Here To Help: The Counseling Center
Oct. 29, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton
Story by: Mikah Boyd
“Here to Help” is a series focused on educating students on all the services available at Sam Houston State University. Many times students are unaware that these services are often offered at no cost with a Bearkat OneCard. Visit today@sam/HereToHelp to find the list of stories highlighted so far. If your department or student service would like to be featured for a future story email email@example.com.
College is an exciting time for students as they leave their home and collect new friends and experiences along the way. This fun also comes with new challenges that students must face on their own; harder tests, rent, work, etc. It is not uncommon to become overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities associated with being an adult and student, which is why the Counseling Center at Sam Houston State University is open for registered students to get support during this time of change.
The Counseling Center at SHSU is here to help students overcome challenges and provide support through this new stage of life. They offer a wide range of services such as individual, couples and group counseling, as well as workshops for registered Sam students to access at no cost. Students can initiate these services by visiting the Counseling Center anytime between 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 2:30 p.m. and meet with a clinician to discuss their care plan. The first meeting does not require an appointment and is for discussing concerns in order to allow the clinician to match the student with treatment that will best meet their needs.
Andrew Miller, director of the Counseling Center, wants students to know that they do not have to be at the point of crisis in order to use the services that the center offers.
“We want students to come in when they first realize that they’re not feeling like themselves as opposed to when things start falling apart,” Miller said. “We’ve got so many different types of services to offer that there really is something for everyone.”
For some students, individual counseling will help them best. In this care plan, the student meets one on one with a counselor to get help with defining goals, making decisions and solving problems related to personal, social, educational and career concerns. Personal meetings with counselors typically last about 50 minutes and revolve around the student and their troubles, with the counselor occasionally making comments to deepen understanding and promote positive solutions to issues.
Sometimes there are problems that multiple students have in common, making group therapy a great way for them to meet up and share their struggles and build one another up. Meeting in a group offers an environment where students are able to increase self-understanding, enhance personal relationships and try out new behaviors while getting feedback and support from peers and professionals. Students who want to participate in group counseling sessions can meet with a clinician at the Counseling Center between 9 – 11 a.m. or 1 – 2:30 p.m. to talk about what group would best meet their needs.
“Group counseling is as effective, and in some cases, even more effective, than individual therapy,” Miller said. “While group counseling may seem scary at first, attendees often report feeling much better after attending a few sessions and feeling glad that they took the risk to join.”
The Counseling Center also offers couples counseling to enrolled students who need guidance with their relationships. Couples counseling is available to students of all sexual orientations and all couples are welcome to come talk through their issues with a professional to strengthen their relationship.
Miller emphasizes that mental health is of equal or greater importance as physical health.
“The reality is that every person who is alive today could benefit from going to counseling from time to time. Just as we pay attention to our physical health, we should also be proactive about our mental health. Learning how to cope with stress or to communicate better is no different than making sure we get enough sleep or enough exercise,” Miller said. “It is just about making sure we are able to perform how we need to, when we need to. It is hard to be an effective student when you are feeling stressed, depressed or irritable. By learning how to take the edge off of those feelings, we can be that much more effective in doing what we need to do.”
The SHSU Counseling Center is located next to Old Main Market and is open Monday, Thursday, Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information about the Center and to access their self-help resources, visit their website or call (936) 294-1720.
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