In individual counseling, students sit down one-on-one with a counselor and talk about their concerns, define goals, make decisions, and solve problems. Over a short period of time, students and counselors work together to achieve the goals set by students. Counselors are professional helpers who can listen to students’ concerns and help students deal more effectively with a problem. Some problems may be resolved in one or two sessions while others require a series of appointments.
As with individual counseling, group counseling also focuses on talking about students’ concerns, defining goals, making decisions, and solving problems. However, in group students gather with a professional and peers. The groups are usually led by 1-2 group leaders and can consist of anywhere from 2-8 students in a group. Many of our groups meet regularly on a scheduled day and time during the course of the semester. All groups are confidential and members agree not to share any information with others nor identify members outside of the group. Many students find group therapy beneficial because: they feel encouraged hearing how others have overcome obstacles, they can feel more “normal” and self-accepting knowing that others share their same problems, and they can feel supported by their peers.
Consultation and Referrals
In addition to offering counseling, the Counseling Center also provides consultation services to students and staff. During a consultation members of the community can speak with a clinician, either via telephone or in person, and share their concerns. Concerns may be about one’s own well-being or about the well-being of another, like a roommate or a friend. Our clinicians will work with concerned members to come up with an effective plan of action.
Sometimes students that we see may require counseling for longer periods of time or may require more intensive or specialized therapy, in which case we will work with you to find a therapist or clinician outside of St. John’s who can more appropriately treat them. We do recommend that students secure health insurance as many counselors or therapists in the community accept insurance for their services.
At the Counseling Center we have a psychiatrist on staff who we work and consult with about psychopharmacology. Some students may come to the Counseling Center already taking medication to help them function better while other students may decide that they may want to start medication while at the Counseling Center. Taking medication is not for everybody and taking it is completely up to the student. Medication can often be helpful especially for students who may be depressed or anxious. We encourage students to talk with their therapists about setting up a consultation with our psychiatrist to learn more about potentially taking medication.
Crisis Intervention/Psychological Emergencies
There is a clinician on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help students who are in crisis. If a student is in crisis, he or she can come to the Center or call us at 718-990-6384 during business hours. If it is after business hours, please contact Public Safety at 718-990-5252, the Residential Assistant or Residential Director, or call 911 for immediate assistance and they will contact CCC if needed.
As part of the Department of Student Wellness, a significant focus of the Center’s mission is to adopt a proactive stance in promoting a positive health environment for all members of the St. John’s community. We offer workshops, classroom presentations, and training programs to various student, faculty, and staff groups on campus. Some of our outreach and training efforts have included: depression and eating disorder screenings, developing stress management techniques, self-compassion workshops, and sexual violence and suicide prevention trainings. Please contact us at the Center if you would like to arrange a time for one of our staff members to present to your organization or staff.