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Antecedent

College and school counsellors?

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I'm thinking back to my college days and all the free counselling I could have had and didn't avail of. They aren't trained specifically for MIs... If you mention schizophrenia, bipolar, suicidal ideation etc. will they try to refer you? But people with MI also have to handle interpersonal relationships, exam pressure, demanding parents, bereavement, feelings of worthlessness, self esteem issues, navigating the social world, sexuality etc. etc. etc. and they are fully trained in all that, so I really wonder if I missed out. Did anyone have a good or bad experience with a college/school counsellor and what was it like (if you feel like sharing?) Would you give any advice to people on how to get the most out of a counsellor like this even though they haven't done any study of MI?

Edited by Antecedent

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I saw therapists through my college and they were well trained to deal with mental illness. They were psychologists like any psychologist you’d see outside of college. Some were better than others for me but I had two especially good therapists in a school setting. I also saw a person separately who specialised in ADD who helped me keep organised and on top of my work load. 

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my school counselor in my second year of university was the first kind of therapy i ever had. i went in originally because i was self-harming more than i felt comfortable with, and figured that was probably a bad sign. the first guy i saw wasn't any good -- he told me that cutting seemed to be serving a purpose and didn't seem all too concerned about me wanting to stop. so i never saw him again.

the second lady i saw was excellent. she helped me understand that i was dealing with mental illness, and was a really great help in beginning to surface from the debilitating depression and anxiety i was stuck in at the time. it was with her encouragement that i got on antidepressants (essentially me going to the school clinic and saying "my counselor thinks i should be on ADs", and then they gave me cipralex) she was amazingly helpful when i was suicidal and made sure i was safe, and helped streamline a hospital assessment for me. i didn't end up going inpatient, but she made that an option for me. it was also her that got me to see my first psychiatrist, who was wonderful. when i started seeing the psych, he took over my therapy, and i stopped seeing the counselor. 

university counselors seemed to be, in my experience, far more experienced with MI and similar issues than say, high school counselors, who i found completely useless. i'd certainly recommend school counselling to any MI student. aside from being helpful, they were, for me, an essential step to getting proper MI healthcare in an academic setting.

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The school therapist I saw in college was actually a PsyD and was great. Another doctor outside the school recommended trying to see her. It was a great call. My sco MI clinic is pretty well trained, and she didn’t balk at my BP Dx and was very helpful through all of school. She recently went to private practice and I liked her so much that I followed her as a patient 

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I spent half of high school in my guidance counselor's office, and though we didn't do therapy per se, he was very supportive of my emotional and educational needs, and I don't think I would have graduated without him. In college, I went to psychological services late in my college career. They had a sliding scale fee and the therapists were PhD students. I liked my therapist reasonably well, but our sessions were recorded to share with her class, so that was weird, and she said a few things that were off-kilter to me. And they put me through a bunch of psychological and IQ testing, ostensibly to find out why I was struggling in school (maybe I just wasn't that bright, they were obviously thinking) but I think also because one of the PhD students really wanted to practice administering and interpreting tests. He told me some wacko, probably misguided thing that have stuck with me. I only had a depression diagnoses at that time, and wasn't on medication. I would say the counseling helped, but was time limited because she moved on.

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I went to one appointment in undergrad...she had an MA degree. I completed a couple of those multiple choice depression/anxiety scale tests, while talking to her,  I started crying, ....she basically referred me to someone else because she seemed incapable of dealing with more deep-rooted issues or trauma. Many people have great experiences though, so worth checking them out I suppose.

[EDIT] Oh, and totally forgot!! She recorded sessions also, which I felt uncomfortable about after I had already consented...that in itself made me not want to go back.

Edited by Blahblah
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That recording thing is so weird! They are taught to ask for consent and that's it, I wonder is it ever discussed, the very obvious thing, that the person might not feel comfortable saying no. They should ask a week in advance, give you the week to decide, and tell you over and over that it's ok to say no if you aren't comfortable, that it doesn't matter, that they can easily do the recording with someone else (even if it's not true)... it just seems so imposing.

Thanks so much for your replies guys. If I could go back in time I'd go... i did go once, but I somehow expected her to win me over, expected it to be like good will hunting, I guess when she didn't hound me for a second session (which would have been incredibly unethical, though I didn't know that at the time) I felt she didn't care. I also felt like everything i was saying was being analysed and judged, which it probably wasn't, she was probably a humanistic counsellor

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