This chapter briefly examines the history of the student affairs profession, specific issues students face when adjusting to college, and the role of student affairs professionals in providing support to students. It is essential that those who work in higher education institutions today possess a comprehensive understanding of the range of challenges that their students face. Student affairs professionals carry the responsibility of creating an atmosphere and environment that promotes student development both personally and professionally outside the classroom. The chapter discusses the importance of using theories to assist students. There are a number of different theories that are commonly used by student affairs professionals. The use of theories as a framework can provide student affairs professionals a way to communicate across departments, and beyond the “silos”, to ensure that programs are addressing the emotional, social, and cognitive needs of the diverse students who are pursuing their education on campus.
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One of the more comprehensive and enduring theories of psychosocial development was created by Erik Erikson (Erikson, 1968). He developed a map of human psychosocial development that covered the crises and touch points humans experience from birth to death. This chapter provides brief descriptions of each stage of Erikson’s chronologically organized model. Erikson’s model of sequential development implies that incomplete resolution of one developmental crisis may hinder future developmental progress regardless of an individual’s chronological age. Thus, “arrested development” may lead to a variety of concerns, behavioral problems, or adverse events for students, regardless of their ages. Awareness of the role that psychosocial development can play in a student’s maturity level or his or her adherence to rules and expectations can help student affairs professionals recognize and respond to student issues. The chapter outlines the ways in which obstructed development may create challenges for students on campus.
This chapter discusses the phenomenological realities, as well as the developmental and systemic experiences, of both middle and older adult women. The period of middle adulthood includes the years between the 40th and the 65th birthday. Older adulthood is being used to describe the period from the 65th birthday onward. The chapter explores both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence the interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences of both middle and older adult women. Social and gender role analysis is useful for women in middle to older adulthood as the self-expression generated through feminist theory technique encourages them to break down the cultural stereotypes and presumptive obligations by which they have enacted their lives. Empowerment and self-expression are crucial for middle-aged and older women, since societal pressures may push women to shame themselves for their older age.
There are many different subgroups of “stay-at-home moms” and “stay-at-home dads”, and members of each of the various groups may face unique obstacles to employment. Although men”s career trajectories are expected to follow a specific path, women”s paths often show a great deal of variety. In some cases, a stay-at-home mother”s partner may prefer that she stay in her role as full-time, primary caregiver. The clash of values between traditional gender roles and economic necessity creates personal difficulties that can be frustrating for women trying to get back into the work world. When mothers are able to secure jobs once their children reach school age, they may still find it difficult to relinquish the caregiver role. As women”s career aspirations shift, their preparation for the return to work may require additional education, which can delay the return to work and create its own set of challenges for the family system.
This chapter describes career counseling considerations for African American Men, Latino Men, and Asian American Men. Interpersonal and systemic discrimination are still prominent in society, leading to elevated social and health risks for African American males. Creative career interventions could be beneficial for African American males. Narrative therapy allows clients to tell their unique stories to counselors open to learning new contexts and ways of dealing with challenges and problems within the clients’ realm of possibilities. Counselors using career counseling strategies should remember the unique needs of the populations with which they are working. Feminist theory has been extremely useful in working with marginalized populations, and this orientation can be expanded by the use of relevant career assessments. Asian Americans encounter counselors who promote individualism and focus on the needs of the client without consideration for the impact on the family.
Sandplay is a therapeutic intervention that allows individuals to articulate their current concerns or problems in a symbolic, nonverbal manner. This form of therapy relies on a client’s intuitive knowledge and the counselor’s belief that clients enter the counseling process already possessing the solution to their concerns although they may not yet be aware of this. Both adults and children can benefit from this adjunctive therapy, which calls on the active imagination to express with symbols what is difficult to express in words. Sandplay techniques allow clients to explore issues at their own speed and without having to use direct verbal exploration of the concern. Sandtray is an excellent medium for introducing the expressive arts into a counseling session in an easy and nonthreatening manner. Sandtray invites both nondirective and directive work with clients and provides a lasting image of their inner worlds.
Many cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) goals and techniques are in alignment with an expressive arts perspective. In both CBT and the expressive arts, the common goal is for the client to achieve behavioral change. This chapter explains how the expressive arts can be integrated into CBT. There is strong empirical support for the use of CBT for a range of client concerns, which makes it a frequent choice for many clinicians. The successful practice of this form of therapy requires counselors to help clients intentionally identify and explore the faulty beliefs that they hold and actively work to change these. The expressive arts provide multiple methods of exploring clients’ connections between thoughts and action. The chapter proposes multiple examples of how CBT can be integrated with creative expression. Some of the expressive arts interventions proposed in the chapter include: (1) Catastrophe comic book; and (2) Acting out: paradoxical intervention.
The expressive arts have the power to help us transcend the mundane and to connect with parts of ourselves that traditional talk therapy may not so readily offer. Engagement in the expressive arts allows clients to explore their deepest and often hidden feelings, to use symbols to represent their inner feelings and conflicts, and to physically express their internal issues. Art takes many forms and various methods and media are used in its creation. Visual art, music, dance/movement, drama, and expressive writing are the primary expressive arts modalities used in counseling. The creative arts offer both the clinician and the client an opportunity to move beyond the expressive limits of talk therapy. Further, the arts can be successfully incorporated in any clinical setting, from schools to outpatient settings to residential treatment centers, and with clients of any age, from young children to older adults.
Universities are becoming increasingly appreciative of the importance of students’ college experiences outside of the classroom. Increased campus involvement meets numerous student needs that are uncovered during counseling process. Social involvement is directly related to self-esteem among college students. Having friends boosts self-esteem and helps a student feel a sense of belonging. Students do not need to interact with large groups to reap benefits of social interaction; a small group of close friends is preferable to most students than a large group of more distant friends. Feelings of low self-esteem may be linked to a variety of causes, including social anxiety, feeling out of place, identity confusion, or perceived discrimination. Because it may be difficult to determine whether a lack of social activity is causing low self-esteem or vice versa, counselors are better served by both encouraging social involvement and confronting issues related to self-esteem in therapy sessions.
College students must make sexual choices; more clearly define their sexual identity; and consistently consider sexual health in order to maintain a strong and positive holistic sense of self. College counselors should be able to provide accurate information on a wide variety of sexual issues as well as a safe environment for students to determine what is best. Educating students about everything from vocabulary to communicating with partners about topics such as sexual concerns and safe sexual practices are the areas in which clients will most likely need assistance. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students have additional factors, their sexual identity and orientation that can greatly influence their college experiences. It is vital that college counseling centers provide relevant, accessible information and materials, as well as helpful referrals, for specialized information regarding safe sex, contraception, and sexual health.