Thrive Global on Campus//

Destigmatizing Therapy on College Campuses

How I learned to embrace the awkward idea of therapy.

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Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

For some the topic of therapy incites anxiety, embarrassment, and retaliation. Others can be prompted into a passionate rant about the benefits they’ve received from seeing a therapist and how it’s been a life-altering step in the right direction, contributing to a more fulfilling, higher quality of life.

For me therapy has always been a topic I rather not speak about, and instantly silence me when it came up as a topic of conversation. In high school I saw two different therapists, but stopped going soon after I had started. I did not feel a connection, felt awkward telling a stranger my innermost thoughts and feelings, and would not allow myself to open up to allow myself to receive the benefits of therapy.

It wasn’t until I came to college and started seeing a counselor who I connected with and trusted on a regular basis that the benefits of therapy clicked for me. I was no longer dreading the thought of speaking with a counselor, but rather looking forward to the session and gaining insight and knowledge on how to put myself in the most successful position possible.  

Sometimes it takes a while to find a counselor who is the right fit for you. You also need to be in a place of life where you are optimistic and open to receiving help and changing yourself for the better.

So many students struggle with mental health problems during their time at college. A solution for these students may be seeing a therapist, but they can be held back by personal embarrassment, a lack of financial resources or fear of judgement from others.

The stigma surrounding therapy needs to be erased to allow every student to benefit and help themselves to the utmost of their abilities. Just starting the conversation can be a step towards a lifetime of positive changes for someone. 

While everyone is entitled to the time it takes them to feel comfortable speaking about therapy with others, you may be surprised at the positive encouragement and support others will meet you with. More often than not you may receive the response of: “I see a counselor too,” allowing you to open up and relate to those close to you in life. 

Therapy needs to be talked about and promoted on college campuses, as this is an extremely challenging and turbulent time in one’s life as we undergo rapid changes and experience severe academic, as well as social pressures. 

I am slowly becoming more accepting of myself and the fact that I see a therapist. More often than not, I am no longer lying when I receive the question of “Where are you going?” as I’m heading out the door to see my counselor as an excuse of meeting a friend for lunch or going to the library. 

It has taken me a lot of time and self reflection, as well as learning to accept myself in my own skin, that I am now at the point where I could not be more thankful and appreciative of the experiences I have had in therapy. 

To those searching for a solution, why not try out therapy? You never know how it could help you and set you on the course of success for the rest of your life. 

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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