It is not unusual for a student to come to Loyola having already received counseling in some capacity. Other students may not have previous counseling experience but might have a difficult time transitioning to college. In either of these circumstances, students and parents are advised to use the consultative services of the Counseling Center to find out about the best options available to them. We will make our best effort to assess your child's current needs and then link him or her with the most appropriate treatment option. Such options might include participation in a group, short-term individual counseling at the Counseling Center, or a referral to a highly qualified therapist in the community. Parents are also reminded that their continued support and involvement is often crucial to the well-being of the student.
If your son or daughter has already developed a relationship with a therapist at home, it can be difficult to make a change to a new therapist at school. Sometimes students will want to continue an established relationship with a therapist by arranging phone contacts from college. In some cases, this is the therapist’s recommendation and the arrangement can work well enough. However, we have found that students usually do better when they are connected with a new therapist in Baltimore. While many students and parents are understandably tempted to look ahead optimistically and want to honor the student's growing independence, the transition to college is a time when direct therapeutic support is especially valuable. With few exceptions, face-to-face counseling is more effective than telephone counseling, and is experienced as more supportive. We have repeatedly heard from students that, even when the move to a new therapist was made reluctantly, the new connection proved to be very helpful. We therefore recommend that families discuss with the student's therapist at home how this transition will best be handled. We encourage both therapists and families to consult with the Counseling Center about the best options available here in Baltimore.
Counseling often involves the disclosure of sensitive personal information. Any information a client shares with staff members of the Counseling Center is protected by professional ethics and state law. In fact, we are prohibited from even sharing whether or not a student is in counseling. Information about the counseling a student receives is not released, except with a student's written permission, in circumstances which would result in clear danger to the student or others, or as may be required by law. It is understandable that you may wish to be involved when your son or daughter seeks counseling, but the confidentiality issues described above do not permit such involvement without the consent of the student. Often, the best source of information for parents about the counseling process is the student. Beyond that, if more information is desired, the student must sign a written release specifically permitting us to communicate with you. While it is not legal or ethical for the Center to provide parents with information that a son or daughter reveals in counseling, parents are welcome to call the Center and provide us with feedback or share your concerns about your child.
Why might counseling be suggested to a student?
People seek counseling for many reasons, which can range from the ambition to solve a long-standing problem to a desire to enhance their personal growth. To address the personal, educational and career concerns of the students, the Center offers both group and individual counseling. Students may come in to discuss issues such as: roommate conflicts, anxiety and stress management, depression, eating disorders, career choices, and family concerns such as divorce or alcoholism. Students may also receive psychiatric services if medication is considered essential to the treatment of their concerns.
Here are some of the common instances in which counseling might be recommended to a student:
- Fundamental or traumatic changes in personal relationships, such as the death of a family member or friend, a divorce or separation in the family, etc;.
- Significant changes in mood or behavior, such as withdrawal from others, antisocial activity (e.g., lying, stealing), spells of unexplained crying, outbursts of anger, or unusual agitation;
- References to suicide– Since it is difficult to distinguish between serious threats or passing idle thoughts of suicide, judgment about the seriousness of a situation is best made in consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist;
- Anxiety and depression– These are two of the more common issues that can significantly impair a student's functioning;
- Psychosomatic symptoms– such as tension headaches, loss of appetite or excessive eating, insomnia or excessive sleeping, or chronic stomach distress, etc;
- Alcohol and drug abuse– evidence of excessive drinking, drug abuse or drug dependence is very often indicative of psychological problems;
- Career choice concerns– often these concerns reflect the student's struggle to understand him or herself and the working world. It sometimes reflects a problem with decision-making in general and/or;
- Academic concerns– such as contemplating dropping out of school, worrying about possible academic failure, or considering a transfer to another school.
Some concerns may require counseling over the course of a semester, an academic year, or longer, which would necessitate a referral to a therapist in the community. The student insurance policy offered through the Health Center on campus can facilitate care while away from home. It is also work looking into your family's insurance, but insurance policies often vary with regard to mental health coverage and sometimes are not very portable.