You probably don’t need to be reminded that this has been a challenging year. In addition to school, work, and everyday stresses, you’re living through a pandemic, worrying about your own health and perhaps the health of loved ones.
Therapy is a specific space and place for you to talk about anything that is concerning you or bringing you stress. Counseling can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to cope with the world around you and can help you overcome challenges you might be experiencing. You can discover more about yourself and why you respond to situations in a certain way. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to just talk to someone who doesn’t know you and it on your side. Therapists are here to help you and listen to you. They want to see you succeed and help you achieve your mental health goals
That’s where the Student Counseling Center can help support you. The Student Counseling Center is here to help you through the pandemic, with mental health issues, or any challenge that you may be dealing with. In COVID-19 times, the services may look a little different in a virtual format, but all services are available to help even more students residing both on and off-campus.
We know that you might not always have access to a private space that allows you to speak openly with your therapist. That’s why we have created specific spaces around campus where you can have a private space for your telemental health session! We also have spaces in the Counseling Center available for students. Just let us know that you would like a private space when you call.
If you live away from Knoxville, please share your situation during the initial brief assessment and the therapist will assist in booking telehealth. Students residing out of state will need to use resources licensed in the state where they currently live.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Counseling Center staff recognizes the importance of helping ensure you feel welcome to use their services and feel like you are being heard by your counselor. Staff members of the Counseling Center attend regular training as it relates to diversity and inclusion, such as Safe Zone at UT, and are actively engaged in conversations about racism and discrimination and how those experiences impact mental health.
The center has also added additional resources for marginalized student populations, such as specifics groups that allow for students to feel safer and more comfortable sharing their experiences. Topics shared in these groups include cultural misunderstanding, racism, biases, and stereotypes. The Counseling Center has partnered with the Office of Multicultural Student Life to create the Students of Color Support and Empowerment Group, a group focused on serving students of color and giving students a supportive and understanding space to share.
To increase the availability of therapists with diverse identities, the center has contracted with local therapists of color to provide services for students needing a therapist with whom they can more closely align. These services are provided virtually and at no additional cost to the student to reduce potential obstacles to treatment for students of color.
Group therapy services have been extended this semester to better serve you and other students! Here are some groups that are being hosted this semester:
- International Student Support Group
- Interpersonal Process (IP) Groups
- Women’s Group
- Trans Student Support
- LGBTQ+ Groups
- Men’s Group
Group therapy has proven to be just as effective as individual therapy for most common mental health concerns! It allows you the chance to connect with your fellow students who may be feeling the same as you or going through similar experiences. A small number of students (usually about eight) meet weekly with one or two group therapists for 75 or 90 minutes depending on the group.
Individual Counseling Services
One of the most well-known services that the Counseling Center provides is individual counseling or individual therapy. This form of counseling allows you to meet regularly with one of the center’s licensed staff members for up to 12 sessions. Individual sessions may start weekly or every other week, and then be less frequent as you are improving.
Therapy/counseling sessions last around 45 minutes. At your first appointment, you will have a chance to describe your concerns. From there, you and your clinician will establish one or two goals for therapy work. It is important that you approach individual therapy with a “work” frame of reference, as change is a process that takes active involvement from you!
Wellness Workshop Series
Many students are not interested in ongoing therapy but could use a boost of information to help them navigate certain issues. The Wellness Workshop Series (WWS) is free, and no appointment is necessary! Topics include stress, relaxation, meditation, taming distressing thoughts, healthy habits, building connections, finding balance, perfectionism, and self-compassion.
Each Wednesday, experts from the Center for Health Education and Wellness, RecSports, Student Conduct & Community Standards, the Student Health Center, and the Student Counseling Center offer unique and engaging opportunities for you to find the balance that you need to be your best at UT.
Finding a personal sense of wellness can be challenging, especially during COVID-19. We know that this past year has been hard for our Volunteer community, and we encourage you to explore the options available to help you find what you need to be successful, even during a pandemic.