Counseling Center

The Student Counseling Center provides quality, professional and effective behavioral care services for students. The center helps students grow emotionally, intellectually and socially, and it also promotes general wellness. The SOS assists students in improving self-awareness, defining personal goals, resolving personal challenges and integrating effective living skills into their lives. 

 

Individual Counseling:

The Office of Student Well-being offers individual counseling that is aimed to help students work through their personal and social difficulties that affect academic performance, career plans and personal lives or relationships; understand themselves; and find effective ways to manage their problems. Since understanding and adjusting to those personal challenges and changes is not always easy, students may benefit from the help of individual counseling. Individual counseling is a cooperative effort between the student and the counselor. Counseling is usually conducted through a weekly session in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. Students benefit from selecting a preferred counselor, depending on the counselor’s availability.

Students often seek the help of the SOS for assistance with issues as problems in relationships, family issues, complications with friends or peers, depression, obsessions, phobias, anxiety, culture adjustment and drug abuse problems. Sometimes students also seek advice on how to help a peer of a family member.

The first appointment is an initial assessment :

  • When you visit our office, plan to arrive before your appointment time as you will be given a form to fill information about yourself for your counselor.
  • The first appointment includes explanation of the ethical role of the counselor and confidentiality, better understanding of the student’s concerns and arranging a therapeutic plan.

 

Group Counseling:

Students who share interest in a particular psychological issue may approach our office for group counseling sessions facilitated by a counselor. The number of students in a group is usually eight. A student interested in forming or becoming part of a group must be committed to completing the group counseling program, each session lasts for about two hours, and students must be willing to share openly in group work. 

 

Counseling and Wellness Program:

To be well means more than simply being physically healthy. Wellness encompasses a wider meaning of health, reflective of a positive state of balance between the four main domains of a person: mind, body, spirit and emotions. The SOS promotes this goal of wellness in the AUC community. It offers educational workshops on topics including stress management, healthy body image, substance abuse awareness and overcoming depression, as well as practical workshops such as yoga, pilates and art expression. To intensify the wellness efforts, several other AUC centers and departments collaborate with the SOS in offering diverse wellness-related workshops. 

 

Making an Appointment:

You can make an appointment by calling 26153902/26153906 between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday. A front desk staff member will help you schedule a time to meet with a counselor. Usually, appointments can be arranged within a few days.

 

Cancelation Policy:

Should you wish to cancel your appointment, contact us 26153902/26153906 between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday. Please cancel your appointment at least 48 hours before your original appointment time.

 

Eligibility:

Student Well-being offers services to enrolled undergraduate and graduate students free of charge.

 

Confidentiality:

The Office of Student Well-Being at AUC respects the right to privacy for all students who seek counseling. All counseling sessions are treated with the strictest confidence. This means that anything mentioned in discussion with the counselor will not be shared with anyone else without the written permission of the student. Students, however, are free to share whatever they choose about the counseling session.

Counselors may consult with their supervisors and colleagues for the benefit of the counseling process as a whole. All records are kept in the SOS office and do not become part of a student’s academic record, nor are they made available to any other member of the University community or the student’s parents.

 

Staff:

Our staff are psychologists, psychiatrists and professional counselors who have particular experience and interest in working with university students. We are committed to helping each student figure out what is best for him/herself, and how to pursue the most appropriate solution.

 

Talk about mental health:

If you know someone who has a mental health problem, offer him/her the appropriate support. You don’t have to be an expert to talk about mental health:

Talk but listen too; Simply being there will mean a lot.

Keep in touch; Meet up, phone, text or email.

Don’t just talk about mental health; Chat about everyday things as well.

Remind them you care; Small things can make a big difference.

Be patient: Ups and downs can happen.

 

Mental health includes psychological, emotional and social well-being that affect our thoughts, feelings and behavior to cope with life stressors, such as: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction
  • Eating Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • Emotional, Physical and Sexual abuse
  • Sexuality and Sexual identity
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

Anxiety:

At one time or another, everyone experiences anxiety when they are overwhelmed, stressed or threatened; it is normal to feel anxious. Sometimes anxiety becomes intense and interferes with one’s ability to function in society.

The level of anxiety experienced by students differs in intensity; it can range from mild worry to severe anxiety, and severe anxiety of special situations can lead to panic. In some cases, anxiety can motivate students and enhance their academic performance, but sometimes it can become too severe or chronic. As a result, it can deteriorate one’s performance. 

Changes in students’ lives can be challenging for them to cope with life demands. The following can trigger anxiety:

  • Transition from high school to university
  • Moving in to university dorms, or
  • Keeping up with college demands
  • Personal relationship problems    
  • Difficulty with fitting into social life as a college student when students may deal with loneliness.
  • Sudden loss of beloved someone

Anxiety and Panic attacks:

Severe anxiety can cause a panic attack, which is an intense fear accompanied with different physical reactions and thoughts of losing control. It is an unpleasant experience, and people fear panic attacks and avoid special situations.

Anxiety is usually experienced through feelings of fear and extreme nervousness, troubling stomach, increased palpitation, dry mouth, sweating and difficulty breathing. Also, anxious students may experience negative and irrational thoughts. 

 

Depression:

People may go through ups and downs from time to another, but with social support, things can get better. For others, they struggle with coping with changes in their lives and feel despair and bad about themselves. However, the difference between feeling down and depressed is the duration and intensity of the feeling.

Depression is a spectrum that ranges from mild, struggling to severe. It is very common and may affect students

You could be depressed if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Frequent and persistent low mood interfering with academic performance, personal relationships and self-esteem. 
  • Avoiding people and social events in general
  • Hopeless feelings about the future
  • Sleep deprivation or oversleeping
  • Change in appetite: eating too much or eating too little
  • Decreased energy and feeling fatigue
  • Feeling empty and numbness
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Negative feelings such as worthlessness and helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

 

How to fight depression:

You can find plenty of helpful resources to tackle your depression but if you feel threatened or at risk, we urge to contact the SOS immediately.

People are affected by depression differently, so what might work for others might not work for you, so you need to find what works best for you. Start with small tasks to motivate yourself; the more strategies you have the more you can find the best strategies that work for you.

  • Taking care of yourself is important step in feeling better and resisting depression.
  • Setting realistic goals for yourself is a powerful strategy in reducing negative thinking and therefore resisting depression. You may engage in activities that consume your time and energy in a healthy way. Start small, focus on what you can do and don’t pressure yourself. Be occupied to distract yourself from negative thinking.
  • Withdrawal from others and loss of interests in activities are warning signs of depression. Engaging in fun activities is the quickest way to fight depression. Motivate yourself to engage in an activity for at least 10 minutes, and then you can stop. Keep doing this daily, and you will see a difference.
  • Develop a healthy routine: get enough sleep, exercise, go out with friends, engage in pleasurable activities and eat healthy. 

 

Eating Disorders:

Eating disorder is a mental illness that affects a person’s mental, psychological and physical health. It causes serious disturbances to his/her eating behaviors. People who suffer from an eating disorder are obsessed with food, body weight and body image. Although it is a serious condition, it is treatable, and full recovery is possible.

Food are used as a means to deal with emotional distress as it is often associated with poor body image, negative perceptions about oneself and lack of control. Other factors such as anxiety, stress, depression, personal and family problems, and trauma are associated with developing eating disorders. There is always an underlying issue that causes eating disorder. As a result, food obsession becomes an unhealthy way of taking control of one’s life.

Common symptoms of eating disorders:

  • Unbalanced mental condition
  • Obsession with food and diet
  • Depending on food related behavior to deal with emotional distress
  • Desire to take control over their body, or at least one aspect in life
  • Seek for perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem that results from shame and guilt feelings

 

There are different types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge Eating

 

Anorexia:

It is characterized by low body weight and by compulsive behaviors such as dieting, excessive exercising, vomiting and using laxatives. People suffering with anorexia control their food intake through starvation as their body image is distorted, and they have unrealistic image of themselves. They perceive themselves as fat where in reality they are not at all; they are usually normal or underweight. Eating disorders affect people’s relationships with others, which leads them to withdraw from family and friends. Also, they usually avoid social events and family gatherings to avoid eating in front of others.

Because of the body starvation, anorexia has adverse physical consequences as well as psychological.

Common Physical symptoms:

  • Being underweight
  • A drastic weight loss in a short period of time
  • For girls, irregular menstrual cycles
  • Low energy, fatigue and tiredness and feeling dizzy
  • Low body temperature
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • For children and young teens, it affects their development

 

Common Psychological symptoms:

  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Denial that there is a problem
  • Limited food intake
  • Secretive and unusual eating habits
  • Obsessive compulsive behaviors
  • Obsession with body weight and distorted body image
  • Avoiding eating in public and telling lies about the amount of the food intake, such as that they have already eaten earlier
  • Misperceptions about their bodies (Thinking they are fat)
  • Telling lies about their actual body weight and the weight they have lost
  • Preoccupied with food
  • Restricted diet, excessive exercising, vomiting and using laxatives
  • Starvation/ fasting and missing meals
  • Cutting food into small pieces
  • Social withdrawal

 

Bulimia:

Is characterized by eating large amount of food (binging) in a short time and then purging by vomiting and using laxatives to prevent weight gain. In fact, most bulimics are maintaining the normal weight or overweight.

 

Common physical symptoms:

  • Changes in weight
  • Sores in the mouth and throat because of vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Dental problems
  • Weakness and fatigue

 

Common psychological symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessed with weight and appearance
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Withdrawal from others

 

Binge Eating:

It is characterized by eating large amount of food (binging), where people experience loss of control by overeating. They follow unusual secretive eating habits, and they usually binge without being hungry, unlike bulimics, their binge eating isn’t followed by purging. The binge eating episodes stop when they feel uncomfortably full. Also, binge eating is associated with emotional distress and filling the feeling of emptiness with food.

 

Common psychological symptoms:

  • Loss of control/ inability to stop eating
  • Binge eating when you are full
  • Unusual secretive behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness
  • Guilt and shame

 

How to overcome binge eating?

There are different strategies to overcome binge eating:

  • Manage stress by exercising or meditating
  • Eating three meals per day plus healthy snacks (healthy portions)
  • Avoid temptation by buying “special” binge food and clearing the fridge
  • Stop strict dieting as it can trigger food cravings; be moderate
  • Exercise as it works as a mood boost that will stop emotional eating
  • Listen to your body’s needs