By: Dr. Loberg, Gonzaga University Counseling Center
College can be an exciting time of life, and can also be overwhelming. Developmentally, students are immersed in the task of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, establishing independence, and facing the question: “Who Am I and What Can I Be?” This developmental work is happening as students face the daily stressors of class, work, extracurricular activity, and navigating relationships with peers, parents, and professors.
In line with the mission of “care for the whole person,” counselors are available to work with students on concerns related to mental health and emotional wellbeing. The staff at the Counseling Center have specialized training in working with the myriad of psychological and developmental concerns that are unique to college students. The center is staffed by 3 PhD/PsyD level Psychologists, 1 PhD level Postdoctoral Fellow, a MA level provider, and trainees including Psychiatric Residents from the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The staff at the counseling center believe that student’s personal and emotional growth during this time of life is as important as academic growth. At times, personal or emotional conflicts may inhibit a student’s ability to be successful in their academic work. Reasons for coming to therapy vary: Students may be experiencing a problem such as sleep loss that is symptomatic of a larger issue, such as depression or anxiety. Students also access counseling services during times of crisis with a goal of achieving stability so that they can return to their lives. Students may want to explore their identity development via personal or career counseling. In some cases, students may be feeling “stuck,” but unable to identify any major problem. Counselors are available to work with students by “meeting them where they are at,” a tenant of Rogerian person-centered therapy that is well suited to the holistic approach to care utilized at the Counseling Center.
Services offered at the counseling center include brief therapy, group therapy, career counseling, ADHD/LD testing, consultation, and weekly psychoeducational workshops. Staff work to link students to competent and trusted professionals in the community for needs that surpass the capabilities of the center.
Upcoming events of interest include a new lineup of weekly workshops. These workshops are targeted to give students practical information in a casual environment. For some students, these workshops serve as an introduction to staff counselors and psychologists, and are a gateway in building the comfort or courage to schedule an appointment for individual therapy. For other students, the workshops serve as a place to obtain practical advice—and a free meal! Pizza is complimentary for attendees.
Last year Dr. Blevins and Dr. Loberg led a successful Mindfulness Meditation group. This year, Dr. Loberg and intern Holly Perry will be leading a group called, “Making Happiness a Habit,” that is based in Positive Psychology research and theory. Students and parents alike can look for updated events and offerings by visiting our website at http://www.gonzaga.edu/Student+Life/Counseling-Center/default.asp, or by “liking” the Gonzaga University Counseling Center on Facebook.
We are happy to answer questions regarding our services. Upon ending outreach activities, we often remind students that we are here 40 hours per week to work with them. It is our goal as mental health care providers to ensure that the needs of students are being met, and that students are finding optimal conditions for personal growth while they are in college.