Getting the Most out of Counseling

A common misconception about counseling is that its success depends only on the therapist’s skills, knowledge, and expertise. While this is important, other aspects of the therapy experience and relationship are equally, and often more, important. As a client, there are things you can do to help make your counseling process a positive and productive one. The following tips can give you some ideas about how to get the most out of your counseling experience.

  • Be an informed consumer: Whether counseling is new to you or you’ve been involved for a while, you’ll likely have questions about the process and how it works. You may wonder about your counselor’s background or style as a therapist or why they’ve chosen a specific type of treatment for you. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions to your therapist. Your therapist wants to help you learn about the counseling process, have realistic expectations for it, and understand your role within it. No question is too simple.
  • Keep the work going outside of session: Although the time you spend in session with your therapist is important, it’s only one part of the change process. You spend much more time outside of therapy than you do with your therapist, and it’s important that changes you make generalize to the rest of your life. Your counselor may suggest things to do between meetings (e.g., engaging in self-care, tracking your emotions, keeping a journal), and doing this “homework” can help you maximize the benefits you receive in therapy.
  • Be active and engaged: Therapy works best when it is a collaborative effort between you and your therapist. Your counselor brings to the table knowledge and experience gained through years of training, but you’re still the expert on your own life. You know best about how a certain issue is affecting you, and this knowledge can be an incredible asset for therapy. Coming to session with ideas about specific problems that you’d like to discuss can help your therapist have a better idea of how to help you.
  • Remember that change is good, and it’s also a process: The problems that brought you to counseling likely developed over an extended period of time, maybe throughout your entire life. Because of this, change doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work through your concerns, and know that there may be ups and downs along the way. Every step that you make toward change is a positive one.
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Final Exams? No Stress, No Sweat

Finals week: running on no sleep, drinking what seemed like gallons of coffee, and basically living at RBD library. Recall the stress of taking up to six exams in less than a week? Not so fun. If only you had a live-in masseuse at your new home away from home for the week. That would be nice, huh? Well it is current Auburn University students’ reality… at least for the day.

For the past three years, Student Counseling Services (SCS) and Health Promotion and Wellness Services have offered a final exams week stress reduction event at the library where students could come by and grab a free snack, make their own stress ball, create animal balloons, play games, chat with a counselor and get a free massage.

Stress will eventually pass and there are ways to decrease its impact like
  • journaling stressful thoughts,
  • deep breathing,
  • visualization, and
  • seeking support from others

according to Dr. Brandy Smith, Staff Psychologist at SCS.

For many, this is the busiest time of year with classroom deadlines, gift shopping, and final exams. So take some time to relax and reflect on what’s most important in your life, the work will get done – it always does.

What are your most effective relaxation strategies? What helped you survive final exams? Share them! Want to see and experience it in person? Come by RBD during final exams week Spring 2103 but don’t fight with the students over who gets the massages.

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Academic performance

Academic Performance Enhancement and Support Group is a six-week group meeting during which students will learn mental skills that will help them manage the pressures that come with performing in their classes at a high level. Learn how to be mentally tough by addressing:

  • Commitment/Motivation
  • Emotional Control
  • Focused Attention
  • Use of Imagery and Relaxation
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Emotional Transition to College

What sort of transitions should I expect?
First of all, welcome to the Auburn family! For many students, the transition to college is also the transition of being on one’s own. This transition can be scary, but also very exciting. At Student Counseling Services, we are here to help you manage the transitions so that you can make the most out of this exciting time!

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