Student Support Services  -  Counseling Office

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The Counseling Office is committed to helping students achieve success with their personal, academic, and career goals. A variety of services are offered to help students grow academically, acquire skills for success, improve wellness, and develop self-care practices.

Consultation Appointments

During a first appointment, the Counseling Office gathered a variety of information from students about their background, personal and academic history, and presenting concerns. This initial appointment was an opportunity for students to discuss what brought them to the Counseling Office and to get support. Potential support options were then discussed with students: brief counseling, referral to a group, referral to a University of community provider, or simply a consultation with an additional follow-up appointment, if needed.

Personal Counseling

The Counseling Office services are short-term in nature, which means the focus is on resolving immediate concerns that bring students to counseling. Students attended an average of 5 sessions of counseling to address a variety of presenting concerns:

personal counseling

Academic Success Counseling

The Counseling Office also worked with students to specifically address academic concerns such as:

academic concerns

Who Uses the Counseling Office?

Dental students and residents across all years have use the Counseling Office. Within the past two years, a total of 58 students attended 290 counseling appointments with an average of 5 sessions per student. During the 2016-2016 academic year, 26 students attended 115 counseling appointments, averaging 4.4 sessions per student.  As can be seen by this table, a high percentage of the dental student and resident population has utilized support services through the Counseling Office over the past 2 years.

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Do Dental Students Benefit from Counseling?

The simple answer is yes. The chart below illustrates that the average student begins counseling experiencing distress but quickly experience symptom relief with continued participation in counseling. This data also shows that the more sessions a student attends, the greater increase in overall functioning and symptom relief. 
outcome graph
 
So, what does all this data mean? It demonstrates that counseling services are helpful for dental students! While they enter counseling experiencing distress, they quickly see positive results. And, for those students who engage in counseling beyond a few session, they see tremendous change over a brief period of time!

Outreach to Dental Students

The Counseling Office regularly hosts a variety of Lunch & Learn for dental students and residents, with topics derived from consultation with students, campus partners, and the current literature regarding dental students. Outreach programs are designed to increase knowledge and awareness of health-related issues, as well as self-efficacy regarding personal growth and development. These events also allow for dialogue and social interaction among students to build rapport and social support.

outreach topics

Wellness Programs

yoga

A free, weekly yoga class was offered to students due to recent evidence that such a program can reduce anxiety as well as increase academic and technical performance among dental students.

 

puppy

Near finals week of each semester, programs were offered for students to interact with therapy dogs over a lunch hour. Interaction with therapy dogs has been found to reduce cortisol levels, and increase the production of oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, and phenethylamine.

healthy monday

Social media is a useful and efficient means of disseminating information, offering motivation, and connecting people to existing support networks. Therefore, the Healthy Monday Email Initiative was created, which was a weekly email newsletter with research reports, creative materials, easy-to-follow health programs, recipes, tips, and resources to promote stress management, self-care, and healthy living. Research suggests people are more likely to research about and engage in health-focused behaviors on Monday than any other day, which leads to better health outcomes over time.

counseling office

confidentiality

All conversations in the Counseling Office are considered private from disclosure to any third party, including University Officials, administrators, and faculty. You can discuss concerns related to harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and violence without triggering a mandatory report to a University official. You may authorize sharing of information through a release form. Exceptions to this strict policy on confidentiality are in cases involving real and imminent danger of harm to either the client or other persons or cases involving subpoena or court order for more information. These exceptions are always made in consultation with either the Assistant Director for Clinical Services or the Director at the University Counseling Service (UCS). 

Annual Reports