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student and counselor
UTSA student and counselor

UTSA Life: UTSA Counseling Services offers support, advice and learning assessment

By Lynn Gosnell
Special Projects Writer

(June 5, 2008)--UTSA Counseling Services is home to support groups, learning assessments and advice for managing life's hurdles. This begins a three-part series on the continuum of care offered to UTSA students by Counseling Services. This story centers on services concerning developmental issues, the second will focus on adjustment issues and the third on crisis intervention.

By last December, Robert, a junior history major, was falling drastically behind in his studies, and he had a pretty good idea why. He had struggled in high school with some issues related to reading and language comprehension.

"I have to memorize words. I can't sound them out," he explained. Learning new languages proved challenging. Finally, the intense academic requirements of a history major and literature minor began to catch up with him. He requested assessment services through UTSA Counseling Services.

Students often wonder, "Is my problem big enough?" to justify a call or walk-in visit to counseling services, said Thomas Baez, UTSA director of counseling services.

Students can find assistance through Counseling Services for the normal challenges of college life -- relationship issues, making the transition to college from high school, homesickness, time management, academic stress and identity issues.

All services are delivered with confidentiality and respect. The use of counseling services does not appear on a student's academic record. Except for nominal charges for the testing and assessment, there is no extra charge.

Robert completed a battery of comprehensive tests administered by UTSA staff psychologists for a $50 fee. Completing these tests with a private clinician could cost up to $1,500, he learned. Within a couple of weeks, Robert had the results that documented his language-related learning disability.

"I had all the info I needed before spring semester began," he said. Robert is now able to take advantage of the accommodations offered by Disability Services.

Learning disability assessment is just one of the many services available for all students through UTSA Counseling Services.

Thirteen clinicians, as well as master's-level counseling students, offer services in both individual and group formats. According to staff members, groups offer a less structured, more laid-back setting for discussion and support.

For example, the Women's Resource Center under the direction of Counseling Services and located just across the hall from the 1604 Campus office, offers ongoing support groups including book groups. Last spring, a group read and discussed Alice Walker's "The Color Purple."

"The discussions are amazing," said Brittany Biley, a UTSA psychology major and certified peer educator who co-facilitates the group with a clinical staff member. "You hear people talking about their experiences as they relate to the book. It's supposed to be an hour, but to be honest, we usually go over," Biley said.

WRC offers a variety of groups and services focusing on women?s and gender issues, as well as a resource library. Many programs are open to men as well, said Biley, who notes that the groups run in the fall and spring semesters only.

The WRC also has developed a peer education program called CURE (Campus United for Respect and Education). Supervised by staff, the program trains volunteers who then do outreach work around campus, educating students about healthy relationships, sexual assault and prevention, and suicide prevention.

There are many ways to find out about ongoing and new programs, said Baez. Watch for fliers around campus, check the television monitors or visit the UTSA Counseling Services Web site.

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UTSA Counseling Services

  • Recreation and Wellness Center Room 1.810, 1604 Campus, (210) 458-4140
  • Buena Vista Street Building Room 1.308, Downtown Campus, (210) 458-2930

Students can schedule an appointment or, for a first visit, they are encouraged to come in during walk-in hours, which change each semester.

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