My Counseling Stress: Session Limits


I am a very anxious person. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life, and after a very long and anxious summer, I vowed that I would enter into on-campus counseling upon my arrival back to campus.

I was very skeptical of the Counseling Center because there are a lot of rumors on campus relating to appointment availability and the competency of the staff. My first appointment went really well, and I was very pleased with the counselor that I was assigned. I grew very optimistic in my decision during my consultation, but at the end of my appointment she mentioned a new system they were implementing starting this year.

Session limits.

She informed me that I would only be able to meet with her eight times per semester. As someone who was new to counseling, I really needed to meet every week—which meant I could only see her for half of the semester before I would have to go off-campus and pay out of pocket.

This reality loomed over me for the first three sessions until I made the decision to meet with her every other week. I was too afraid to know what the second half of the semester would look like without counseling.

The session limits serve to open up availability for counselors because every semester there is a long waitlist that puts some students in a position to wait five weeks until they can get the help they are entitled to. The session limits have helped with alleviating the waitlist a little. Some counselors have been very lenient with the session limit because they acknowledge that some students need to meet every week. They also now offer walk-in appointments to folks that need to meet with someone in person in that very moment. They are still experimenting with the limits, and it will continue to grow and change as they see fit.

Overall the limit highlights a looming problem that we have on this campus surrounding mental health—we need more counselors and stronger support systems for the students that need it.

I was lucky in my experience, but there are some that aren’t as privileged as I am. I hope that with this new conversation on the administrative level about the way our Counseling Center is operated,  that it will ultimately result in a larger change for our campus.