Foust Hall: Home for help

Counselors Arshia Ebrahimi, left, and Cory Cole, right, converse over early morning coffee at Central Michigan University's Counseling Center, 102 Foust Hall. Ebrahimi enjoys working with students because it is the most opportune time in their lives and students deal with a unique time of stress during their college years. (Tanya Moutzalias | Grand Central Magazine)

The Central Michigan University Counseling Center is a free on-campus service for students to receive any type of therapy or counseling they may need.

The Counseling center, located in 102 Foust Hall, offers individual counseling every day from 8- 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Regular appointments can be scheduled throughout the day but the center reserves special sessions everyday for emergency appointments, students who need to be seen immediately. Michelle Bigard, as associate professor and assistant director of the Counseling Center said each counselor’s schedule allots 26 appointments per week.

Along with individual therapy, the Counseling Center also provides group therapy sessions. The sessions are lead by one of the center’s licensed therapists and each group member must sign a confidentiality agreement. Bigard says it’s kind of like a “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mentality and everyone respects the request for discretion.

This semester, the two group sessions available are “Family driving you crazy?: Adult children of dysfunctional families” on Fridays at 1 p.m. and “Sexual assault survivor support group” on Thursdays at 3 p.m., both in 103 Foust Hall. Calling ahead is encouraged for group therapy but walk-ins are welcome. Bigard said some students may be more comfortable with one-on-one individual counseling but that group therapy can be a very powerful experience.

“The wonderful thing about groups is that you know you’re not alone,” Bigard said. “They get advice from one another; they can practice on the group the [techniques] they want to practice outside of the group. They can learn from the wisdom of group members. “

Director of Counseling Ross Rapaport said the counseling center welcomes any questions and concerns. Some students may worry about going to a university-funded counseling clinic for various reasons but the Counseling Center at Central is no different than any other counseling center, confidentiality is key.

Central Michigan University's Counseling Center, 102 Foust Hall. (Tanya Moutzalias | Grand Central Magazine)

According to Rapaport, only three students currently work at the desk (2 graduates and one undergraduate) and none of them have access to any personal patient information. They may pull a file for a counselor but their main duties are to schedule appointments and answer phones. None of the information discussed in either group or in individual therapy will show up on your transcript or even be shared with anyone beside the counselor and the group.

Bigard said counseling isn’t as scary as some people like to be believe.

“[Counseling] is like a process that you would undergo with a counselor who’s there to listen objectively and mirror back to you your own thoughts,” Bigard said. “It’s getting assistance in the changes you want to make.”

Additional services provided by the counseling Center include consultation with students, parents, faculty, staff, and administration, growth groups/workshops, in-service training and consultation services, outreach programs, referral to appropriate university and local resources, and online mental health screening.

For more information regarding the counseling center call (989)774-3081 or visit their website or Facebook Fan page which includes tips on how to de-stress, coping strategies and other helpful information under the notes tab.