The Student Counseling Center located in Rhoades Hall is incorporating four new groups starting this fall semester: Courageous, You Are Not Alone, I’m Stressed Out, and Change It.
Courageous, a group focusing on body image and self-esteem, aims to help women find their self-worth and build their self-esteem while becoming more assertive, comfortable, and confident in their own skin. This group will take place on Mondays from 11 to 12:30 p.m.
You Are Not Alone, also known as YANA, is a group that helps women continue their journey along with other women survivors of sexual violence. This group encourages healing, helps overcome isolation, and provides support for one another all in a safe and confidential space. YANA will take place Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
I’m Stressed Out is a group focusing on stress management. This group allows students to come and learn some helpful tools and tips to cope with the stress of everyday life and academics. This group strives to allow for practical application of resources to help manage everyday life. I’m Stressed Out will take place on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
The final new group being incorporated this semester is Change It. This group focuses on motivational interviewing and aims at helping students who are on the fence about changing a habit. The technique involves identifying a student behavioral goal and offers a plan to tackle the obstacles interfering with that goal. Change It will take place on Fridays from 11:30 to 1 p.m.
Groups start the week of Oct. 22
Lisa Osachy, psychologist, director of the Student Counseling Center and associate professor in the counseling and development department, described, “These are weekly groups with the same people hopefully, and we will have some new people the first few weeks and some of the groups will stay open so that people can join at any time. The idea is you would get a core group of people each week and get to know each other.”
The Counseling Center tries to offer new groups based off the interests of students and what the staff is seeing around campus. “It comes from the issues we’re seeing with students coming into the counseling center and what we think would be most helpful and also on counselor interest,” Osachy elaborated.
Last year, if a student wanted to get involved in a group, they had to go through an entire intake and meet with the counselor. This year, however, the process is going to be quicker and more efficient. Now, a student wanting to get involved in a group can stop by the Counseling Center and say they are interested in a specific group, fill out an informed consent form explaining the confidentiality and other policies, complete a short demographic form, declare if they wish to receive group text messages and then they are in the group.
“Once there’s a core group of people coming, it becomes their group and there may be topics or things they want to discuss that we might not have even thought about,” Osachy said. “That’s the beauty of group, too. It’s kind of based on what the students need that are in the group at the time; they kind of take some ownership of that.”
Along with the group counseling provided, the center also does individual counseling for those who want to come and talk about any issue. All the student would have to do is schedule an intake session where they would answer questions for the counselor to get an understanding of what is going on and come up with a plan as to whether a few sessions are needed or something more long term.
The Counseling Center also provides crisis walk-ins for students who experienced physical or sexual assault, are currently in a crisis, feel suicidal, or want to talk about anything relating to safety.
“Anxiety is the No. 1 issue and feeling overwhelmed and stressed. And sometimes that turns into not being able to sleep or feeling so bad about themselves that [students] might cut themselves or feel suicidal. That can be a very isolating experience because you feel like you can’t talk about it with other people, but so many people are actually feeling that way,” Osachy explained.
Currently, there is no waitlist and student appointments are scheduled within a week or two. “We want to respond to people as fast as we can, and we don’t want them to get discouraged so the wait may not be as long as you think to get in,” Osachy said.
Not only does the Counseling Center hold giveaways to lessen the embarrassing stigma around counseling, but they also have outreach programs. The center goes into first-year experience classes to talk about services, connects with faculty and staff to teach them how to refer someone to the center, and provides programs for fraternities and sororities on how to recognize the signs of depression, how to help a friend with an eating disorder and other various topics.
“I get it, you try to struggle through on your own and you think, ‘Well it’s not so bad.’ But then sometimes you wait until things are so bad and then it’s hard to help sort things out, like if you haven’t been going to class for weeks. So, don’t wait until it’s that bad, come in and get some support,” Osachy urged. “You don’t have to do it all on your own. Sometimes we just have to wait until we can’t ignore it anymore.”
The Counseling Center is open from 8 am to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8 am to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday during the academic year.