Working together for Wellness
Through the provision of Counseling Services, namely individual and group counseling, periodic workshops, crisis intervention and referral services, Counseling Services provides AUA students with resources to solve problems, overcome possible barriers and find effective solutions to issues impeding their academic, emotional, social, personal wellness and integrity.
COUNSELING SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL AUA STUDENTS AND ARE FREE OF CHARGE
We often ask ourselves: Who is a psychologist/counselor? How do I know that counseling can help? Can I trust this person? Moreover, some people around us are sure that they can be of better support than a professional counselor.
- Counseling services provide students with a safe environment, an atmosphere of support and empathy where they can share, understand and address their concerns.
- While the psychologist/counselor does not give advice, clients gain insight into the issues, solutions to the problems and strategies for empowerment.
- Once you open up to a counselor, talking can give relief; it is a private conversation.
With counseling, students are able to learn more about themselves and to become more competent and confident both in their personal, relationships, academics and work settings.
Confidentiality is of prime importance to Counseling Services, through which we provide the students with a safe and protected environment, an atmosphere of support and empathy where they can share their concerns. All personal information and content of the sessions are not accessible to anyone, thus being strictly confidential. At the first counseling session, students above the age of 18 will be presented with the confidentiality procedures and will sign an informed consent form before the session starts, which signifies that the student is ready to be engaged in the counseling process. The Counselor will make all the necessary attempts to ensure that the student fully understands the confidentiality principles along with the exceptions. In the case of students below the age of 18, the informed consent form will be signed by a parent or other guardian. In case a student under 18 years approaches Counseling Services with a sensitive issue such as sexual orientation, pregnancy, drug use and does not want their parent(s) or guardian(s) to know about his/her engagement with Counseling Services, then the student may sign the consent form. This measure is taken for providing students with a safe, protective environment to talk.
Though the counseling process is highly confidential, there are a number of exceptional cases which oblige the Counselor to report/release the information provided during the counseling without the student’s permission:
1. If the Counselor assumes that the student might be of danger to himself/herself or others, the Counselor must release the information without the student’s consent. This will allow facilitating better safety both for the student and those potentially involved.
2. If the Counselor suspects child abuse (below 18 years old), including sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect, the Counselor may release the information without the student’s consent. The Counselor is also obliged to report/release the suspected abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
The student may review his/her records of the counseling sessions, upon written request, which will become part of his/her counseling records. Yet a student’s counseling records and files are not educational records and are accessible only to the Counselor and the student. They are not shared with other units within AUA.
Prior to the release of information to a third party, the student must complete an Information Release Form. Counseling information cannot be released to the following without the student’s permission: parents or guardians, spouse, siblings, another therapist, GP or any other person/agency.
When can a student approach for support?
It is normal for students to face difficulties from time to time, be it due to academic stress or personal problems. You are encouraged to approach the counselor when you feel:
You have or experienced
- Communication problems.
- Eating disorders.
- Drugs/alcohol abuse.
- Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself/others.
- Abuse physically, psychologically, sexually.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Family issues.
What Services do we offer?
- Individual counseling – Students may engage in face-to- face talk with a certified counselor to understand, identify and address concerns. While talking to the counselor, you will be asked questions which will help you to clarify your thoughts and feelings. You can approach the counselor with issues of concern such as mood and communication problems, adjustment to a new culture or academic environment, stress management, etc.
- Group counseling – Students with similar problems come together to share their perceptions of the issues mentioned above. The process is facilitated by a certified counselor. This supportive environment allows space for students to reflect on their experiences, listen to solutions from peers and learn coping mechanisms.
- Workshops- Students can attend interactive workshops which are usually open to 20 participants. During a workshop no one will be asked to share any personal information.
How to make an appointment?
Students may schedule an appointment by phone (+ 374) 60 61 25 19), in person Main Building, room 418M, or by e-mail, [email protected].
You will be asked to bring in with you already completed Intake form which you can download by clicking the link.
The counselor is available Monday through Friday from 11:00 to 16:00 during the academic year.
Crisis Intervention and Referral Services
Crisis intervention is a service offered to students who are in serious or immediate emotional distress, including cases where:
• The student verbally or behaviorally conveys that he/she is in crisis
• The student seems to have lost connection with reality
• The student upsets the University’s ordinary operations and/or campus life
• The student is in imminent danger to herself/himself or others
• The student was exposed to attempted rape or rape
• The student was exposed to physical or emotional abuse
• The student identifies himself/herself as being in crisis
• Other extraordinary situations
Students in crisis can visit or call the Counseling Center during regular business hours. When the Counseling Center is closed, students should contact the Center for Student Success by tel: (+374) 060-61-27-56 or visit during regular working hours. After working hours or during week-ends, students may contact AUA Security by tel: (+374) 060-612-727 or (+374) 060-612-729 or Public Safety at 103.
Students who are faced with an emergency will meet the Counselor during regular working hours. The Counselor will meet the student and create a safety plan, including how to manage the crisis and make follow-up appointments with the student to further support him/her and build the necessary resilience skills.