February 7, 2022
The Benefits of Seeing A Student Counselor
Mental health services have long been an overlooked resource in maintaining individual health. Thankfully, the stigma is decreasing more in our culture as we increase awareness and normalize the importance of mental health needs. With issues such as anxiety and depression steadily increasing and the recent Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath exacerbating this trend, the ability for mental health providers to keep up with the demand has become more difficult.
Take, for example, this statistic from an article by the American Psychological Association (APA):
“The number of psychologists who reported receiving more referrals this year almost doubled from last year (from 37% in 2020 to 62% this year). Almost 7 in 10 psychologists (68%) with a waitlist reported that it had grown longer since the start of the pandemic.”
These high demands have put a strain on the mental health services industry, pushing many facilities past their normal operating capabilities.
“With these indicators suggesting many psychologists are working at or beyond capacity, more than 4 in 10 (41%) reported being unable to meet the demand for treatment (up from 30% last year), and 46% said they felt burned out (up from 41% last year).”
If you or someone you know is looking for counseling, but are discouraged from the long waitlist, endless referral chains, or concerned about the rising costs of counseling services, a more accessible avenue for mental health may come by way of a student counselor.
What is a Student Counselor
Student counselors are the professional counselors of tomorrow. Every professional counselor takes the necessary steps of spending a season as a student counselor. These individuals are taking their graduate courses and receiving hands-on training and experience applying their current coursework as they prepare for licensure. You can find student counselors at facilities such as private practices, universities, or community centers.
Your student counselor may not have the same credentials as a professional mental health practitioner, but do not be alarmed. Not only are student counselors held to the same standards and given the same resources as a more seasoned counselor, but there are also several unique benefits to working with a student counselor.
Benefits of a Student As Your Counselor
Supervision - Student counselors work directly under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. They work hard at building relationships with their supervisory counselors and peers through daily communication and truly build off the experience of those around them with a determination to be as well-equipped as needed to meet the client’s needs and field standards.
Availability - With a smaller caseload and an eagerness to get experience, students generally have more flexibility with their scheduling. This flexibility met with your need for availability can make a student counselor a high-quality solution to receiving mental health services in a timely manner.
Caseload - Student counselors have a smaller caseload than the professionals they work with. This gives them the bandwidth to give their patients the majority of their attention and center all their treatment around them. Students also formulate treatment modalities solely around the patient, allowing room for innovative and personalized care solutions.
Energy - Therapy is a very demanding job. As mentioned in the survey earlier, burnout is a rising struggle for mental health professionals. Student counselors have fresh energy and enthusiasm for the field. While they are not immune to burnout, students have a much lower risk of it during this part of their clinical development.
Current - The fields of counseling and mental health care are constantly evolving. With such, students are required to stay on top of the most modern mental health techniques and therapies as they are still actively entrenched in the forefront of research being taught in their graduate education programs.
Affordability - Cost is a major concern for a lot of people looking to begin therapy. Counseling services can typically come with a high price tag with or without insurance; however, with a student, not only will you still get great quality of care, you can get it at a price that is more affordable.
Just as with maintaining physical health, maintaining mental health is paramount to optimal functioning. Everyone should invest in their mental health and seeing a counselor is a valuable asset in that investment. If you or someone you know is experiencing this need, speak to your local clinic to see if a student counselor can be the solution for you.