool for growth and change. For many emotional concerns, personal struggles, and relationship issues that college students face, group therapy is the most effective treatment approach (often, better than individual therapy, because it works directly on improving interpersonal effectiveness!) Having the support of other students who understand can also help you maintain the effort and motivation it takes to successfully overcome difficult personal or mental health issues.
In group therapy, 4-8 students meet face to face with 1-2 trained group facilitators, who help promote a safe and confidential environment, in which all members (whether quieter or more talkative) can develop a sense of trust and begin to work through their challenges in their own way. The power in group therapy lies in the unique opportunity to receive multiple perspectives, encouragement, and honest feedback from other students experiencing similar struggles. Group therapy can also be a safe and supportive place to learn about how you habitually relate to others and to practice new, more satisfying ways of interacting (for example, speaking up more or being more honest with others). Many students find that the skills they develop in group readily transfer over to the real life challenges they experience with friends, partners, co-workers, and family members.
While many students prefer the social context of group therapy, we understand that some students may initially feel intimidated or hesitant about the idea of talking about sensitive concerns in a group. This is natural, as group therapy is usually a new experience. However, we have found that most students who attend counseling groups report that the relief and excitement of meeting others who understand their struggles quickly overshadows the initial anxiety. (In fact, the students who are most hesitant about group or who tend to be shy, socially anxious, or deeply ashamed of their struggles are often among the ones who benefit the most!) Check out what SCSU students say about their group experiences.
Because group therapy is so effective, Counseling Services offers a wide array of groups to address the needs of our students. Some groups involve more open discussion, while others address a specific topic or are structured more like workshops to teach you positive coping or mindfulness skills. You can get started by meeting with a counselor, who will help you determine which group might best meet your needs. Click here for a list of current groups and workshops.
In individual counseling, you meet one-on-one with a professional counselor, who will provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment in which you can clarify and address the issues that are concerning you. Counseling Services uses a brief therapy model, focused on specific short-term goals identified by the student and counselor. Sessions are usually scheduled weekly or biweekly. If you need or prefer more frequent or longer-term therapy, counselors can assist you with referrals to community mental health providers.
In some cases, a combination of counseling and medication may be most helpful in addressing a student’s concerns. When an individual counselor determines that medication may be helpful in addition to psychotherapy, a student can be referred to a staff Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (APRN) to provide consultation regarding potentially useful medications and follow-up treatment. The center does not provide ADHD testing, refills for stimulant medications, or medication management for students who are not actively involved counseling services at our Center.
Students who are already in treatment with a psychiatric provider are encouraged to continue those treatment relationships. Counseling Services works within a short-term treatment model, and if longer-term medication management is part of your treatment plan, we will provide referrals off-campus to a psychiatric provider that can meet your needs.
Counseling Services maintains information about local community mental health providers, agencies, and programs. If you prefer to see a therapist outside the university (or have treatment needs beyond the scope of what we are able to provide), we will be happy to help you locate a provider or program that meets your needs. If you need assistance with referrals, you can call or drop by during walk-in hours (1-3 pm, M-F). Let our receptionist know you are looking for referrals, and bring your health insurance card with you, if you have it available.
You are also welcome to review our referral notebook in our waiting area, which contains detailed information that local therapists have submitted about their practices (such as treatment approach, specialty areas, hours of practice). Just be aware that this information may change frequently, and it is important to ask a potential provider about insurance and payment arrangements before beginning sessions. If you are having trouble finding effective treatment that you can afford, don’t hesitate to ask for our assistance. It sometimes takes a few tries to find the right fit with a therapist, but be persistent…your happiness is worth it!