What’s Stopping You?


Valeria Orozco, Reporter

So, what is it? What’s stopping you from entering the counselor’s office? Are you scared someone’s watching you as you walk into Regina Hall? Are you nervous to talk to a stranger? Or is it the lingering thought that your friends might think you’re “crazy” if they find out?  

While positive progress is being made toward changing the perception people have regarding counseling and therapy, the stigma that surrounds it still reminds us we have a long way to go. Unfortunately, to this day the realm of counseling remains mysterious to many people, mostly because of the misconceptions surrounding it. Over the years, I’ve heard some interesting mythsone of the popular ones is having to be “crazy” to see a counselor or, one’s life must be in shambles in order to go. 

In a search to uncover the barriers students encounter to seek counseling, I interviewed a Marian University nursing student who wishes to remain anonymous. I asked her a couple questions about the counseling center on campus, such as the location and hours of availability. To my surprise, she was aware of the services and their location in Regina Hall plus the hours counseling sessions are available. Ironically, when I asked her if she had been to a counseling session, she quickly responded, “No, I wouldn’t want to waste her time.” When I asked her to elaborate, she added, “Yeah, I think other people need it more than I do. Like someone who is depressed and stuff like that.” As a student-athlete at Marian who has visited the counseling center numerous times, I assured her not everyone that goes suffers from a serious mental illness. There doesn’t have to be tragic events happening in an individual’s life to reach out for some help.  

To shed some light on the truth about seeing a counselor, Robyn Williams, the Director of Counseling here at Marian University gave some more information on the subject. She first listed some of the common difficulties students faced with going to counseling. Williams confirmed a major barrier she found for college counseling was that, “People think their situation has to be really terrible in order to be able to access services.” She also said, “If I had a dollar for every person who’s said they don’t want to waste my time, I’d be rich.”  The sentence sounded way too familiar. Williams believed these misconceptions came from simple lack of experience with a counselor, because if someone hasn’t had firsthand experience with one, it is easier for them to believe the myths. Williams also believed media plays a big role in the misconceptions along with bad experiences with other counselors.  

In order to normalize the perception of counseling, we must first stop treating it as a “sensitive” subject. There’s nothing sensitive about students wanting an extra helping hand. As a result of this “damaged” or “broken” stigma individuals believe they will be categorized in, they refrain from utilizing the resources. In reality, counseling is a beneficial way to find support and positivity, and overall can help make good lives great. 

Personally, I’ve been in a similar situation about wanting to reach out but being ashamed or afraid to do so. As a student that’s away from home and part of the Women’s Soccer team, it has been quite difficult to balance overwhelming school work and social life. This shows how nothing extremely tragic needs to be happening in your life to give counseling a try. Williams echoed this and assured that, “Anyone who feels they can benefit from it,” is welcome at the counseling center.  

I encourage all my fellow peers at Marian to reach out to the free services available, whether that be for just wanting someone to listen or for professional advice. I have had a great experience with the counseling services on campus, and it has helped me navigate the sometimes-challenging college environment. This is a reminder that there is help out there and you are not alone. Self-care is a priority, not a luxury. Take care of yourself, and your body and mind will thank you later.  

Counseling Center:

Location: Regina Hall Room 010 

Hours: 8 am- 4:30pm (Extended hours available by appointment)  

Schedule appointments with Becky Holl: [email protected] (920) 923-8799 

Counseling Staff: Robyn Williams, MA, LPC