Each year, students seek help from the Counseling Center on dealing with all kinds of personal and academic issues. Some students call ahead for an appointment, while others stop by to speak privately with a counselor. Other students simply stop by the Counseling Center to pick up some self-help information pamphlets, or to get a referral to a local off-campus counselor or agency.
Although the reasons for requesting counseling are as individual as the students themselves, frequently mentioned issues include the following:
Feelings of isolation
Problems with family or friends
Problems with alcohol or other drugs
Through counseling, students can discover some of the causes of personal and academic difficulties and learn ways to overcome them or enhance their coping abilities.
Counseling is a process in which a student enters into a relationship with a trained professional in order to gain a deeper self-understanding and to identify more effective ways of responding to life’s challenges. Counselors facilitate the process primarily by listening, but also by asking questions, clarifying statements made by the student and offering feedback. Our counselors have experience approaching problems from many different angles. They are not restricted to a single course of action and may use a variety of techniques. Your counselor may not have the same approach as someone else’s. There is no “right” way to do counseling. Different counselors have different styles.
Talking with a counselor is different from the kind of conversation you might have with a sympathetic friend. Your counselor will not feel sorry for you, hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right, as a friend might. But your counselor will show caring and compassion toward you. Counselors do not give advice or make decisions for you, rather they support you while you come to your own decisions and encourage you to trust your own advice. Once you have made your choices, you must then own up to the consequences of your decisions. It is a privilege to be invited to share in the life of another person and counselors respect that privilege.
This is a sampling of some of the feelings expressed by students seeking counseling:
I wish I had more confidence in myself.
I feel tense, confused and depressed.
I’ve got a tough decision to make and I want to talk to someone about it.
I have problems too personal to discuss with just anybody.
My partying is hurting my grades and I want some help.
An important relationship has ended and I need to talk to someone.
Handling school and my family is just too much sometimes.
I think I’m over-involved in social activities.
There are many other individual concerns not described above that the Counseling Center can also help with. If you find yourself wondering if you should seek counseling, take the first step. Asking for help is a sign of maturity, not weakness. When you are in physical pain, you go to the doctor to find out what is causing it. Emotional discomfort deserves equal attention. Counseling is a gift to yourself, an expression of self-caring. Don’t suffer needlessly. Call or stop by for an appointment to discuss your concerns with a professional counselor. We are here to help you.
The Counseling Center is located in Miguel Hall 501. Appointments may be made by calling 718-862-7394 or in person. An appointment will usually be scheduled within one to three days. Walk-ins are accommodated as scheduling permits. If you are experiencing an emergency, say so; in that case, someone will try to see you immediately.
When you arrive at the counseling center, you will be asked to complete an intake form describing your concerns and to provide other information that will assist us in getting to know you. The focus of your first appointment will be to understand the issues you are facing and consider a plan of action for dealing with those issues. After you have met with one of our staff, we will help you arrive at a plan for dealing with your concerns.
The process continues by the student telling his story. The counselor listens and attempts to begin to understand the way the student thinks, feels and acts. The student decides what he or she wishes to change and what patterns of thinking or acting are preventing that from happening. By exploring possible alternative ways of responding to a situation, the student is able to set realistic goals and develop strategies for achieving them. Typical outcomes may include short-term counseling, further assessment or a mental health referral.
The counselors follow professional counseling guidelines regarding privacy. All student information is held in the strictest confidence within the Counseling Center. Other college offices do not have any access to Counseling Center records. No information is released without your written permission, except under emergency situations involving danger to yourself or others. At your first visit you will receive a copy of our complete privacy and confidentiality guidelines.