Counseling services moves to new location

Student Counseling Services has moved from Bennett Infirmary to 555 Oakview Circle, just behind Kilby School.

UNA Student Counseling Services has moved from Bennett Infirmary to a house behind Kilby School at 555 Oakview Circle to better accommodate students.

Lynne Martin, director of student counseling services, said the staff is excited to be open and accepting students at the new location.

“This location is in the right proximity for folks who are on campus and want to access a counselor between classes,” Martin said. “We are not far off the beaten path, but the location is more private.  It also offers a good size, and it’s quiet, which is more conducive for counseling.”

Comfort and privacy were the two main complaints from students about the Bennett office, Martin said.

“The issue was that we shared a waiting room at Bennett,” Martin said. “Students would come to see us and might be sitting next a student who has the flu. Also, Bennett is a medical facility so we had limited office space.”

The house also offers a chance for counseling services to expand its horizons, Martin said.

“The space has given us the opportunity we didn’t have before — to try holding group sessions,” Martin said. “We’ve tried these before but they’ve never worked because of the lack of privacy.”

Martin said student counseling has been offered through UNA since 2001 and is now funded by the student health fee. Students do not pay for sessions and are able to come as often as they like.

“We see mostly freshman and seniors because those are transition years,” Martin said. “Our biggest complaint is ‘I’m stressed’ or ‘I’m overwhelmed.’ We also handle a lot of emotional or relationship issues.”

The staff is dedicated to finding solutions for student problems, Martin said.

“One of our goals is to remove the stigma from counseling as a professional service,” Martin said. “If you can talk to an accountant about taxes and a lawyer about legal matters, why can’t you discuss the things in your personal life with a counselor?”

Sarah Schiavone, a social work major at UNA, said she believes everyone could benefit from counseling.

“UNA does a great job in promoting and normalizing the need and accessibility of our counseling services on campus,” Schiavone said. “I would feel very comfortable calling and making an appointment if I needed to.”

Chase Wise, a junior at UNA, said he believes the new location will help more students to feel secure about seeing a counselor.

“They are more qualified to help you work through your problems or just listen than people without any education in that,” Wise said. “I feel like they are trusted, and they know what they are doing.”

Courtney LeSueur, also a junior at UNA, said she sought help from counseling services during a hard time in her life.

“I think the major thing it helped me with was gaining perspective on the way I looked at things,” LeSueur said. “I was there for problems I was having, and it just helped to take a step back. Sometimes it’s really hard to do things on your own.”

Martin said counseling services exists solely for student success.

“We want to retain students, and we want them to be successful in their goals,” Martin. “For some students, we are an important part of being able to walk across the stage at graduation.

“Does everyone need us for that? Well, no. But could anyone benefit from us? Yes,” she said.