Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015
25 ° Fair
By Bill Brown
In order to start this off, I'm going to pick an issue that's frequently on my mind and that's why don't students use the Student Counseling Center more often. Before coming to Wesleyan, I worked for years in both the public and private sector providing counseling and psychotherapy. In every place I ever worked, there were folks climbing all over themselves to get the service and they were frequently angry when they couldn't, whether it was due to lack of insurance or having to go on a waiting list because of the masses that came before them. In my last job, for the city of Virginia Beach's Mental Health Center, we were first limited to doing a set number of sessions with clients and finally told that we could only offer services to the severely disturbed, chronic mentally ill.
Now I find myself in a setting where I am able to offer services to everyone…as often as I think would be helpful and for as long as I think would be helpful…totally free of charge. Yet, when I open up the Counseling Center in the morning, a line of students waiting to get in is not what greets me. I hope it is obvious by now, that I find this very confusing…that I don't have folks beating a path to my door, to take advantage of the opportunity for free therapy…the same therapy that they likely would have to pay $70-$100 an hour for once they graduate. It is astonishing to me that I actually have to aggressively market the center and "beat the bushes" for students at times.
Now please don't get me wrong…I'm not saying that we don't get any business at the Student Counseling Center. We actually stay busy for the most part during the school year and tend to be over-capacity at certain times of each semester. It's just that I am certain there are still students out there that really could benefit from coming in but for whatever reason don't take that step. I know this from talking with students, looking at research and figuring the odds. College nowadays can be a pretty tough and stressful place, so I don't believe it's just that nobody needs the help. Which in a roundabout way brings me to several possible ideas as to why students avoid this opportunity.
I hope that through postulating these reasons and addressing them, I may have encouraged some students to reconsider the benefits of talking with a counselor. We both really are invested in being helpful to the members of this community. Like I noted above, almost any problem could be helped to some degree by talking with someone that's objective and will keep your business confidential. So, even if your problem is just trying to decide if counseling might be useful to you or not…drop by the Counseling Center, send us an email or pick up a phone and give us a call…I'm pretty sure we can help.