A Student therapist can help you in more ways than you thought. Let’s look at some common questions you may be asking when seeking a therapist.
What are some common reasons students seek therapy during their college years?
- friend, family or relationship issues.
- low mood or losing interest in things you enjoy.
- stress or anxiety about your work or anything else
- depression or thoughts of suicide
- anger management
- sexual assault
- adjusting or coping with life
- feeling lonely or isolated
- clarify goals, make changes or decisions
- eating disorders or weight/body image concerns
- heal from loss
- trauma or past abuse
- sleep problems
- anxiety, fears or phobias
- lack of confidence or low self esteem
Why should students give therapy a try in college?
As you can see from the above list of reasons, there are so many things that students have to deal with, and many will be ill-equipped so early in life to deal with these changes or circumstances. Many may not even have support or know where to go for support or even be ashamed to admit to others that they are struggling.
This is where a mental health professional, such as a counselor or therapist can be of utmost importance.
Too often in life, we employ coping strategies which we THINK are best for us in our current situation, however often-time these coping strategies are what KEEPS us struggling. If we can learn good coping strategies early on in life, our future will be so much easier than carrying on with bad coping strategies for the foreseeable future.
Therapy can teach you vital skills you were not aware of before, such as how to better manage yourself, how to effectively express yourself, or communicate better with others. It can show you how to truly reach your goals, improve your academic performance or build stronger relationships. Not to mention assist with the list of above-mentioned things where it can actually improve your life or help you overcome past traumas.
Sure, some of these things you may be able to do all on your own, but at what cost? Or how long will it take you to learn, understand and implement? Therapy can be a fast track for you by learning from others trained in the field and who already may have the answers or solutions at their fingertips.
If you are struggling with any of the below feelings or emotions, especially to the point where they are affecting your life, it is time to see a therapist:
Thoughts that are anxious or persistent. It’s natural to worry about things now and then, but when anxiety consumes a large portion of your day or creates physical problems, therapy can help you cope.
Fatigue. This physical ailment frequently occurs as a result of or in conjunction with mental health difficulties. It could be a sign of depression. Fatigue can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or force you to sleep longer than usual.
Withdrawal from social situations. When people are able to spend at least some time alone, they often feel better. Introverts may require much more alone time than others. However, if you are distressed or afraid of being among others, therapy can help you understand and deal with these feelings.
Hopelessness. Depression or similar mental health illness might make you lose hope or motivation, or make you feel as if you have no future. It’s normal to feel hopeless from time to time, especially after a terrible period. However, if it continues, it may lead to suicidal thoughts.
Overwhelm. You may feel as though you have too much to do or too many problems to deal with. You may feel unable to sleep or even breathe. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed can wreak havoc on one’s physical health.
Lack of interest. Losing interest in everyday activities, the world around you, or life in general might be a sign of sadness or anxiety.
Uncontrollable rage, anger, or resentment. At times, everyone feels enraged, angered or frustrated. Even an outburst of anger isn’t always bad. When these sentiments don’t go away, are uncontrollable in the circumstance, or cause you to take violent or potentially harmful activities, it’s a good idea to get help.
Agoraphobia. People who suffer from agoraphobia are afraid of being trapped or having panic attacks in public areas. Some people may find it difficult to even leave their homes.
How can therapy help college students?
Besides the list you’ve seen at the top, therapy will give you time to talk, shout, scream, cry, voice your concerns or just allow you to think or hear what you are thinking.
Sometimes it’s actually easier to talk to a stranger than someone you know. Plus a therapist will be unbiased during your sessions and provide you with actionable advice.
Advice if you don’t know where to start or feel intimidated by the process of finding a student therapist.
STEP 1: Identify stigmas that might prevent you from seeking treatment. Fear can sometimes prevent us from getting the help we need. Think of seeing a therapist as just getting a second opinion.
STEP 2: Find a therapist
- University. A free and confidential in-house therapy service is available at many colleges and universities. The counselling service area of your university’s website is usually where you can find out what they offer and how to book an appointment.
- The NHS. Through the NHS you can get most therapy treatments, however you may be on quite a long waiting list to be seen.
- Charities. Volunteering services often offer talking therapy at affordable prices. You can find services in your local area.
- Private therapy. If you don’t want to go through a therapist on campus, you can seek outside help. It does mean it will cost you money, but you can almost be seen right away with no waiting list. Many therapist are also offering online sessions so you can be at home or in the comfort of your own room whilst doing therapy. The easiest way to find a private therapist is by either doing a search on Google for a local therapist or search for a therapist specialising in your particular issue.
STEP 3: Find the right student therapist:
There are so many different types of therapy and it is sometimes hard to choose which will be the right type of therapy for you. Not all types of therapies work for everyone and not all types work necessarily best for your specific issue.
The biggest tip I can give you is to search for someone with experience in your particular issue. For example, search for an Anxiety Therapist or a Confidence Coach, etc.
Make a list of potential therapists.
Also, make a list of types of therapies and perhaps a slight understanding of what each of these therapies can do for you.
For example, talking therapy, such as Psychotherapy, may include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Behaviour Therapy, Humanistic therapy, and more, plus Counselling.
Hypnotherapy dives into your subconscious mind and looks at things you may not have thought to explore or find the root cause of many of your issues. Things you have usually forgotten or not thought of.
NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is another type of therapy to change your thoughts and behaviours.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed specifically to help people deal with PTSD and trauma.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) helps you deal with specific emotions that you are struggling to control.
There are so many other types of therapies too, so it is good to have a bit of an understanding of what they do and how they can help.
Once you’ve made your list of potential therapists, contact each of them and have a bit of a discussion about how they can help, how experienced they are with your issue, how long they have been practicing for, what qualifications they have, and so on. These are all very important questions to ask. You won’t go for brain surgery with a general doctor, instead, you’ll want to try and seek the best doctor you can find and ensure they are qualified before they work on your brain! The same should count for a therapist. You are after all paying them to help you.
It is important for your potential therapist to learn about you and your presenting issue, but the reverse is also true. You need to know who they are and how they can help before enrolling them as your therapist.
STEP 4: Prepare before your appointment:
Make a list of things you would like to discuss with your therapist. It does not need to be discussed in the first session, but at least you’ll have a list of things ready. Your therapist will also do a client and medical history, so there might be some information you would like to bring along.
Also, think of the goals you would like to achieve and the outcome you’d like to get from the therapy.
Don’t stress if you don’t have this completely worked out. That’s part of the process with your therapist.
STEP 5: Talk about it:
Anything goes! Don’t be shy or ashamed of your issue. Believe me, therapists have heard it all and they are there not to judge you but to help you.
STEP 6: It may or may not work for you:
Not all therapies and therapists are the same. Maybe you just don’t like your therapist, or their voice or the set-up they have in their practice. It is OK to change to another therapist at any time! I also cannot stress enough that if you’ve tried one session of therapy, and you didn’t like it, don’t give up there. Another type f therapy or another therapist might be better suited to you and your needs. Don’t let one or 2 sessions or therapists cause you to give it all up and never try again.
Find a therapist who actually feels like they get you.
A student therapist can probably provide you with more benefits than you thought there might be. Utilise it! Everyone needs a therapist, a coach, and a mentor. Each of these will provide something different to you. There is no shame in seeing a therapist. Like I mentioned before, see it as getting a second opinion. Even therapists go and see other therapists. It’s a process of learning, reaching and achieving goals, getting the right help at the right time, and becoming a better version of yourself. Therapy is almost like learning a new skill, the sooner you utilise it, the better before you are too set in your ways or created too many bad coping strategies along the way.
To see how I could potentially help you as a student therapist, visit my Treatments Page.