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10 Reasons Why People Don't Go to Counseling

1. "Receiving counseling is a sign of weakness."

Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes courage to address problem areas and examine painful feelings. Entering counseling is taking the first step in resolving difficulties.

2. "People who go to counseling are crazy. I'm not crazy!"

College students are high-functioning people. So, in counseling all of the work is with high-functioning people. Some people who receive counseling feel "sick" in the sense of being unhappy, but you don't need to be feeling sick or non-functioning to go into counseling, you just need to be feeling stuck. Counseling helps when you have tried to address a situation on your own but your strategies don't seem to help. Asking for help is a sign of maturity, self-awareness and possession of a sense of inner strength.

3. "Cal Maritime is too small - everyone will know what I talk about."

Counseling at CAPS is strictly CONFIDENTIAL. CAPS counselors must abide by strict ethical standards. It would not be okay for a counselor at CAPS to inform anyone about what you said or even that you were seen for counseling at CAPS. There are some exceptional situations when a CAPS counselor might have to share some information you revealed in a counseling session. Here is a description of those rare cases:

Psychologists have a legal responsibility to disclose information without your consent if that is necessary to protect you or others from serious harm. These include cases where a client has communicated a serious threat of physical violence toward him/herself or someone else, or when a psychologist has reasonable cause to believe that the client is so unable to care for him or herself that the situation is life threatening. Additionally, psychologists are obligated to report any cases of child abuse or elder abuse.

4. "I wouldn't even know what to talk about."

You don't need to know what to talk about before you come. In counseling, people examine whether there are ways they think, feel and/or behave that they can improve. Your counselor will help you identify these areas and how discussing them could be helpful. In the process of exploring, students often discuss issues such as academic performance, relationships, adjusting to life challenges/changes, managing stress, or choosing a major.

5. "I can't afford to pay for counseling."

Counseling at Cal Maritime is covered by the student health fee. There is no additional charge for counseling.

6. "I can always talk to a friend. I don't understand how talking to a stranger can be helpful."

Friends can provide wonderful support and empathy, and that's often enough to help us through difficult times. But a counseling relationship is different in a very important way. In a friendship the needs of both people must be attended to. Friendships involve a mutual exchange of listening and sharing. In counseling, the focus is solely on you and during this dialogue about you. Your counselor is trained to use therapeutic techniques to help you.

7. "I don't believe just talking can do any good."

Talking can actually do a lot of good. Discussing something with someone who is not judgmental and who cares helps relieve the emotional pressure caused by keeping our thoughts and feelings to ourselves. But counseling involves much more than just talking. Counseling provides a way for us to understand who we are and how we relate to the world around us. In counseling we focus our attention on aspects of our experience that we may have been previously unaware of. This provides new ways of looking at our problems and this often gives us new ways and strategies to handle these problems.

8. "I'm betraying my family."

Counselors are sensitive and respectful of concerns about diverse family traditions and privacy. If conflicts about loyalty to family and culture are of concern, these issues can be discussed at the start and throughout counseling as needed.

9. "If I talk about my problems, I'll just make them worse or completely fall apart."

On the contrary, examining previously suppressed concerns and worries helps dissipate the pain and intensity and helps us understand our problems better. Counseling provides a forum for exploring choices, which produces better decision making.

10. " I may want to go to graduate school or be in the military or the CIA, and having been in counseling could get in the way of my being accepted."

No employer or graduate school to which you apply can force CAPS to share your counseling records. Records are confidential and only with your consent are records released. Background checks conducted by government officials or representatives address security risk and not the specific topics or content discussed in counseling. Neither the fact that you seek counseling nor any information about the counseling sessions will appear in your student academic record. If any individual or office ever wants to know anything about your counseling, you would have to sign a release of information form before this information is released by CAPS, except in the rare exceptional cases noted above.

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Last updated: 7/16/20