A Closer Look: WSU Counseling Services

Posted on October 11, 2011 by

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By Thom Friend

The world we live in is a demanding one for us all, not always physically, but undoubtedly mentally. Taking care of our minds is one of the most important things we can do. As students, we all experience similar difficulties. When these or any other feelings start to affect our quality of life and academic progress, it is time to acknowledge them.

Many students are unaware that Worcester State University (WSU) offers counseling services to all students, both graduate and undergrad. There are no fees or co-pays due upon meeting a counselor. The expenses are included in your bill each semester with tuition. This is true for all students, regardless of what type of health insurance they have. The Counseling Services department is equipped with an experienced, professional staff and the resources needed to address any number of difficulties a student might have. Laura A. Murphy, Director of Counseling Services, was kind enough to meet for an interview and discuss what services the department has to offer.

Counseling meetings are completely confidential and typically about an hour in duration. In addition to one-on-one meetings, counselors will also meet with students and their parents, groups of students, couples, and support groups (as needed). There are also a number of workshops available throughout the semester. Topics of the workshops include alcohol screenings, stress management, coping with loss, suicide response, healthy relationships, and time management. All of the workshops and group meetings are also free and confidential.

Many students feel uneasy about meeting with a counselor. When some were asked what they thought about Counseling Services, some students had never even heard of it. One student said they would feel uncomfortable in a counseling session. “I feel like I can fix my own problems”, said the student, who wishes to remain nameless due to the subject matter. This is probably the common initial inclination for many students. However, emotional problems are not as straightforward as algebra, and counseling could ease some of the anxiety involved with facing these problems.

It is important to realize that it is quite normal to experience anxiety and/or depression at some point in life. College is certainly one of those periods. Let’s say a student is just entering college. They are trying to discover their career aspirations, make new friends, and balance their workload with their other responsibilities. Or perhaps they are a senior or graduate student, about to enter the alleged “real world”. They are leaving behind sixteen or more consecutive years of schooling. Worried about paying off those student loans, they helplessly wave around a degree amongst the hoard of other graduates, trying to catch the eye of a potential employer. Either way, these are important and uncertain times for a student.

The counselors at WSU strive to help students with any personal issues that may be affecting their ability to succeed academically. Murphy shared some problems that students commonly seek help with:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders & Substance Abuse
  • Anxiety (including exam anxiety)
  • Anger
  • Sleeping Issues
  • Family Issues & Divorce
  • Relationship Issues
  • Loss and Grieving
  • Academic Concerns
  • Returning Veteran Issues

 

According Murphy, one thing that sets WSU’s Counseling Services department apart from some other college campuses is its location within the Student Center. It is amongst all of the other departments, not in some separate, secluded building. “This helps to normalize the situation”, said Murphy, removing the stigma that is often attached to counseling. The department also shares a welcoming waiting area with the Career Services department. The strategic placement and friendly faculty make it a very pleasant place to visit.

Counseling Services is located on the third floor of the Student Center. Students can make an appointment that fits in with their schedule. Normal hours are Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 pm. Call 508-929-8072 to make an appointment.

 

 

 

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