College is an exciting time of life. At a community college, students are often juggling family and work responsibilities in addition to the academic demands. This creates stress and many students find themselves struggling to cope with it all. Whether you are a first time college student or returning to school due to a life transition, sometimes it helps to talk with an objective listener.
There are a number of outdated and faulty beliefs about counseling such as: counseling is for “crazy” people or counseling is only for people with really serious problems. These are simply myths. In fact, counseling is for anyone and everyone who desires to make a positive life change or who simply wants to understand themselves better. As a Carl Sandburg College student, you are eligible for free counseling services.
Range of Services
Carl Sandburg College employs Masters-level counselors who are able to provide brief solution-focused counseling services. They are not licensed therapists and do not provide diagnosis nor are they able to prescribe medications. If you require more intensive intervention, or possibly need medication, counselors can work with you to refer you to a local counseling agency that can better meet your needs. Sandburg counselors can also assist in locating emergency housing and/or long term shelter, childcare, utility assistance, food assistance, caregiver info, etc.
Sandburg students seek counseling for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons include: depression, anxiety, stress management, self-esteem, substance use/abuse, abuse and domestic violence, suicide ideation, time-management, relationship difficulties, grief, housing crisis and difficulty meeting basic needs.
What to Expect
Many people experience some anxiety going to their first counseling appointment. Knowing what to expect can help to alleviate some of the anxiety. Counselors are trained to assist you in feeling comfortable. They will never force you to discuss anything that you do not want, or are not willing, to talk about.
Counseling is a process. There are no magic cures and counselors are not mind readers.
It is important to be open and honest. The counselor will ask a number of questions in an effort to understand you and your specific needs. They will ask why you are seeking counseling services, what your expectations are for counseling, and what your goals are. They will ask questions about your personal history and life circumstances and what factors are having a negative impact on your life. They will ask questions about your perceptions, thoughts and feelings and will explore any relevant symptoms that can result from negative life situations. All of the questions are geared toward helping them to better understand you and what the best approach may be to help you to alleviate negative symptoms and find healthy ways to change and/or cope with your given situation.
It takes time and it takes work. But anything in life that is worth having is worth the time and energy it takes to get it.
The Counseling Process
A perfect description of the counseling process comes from Dr. Don McMillan, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Adjunct Faculty member of the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, and a Director of Archway Associates, P.C., (www.drdonmcmillan.com)
He describes counseling as follows:
“Counseling is a unique relationship in which the Counselor’s job is to hold up a mirror in which the client sees himself or herself. We all have experiences in which we can’t see things about ourselves without a mirror: like whether we have a wound in a hard to see place. We often need mirrors to see these things well enough to do something about them. And sometimes, we need someone to hold the mirror so we can see the things that are at more hidden angles. In addition to knowing at what angles to hold the mirror, the counselor understands that sometimes it takes a while for folks to see what they need. Finally, because most people tend to be hard on themselves, the counselor knows to hold the mirror in such a way that the client can see himself or herself from a caring, supportive and sympathetic perspective.”
Privacy and confidentiality are at the core of successful counseling. It is imperative that you feel you can talk openly and honestly. Please read the confidentiality form for additional information regarding the scope and limits of confidentiality, located on the counseling pages at www.sandburg.edu.
Incidents of crimes based on gender such as stalking, bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment/assault on campus must be reported to the Title IX coordinator and the Director of Public Safety. Although these reports are anonymous, you will be encouraged to talk to these departments to take appropriate action as needed.
Counseling services are free to you. As stated, in some cases, a mental health counseling referral to an agency that requires payment may be necessary.
Student Success Center Office Hours: Monday – Friday – 8:00am- 5:00pm
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Bldg. E- Office E100
Phone: (309) 341-5237
305 Sandburg Drive
Phone: (217) 357-3129
Although scheduled appointments are ideal, we understand sometimes, there is not time for an appointment and you need to talk to someone immediately. Crisis appointments will be taken on a walk- in basis. We will do everything possible to accommodate you.
If for some reason a counselor is not available and you need immediate assistance please call:
Path Crisis Hotline at 211 or 1-800-570- PATH to be connected with local resource options.
Or go to the nearest emergency room:
Galesburg OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center
3333 N Seminary St, Galesburg, IL 61401
Phone: (309) 344-3161
Galesburg Cottage Medical
695 N Kellogg St, Galesburg, IL 61401
Phone: (309) 343-8131
OSF Family Medical Center
1000 W Harlem Ave
Phone: (309) 734-3141
1454 N County Rd 2050
Phone: (217) 357-8500
Phone calls and emails
If you call or email, understand that there are circumstances that may prevent us from calling/e-mailing you back immediately. For example, counselors do not answer their phones or e-mails when they are working with other students. There are times when we are out of the office at meetings, or on vacation. During heavy registration periods, the student traffic can be very busy. The office is closed on holidays and weekends.
If we are out of the office, a phone message or email “out of office reply” will notify you of this. You can leave a message or email and we will contact you as soon as we are able. Or you can contact the office and talk with another counselor if necessary.