College life can often be challenging and stressful. Students can experience challenges in a number of different ways. Many students feel anxious, depressed, confused, or overwhelmed at some point during their college experience and need help dealing with feelings or problems that seem beyond their control. For college students, that help may come from friends, family, significant others, or mentors but in some cases, help is needed from a trained professional.
Counseling is a process that can help people identify more effective strategies to cope with difficult situations and achieve their goals. While some people who seek counseling have chronic emotional difficulties, most 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.
CRS offers short-term individual counseling services. A counselor will help you determine which services are available and most appropriate. Students might be scheduled with a counselor at CRS or they may be referred to a community provider. Community providers offer more flexibility for students to be seen more frequently or long-term and are also able to provide more specialized services.
During your first appointment or intake session, your counselor who will talk with you to gather some information so they can briefly assess your needs, and make treatment recommendation(s) based on their professional opinion and in collaboration with you.
Counseling services are provided by a licensed clinical professional counselor.
Who Can Benefit from Counseling?
Just about anyone can benefit. No problem is too big or small. Listed below are just a few examples of some common concerns which bring students to CRS:
- Symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression
- College adjustment issues such as homesickness, academic problems, and long-distance relationships
- Interpersonal difficulties, including roommate conflicts, family problems, romantic relationship concerns, problems with assertiveness, and other issues
- Bereavement and grief related to the loss of a loved one (such as relationship breakups, deaths, parental divorce, or other major losses)
- Questions/confusion about identity, self-image, sexuality, gender, or religious concerns
- Concerns about body image, food, eating, or weight, as well as treatment for eating disorders
- Experience with sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, abuse, or other trauma
- Thoughts of suicide, death, or hurting others
- Behaviors that can be harmful to you, like drug or alcohol abuse or cutting
When to Seek Counseling
Our counselors are trained to intervene or provide support for a countless number of issues, far too many to list in any comprehensive way. While counseling might be helpful in numerous situations, there are some conditions in which we would strongly encourage you to seek counseling services:
- You are unhappy on most days or feel a sense of hopelessness
- You worry excessively or are constantly on edge
- You are unable to concentrate on your schoolwork or other activities
- You are unable to sleep at night or constantly feel tired
- You have experienced a change in your appetite or your weight
- You have experienced a loss (e.g., a relationship breakup, a parent’s death)
- You have increased your use of alcohol or other drugs (including cigarettes)
- You feel overwhelmed by what is going on in your life
- You are having thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else
How to Get the Most Out of Your Counseling Experience
Define your goals. Think about what you would like to get out of counseling. It might be helpful to write a list of events, relationship issues, or feelings that you think are contributing to your distress. Take time before each session to consider your expectations for that session. Self-exploration and change involve hard work, and sometimes painful feelings are stirred up in the process of healing. Counselors are trained to pay close attention to these issues and will probably encourage you to discuss these feelings openly.
Be an active participant. This is your counseling experience, so be as active as you can in deciding how to use the time. Be honest with the counselor and give her or him feedback about how you see the sessions progressing.
Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, effort, and patience. All of your coping skills, behavior patterns, and self-perceptions have been learned and reinforced over a long period of time, so change can be difficult and slow at times.
Ask questions. Ask questions about the counseling process, any methods used by the counselor, or about any other services at CRS. Your counselor is there to assist you.
Follow your counselor’s recommendations. Take the time between sessions to complete any activities suggested by your counselor. Counseling is intended to improve your life in the “real world,” so making efforts to try out and practice new behaviors, approaches, or ways of thinking could be a crucial element to the success of your counseling experience.
What Happens During My Counseling Appointment?
If you and your counselor determine that individual counseling at CRS is the treatment recommendation that best meets your needs, you will then be offered the first available appointment that matches your schedule
You’ll be asked to complete some paperwork, including a demographic form, treatment agreement, consent to treatment, and a notice of privacy practices. Your counselor will obtain information about your current concerns, relevant history and goals. Your counselor also will review relevant CRS policies and procedures, such as confidentiality.
For subsequent or follow-up sessions, you will meet with your counselor for 50-minutes, weekly for a specified period of time. If you would like additional counseling beyond what CRS can provide, then we will work with you to find a counselor in the Austin community.
Early on, you will work with your counselor to set goals for your counseling sessions. Establishing clear goals will provide direction as well as help you to monitor your progress in counseling. If you have any questions or concerns about the counseling process, don’t hesitate to bring these up with your counselor, who will be pleased to discuss them with you. The exact direction of your counseling experience will depend on the issues you bring into counseling, your counselor’s perspective, and the goals you set for your work together.
What if I Have to Cancel My Appointment?
How to Communicate with My Counselor Between Sessions
Login to the client portal at muihcounseling.secure-client-area.com/portal/ and send your counselor a secure message. This is a secure and confidential way to communicate with your counselor. To insure consistent communication keep your e-mail current with the University.