There is a mutually beneficial relationship between international students and the United States. Dissimilar to their domestic peers, international student status may serve to complicate transitional issues as international students must quickly adapt to the United States educational system and culture to achieve academic success and avoid any immediate negative academic consequences. Financial stressors can seriously impair the mental health of international students and potentially their partners. Given the added stressors experienced by international students, it is no surprise that international students present to college counseling centers with a variety of concerns. College counseling centers provide two very important services to students with disabilities: assessment and documentation of disability, and counseling and advocacy. Veteran students may refrain from therapy services as an avoidant strategy believing that exploring past traumatic experiences to be too difficult. Determining the number of sexual and gender minority students on college campuses is difficult.
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Alcohol and other drugs (AOD)/substance use on college campuses has been an ongoing challenge for campus administrations, health services and health promotion, housing, and counseling centers. The misuse of substances by college students has a significant physiological, emotional, economic, and academic cost. Students are frequently unaware of the impact marijuana use may have on academic performance and motivation. Brief intervention (BI) and treatment have been shown to be effective treatment modalities at reducing high-risk substance abuse behaviors. Counseling centers may consider allowing for at least one session of motivational interviewing to increase the likelihood of clients following through on referrals to comprehensive substance use assessment, self-help groups, or treatment. Counseling center staff, even those with limited AOD treatment experience, can feel empowered to use the screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment (SBIRT) model. Group therapy is one of the most widely used treatment modalities for substance use.
Depression and anxiety are the most prominent psychological issues on college campuses and in counseling centers. Cognitive, affective, and behavioral anxiety-related symptoms are specific to the particular type of anxiety disorder one is experiencing. Cultural variables impact the prevalence and presentation of symptoms and level of help-seeking behaviors. Individual counseling is an effective means for treatment and relapse prevention of depression- and anxiety-related symptoms and is a primary treatment modality within college counseling. Group counseling is another efficacious treatment for depression and anxiety. Self-help resources can be provided online, during outreach presentations, or suggested as a lower level intervention for students who present to the counseling center with mild symptoms and impaired functioning. Computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) and e-mail cognitive behavioral therapy (eCBT) are newer methods for remotely treating anxiety and depression. Uses of social media are current and relevant ways for connecting with students.
The college counseling center provides a diverse clinical experience to graduate trainees. Counseling centers have the ability to provide training for a range of disciplines, including counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and other professionals. Master’s-level internship experiences differ from practicum experiences in the number of hours required, the comprehensive nature of training, and the building of a professional identity as a counselor. The doctoral practicum is also an opportunity to amass clinical hours in preparation for applying to a predoctoral internship. Obtaining an internship is an intensive, costly, and at times confusing process. Postdoctoral fellowships in counseling centers can be either formal or informal. Supervision is one of the most critical aspects of counseling center training. Professional development opportunities allow trainees to develop in their professional identities, connect with other trainees and professionals in the community, and build a framework for active postgraduate professional participation.
This chapter outlines sexual violence on college campuses as well as implication for counseling centers. Use of alcohol is directly related to the majority of sexual assaults on college campuses, with both the victim of sexual assault and perpetrator of sexual assault being under the influence of alcohol. Stalkers can threaten, attack, sexually assault, or kill victims, making it imperative to appropriately assess and intervene with any stalking occurring on- and off-campus. Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, is comprised of a host of unlawful actions that harass a person based on his or her sex. However, considering the significant underreporting of sexual violence, students who have a history of sexual violence may likely present to treatment with other identified mental health concerns. On campus, advocacy efforts by counseling centers can include establishing protocols for addressing safety on campus and the campus’s response to sexual violence.
This chapter briefly explores the diversity composite of United States colleges and counseling centers (CCC), articulates the standards and requirements of ethics as related to diversity, and provides readers with information and tools for expanded attention to diversity and inclusivity excellence within CCCs. CCCs are required to follow the multicultural ethical guidelines set by the broader psychological community and guidelines specific to college counseling. The results of a multicultural organization include improvement in services, productivity, and education. Fully integrating multicultural competence and diversity and shifting toward a multicultural organization and social justice agency can be a daunting task for which many counseling centers may feel underprepared. The identified areas of competence on the College and University Counseling Center Multicultural Competence Checklist (CUCMCC) include: diversity vision, mission, and values, physical environment, leadership and policy, staffing, performance evaluation, and promotion, training and supervision, professional development, clinical services, and consultation, outreach, and advocacy.