Counseling for college students
Students in college face unique stressors
College students face a number of challenges unique to this time of life including:
- Academic challenges
- Social challenges
- New responsibilities
- Time management
- Learning new life skills
- Financial challenges
- Balancing work/school/life
In a recent survey by the American College Counseling Association, discussed in this article, a survey of 75,000 students showed
- 42.4% had greater than average stress in the past 12 months
- 10.3% reported feeling tremendous stress
- 35.3% reported feeling so depressed they could not function
- 57.7% reported overwhelming anxiety
MENTAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS ARE LEARNING PROBLEMS
Douce and Keeling (2014) note, "Depression, which is a frequent and significant challenge among college and university students, reduces the brain’s ability to enhance or expand networks of neurons, and good treatment of depression can reduce those losses. Depression is also associated with significant decreases in the brain’s response to stimuli that should prompt learning, and anxiety, depression, and mixed anxiety and depression all impair memory. Researchers have documented both functional and structural effects of depression in the brain, including suppressed activity in areas that are responsible for the formation of new memories. Depression makes the brain less efficient: more brain resources must be mobilized and utilized for any given task than is true in people who are not depressed. Academics suffer (p.1)."
COUNSELING CAN HELP STUDENTS REGAIN EMOTIONAL BALANCE
My therapeutic focus for counseling college students includes serving as a compassionate confidante that uses gentle confrontation when necessary. I aim to help college students by supporting emotional growth, helping them adjust to these new challenges, and help them reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, while increasing their independence.
Some college students uniquely struggle gaining independence by relying on parents for all of their emotional needs. College students are neither adolescents nor adults and face different challenges. These students often seek support through social media, but may find that lacking in emotional connection. Social media does not adequately teach us to make strong connections to others and many students have increased social anxiety when interpersonal skills are lacking. Part of my counseling work with college students involves helping them reduce social anxiety and build relationship and friendship skills when needed.