Counseling Services

Your quality of life as a student is influenced by your psychological and emotional health. Taking care of your personal needs may help you do better academically.

At University Counseling Services, we are here to help. Our services are confidential, convenient and free to currently enrolled students. Our staff of experienced clinicians includes psychologists, counselors and social workers who are experts in working with university students and dealing with college student concerns.

If you are a student who wants to deal with academic stress, discuss relationship problems, resolve family conflicts, cope with anxiety, or deal with sad or suicidal feelings, browse our counseling services to find out the ways we can help. Students seek out University Counseling Services if they need help coping with crisis events like divorce, rape and assault, or other difficult life experiences like a break-up or loss. We’re also here for you if you want to achieve personal growth, restore motivation, improve academic performance or find direction.

Reasons People Say No to Counseling

Many students hesitate to seek counseling. They would like to see a counselor, but also feel it may be difficult or that others would look down on them.

Here are a few of the reasons that prevent or delay people from giving counseling a try. 

Counseling is a sign of weakness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes courage to address problem areas and examine painful feelings. Entering counseling is taking the first step in resolving difficulties.

I'm afraid that speaking to a counselor means that I am crazy.

You don't need to be sick or have a lot of problems to go into counseling. You just need to be feeling stuck. Counseling helps when you have tried to address a situation on your own, but your strategies don't seem to help.

Being able to ask for help often indicates maturity and a sense of security in oneself. Counseling is like seeing a doctor. You don't go to a doctor only if you have a heart attack. It can be helpful to see a doctor if you have the flu. Students often seek and benefit from counseling for issues such as academic difficulty, relationship problems, adjustment concerns, managing stress or choosing a major.

I can't afford to pay for counseling.

CSUN's counseling services are available at no charge to all currently enrolled students. If you are interested in seeing a professional in the community, we have many resources that provide lower cost services for those who qualify.

I can always talk to a friend. I don't understand how talking to a stranger can be helpful.

Although friends can provide wonderful support and empathy, they often are unable to be objective and they may lack the necessary training regarding psychological dynamics. Furthermore, in a friendship, the needs of both people must be attended to since friendships require a mutual exchange of listening and sharing. In a counseling relationship, the focus is solely on you. You don't have to worry about burdening a therapist. It's their job to listen.

I don't believe just talking can do any good.

Sharing information in an environment that is nonjudgmental and caring often helps relieve the emotional pressure caused by keeping our thoughts and feelings to ourselves. Counseling, however, is more than just talking. It is also a way of understanding who we are and how we relate to the world around us by focusing attention on the underlying dynamics of which we may have been previously unaware. This provides new ways of looking at our problems and opens up new choices about how to handle these problems.

I'm betraying my family.

Counselors are sensitive and respectful of concerns about family traditions and privacy. If conflicts about loyalty to family and culture are a concern, these issues can be discussed in the first session before more personal matters are addressed.

If I talk about my problems, I'll just make them worse.

On the contrary, opening up to previously suppressed concerns and worries helps dissipate the pain and intensity, while helping us understand our problems more completely. This facilitates a better understanding of choices and provides a better forum for decision making.

Benefits of Counseling

Counseling helps students in the following ways.

Get unstuck.

At times our usual ways of handling problems aren't working for some reason and we feel stuck. Counseling helps students discuss and understand their problems to help create different strategies.

Figure out problems.

Periods of life change, like being in college, may bring new stress and problems that have many sides and are not easily solved. Counseling can help clients understand the different sides of their problems so that their situation may be improved.

Develop a more positive, hopeful outlook.

When difficult life events come up or when a lot of little things go wrong for someone over time, it may become difficult to feel hopeful or have a positive outlook. Counseling can help students understand the impact that tough situations have had on their feelings and develop strategies to develop a more hopeful perspective.

Learn more about habits that lead to problems.

Most people struggle to overcome bad habits – behaviors that we seem to repeat over and over even though they may lead to problems. Procrastination, angry outbursts or drinking too much are examples of bad habits. Counseling provides a safe space to learn more about overcoming these habits by using strategies that have been shown to help others in similar situations.

Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.

Seeking help from professional, experienced helpers may allow you to feel that you are helping yourself by taking steps to improve your life and influence your life situation.

Discover personal strengths.

Counseling can help you learn more about yourself by allowing you to see and understand your strengths and learn how to use those strengths to grow in other areas.

Succeed in college.

Counseling can help you set goals for college and your future career. It can also help you understand your strengths and areas of growth as a student, how stress and emotional difficulties may interfere with your ability to focus on your studies, and how to develop better ways of coping.