College Mental Health

For most teens, the college years are the first time they have separated from home and have to make decisions and choices on their own. Issues of concern include:

  • Anxiety in social situations, difficulty talking in class and other forms of performance anxiety
  • A habit of making comparisons with others who seem to have so many more advantages, talents, academic success, etc., resulting in loss of self-esteem
  • Struggles around feeling intimidated by peers, teachers, deans
  • Disturbing and sometimes overwhelming feelings of anxiety, panic states, fears, and phobias
  • Prolonged sad or depressed mood that interferes with normal activities; sometimes these moods can become disabling, such as loss of interest in usual things, loss of appetite, loss of concentration, difficulty sleeping, social isolation
  • Difficulty controlling emotions and behaviors that get them into trouble Inability to change patterns of procrastination, impasses in being able to make decisions
  • Struggles to understand patterns in their social relationships, and to disengage from those that are dysfunctional or “toxic”
    • confusion around sexuality and/or earlier trauma
    • conflict having to straddle two different worlds with respect to poverty/wealth, race, culture, achievement, family values and expectations
    • worries about changes in the family, such as death or divorce

Consulting a psychotherapist usually clarifies the student’s concerns and goals for making changes and finding solutions, finding relief from symptoms, etc. It is a strength when the student can take advantage of professional help. In fact, consulting a therapist or being in treatment has become pretty much a routine part of campus life.

I was a psychotherapist for 35 yrs on the campus of Columbia University, treating both undergraduate and graduate students. I welcome both local students and those who may be home on leave of absence. I am always guided by what the student wants her/his treatment to accomplish for her/him. (See FAQ) I also specialize in evaluating students at high risk, such as being potentially a danger to themselves or others, and in assisting deans when they are concerned about a student’s welfare.

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