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Personal Counseling

 

The mission of Counseling Services is to use a brief, solution focused model of counseling.  Most students are seen for 1-6 sessions.  Once assigned to a counselor, you will work with that counselor to identify and discuss your current concerns.  The counselor will assist you with developing effective therapeutic goals to help you with your concerns.

Students often come to counseling for assistance with anxiety/stress, depression, relationship issues (family, peers, romantic or roommate), low self- confidence, grief, recovery from an unwanted sexual contact or violence, hopelessness/suicidal thinking, eating issues – too much or too little, difficulty making decisions, and trouble adjusting to college life.

For additional information on emotional health and wellness when transitioning to college visit http://transitionyear.org/

 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment of students attending Gordon State College is prohibited.

Definition of Sexual Harassment:

Unwelcome sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, constitute sexual harassment when:

Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s academic standing.

Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or

Such conduct reasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Examples of Sexual Harassment are: unwanted teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions of a sexual nature; unwanted pressure for dates; unwanted letters or phone calls of a sexual nature; unwanted sexually suggestive looks or gestures; unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching; unwanted pressure for sexual favors; actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.

Sexual Assault falls under the category of disorderly conduct and goes against the Gordon State College Student Code of Conduct.

Gordon State College Policy on Sexual Harassment

US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

RAINN definition of Sexual Harassment

US Department of Education Policy on Sexual Harassment

Partner/Domestic Violence

Warning signs
Your partner has an explosive temper and/or blames you for his/her anger
He/she is jealous of time you spend with family and friends
He/she repeatedly criticizes your ideas/thoughts and/or appearance
He/she slaps, pushes, grabs, or pinches you
Your partner forces you or intimidates you into sexual activity
You are afraid of your partner or your partner is controlling
You feel you have to apologize for your partner’s behavior when he/she treats you badly

Definitions of abuse:

Physical: Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical pain and/or withholding access to medication or medical care.
Emotional: Frequent criticism, belittling a person’s competency/abilities, name calling, and other efforts to damage a person’s self-image or self-worth.
Psychological: Controlling a person’s interaction with friends, family, work, or school. Forcing isolation, intimidation, threats, and blackmail.
Sexual: Any non-consensual sexual contact or treating someone in a sexually derogatory manner.
Economic: Efforts to make the person completely dependent on the abuser for money and/or financial survival.
Spiritual: Attempting to use the person’s faith against him/her. 

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a common problem among college students and can lead to many personal, relational, financial, academic, and legal problems.  Some potential signs you might have a drinking problem are you drink to forget or avoid your problems, drinking causes problems with school/work/interpersonal relationships, you injure yourself or get in trouble when you drink, you keep alcohol hidden for a quick “pick me up”, you drive after drinking, you need a drink to get you going in the morning, you choose to spend money on alcohol instead of other things you need.

Anxiety and Stress

Have you ever felt the butterflies in your stomach before a big performance or test? That's anxiety. Put simply, anxiety is fear. Anxiety is normal. It's normal to feel scared before a big event. Anxiety can show up as a variety of body signals: elevated heart rate, excessive sweating, cold hands, diarrhea or those butterflies in your stomach. It can also show up as difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and jumbled thoughts. These symptoms are telling you that you are feeling threatened and they are your body’s way of telling you to "get ready".  Everybody feels anxious or nervous sometimes; it is a normal human reaction.  In fact anxiety is normal response to help us cope with stress, but anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes in your life and causes distress and impartment because it is excessive, persistent, and intrusive. Research has demonstrated that having some anxiety enhances performance. However, if the anxiety gets too high it can actually decrease performance. This happens because the person feels overwhelmed by the anxiety.

Learning to keep your anxiety from overwhelming you is the key. First, accept anxiety as normal and everyone has anxiety to some degree even though it may not appear that way. Being human and being alive means you will have anxiety. Being completely free of anxiety should not be your goal. Your goal should be to manage your anxiety so that it doesn't run your life.

Learn and practice preventative strategies: get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, reduce caffeine intake, exercise, or meditate. All of these reduce your susceptibility to being overwhelmed by anxiety.

When facing new or threatening situations, be prepared as much as possible. The basketball star at the free throw line with the game on the line is less anxious because he or she has shot thousands of free throws in practice. The same is true with a test at school. The more you have prepared the less anxious you will be.

Learn some ways to reduce your anxiety when it does arise: take some slow deep breaths, visualize success or a relaxing, happy place, focus on relaxing your muscles, focus on positive thoughts and self-talk instead of negative ones

Work on building your self-esteem/self-confidence. If you have a history of having been criticized or abused emotionally or physically, you will be more likely to experience overwhelming anxiety.

If you have difficulty doing any of these things on your own, consider seeking help from a counselor to help you develop more effective skills for dealing with anxiety.

101 Strategies for coping with stress

Relaxation podcasts

Distorted thinking that can cause stress

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

 

Conflict with Roommate

It is possible that you could get matched with a roommate who is completely different from you and wonder how you’ll ever get along.  Even in the best of circumstances, when you’re matched with someone who has similar interests and habits, putting up with someone outside your family for long periods of time can still be a challenge.  For a lot of people college is his/her first experience with sharing a room.  Sometimes your roommate will have differing ideas/opinions/schedules/ways of doing things than you.  Some examples include: Wake up time/bedtime, taste in music, cleanliness, appropriate room behavior, money, computer and phone usage, study habits, circle of friends.

Tips for getting along

Consider coming up with some mutually agreed upon ground rules for the room

Find things you admire or appreciate in the other person instead of focusing on what bothers you about them.

Don’t assume your roommate is “out to get you” if you find some of his/her habits annoying, he/she may just be doing things the way he/she always has (e.g. studying with loud music on).  Calmly ask him/her about it.

COMMUNICATE, this one is important…if something bugs you calmly and respectfully discuss it with your roommate instead of silently letting your annoyance fester which makes things worse.  Allow your roommate to do the same thing with you.  Neither one of you are mind readers.

Conflict Management Strategies and Styles

Conflict Resolution Tools

Roommate Survival Guide

 

Grief and Trauma

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. College students can experience many kinds of losses, from the death of a loved one to the loss of a significant relationship. Other losses can occur as students experience change.  Grief and loss can also come from the experience of trauma such as witnessing an accident or death, having one’s life threatened, or surviving some kind of disaster.

The Grief that follows a significant loss is a natural response.  It is not a sign of weakness; it’s actually a healthy response. No two people react to loss exactly alike.  However, for many, the most immediate response is shock/disbelief.  Common physical reactions are tightness of the throat, upset stomach, sleep and appetite disturbance, lack of energy, dreams/nightmares about the loss.  Emotional reactions may include feelings of guilt, hostility, fearfulness, apathy, self-doubt, lack of concentration, and extreme sadness.

Remember that your feelings are normal and they will be felt in varying degrees of intensity over different periods of time.  Things you do, say, or hear and celebrations/holidays, songs, and significant places may trigger memories associated with the loss.  You may wonder if the sorrow will ever end, but in time the intensity of the negative emotions will subside and the good memories will remain.  Acceptance of the loss will help you gain a new sense of self and find a way to move on.  Here are some suggestions to help when dealing with grief:

Give yourself time, be patient and gentle with yourself

Express your feelings when you can cry and yell if you need to

Do something symbolic to let go and say goodbye

Talk to trusted friends and family members

Seek the help and support of a counselor

National Bereavement Resource Guide

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation

Tips for Survivors of Traumatic Events