Therapy for College Students

Our psychologists have extensive experience working with young adults, particularly those transitioning to college or well into their college years. College students today juggle an array of challenges, including coursework, relationships, and adjustment to campus life. They are also confronted with a unique set of stressors during this time of immense transition and personal development. This may lead to a conflicting state of increased independence and a need to take more initiative and responsibility in their lives while at the same time feeling insecure and in need of guidance. Therapy can be a useful tool to help college students negotiate these challenges.

Common Stressors of College Students

  • Academic challenges and pressures
    (e.g., managing assignments, knowing when and how to ask for help)
  • Time Management/Organization
  • Making new friends and building a social life
  • Developing new kinds of relationships with parents
  • Career and post-college life decisions

Depression and Anxiety in College Students

As a result of these stressors, some students may suffer from depression and/or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are extremely common among college students. Some indicators of depression and anxiety may include:

  • Low mood
  • Anxiety, worry, panic attacks
  • Social anxiety
  • Sleep and eating disturbances
  • Loneliness, social isolation
  • Low motivation
  • Difficulty with focus and concentration
  • Missing classes, not handing in assignments, grades dropping
  • Marked increased or decreased contact with parents

Cognitive Therapy for College Students

A major focus of Cognitive Therapy for college students is to build life skills that are not only essential to academic and collegiate success, but to overall health and well-being as a young adult. Students learn to identify and modify thinking patterns that contribute to their difficulties. They are taught to challenge their negative thinking and develop more realistic and healthier ways of thinking. Self-defeating behaviors (e.g., avoidance, poor communication, and procrastination) are also targeted for change. Lastly, building skills such as emotional regulation, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal effectiveness are emphasized.

Therapists take an active role in the therapy and work collaboratively with the student to set treatment goals. Students are strongly encouraged to practice what they learn in treatment. Examples of such exercises may be keeping logs of thoughts and moods, practicing new ways of communicating with others, and confronting situations that may be avoided. Therapy at this time of life is an opportunity to increase independence and learn new life skills. An overarching goal of the therapy is to build greater self-confidence and resilience so students develop confidence in themselves that they will be able to handle the stressors and challenges that arise in college and in the years following as well.

How We Can Help

Even before the pandemic, college counseling centers faced a surge in demand for care that far outpaced capacity. Unfortunately, most school counseling centers are not able to offer weekly sessions for any length of time. Students who would benefit from a course of weekly therapy are often better served with a referral to an outside provider. Psychologists at the HVCCT offer weekly sessions and offer sessions via telehealth making it easy and convenient for students to access care from the privacy and comfort of their dorm rooms.

Call or email for a free phone consultation for more information to learn how our therapists may be helpful. Dr. Christine Ziegler, Director of the HVCCT, is happy to discuss your specific concerns, explain how therapy may benefit you or your student, and schedule an initial appointment if you wish.