The Student Counselor Office

Understanding Counseling

 

Counseling is the relationship between two people in which one helps the other to understand the issues and problems they are facing, This understanding then leads them to come up with solutions which are most feasible.  Some parts of this helps can also be provided by friends, family, teachers, academic advisors and other people in our life, but they are not trained to see each situation in an objective manner. The counselors at LUMS differ from these others sources because of their wide-ranging training in psychology and human behavior. They have an extensive experience working with many different situations. They generally talk to students regarding personal, academic and career issues. Most common crisis includes adjustment to college and hostel life, indecision about major or school, family or relationship problems, sexual and gender orientation as well as personal problems.


What can you expect from your counselor?

 

You can expect the counselors at LUMS to:

 

  • Listen actively to your concerns
  • Help you understand and deal with your problems effectively
  • Open to discuss any question or concern that comes to your mind (no matter how controversial it is)
  • Take all your small and big problems seriously
  • Each counselor develops their personal set of strategies on how to help people. Some may decide to listen more and talk less during the session, while some may give homework to be done between sessions. If you feel something is not working for you its best to communicate with your counselors. If you have any doubts or queries it is always best to just ask!!!
  • The counselors don’t have any magical power or information about the future and thus are unable to solve your problems for you. You solve your own problems while the counselors help and direct you in the right direction.  They empower you and so don’t do things that you are capable of doing yourself. 
  • The counselors will maintain complete confidentiality except under extraordinary circumstances. If you have questions about the limits of confidentiality, please ask your counselor.

 

What are your responsibilities in counseling?

 

  • Attend regular sessions that are scheduled for you
  • Try talking about things that are bothering you with all honesty and openness as you can
  • Do any tasks as well as homework’s assigned to you regularly
  • Inform the counselor beforehand incase you are unable to attend your session
  • Be open minded when they ask you to try something different or new
  • Communicate openly with your counselor, let her know when things improve or when you don’t feel you are making progress or if you have any feedback

 

Confidentiality

 

Will the counseling be confidential?

All information shared during the sessions is protected strictly by confidentiality by the LUMS counselors.
Some of the important ethical as well as moral aspects of confidentiality are as follows:

 

Written Records


The counselors record brief information of each session, which only they can assess. This is essential so that the counselor can keep track of the tasks they assign you to do as well as to develop a therapeutic plan for you.  They cannot release any information about you or the uses of the service by you without your permission. 

 

Limits of Confidentiality

 

There are some exceptions to the confidentiality between counselor-students. These exceptions include the following:

  • If you inform the counselor that you intend to cause impending, life-threating harm to yourself.  At this point the counselor is obligated to protect you from the harm by taking whatever action is necessary.
  • If you inform the counselor that you intend to cause impending, life threatening or bodily harm to someone else and specify that person.  In such a case the counselor is obligated to take whatever action is needed to protect the other person.

 


Myths and Reality


Common myths about counseling:

 

• Myth 1: Only crazy people go to counseling (and I'm not crazy).
You are not crazy and people visit the counselor regarding all kinds of serious and non-serious problems like academic stress, relationship problems, sadness, anxiety and depression.

 

• Myth 2: Going for counseling is a sign of weakness. It shows I can't handle my own problems.
You handle most of your problems alone, but there are some problems that are difficult for you to handle alone. It is a sign of intelligence to assess when you need help and to seek it out.

 

• Myth 3: Counseling won't work for me. It's not effective. I’ve done it before.
No counselor can provide with a guarantee that therapy will work, but statistically there is a high probability of it working. But it is most helpful if you commit to the process fully, and do the tasks that you are provided with. It is also important to communicate with the therapist when something isn’t working or when you don’t agree with the counselor. Even if it hasn’t helped before, give it a try, it may be helpful now and may be a matter of finding a counselor who is a good fit for you.

 

• Myth 4: I don’t want to be dependent on anyone and isn’t that what counseling is?
The ultimate goal of therapy is to make each individual understand their problems in a way that they can become independent. The therapeutic process helps students feel better and also develop new skills so they can mange their problems. Most students usually need only a few sessions to get the help they require.

 

• Myth 5: Shouldn’t I just talk to family or friends
Friends and Family are very important but they don’t always provide the kind of help you require. They love you and so are unable to be objective, and aren’t trained to deal with problems of any kind. Their support is important in your like but counseling is different and provides a unique perspective.

 


Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

 

Where do the counselors sit?

 

Nida Zafar
Syed Maratib Ali Sports Complex
Room no 11
Intercom 8304



• Mishal Tanveer
Syed Maratib Ali Sports Complex
Room no 10
Intercom 3812

 

 

What are the office hours of the counselors?


The counselors are available from Mondays through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

 

How do I meet with the counselors?


The counselors have an open door policy, and you can walk in anytime between the hours of 8:30 and 5 pm. But it is preferable to book an appointment so that you don’t have to wait or come again incase the counselor is in session with another student.

 

How many sessions do I get?


It depends on the student and the severity of the problem. Many students benefit from one or only a few sessions. The counselors, based on the individual need of the student, decide the maximum number of sessions for each. The goal of therapy is for each student to become independent and solve their problems on their own.

 

What to do incase I feel another student /friend needs help?


Have a polite conversation with the friend about counseling, incase they are hesitant ask why they don’t want to visit the counselors.  You can book an appointment on their behalf and accompany then to their first session. You can even send the counselors an email regarding the student requiring help.

 

Community/ Outside referrals


Depending on the severity of the problem some of the students would require a more specialized, intensive help than what is available for them on campus. In general, on-going mental health care or more specialized and intensive mental health care is the individual responsibility of each student and not a service provided by LUMS. For any such students who need off-campus care, a LUMS approved clinician list is provided from which the students can choose any therapist or psychiatrist they want to see.

 

In what situations can Academic withdrawals happen and what is the process?


Academic withdrawals are provided for students at anytime during the semester who are unable to cope with the academic stress due to their mental health condition. In such a case the student petitions for withdrawal at the OSA and meets with the counselors on campus.  The counselor makes an assessment of the student’s condition and sends forward the approval of petition if warranted.

 

 

What are all the services provided by the counselor?

 

Counseling and Psychological services that are offered include:

• Individual counseling
• Crisis drop-in for urgent concerns
• Workshops
• Evaluation and follow up for mental health withdrawals
• Referrals for longer-term counseling

 

 

Holistic Wellbeing

 

The goal of the university is to encourage all of its students to have healthy lives in all aspects. The final aim is not only to focus on the physical and mental illnesses of students but on helping them have a balanced and fulfilled life. The more you take care of yourself the more you can succeed in academics. Just putting in a lot of hard work doesn’t ensure the best results; academic success is also correlated to ability, academic skills as well as wellness. Each student has to take decide to take charge of their wellness. Some ways to change is to develop skills within your self, a few skills to obtain holistic well-being include:

  1. Stress management
  2. Time management
  3. Social connection
  4. Resilience
  5. Gratitude
  6. Self-compassion and Self-love
  7. Sleep  (6 to 8 hours)
  8. Healthy Eating
  9. Exercise (At least 4 days a week)
  10. Career planning  (visit the career service offcie)


Resources for Parents

 

• Why may my child need Counseling:


Parental support is an important part of each child’s life but sometimes the problems faced by your child may require a more profession sort of support or help. A counselor can help your child navigate the changes they are facing due to college development.  When students become overwhelmed by the demands of college life they sometimes employ risky strategies. These strategies that they use to reduce their stress often lead them to trouble such as using alcohol or drugs. At such stressful times seeking a counseling may be helpful, as it would teach them new strategies to manage their current and future stress.


• Common Stressors in College:


College contributes to a persons social, emotional as well as intellectual growth. Freshman face a number of challenges as they start to adjust to LUMS. Some of the common stressors include:

 

  1. Academics: Studies at LUMS are extremely rigorous and this maybe a source of stress in itself as students are not used to this. Each students come from a background where they are used to getting A`s and being on top of their class.  While at LUMS they may initially struggle academically in their 1st semester. As students are still learning what is expected from them during classes.
  2. Time Management: Most students also shift into hostels where they are taking care of themselves for the first time. They are often used to parents keeping track of their social commitments, sleep, and academics. They learn to take care of these things themselves. Balancing work, social life as well as extracurricular is a skill that most students need to learn.
  3. Choosing a Career: Some student’s come to university with a clear understanding of what they want to study, but that’s a very small population of students. During their first year most students are indecisive over what to major in. and that’s OKAY!!!
  4. Finances: Some people find it hard to support themselves through college and maybe working at the university to support themselves. Moreover students have never learnt the art of budgeting till now; they initially struggle to survive in the money provided for each month.
  5. Identity issues: Students often question who they are and where are they going with their life. These question might pertain to career direction, faith/spirituality, and sense of self independent of family
  6. Roommate Conflicts: Sharing a small space with 1 or 2 people is often daunting, especially for those people who haven’t ever shard a room in their life. Students often have issues related to noise levels, sleep schedules, study schedules as well as communication. 
  7. Communicating with Professors: As students have now entered adult life they are responsible for getting help when they require it. They have to become proactive and take an initiative for their learning. They need to learn how to use office hours of TA`s as well as Professors. Developing a relationship with the professor falls on their shoulders. This is often a change for many students.
  8. Expectations of the Family:  Students often are forced to focus on meeting the expectations of their parents. These expectations include getting certain grades, selecting a particular major or what career to choose. This becomes difficult if the child’s strengths and interest are different then their parents.

 

• How can I tell if my son or daughter is distressed?


From time to time in each persons life they feel upset, but if any of the following signs are manifested in your child’s behavior they are probably distressed:


1. Bizarre behavior or speech.
2. Comments in a student's text messages, emails or phone conversations with family members that arouse concern.
3. Extreme dependency on family, including exceptionally long/distressing phone calls or visits home.
4. Nervousness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, non-stop talking.
5. Noticeable decline in quality of school performance.
6. Marked change in personal hygiene.
7. Prolonged appearance of depression (e.g., sad expression, apathy, tearfulness, distractibility).


However just a presence of these signs doesn’t show a absolute indicator of serious distress. Most disturbances during college are relatively temporary. Though, if these changes are extreme or the significant change last longer than is typical then it is a good sign to get help. If there is doubt about the seriousness of the problem, consult the campus counselors so that the situation can be evaluated and appropriate steps can be taken.