On the second floor of the Auburn University Medical Clinic, there is a small, quiet waiting room where tranquil music plays and the main sources of light are all soothing lamps around the room. Previous years yearbooks all marked "The Glomerata" are placed around the room, scattered with magazines and pamphlets. Often times there is a dog snoozing behind the desk, just as relaxed as the students waiting.
This picturesque scene is that of the Auburn University Student Counseling Services' waiting room - and it really is that peaceful.
Student Counseling Services (SCS) is a department in the Division of Student Affairs here at Auburn and is the central counseling center for both undergraduate and graduate students. And, S
CS is fully accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services. Their mission, as stated on the university website, is "to provide comprehensive preventative and clinical mental health services to enhance the psychological well-being of individual students, as well as the broader campus culture."
If you ask students on campus what does SCS offer, the answer from a sweeping majority is one service: counseling. While the typical one-on-one counseling approach is offered, there are many more services provided by SCS - and the majority of these are not utilized by students. Here are just a few:
Moose, the therapy dog for SCS, joined the staff during the summer of 2015 and works with students through, group and individual sessions, as well as through campus outreach. (Photo: Dr. Moose works out at the Ag Heritage Center)
With animal assisted therapy, SCS even offers an open "play" session during Let Loose with Moose on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. in the third-floor lobby of the Student Center. During Let Loose with Moose students are invited to meet, pet and play with Moose and learn more about SCS.
Although it is similar in nature to individual therapy, group counseling offers a new, partnered dynamic that allows for sharing and learning coping skills with others. Groups are often beneficial because they offer a network of support that is not similarly available through individual counseling. While group therapy is not for everyone, it can help in learning to build trust with others, communications skills and empathy. Generally, groups meet for 60 to 90 minutes a week, with five to 10 members and one or more leaders. Whether a process group, a support group or educational group would be best, students can make an intake appointment at SCS and find out which they would benefit from joining most.
Let's Talk is a unique opportunity provided by Auburn University's SCS. It introduces students to an individual counseling environment while remaining an informal, confidential consultation. This can often help students decide if formal counseling is something that would benefit them, or can help with more general problems, such as stress or anxiety, relationships and homesickness. Let's Talk has a "no appointment needed" policy that allows students to come to scheduled walk-in hours held by counselors in Let's Talk locations. However, students are always welcome to call and schedule an appointment if they prefer. (Photo: Dr. Hankes meets with Aubie)
Safe Harbor is a program which advocates for and assists students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking and harassment. They offer a 24-hour emergency hotline to assist in all these cases, as well as advocates that work to provide any and all help needed for survivors. Advocates at Safe Harbor can help provide information and advice about medical and legal services, information about counseling appointments with SCS, and information regarding academic accommodations.
SCS describes this place best on their website, calling it "a relaxing sanctuary where you can soothe your mind, body, and spirit as you take a break from the trials and tribulations of college life." The Zen Den is a safe place where students are invited to use any of their services to relax and reduce stress. These services include a robotic massage chair, light therapy, and a biofeedback machine.
These services are provided constantly by SCS for all Auburn University students, and taking advantage of these services can help students achieve a happier and healthier lifestyle in college.
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