Scope of Services
Student Counseling Services (SCS) provides brief, time-limited, and goal-oriented counseling and psychiatric services to the Auburn University student community. Services may include individual therapy (i.e., 1-10 biweekly sessions), group therapy (no session limits), workshops, drop-in groups, and psychiatric services. SCS is also able to provide Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and an Executive Function Screening (EFS) services. Currently enrolled Auburn University undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for an initial appointment with SCS to help determine the best treatment options, whether it be at SCS or a community provider. Students whose needs are beyond the scope of a brief treatment model will receive assistance from SCS in locating services within the community. Typically, client issues of mild to moderate function of impairment are most appropriate for and respond best to a brief treatment model. Issues and concerns that typically do not fit within this model of treatment are those that require more than weekly sessions, tend to worsen in short-term counseling, required long-term treatment prior to coming to SCS, or require an expertise not found among SCS staff.
Student Counseling Services (SCS) utilizes a brief individual counseling treatment model as described in the Scope of Services statement above. Depending on a student’s presenting issue(s), SCS may offer enrolled Auburn University students between 1-10 individual counseling sessions per academic year. These individual counseling sessions usually occur on a bi-weekly basis. In rare circumstances, the SCS Case Review Team will consider extending the number of individual sessions if it is clinically-indicated. The client and counselor will discuss this if it is appropriate. Auburn University students who are academically suspended may be able to access services as part of their comprehensive plan to return to the university. Individual counseling provides an opportunity to explore student concerns on a one-to-one basis within the context of a confidential relationship. The SCS counseling model attempts to empower students with the resources needed to make positive changes in their life. The counselor and client work together to discuss and define personal issues and reach mutually agreed upon treatment goals. Issues may include:
- Significant changes in mood
- Anxiety and stress management
- Relationship issues (break-ups, isolation or difficulty forming relationships, roommate conflicts, etc.)
- Academic issues
- Crisis intervention
- Adjustment to college
- Trauma related to oppression and violence
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Eating and body image concerns
- Family issues (divorce, financial stressors, etc.)
- Grief, trauma and loss
- Anger management
- Feelings of marginalization and helplessness
- Spirituality issues
- Psychosomatic issues (tension headaches, insomnia or excessive sleep, loss of appetite, etc.)
- Sexuality and gender identity issues
- Interpersonal violence and sexual assault
Group counseling is one of many forms of treatment offered by Student Counseling Services. Some groups are focused on special themes like stress management, eating concerns, or anger management, while some other are more general and focus on resolving a range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem problems, and relationship problems. For many types of problems, group counseling is the treatment of choice. Groups provide the opportunity to observe others solving their problems. Groups provide the advantage of a network of support. Groups are especially helpful in learning to build trust, self-acceptance, intimacy, communication skills, and empathy.
Although groups may differ, they generally meet weekly for 60 to 90 minutes, and include 5 to 10 members, and one or more professionals who act as group facilitators.
Students may be referred to group counseling by their current counselor or psychologist, or may be referred directly to group after their initial intake appointment at Student Counseling Services. Remember, group counseling is not a second-choice intervention; rather, it offers the opportunity to learn unique skills and/or a special interpersonal dimension to counseling.
If you are interested in group counseling, contact Student Counseling Services at 334-844-5123. If you would like to see a certain type of group offered, please speak with Dr. Joeleen Cooper-Bhatia, Group Coordinator.
Types of groups:
Process groups focus on gathering information about and improving relationships. Members give and receive feedback about the ways in which they interact with one another and the group as a whole. They also help members explore potential new ways of behaving in relationships. Examples of previous process groups offered:
Understanding Self and Others (USO)
USO groups provide members with a supportive environment to discuss their concerns and receive feedback from others. USO groups do not have a specific theme or topic for discussion. Instead, they allow members the opportunity to talk about areas of their lives in in which they are experiencing difficulty. Reasons for attending a USO group include having problems in relationships, feeling dissatisfied or unhappy with relationships, wondering about how others perceive them, and testing new ways of behaving.
Graduate Student Understanding Self and Others (USO)
The Graduate Student USO is a weekly process-oriented group that provides a safe space for students pursuing graduate degrees to explore interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics and concerns. The group provides a free and confidential space to receive multiple perspectives, feedback, and support from other graduate students. Members are encouraged to explore new ways of relating to others and to further develop self-esteem, self-awareness, and relational skills.
The Not So Perfect Family
This group provides members with an open forum to discuss concerns related to their families. Members can benefit from learning to change the ways in which dysfunctional family dynamics have contributed to difficulties with their emotional well-being and relationships with others.
Therapy support groups allow members who share a common characteristic or concern to discuss this with others in their situation. Members offer empathy, support, understanding, and encouragement to each other. Examples of previous therapy support groups offered:
This group is for any student who has felt disempowered. Whatever the situation, this can be a safe space to give and gain support from others who have had similar experiences. The goal is to provide support and to increase each member’s sense of empowerment.
Living with Loss and Grief
This is a support group for students who have experienced the death of a family member, friend, or a loved one. Whether the loss is recent or some time has passed, this group helps participants reflect on the death of loved ones in an intentional manner. Group members will have the opportunity to express, explore, and process grief in a safe, supportive environment. The group process reduces the sense of isolation and provides an environment in which members can grow in self-acceptance, ability to trust others and heal from grief and loss.
International Student Support
The International Student Support Group was designed to support international students in achieving their academic, personal, and relational needs as they adjust to college life in the United States. Members are encouraged to share their personal experiences and struggles and connect with other members around the globe. Topics of discussion may include: changing norms, culture shock, performance pressure, prejudice, language barriers, homesickness, financial pressure, career uncertainty, and mental health. This is a drop-in group, so no appointment is necessary. Contact SCS to find out what time this confidential group meets during the current semester.
Mindful eating is eating with the intention of caring for yourself and the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying food and its effects on your body. Individuals who may benefit from this group include those who have felt out of control regarding eating, find themselves eating too much or too little, feel negative emotions surrounding eating, or notice they spent a lot of time, energy, and thought regarding eating.
Educational Groups/Workshops provide members with knowledge and skills related to a specific topic. Members participate in activities and exercises to help them gain greater insight and/or practice new skills. Examples of previous educational groups/workshops offered:
This workshop consists of three sessions (BRinging Awareness, IDentifying Values, GEneralizing skills) that are intended to help you learn new tools and get a better idea of what you might like to change in your life. The BRIDGE workshop uses an acceptance and commitment therapy approach to help you feel better equipped to begin to tackle your concerns.
Research has shown that mindful practice and meditation can have a variety of benefits, such as lower stress levels, improved mood, reduced anxiety, increased ability to cope with chronic pain, and relief from bereavement. This workshop is designed to facilitate hands-on mindfulness practice in students so they can experience its benefits and have a space to relax.
Anxiety Toolbox Workshop
This workshop is a three-session seminar intended to help increase your understanding, knowledge, and skills regarding anxiety. The Anxiety Toolbox uses a cognitive behavioral framework to help you recognize and manage symptoms you may be experiencing.
The Mindfulness Group is an 8-week structured course which introduces participants to the concepts of mindfulness and guides them through several formal and informal meditation practices. The goal of this group is to facilitate the development of greater emotional well-being by teaching participants how to disengage “auto-pilot” and to fully experience their moment-to-moment lives.
This workshop teaches you how to use tools and strengths that you already have in a way that is easy to implement in your life. The strategies can help with depressed mood, anxiety, relationship conflicts, low motivation, and the overall feeling that your life is not going the way you would like.
Getting Unstuck Workshop
This workshop includes three sessions that focus on helping participants understand depressive symptoms and build skills to manage these symptoms. Getting Unstuck utilizes a cognitive behavioral perspective to help you develop a plan for addressing your depressive symptoms.