Is Counseling Right For Me?


Counseling Services at Aquinas College provides a safe environment where students can openly express their thoughts and feelings to a counselor who serves as an objective listener. Counselors are available to support students through concerns they may encounter while at college.

What is Counseling?

Counseling is when a trained professional counselor helps a student get through difficult times by talking in a supportive and safe atmosphere. Counseling is a way for the student to become more aware of what may be going on in his or her life. It is an opportunity for self-assessment and discovery. Through talking with a counselor and receiving an outside perspective on an issue, a student may come to some conclusions about what they want to change in their life. The reasons for counseling vary greatly. The goals of the session will vary person to person. Those goals are worked out with the counselor and the student.

Professional Staff

Our counselors are highly trained professionals specializing in a wide range of issues. Areas of expertise include depression, eating disorders, family issues, academic concerns related to emotional problems, and building healthy relationships.

Indicators That Counseling May be Beneficial

The following indicators may be useful in making a determination about whether or not a referral should be made. These signs alone may or may not be problematic; it is advisable to look for clusters of signs which appear at approximately the same time.

  • A stated need for help (direct and indirect)
  • Major changes in mood or behavior
  • Excessive drug and/or alcohol use
  • Preoccupation with one idea or thought
  • Self-harm
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive worries
  • Lack of energy (lethargic)
  • Academic struggles (contemplating dropping out, fear of failing, etc.)
  • Major changes in eating/sleeping habits (other than usual changes experienced in college)
  • Diminished concentration
  • Irritability or aggressive behavior
  • Isolation or becoming more withdrawn
  • Decline in personal hygiene or dress
  • Frequent bouts of crying (often reason is unknown)
  • Traumatic changes in personal relationships (family, significant other, etc)
  • Identity issues
  • Career choice concerns
  • Adjustment to college
  • Grief and loss issues
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Often feels guilty/ shameful
  • Depressed mood
  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of interest and/or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent medical complaints
  • Preoccupation with appearance
  • Panic attacks
  • Perfectionism
  • Tension with roommate
  • Stress-difficulty managing
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loneliness
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty getting things completed
  • Restlessness
  • Easily fatigued
  • Sexual assault
  • Eating disorder suspected
  • Excessive energy

Frequently Asked Questions

First appointments are reserved for you and your counselor to get to know each other. The counselor will do what is called an “initial assessment”; this is where the counselor gathers some background information. The initial assessment helps the counselor clarify what kind of help you may need and what strengths you possess. There is also some paper work that must be completed by you and your counselor in order for you to receive any counseling services. This is usually a quick and easy process. At the end of this first session you and your counselor will determine together if further meetings would be helpful and if so, how often the two of you should meet. You can expect to be treated with respect and dignity. All of sessions are confidential and safe.

Each student at Aquinas receives eight sessions per semester. However, if there is adequate evidence that the student needs more than the eight allotted sessions then the counselor will present the student’s case to the counseling department to see if more sessions should be granted. If the department decides that the student no longer would benefit from the counseling services at Aquinas then the student will be referred to an outside counseling agency in the area.

Yes. You and your counselor will go over the issue of confidentiality on your very first visit. If you have any questions or worries about what confidentiality means you may contact one of the counselors for further information at (616) 632-2905.

Yes! We encourage our students to provide feedback to our counselors. You may do so directly with your counselor by discussing what you found helpful or what could be improved.