Counseling Center Changes Prompt Concern

Photo by: Drew Heimlich

Photo by: Drew Heimlich

By: Ethan Smith, News Editor

After the consolidation the Armstrong Counseling Center has directed their focus to effectively helping students through Georgia Southern’s resources. After interviewing Jeanne McGowan, the director of the Armstrong Counseling Center, on some popular concerns among Armstrong students, she responded with the following.

  1. How many times are students allowed to come to the Counseling Center per week or per semester? Has there been a change in availability after the consolidation?

“Georgia Southern University Counseling Center offers equal services across campuses, meaning there are opportunities for individual, couple and group therapy, educational workshops, case management, crisis management and outreach presentations for the campus community… One difference from Armstrong to Georgia Southern University is with students being able to access services in either center, thus Armstrong adapted the session limit utilized by the Statesboro Campus. As a result, individual and couple services have a 16-session limit for the academic year defined as July through June and resets for the next academic year. However, it is important to note that a student’s counseling goals are individual and thus the need and frequency or modality to reach those goals are determined between the student and the counselor.”

  1. What changes have come to the Counseling Center after the consolidation?

“First, there has been an increase in staff on the Armstrong Campus.  Prior to consolidation, there was a Director, Lead Counselor, and two Counselors. Post consolidation, there is a Director, an Assistant Director, two Counselors, and a Case Manager/Counselor. Second, Armstrong has changed its electronic record system to that being used by Statesboro. The system, Titanium, is one of the most used systems in college counseling. It has allowed Armstrong the ability to become paperless, contributing to a greener campus. Finally, although session limit has been introduced to individual and couples counseling, with consolidation the limit increased from 12 to 16 per academic year. Most students find counseling goals are reached within 8 sessions. And, students involved in group therapy have unlimited sessions and typically meet on a weekly basis. Groups do require a referral by a counselor.”

  1. With peer pressure playing a major role in the lives of young people, how can the Counseling Center get students to come in and use services that will help them?

“Counseling is most effective when it is sought voluntarily and thus a student should not feel pressured to attend. Peers can support one another through encouragement and a non-judgmental attitude towards those seeking/utilizing counseling. Students can help one another by engaging in conversations and take action towards decreasing both the externalized stigma, the way society views mental health, and internalized stigma, the negative view one has towards themselves about mental health. Creating a community where seeking help is normal and acceptable is the best way to help.”

  1. Are there any extra fees in place for students involving counseling?

“The services provided within the Counseling Center are free to enrolled full-time students. There are no additional costs for any of the services provided.”

I also got the chance to speak with Rebecca Thiele, an English Literature Major, as she spoke on how the Counseling Center affects her personally.

I started seeing a counselor for many personal reasons. I saw a counselor because I needed someone I could trust to talk to as I was grieving intensely and feeling extremely guilty, as most suicide survivors do. I have compounded grief, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I do not know what I would have done if Chris hadn’t been there to write letters for me when I needed to withdrawal from school for a semester. having that support system has been vital to my success here. Mental health care is important. Counseling and therapy can teach many different coping skills that can help you through times of high stress or grief. College is a high stress environment because you are always under a deadline. Any person can benefit from even one therapy session.”

The Counseling Center will always be there for the students of the Armstrong campus. Stress, mental health issues, and other issues are nothing to play with, so if you need help, you have some right here on campus.