CAPS Office identifies stressors, open to students

Eli Vera/Staff Writer

Students often struggle with the balance of class, work, applications, family and sometimes it can all be too much during the semester.

Many students reach out to the University office of Counseling and Psychological Services when they feel overwhelmed with any type of a variety of issues.

According to the CAPS annual report of 2012 – 2013, students seek counseling due to five main reasons, the most prevalent of which is anxiety.

“This is an emotional disorder that include individuals who have difficulty with worry, apprehension or fear,” said Xuan Stevens, a psychologist at the CAPS office.

For students with severe anxiety, Stevens recommends relaxation exercises, both mental and physical.

Stevens said that it is helpful to think about the present and to “be in the moment” to relieve anxiety about upcoming responsibilities or tasks.

“This can help in not thinking so much in the future because the thought of constantly not knowing what is to come can snowball all over again,” said Stevens.

Some students said they tend to grow anxious just waiting to hear back from opportunities they have applied for.

Kyle Wicomb, who has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology, is currently in the process of applying to medical schools, and the pressure is getting to him.

“I’m stressed out,” said Wicomb. “Your future is on the line and you are waiting for months to make a decision about your future.”

Wicomb thinks that the waiting time for these applications is so long, that it leaves students with fewer options.

“It would be better if the wait time were not as long, because then you can explore other options for your future,” said Wicomb.

Other times students get anxious about not reaching a goal the way they had planned and having to adjust to a different path towards the same goal.

For Diana Deonanan, senior psychology major, she grows more and more anxious about her classes.

“Since I’m graduating later than I should, I have been really stressed and just trying to do what I have to do no matter what,” Deonanan said.

Another concern for students are relationships.

According to CAPS, about 12.5 percent of individuals that come in complain of relational problems not otherwise specified.

“This might be difficulties with roommates, perhaps difficulties with friends, so these interpersonal relationships for a number of different reasons people have difficulty relating to others,” said Stevens.

Aside from problems with peers, students that have problems with their professors can also “cause distress” and fall under this category, said Stevens.

Following this category, 8.5 percent of individuals come in with issues that are partner relational problems.

“This includes any type of emotionally or physically intimate relationship between two individuals and it doesn’t matter the sexual orientation or gender,” said Stevens.

The last category University counselors have seen students for under the umbrella of relationship issues, which makes up about seven percent, is parent-child relational problems, said Stevens

The general advice for any relationship problem is group therapy, according to Stevens, who thinks this method is effective in helping students find ways to relate to others.

“They are able to meet with others in a group that has similar issues or similar concerns and they receive certainly very valuable feedback from their peers,” Stevens said.

The third issue most students seek counseling for is major life changes.

“Let’s say you have an individual who’s getting married for the first time or taking on a responsibility or having a child for the first time or going to college,” said Stevens. She recommends finding support through friends, family or even therapy.

The fourth issue FIU students seek counseling foris adjustment disorder.

“The person has an identified ‘stressor’ and is connected to a clinically significant emotional behavioral problem so the person may have depressed mood, anxious mood or some type of conduct issue,” said Stevens, who says effective option is therapy to help remedy both the stressor and symptoms of the stressor, such as a “depressed mood, anxious mood or conduct issues.”

Finally, the last issue students visit CAPS for is generalizing anxiety disorder. “It includes chronic worry about multiple areas of a person’s life,” said Stevens. “Generalizing anxiety disorder is a lot more severe than [regular] anxiety disorder because there is a specific criteria and the level of imperilment is greater.”

Stevens recommends conjoint individual therapy using cognitive behavioral therapy and then medication management. In the case of chronic anxiety,  psychiatric evaluation may be the most helpful.

Students that feel overwhelmed by factors that are academic and non-academic can seek counseling at the Counseling & Psychological Services Department at either campus in the Wolfe University Center, room 320 or in the University Health Services Complex, room 270.

Be the first to comment on "CAPS Office identifies stressors, open to students"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.