About 20 percent of Vanguard’s undergraduate population have received a session of Counseling through Vanguard, according to the Counseling Center’s Administrative Assistant, Elizabeth Banks. Counseling is one of the many resources offered to Vanguard students at no cost.
Janice Son, Azusa Pacific University graduate student, is one of Vanguard’s therapists and a Marriage Family Therapist in training. Son strongly supports counseling and emphasizes the importance of having a source of guidance in major life transitions. Whether a student is an incoming freshman struggling to adjust to college life or a senior preparing to leave college and anxious for what is next, the Counseling Center provides a sense of support for all.
“We have trainers for our nutrition, financial advisors for our finances, coaches for our dreams and depending on what we want to do with our lives we have teachers to help us with our education, yet we don’t have anybody to help us…with the internal workings of why we are the way that we are,” Son said.
Additionally, Son describes counseling as a source that provides an objective view and guide you in navigating through life. Sophomore Tatiana Diamond has been attending counseling for two full semesters and appreciates the sense of security it provides.
“The Counseling Center gave me a safe place to talk through all of the things that made me anxious and they gave me a ton of resources to work towards all of my goals,” Diamond said.
As the Administrative Assistant for the past five years, one of Banks’ responsibilities includes handling each counseling request. According to Banks, the Counseling Center typically assists over 200 students every year and has served 240 students in this academic school year alone. While students can seek counseling services for various needs including academic problems, depression and pre-marital counseling, the top reason for counseling this school year has been anxiety.
“We tend to see a majority of our requests coming in at the start of each semester but then around that midterm season, we get an influx of requests and most of them indicate that the reason for coming in is stress and anxiety,” Banks said.
Banks also adds that there has been a higher trend in seniors coming in to utilize the counseling services due to their concern of post graduate life after Vanguard.
In recent years, social media has also played a huge role in the perception of counseling services in both negative and positive manners. Son suggests that although social media can be helpful and encouraging people in that direction of counseling, it just depends on the person. One concept that social media tends to follow is whether something is trending. With counseling, Banks considers it a good trend in the Orange County area that is very well accepted.
“I feel like people are more open to the idea of therapy here in this environment than in other cities and parts of the U.S.,” Banks said.
The average costs of counseling services can run as low as $150, but students can use this resource for free. For Diamond, counseling has left a profound impact on her life.
“It gives people a judgement free zone to be themselves and express their emotions,” Diamond said.