Counselling Services offers support for students who are feeling stressed and pressured

By Dale Johnson Posted: January 24, 2017 6:00 a.m.

The University of Regina’s Counselling Services offers help so people can get more out of their university experience.
The University of Regina’s Counselling Services offers help so people can get more out of their university experience. Photo: U of R Photography

Sometimes personal issues can make it difficult to focus on university studies and activities. If you are going through a difficult period, there is help available at U of R Counselling Services. January can be an especially stressful time for some people. We sat down and talked with one of the counsellors about the services that are offered.

What are some of the stresses and pressures people feel at this time of the year that may not be so pronounced during the rest of the year?

It is not uncommon for people to take their personal issues and put them on pause for the holiday season. Worry about work, studies, relationships, or family conflicts often takes a back seat to the festivities. Think about how you might feel on vacation away from work, email, bills, and exposure to the daily news. It all tends to come storming back once you return to routine. As a result, January is a return to reality and a return to difficulties that people had hoped had disappeared but did not.

Students returning to school may experience stresses that they experienced in the fall at the beginning of the semester: loneliness, self doubt, stress about financing their education, issues about living away from family and loved ones, struggles with the responsibilities of independent living and/or the stresses of living with strangers.   

Is counselling done in person, by phone, or online?

In general sessions are held in person. Most students want and appreciate face-to-face contact. On occasion when students are out of town or unable to come in for an appointment, counselling can be done over the phone.

If someone is having a difficult time, how can they contact Counselling Services?

There are many way that a student can book an appointment. Students can go online and book an appointment at https://www.uregina.ca/student/counselling/, they can go to the Student Success Centre and either book an appointment there or ask if a counsellor is free who can see them right away, they can phone Counselling Services at 306-585-4491 and they can fill out an online contact form which will be forwarded to Counselling Services through email.

How long does a session take?

Initial intake sessions take about 30 minutes to complete. Therapy sessions could last for an hour although sometimes more, sometimes less – depending on the issues being discussed and the availability of the counsellor.

How do you keep sessions confidential?

Psychologists are required to maintain privacy and confidentiality both by professional ethics governed by the Canadian Psychological Association’s Code of Ethics, the Saskatchewan College of Psychologists Professional Practice Guidelines, and provincial and federal legislation.

A breach of privacy and confidentiality is considered a serious transgression, which is subject to disciplinary action of the psychologist by the Saskatchewan College of Psychologists and the employer, the University of Regina.  Psychologists receive extensive training on maintaining confidentiality.

In recent years, there has been more attention paid to mental health issues. Are you seeing that at Counselling Services? Are more people seeking help than in the past?

There are more students seeking help than ever before and many of these students are experiencing significant distress. This is a trend that is consistent with observations made on university campuses throughout North America.

Some of the presenting problems are: symptoms of moderate to severe depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, mood and anxiety disorders,  symptoms of thought disorders, relationship difficulties, test taking anxiety, and difficulty adjusting to a new culture, to name a few.

Can you give general examples of how counselling has helped individuals?

Counselling helps students in a variety of ways: it gives emotional support and validation, teaches new skills such as conflict resolution, stress reduction and assorted coping strategies, helps to develop resilience, understanding and insight into personal difficulties. The goal of counselling is to assist students in fulfilling their personal and academic potential.

If you are finding that personal issues are affecting your studies and other activities, please contact U of R Counselling Services or phone 306-585-4491. There’s no cost and the service is confidential.