How Counseling Helps

Counseling helps people to:

Pinpoint problems - understand aspects of the problems that may be improved.

  • Identify negative or illogical thinking patterns that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and to develop a more positive outlook.
  • Explore learned thoughts and behaviors that create or maintain problems.
  • Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.
  • Encourage support from family and friends.
  • Find solutions to life's problems.
  • Discover personal strengths and how to use those strengths to grow stronger in other areas.

Counseling offers people the opportunity to identify the factors that contribute to their difficulties and to deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and situational causes of those difficulties.

Myths About Counseling


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.


Counseling is only for people with serious emotional problems.


Counseling is like seeing a doctor – you don’t go to a doctor only if you have a heart attack.  It can be helpful to see a doctor if you have the flu.

Students often seek and benefit from counseling for issues such as academic difficulty, relationship problems, adjustment concerns, managing stress, or choosing a major.


“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
Joshua J. Marine

Suggestions for Referring to CAPS

  • Express your concern privately.
  • Do not to use labels (e.g., “you have an eating disorder.”)
  • Talk about specific, observable behaviors that may suggest the need for counseling (e.g., “I am concerned because I notice you have missed several classes.”)
  • Emphasize that counseling can be an effective tool for dealing with everyday problems.
  • Offer to make the referral or to be with the student while he or she calls CAPS.
  • If appropriate, go to the counseling center with the student.
  • Remember that you are not responsible for making the person ready to change, but you can provide him or her with the opportunity to get assistance.

Counseling Center Services Increase College Success

  • Rummel et al. (1999) found that the majority of college students leaving their university were in academically good standing, and that nearly one in four left due to personal problems. 
  • Students who participate in counseling show positive changes in measured quality of life satisfaction, which is more predictive of student retention than overall GPA levels, high school grades, or SAT scores levels (Clark, Wettersen, & Mason, 1999;  Osberg & Polland, 2002).
  • Researchers at Iowa State University (Wilson et al, 1997) found that students who received 1-7 counseling sessions had a 14% higher retention rate than non-counseled peers.  Retention rates showed similar gains (12% higher) among University of Wyoming students who participated in counseling (Turner & Berry, 2000).


  • Osberg, T.M., & Polland, D.L. (2002). Comparative accuracy of the MMPI-2 and the MMPI-A in the diagnosis of psychopathology in 18 year olds. Psychological Assessment, 14, 164-169.
  • Rummel, A., Acton, D., Costello, S., & Pielow, G. (1999). Is all retention good? An empirical study. College Student Journal, 33, 241-246.
  • Turner, A.L., & Berry, T.R. (2000). Counseling center contributions to student retention and graduation: A longitudinal assessment. Journal of College Student Development, 41, 627-63.
  • Wilson, S.B., Mason, T.W., Ewing, M.J. (1997). Evaluating the impact of receiving university-based counseling services on student retention. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 44, 316-320.