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7 Ways Therapy Helps College Students

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

For many students, stress is simply a part of their college life. High tuition fees, never-ending exams and life away from the family generate a high level ofstress among college students nowadays. According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CMHH) Annual Report (2015), the number of college students seeking campus mental health counseling is growing over five times faster than college enrollment.

Around 32 percent of university students report struggling with mental health problems. These include an array of mental health issues including:

  • overwhelming stress

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • eating disorders

  • drug abuse

  • social phobia

  • and many other mental health disorders.

In addition to outstanding struggles, other issues may arise while in college.  This can include:

  • money worries (how to pay for college or have money while in college)

  • relationship struggles

  • difficulty managing friendships or struggles with roomates

Reasons to seek mental health counseling and psychotherapy are numerous.  Counseling can help students pinpoint problems and identify the possible solutions. Therapy can be helpful in identifying negative thinking patterns that trigger anxiety and depression or other mental health issues and encourage a more positive attitude.

Therapy can motivate college students to regain a sense of control over their lives and discover personal strengths. This can improve your quality of life. Psychotherapy can:

  • encourage students to set the priorities

  • manage their time and finances in a productive manner

  • build and maintain positive relationships.

Here are 7 ways therapy can help if you’re in college or planning to attend soon:

1. Establishing priorities

Psychotherapy can help students identify the factors that contribute to their problems and strengthen them to deal successfully with those issues. A professional counselor may help you to set priorities, which is one of the things that many college students find very hard to do. Furthermore, a counselor may help you to identify your time wasters, set boundaries, and create a realistic plan for a change.

2. Coping with Stress

Stress is an unquestionable part of being a college student for many. However, not everyone handles stress in the same way. What is considered a minor disturbance by some students, may be a source of huge suffering for others. Stress that builds up may lead to different mental health difficulties such as depression or anxiety. Counseling can help you recognize the main triggers of stress in your life and find positive ways to manage it, such as mindful meditation or relaxation techniques. Also, it can help you identify negative thinking patterns and work on their modification.

3. Help with Anxiety

A college life is not easy. Many students find it very hard to cope with college demands and stay focused on their studies. This provokes a great anxiety that they may lack needed skills and therefore fail college. Psychotherapy may help you identify and acknowledge your fears and worries and change dysfunctional and irrational thoughts. Furthermore, therapy can help you understand and develop self-management skills and focus your mind on positive outcomes.

Again, practicing mindfulness and relaxation may help you handle your college anxiety efficiently and stay mentally fit.

4. Managing Depression

Life on a campus is a big change in a young person’s life that some may findvery hard to cope with. Prolonged feelings of sadness, loneliness or anxiety may cause more serious mental health problems such as depression. And no one should deal with depression alone. Counseling may be beneficial in terms of helping you to recognize your depression symptoms and what triggers them. Additionally, counseling can strengthen you to build mechanisms for coping with your symptoms more successfully.

5. Love and Relationships 

If your emotional life is making it hard to focus on classes and academic performance, you might want to talk to a mental health professional about that. Having feelings for someone is a great thing that can make your life richer and happier. However, those butterflies in your stomach may also challenge your school focus and college success.

Psychotherapy may help you think through your feelings and their intensity. It may also help you determine how to integrate your relationship into your college life and be successful and happy on both levels.

6. Financial Problems

Money related stress causes serious problems for most of the college students. Many students drop out their studies because of financial issues. Counseling can help you explore your financial problems, organize your spending habits in a more productive way and evaluate the possible sources of your income.

7. Degree Program Concerns

Some students get anxious wondering whether they are enrolled in the right

degree program. They are overwhelmed with the feeling of being stuck and they worry about their professional and personal future. Seek professional help if you feel that you are trapped and lack the motivation to pursue your degree. A psychotherapist may be able to help you examine your motivation and potential options and provide effective career counseling and coaching.

For students to be able to learn and progress they need to be emotionally, physically and intellectually well. If you struggle, you are more likely to develop different mental health issues or drop out of college. Reaching out for psychotherapy can be a great way to manage anxiety, stress, depression or relationship issues and successfully reach your academic goals. Trust your concerns to a skilled therapist who can help you get your life back on the track and pursue your academic dreams confidently.


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