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For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
Individual Counseling
Group Therapy
Career Assessment and Counseling
Stress management
Workshops and Outreach
Consultation for Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students
Crisis Intervention and Emergency Services
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students:

The Counseling Center currently has three counselors who are fluent in American Sign Language. Individual counseling is available for deaf and hard of hearing (hoh) students from those counselors. Group therapy is offered when there are sufficient numbers of deaf/hoh students available to meet at a common time each week. Emergency services are available on a walk-in basis during Institute business hours ( 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) and by calling Public Safety after hours. Career assessment and counseling for deaf and hard of hearing students is offered through the NTID Department of Counseling Services.

All services offered through the Counseling Center are confidential. Counseling Center staff members do have collaborative relationships with the staffs at the NTID Department of Counseling Services and on the Student Life Team. With your written permission, the professionals involved in providing services in these areas may discuss their plans in order to provide you with more coordinated and effective care.

Individual Counseling:

How does counseling work?
Individual counseling/psychotherapy is a process in which a trained clinician (counselor, psychologist or social worker) facilitates a helping relationship characterized by acceptance, empathy and concern. The goals of counseling are to help you resolve difficulties, adjust to life circumstances, succeed in school, establish meaningful relationships and live a more satisfying and productive life.

The counselor is there to help you explore your feelings, thoughts, and concerns, learn more about yourself, examine your options, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goals. Awareness and insight into motives, feelings, thoughts, actions, and perceptions are crucial components of counseling. Without this insight, maladaptive and unsuccessful patterns of behavior can be repeated. Understanding these patterns, for example, where they originated and how they are unproductive, can lead to choices about new behaviors and ways of thinking and feeling that contribute to more satisfying work, relationships, and overall functioning.

Typically, at the Counseling Center, the student and the counselor agree to meet on a weekly basis to work on the student’s issue(s). An attempt is made to offer the student the number of sessions necessary for improvement in the area targeted for counseling. At times a student may need to be referred to an agency or provider in the community if the services needed go beyond the scope of the Counseling Center. Counseling is confidential.

What are some common concerns for which students seek help?
Everyone has life situations that may cause some distress at some points in their lives. College students are no exception. Below is a list of common concerns among students seen at the Counseling Center.

Identity Development

  • self-esteem
  • decision making
  • values clarification
  • assertiveness
  • individuation
  • perfectionism

Stress management

  • anxiety
  • anger
  • time management

Career Issues

  • choice of major
  • information about occupations
  • graduate school information

Relationships

  • parents/siblings
  • friends/roommates
  • boyfriends/girlfriends
  • addictive relationships

Sexuality

  • sexual orientation/sexual identity
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • pregnancy/abortion
  • rape/sexual assault
  • incest/abuse

Alcohol and other drugs

  • family substance problems
  • alcohol/drug dependency
  • binge drinking

Adjustment concerns

  • homesickness
  • making friends
  • procrastination
  • religious/spiritual concerns
  • serious illness in family
  • loss and grief

Academics

  • declining school work or grades
  • withdraw from school
  • decreased motivation
  • decreased concentration
  • test anxiety/speech anxiety/performance anxiety

Eating disorders

  • body image/eating pattern assessment/impact
  • anorexia/bulimia

Depression

  • intense sadness
  • ups and downs
  • loss and grief
  • suicidal thoughts

How do I get started in counseling?
To meet with a counselor, appointments can be scheduled in person or by calling 475-2261 (V) or 475-6897 (TTY).

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Group Therapy:

General Process Therapy Groups

What is group therapy?
Group therapy is a form of treatment that allows participants to learn about themselves and their relationships with others and address personal difficulties that are often shared by some other members of the group. A significant benefit of group therapy includes not feeling so alone with your concerns since others in the group will likely have experienced similar things. Also, the interactions members have with each other in the group will parallel interactions they have with people outside of the group. This allows members to learn about their reactions and practice taking risks with new strategies for interacting with others in the safe environment of the group. These insights and new ways of interacting can then be transferred to relationships outside of the group with the aim of improving them.

How does group therapy work?
In group therapy, 8-12 members meet with two trained group leaders for 1 ½ hours each week. Members are asked to commit to attending group for a minimum of one quarter. This is to allow the time to establish trusting relationships and to develop them to the point of working through issues that might emerge such as difficulty being assertive, being vulnerable, or sharing deep feelings. Learning in the group occurs through participation. However, members can also learn about themselves by listening and observing the interactions of others. No one is forced to discuss issues they are not ready to discuss.

Is there a structured format in group therapy?
There is no agenda. It is up to group members to determine what they want to work on each week. Often there is continuity from week to week related to the topics raised. The co-leaders work with the group to facilitate meaningful interaction and attend to identified problems or areas of dissatisfaction in the member’s lives. Also, co-leaders and members too, over time, begin to address issues, feelings and dynamics that come up among members in the group in the here and now. This is a very powerful means of learning about you and about changing patterns of behavior that are not working.

Can I be in individual and group counseling at the same time?
Group therapy is often the ideal form of therapy for college students since a primary focus of group is on relationships and understanding and managing feelings. These are common issues for students. Group therapy alone can be a sufficient means of dealing with these issues. At the Counseling Center individual therapy is rarely recommended at the same time as group therapy because there is a risk of confusion and not fully committing to the therapeutic work in the group.

Skills Training Groups

What are Skills Training Groups?
Skills Training groups are derived from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and are offered to students who have issues in four general areas: regulating the expression of emotions, tolerating stressful situations, saying no or asking for what they want, or controlling their attention well enough to deal with these other issues. Students learn many skills, including but not limited to: how to identify obstacles to changing difficult emotions, the difference between tolerating a situation and solving a problem, and how to make a request while preserving self-respect.

These groups are psychoeducational in nature and are conducted more like a class than a process group. In the beginning, students are asked to identify behaviors they want to change. In each subsequent session, students learn and practice a new skill. Homework is assigned each week and reviewed in the beginning of the following session. Students complete this group experience when they have satisfactorily changed the behaviors they have identified as problematic.

Why would I be involved in a Skills Training group as opposed to a general process group?

Often a person comes to a skills training group to address and change specific behaviors that interfere with their functioning in the above mentioned areas. Unlike the process group, the skills training group provides structure and has a distinct agenda each week. Students who finish the skills training groups may be encouraged to enter a process group to continue to work on their issues and deepen their understanding. In this case, students are better prepared to participate in the process group because they have developed the skills necessary to interact successfully.

Eating Disorders Group

The Eating Disorders Group meets weekly and is co-facilitated by a counselor from the Counseling Center and a nurse-practitioner from the Student Health Center. It is designed to be one component in a comprehensive service for students who have been identified as having an eating disorder by either the Counseling Center or the Student Health Center.

The group format varies and depends upon the individual group members and their needs. At times, it is psychoeducational- students are taught skills for managing the uncomfortable emotions which often lead to restricting, bingeing and purging. Students may also be taught skills for managing distress and improving their relationships. The group functions as a support group, providing the members with a safe and confidential place to discuss their experiences with others who have had similar experiences.

Group members may be working individually with the Student Health Center on medical management, nutrition, and exercise planning. In addition some may be working individually with a therapist at the Counseling Center.

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Career Assessment and Counseling:

Who could benefit from career counseling?
Many students at RIT change their major after arriving at college. For some, this process is clear and quite effortless. For others, it can be a difficult process involving a lot of questions and exploration. Some students may also have academic difficulty in their chosen major, be interested in plotting their next coop job or permanent placement, or have questions about graduate school application and selection processes. Career counseling may be helpful to students in each of these situations.

How does career counseling work?
It really depends upon what your needs are. During the first session, the counselor will gather a lot of information about you: your academic history, your previous and current thoughts about your choice of major or occupation, your interests, values, personal traits, and abilities. You and the counselor may also decide to do some career assessment which is usually 1 1/2 - 2 hours of career interest and personality inventories. Your counselor can provide you with occupational information and/or refer you to appropriate resources to get further information.

How does career assessment (testing) work?
If you and your counselor think assessment would be helpful, you will schedule 1-2 hours when you will come into the Center for assessment.  When your assessment is complete you will be scheduled to meet again with your counselor. The two of you will thoughtfully consider the results together, generating a list of occupations that you may want to investigate. Your counselor will show you written and web resources that will help with your research.

How long does this process take?
It could take from 1-3 weeks to complete the entire process if you do assessment. For some students a single session is all that is needed.

Is this process confidential?
It certainly is. Information about you is only shared outside the Counseling Center with your written permission.

Career Internet Resources

Access websites for online career assessment, occuptional information, and college and graduate school information.

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Stress management:

Dealing with stress is a major challenge for many college students. Ineffectively managing stress has been identified by many students as a significant cause of academic disruption. There are multiple means of managing stress and it is important for students to identify strategies that feel comfortable to them and to work with those strategies on a regular basis. Individual and group therapy are two ways to identify causes of stress and establish healthy ways of managing it. Other stress management methods offered through the Counseling Center are described below.

Mindfulness Meditation

What is it?
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of careful attention to, and deep engagement in, the experience of life as it unfolds in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation can help us to cultivate, in an intentional way, this invaluable quality of presence in our lives.

These meditation sessions will include basic instruction and practice in mindfulness of breathing.  Both experience and research have demonstrated the value of mindfulness in managing stress and living a more balanced, satisfying life.

When and where are the sessions?
These sessions are held on Thursdays at the Counseling Center. For newcomers to these sessions, an orientation to mindfulness and meditation instruction will begin at noon. Returning meditators are welcome to attend the entire session or to join the group when the practice segment begins, around 12:20.

How do I sign up?
These sessions are free of charge, and are open to all students, faculty, and staff of RIT. There is no need to register, and you may come to a single session or more - each session is basically the same unit of background, instruction, and practice.

 

Workshops and Outreach

The staff at the Counseling Center has a range of professional interests and areas of expertise. They are available to provide programs to student groups on a range of topics. Training is also available for faculty and staff on topics related to behavior problems and to helping students succeed at RIT. Some of the workshops that the Counseling Center has offered in the past include:

  • Hazing
  • Dealing with grief
  • How and when to refer a friend to counseling
  • Dealing with vicarious trauma
  • Stress management techniques
  • Myers-Briggs and career choice
  • Mental health issues in college students: increasing severity and complexity

Consultation for Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students

Consultation regarding the behavioral and emotional problems of others is available for parents, students, faculty, or staff. While information about current clients is confidential, staff at the Center can offer recommendations after a discussion about the behavior and emotional state of the individual in question. Recommendations might include strategies for approaching the troubled individual and making a referral. Relevant resources on or off campus could also be discussed. Please see Referring Others for more information on recognizing problems and making an effective referral.

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Crisis Intervention and Emergency Services:

What do I do in case of an emergency during the day?
During Institute Business Hours ( 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.), for psychological emergencies contact the Counseling Center at 475-2261 or go directly to Room 2100, August Center (second floor).  If someone is in physical danger, call Public Safety at 475-3333.

What if the emergency is at night or on a weekend?
For psychological emergencies that cannot wait for business hours, call Public Safety at 475-3333 and ask to speak with the counselor who is on call. The counselor will conduct an assessment of what your immediate needs are and make a recommendation to you. This most often includes follow-up at the Counseling Center for an appointment.

Can I send an email?
Do not use e-mail in an emergency situation, since you cannot be assured that a counselor will open it at your time of need. Even in non-emergency situations, care should be used when communicating by email since it is not a confidential form of communication.

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College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The RIT Counseling Center no longer offers CLEP exams.    Go to the CLEP web site           http://www.collegeboard.org/clep/   to find other locations.

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