Embarking on a course of study is a major transition for anyone, whether it means leaving home for the first time, or changing the direction of your life. Most people have anxieties about how they will perform. It can be hard to cope, and students often feel very isolated - particularly if old problems resurface. Feelings of homesickness, or pressures from family, can aggravate low self-esteem or fears of failure, and there is often a reluctance to share these worries for fear of being judged.
We realise that there are times when personal issues, financial problems or other circumstances can affect a student's experience within the University despite the quality of the courses that they are studying. TuksRes Student Support offers support to help students manage academic and personal demands more effectively while gaining self-understanding and direction.
Our aim is to ensure that there is someone who can lend support to you in order to avert any anxiety you may feel when coping with life at University in general, and your residence in particular.
What should I expect?
Many people feel apprehensive about working with a counsellor. It may help to realise how normal it is to visit a counsellor at some stage in your University career.
Problems can surface at all stages of your University career. Normal life does not stop because you are a student. A close family member may die; you may have relationship problems; you may suddenly become confused about your sexual identity, or suffer from an eating disorder. Sometimes the pressure of deadlines and exams can be too much and you become anxious or depressed. You may even think about leaving. Life can be pretty stressful. Sometimes just talking about it helps.
If you are having problems, be they personal, family or relationship issues, we can refer you to a professional who can help.
Whatever your concerns, support and referred counselling will give you the space to explore them in a safe and non-judgmental setting.
The Student Support Division
The Student Support Division offers short- and long-term counselling. There are different approaches to counselling and your counsellor can explain how they work. All the counsellors respect the diversity of beliefs and values of all students.
They also work closely with other on-campus health and support services. Appointments are usually available within a week, or in case of emergencies, on the same day.
Confidentiality is guaranteed within the Support and Counselling Service team. However, this is not absolute as there are rare and exceptional circumstances when the confidentiality clause may need to be broken. These exceptions would only be made for the purpose of public interest or law.
In these circumstances your counsellor will try to contact you and discuss how the boundaries for confidentiality will be kept and, if necessary, extended. If you have been referred for counselling we will, if asked, confirm with the referral party that you attended your first session. Other than the above exception this is the only instance when we would disclose to anyone that you are attending counselling.
NB: This service is free to all university staff and students.
What happens at your first appointment?
Your first appointment will last up to 30 minutes. You will be talked through a form and any questions you may have will be answered. If needed, counselling sessions will be scheduled. Should you feel you need more sessions, please discuss this with the counsellor or coordinator. At the end of each counselling session you will arrange the time/date for your next appointment with your counsellor.
You will see the same counsellor each time. If for any reason you wish to change counsellor you may do so by discussing this with your current counsellor.
What counselling is and how it may help
One way of starting to deal with things is to see a counsellor. This involves meeting with a trained person to talk about the issues that are important to you.
Counselling is an active process that is designed to give you the time, space and encouragement to explore and understand your issues. The counsellor will be able to help you think about your problems from a different perspective. Their role is to provide you with a secure framework in which to reflect upon your circumstances. The aim is that in time this will increase your awareness of yourself, your situation, and the choices that are open to you. Coming for counselling can take courage as it involves facing yourself and asking someone else for help.
How to make an appointment
The Division of Student Support also has a daily drop-in service. You do not need to make an appointment; you can just call in and speak to a counsellor during office hours between 07:30 and 16:00. Please contact 012 420 2333.
You may also make use of the 24-hour Crisis Line by phoning 0800 0064 28
How do councellors help?
Counsellors are professionals who have been trained to assist individuals by:
- helping people understand themselves, their abilities and potential;
- helping people through changing circumstances and transitions from one stage of life to another;
- helping people grow in the midst of personal crisis or despite a lack of resources; and/or
- helping people set goals, overcome barriers, access resources and plan fulfilling productive lives.
On the whole it is not the role of a counsellor/supporter to give you advice. The counsellor's skills are primarily to help you explore and understand your difficulties and move towards greater self-reliance. It is a process that involves careful listening and consideration of what is being discussed. While your counsellor will not tell you what to do, he/she may offer his/her thoughts and where appropriate offer relevant information that could assist you.What do I do if I have a friend who I think needs some help?
It can be very hard to watch someone you know who is experiencing a form of difficulty. This can leave you concerned, unsure and even frustrated as to establish how you can help. If you have a friend or someone you are worried about, it can help to get a different perspective by talking to someone – a friend, supporter or counsellor. This can clarify what you can or cannot do to help.
TuksRes Student Support
TuksRes Student Support can help you in:
- dealing with a crisis or immediate concern;
- support with longer term difficulties;
- getting access to specialist help; and/or
- referral to other resources.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” ~ Leo Rosten
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