HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

Section IV–Mental Health Facts

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What Professional Counseling Really Is

A counselor helps you identify a problem area, explore factors which may be contributing to your difficulty, and provides options for you to consider. Counseling is not something that’s done to you. On the contrary, you are called upon to play a very active role in getting better and form a team with your therapist to work toward agreed upon goals. A therapist may have you keep a daily journal, read personal improvement books, practice new behaviors, etc. The goal in counseling is to draw upon your strengths to help you resolve your problems. Counseling is a way of helping you help yourself.

  Helping Someone Close to You

There will probably come a time when someone you know could benefit from professional counseling. They may, however, deny that a problem exists and won’t do anything about it. You can aid a friend or loved one by discussing those aspects of their behavior that are of concern. You should also discuss the benefits of counseling and share any personal experiences you’ve had with it. You may even want to help them select a therapist by using the information in this book, see page 10.

Don't feel like you have to "go it alone." If you need additional advice or someone to help you in your discussions with your friend, talk to any of the following people:

Your EAP representative
Your physician
Your student counseling center's staff
Your friend's family
Your clergy

Your friend or loved one may not be very open to your assistance at first, but be persistent.  The care and support you provide is an important factor in helping them get better.

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March 21, 2007