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College student Counseling

Does College Life Feel Overwhelming?

Do you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed or intimidated by college? Do you regularly stay up all night studying or partying? Perhaps you worry that while you’re avoiding social activities or feeling snowed under by coursework, everybody else is out meeting new people and having fun. Maybe you’re a freshman trying to make the daunting transition into life on campus. Perhaps you thought college was going to be a fresh start, and feel disappointed for continuing to struggle with stress, anxiety and/or depression. It might be that you’re planning for life after college, doubting your choice of major and worried about what the future will bring. Perhaps graduation is nearing and you’re worried about how to manage the “real world” after college. Do you wish that you could gain confidence, effectively manage stress, achieve academic goals and form meaningful connections with peers and professors? 

College is a time full of transitions, which are tough to navigate for many young people. You may be trying to figure out how to balance coursework, social activities, internships and/or a part-time job. It may be that you are spending too much or not enough time socializing with friends, unsure how to create a school-life balance. You may have trouble adjusting to the relaxed format of many universities, feeling tempted to skip classes or procrastinate. Or maybe you are living in a crowded, noisy dorm, and it’s difficult to sleep or get any work done. Perhaps you notice yourself having overwhelming feelings of sadness or anxiety, slipping into depression or getting caught in a cycle of anxious thoughts, worries and/or doubts. Alternatively, you may be struggling to set realistic goals or to meet deadlines in the dynamic hustle and bustle of campus life.  Maybe your perfectionist tendencies are taking a toll on you. You might be “over-doing it” and feel like you don’t have time to relax or “not stress.” Maybe you just feel lonely, not knowing who to talk to or how to make friends. Or, you may feel worried about losing your strong support network when you transition out of college and into the workforce. Perhaps you fear you won’t find a job, make new friends or have a successful long-term relationship. Do you need additional support and guidance to get on track personally, academically and/or socially?

Many College Students Struggle With Stress, Uncertainty and Loneliness

While college can often be a fun an exciting time, it’s very normal and common to struggle in college. For many, the transition to college means living away from parents for the first time, which can be an overwhelming and upsetting experience. It’s normal to miss the comfortable safe haven of home with parents and siblings, not to mention nutritious, home-cooked meals and your high school friends. For others, college life and/or continuing to live with parents can feel too similar to the restricting, monotonous high school life they had hoped to escape. Some students may thrive socially, making friends easily and getting caught up in the fun side of college, but find it difficult to meet deadlines and produce high-quality work with poor nutrition and/or too little sleep. For other students, the crowded campus can be an overwhelming experience, causing them to withdraw, feeling lonely and unhappy. And, while some students look like they have it all together, with good grades and plenty of friends, on the inside they may be struggling and worried.

College is also a time when eating disorders often emerge or return, and many students struggle with a negative body image. Additionally, over 40 percent of college students report regularly feeling anxious and/or depressed, with depression being one of the main reasons young people drop out of college. This is also a time when many people experiment with relationships and/or discover their sexual identity. Relationship struggles are also common during college. Sadly, female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual violence than other age groups. And, even more shockingly, if you are not a college student and between 18-24 years old, you are four times more likely to experience assault. If you or someone you know has been assaulted or feels trapped in an unhealthy relationship, it’s vital to seek professional help from college counselors and an experienced, college therapist.

Whatever your college experience looks like, it’s important to recognize that you are not alone. More and more students are attending college each year, and almost all of these young adults will struggle at some point. As well as learning to succeed academically and flourish socially, college is a time to learn how to cope with stress, overwhelm, anxiety and a variety of other challenges. Young adult counseling with an experienced college therapist can help you gain the skills you need to truly take care of yourself, manage distressing thoughts and emotions, meet goals and set yourself up for a fulfilling adult life.

College Counseling Can Provide You With Relief, Support And Guidance

In the confidential, comfortable setting of student counseling sessions, you can openly and honestly share your concerns and learn the skills needed to break free of and reframe ineffective thoughts, frustrations and persistent worries. College counseling can help you learn to identify stress triggers, set goals and better understand and manage difficult emotions. I can help you learn to recognize and work through unproductive patterns of behavior and develop effective, practical strategies to manage your workload, meet academic goals and plan for life after college. One of the most important parts of college counseling is focusing on your strengths, creativity and what is going well, in order to develop and apply these strengths to multiple areas of your life.

In the private, safe, non-judgmental space of student counseling sessions, you don’t have to worry about following rules, being polite or making a good impression. We will focus on your values and what is important to you. Together, we will collaborate to help you come up with a plan to target areas of your life that you feel need attention. For example, college students often focus on personal growth, relationships, and academics. And, while figuring out how to have a personal life, do well in school and take care of your health and well-being can be challenging at times, with help and guidance, it is possible.

By using your strengths and improving your coping resources, you can learn to better manage stress, fatigue, disappointment, anxiety and/or depression. Throughout our work together, you can also learn effective tools and develop the life skills needed to create a solid foundation you can build upon and draw from as you move through life. I can provide you with mindfulness techniques that can help you cope with sadness and stress.  Mindfulness is also a great preventative tool for overall wellness and health.

Learning how to reframe your perception of a challenge or transition, we can use breathing exercises and guided imagery to help you manage anxiety and visualize the life you want. You can learn to recognize the onset of stress, panic and/or doubt and to respond compassionately, without self-criticism. I can help you implement a self-care plan so that you feel more relaxed, rested, organized and confident. And, using cognitive behavioral techniques and problem-solving strategies, you can learn to manage your schedule and effectively cope with stress. We can also talk through, process and dismantle ineffective or distressing relationship patterns, and I can help you reestablish relationships or make new ones, increase self-esteem, overcome fears and communicate more effectively.

Often when we are highly stressed, we tend to not take notice of things that are going well in our lives. However, using a solution-focused approach, we’ll explore your strengths, and I’ll help you identify and build upon what is going well in your life. You can learn to listen to your own heart and mind, trust your intuition and move past obstacles with greater ease and confidence. We’ll work collaboratively as you take actionable steps toward what you want in life, achieving your goals and dreams and living in accordance with your innate values. 

You don’t have to navigate this path alone. Help is available and, with the right support, it is possible to gain important life skills and succeed academically and socially. I’ll be your ally and help you overcome challenges as you learn to tap into your strengths and build resiliency. Through feeling empowered and hopeful, you can begin to take control, make effective decisions, move past roadblocks and enjoy college life.

You still may have questions or concerns about college counseling…

If my parents pay for college counseling, are sessions still confidential?

Unless I fear you’re in danger or at risk to others, I will never disclose anything you tell me without your written permission. It’s important to me that you can trust the therapy process and feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, emotions and frustrations in confidence.

I have so much on my plate. How can I fit counseling into my schedule?

Feeling overwhelmed is a good indicator that you need help balancing your schedule and commitments. Working with a college therapist can help you learn to better manage stress and optimize your schedule. Young adult counseling can also help you overcome relationship and other personal challenges. By investing time and energy in yourself now, you can learn to tackle obstacles head on, cope better with college life and ward off future struggles.

I’m afraid I won’t know how to talk about my concerns in college therapy sessions.

It’s normal to feel nervous when starting therapy. However, you’ll soon realize that college counseling sessions are a safe, confidential space where you can relax and unburden your worries. I’ll listen, ask questions and offer suggestions that can help you feel better. Often, people are surprised by how natural therapy feels and how much relief it can bring, even after just one session.

You Can Succeed And Thrive In College

If you’re ready to begin feeling more confident, productive and decisive, I can help. Call 972-489-2658 today for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I can answer any questions you may have about working with a college therapist and my practice.