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Campus Therapy: Is it Effective?

In the midst of a bustling life, some students find themselves coping with the overwhelming burden of stress. Many turn to campus therapy to improve their well-being. But how effective is it?

By: Jennifer Gan

A graphic of a sad college student leaving his therapy session.
Graphic By: Mia Overbo

Plush chairs sit directly across from one another, with a tissue box sitting quietly on the round table, providing a humble companionship to the emotional stories that are about to unfold. Within these pristine white walls, a counseling session is about to begin at Boston University’s Student Health Services.

The Behavioral Medicine Department at SHS offers a variety of mental health services to students, including therapy with psychiatrists. While some people have had a positive experience with these resources, others point out their flaws.

One major problem that students report is the long wait times. Scheduling an appointment for an initial assessment could take days, and eventually, obtaining a therapist to talk to could take another week.

Anna Xie (Pardee’ 24) is an international student studying International Relations. With her never-ending to-do lists, Xie felt overwhelmed and homesick, leading to a mental breakdown at the beginning of the semester. Her anxious thoughts pierced into her mind like needles, prompting her to look for counseling resources on campus.

“I remember the week when I scheduled to meet with someone. It was one of my worst weeks, but by the time they told me to come in, I had already survived my toughest time,” Xie said. “I didn’t want to pass my negative energy to my friends or family, but I guess I still had to.”

Another student also felt her SHS session did not meet expectations. Annie (CAS’ 24), attended multiple sessions with different therapists.

“The doctor who did my assessment was pretty good. He justified how I was feeling, which was super helpful,” Annie said. This encouraged her to schedule another session, but the second time didn’t turn out to be as effective.

Annie had an appointment with a different therapist a week after her assessment, and during their conversation, she distinctly remembered her therapist letting out a small laugh.

“It definitely was not in a bad way,” she said. “I was talking about my relationships, and I think he nervous-laughed. I get it, but at the time, it was really awkward, and I didn’t feel like opening up [to him].”

Short-term therapy may not be the best option for everyone, but students should always explore the resources available to them on campus. If you have an emergency, don’t book online; call them! If longer treatment is needed, referrals for providers in the community are given.

In the end, it’s crucial to remember that seeking help and breaking the silence surrounding mental health is a sign of strength, resilience, and self-care.


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