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 from friends, family, faculty, or staff during such times is a sign of a resourceful student, one who knows when it is time to take action in order to successfully 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.
Students will need to arrive 15 minutes early to their first appointment, called an initial consultation, in order to complete some paperwork. A counselor will then meet with the student for 20-30 minutes in order to obtain a better understanding of the specific concerns and how to best help. At the end of this appointment, a collaborative plan will be made to best support the student, which may include one session only, ongoing individual, group, or couples counseling, or a referral to another campus office or a community mental health provider.
Groups and Workshops
Group work is a powerful tool for growth and change. For many emotional concerns, personal struggles, and relationship issues that college students face, group work can be more effective than individual counseling, 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 concerns.
While many students prefer the social context of groups, we understand that some students may initially feel intimidated or hesitant about the idea of talking about sensitive concerns within a group. This is natural, as group work 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!
Because group work is so effective, Counseling Services offers a wide array of groups and workshops to address the needs of our students. Some involve more open discussion, while others address a specific topic or are structured more like a classroom to teach you positive coping or mindfulness skills. For more information on current group offerings, or to join a group, call Counseling Services at 203-392-5475.
In individual counseling, the student meets one-on-one with a professional counselor, who will provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment in which issues and concerns can be clarified and addressed. 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 the student needs or prefers more frequent or longer-term therapy, counselors can help provide referrals to community mental health providers.
Psychiatric Medication Management
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 counseling, a student may be referred to a staff Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (APRN) to provide consultation regarding potentially useful medications and follow-up treatment. Counseling Services does not provide ADHD testing, refills for stimulant medications, or medication management for students who are not actively involved in counseling at Counseling Services.
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 their needs.
Counseling Services maintains information about local community mental health providers, agencies, and programs. If a student prefers to see a therapist outside of the University or has treatment needs or preferences that are beyond the scope of what Counseling Services can provide, staff can assist students in finding off-campus providers who can better meet their needs. It is helpful if students bring their health insurance card or information when meeting with a counselor for help finding an off-campus referral.
Thriving Campus Referral Database: