Mission and Values

The Counseling Center is the primary counseling and mental health agency for UC Irvine undergraduate and graduate students. We strive to assist students with their academic success by developing dimensions of well-being. The Counseling Center provides short term time limited individual, couples, group and family counseling. The Center also assists students with urgent care and some psychological testing. Psychiatric evaluation and intervention are available on a limited basis for students concurrently seen in therapy. A wide range of workshops and courses related to interpersonal and developmental issues including cross cultural interaction, intimacy and friendships, interpersonal communication, and coping and resiliency are offered annually.

In addition, the Counseling Center provides support to the University community through crisis intervention, training regarding mental health issues, and outreach and consultation services. The Center’s services are available and free of charge to currently registered students. Students with chronic and severe mental health issues needing long term and extensive services are referred to other appropriate community providers.

Eligibility

Counseling Center services are free of charge to currently enrolled students who have paid registration fees. Sometimes other people important in your life, such as spouses/ partners, parents, children, or friends, may be involved in therapy sessions with you. The need to involve others will be determined by you and your therapist.

During the summer, students who are enrolled in the preceding spring quarter and are registered for the following fall quarter may receive services depending on service demands.

Students who are Minors (under 18 years of age)

Students who are not 18 years of age can be seen for therapy without parental consent if the student is 12 year or older and is mature enough to participate intelligently in the treatment. Although parental consent is not required for therapy under above circumstances, your therapist is required to involve your parent or legal guardian in the treatment unless their involvement would be inappropriate. Your therapist will speak with you first before making the decision to involve your parents. However, your parent or legal guardian does not automatically have access to your mental health records.

Why Do Students Come to the Counseling Center

UC Irvine can be a challenging environment for many students. For some students, the following “Top Ten” list has proven helpful in making the decision to utilize services.

Top Ten Reasons to Visit the Counseling Center:

  1. Stress is getting the best of me, and it is getting harder to juggle school, work, family, and relationships
  2. Intense feelings and thoughts make it difficult for me to concentrate, study, and focus.
  3. I try, but I’m unable to find the love I want.
  4. I am standing on the threshold of becoming "all that I can be" and I don't have a clue about how to take the first step.
  5. I am having trouble making decisions; family and friends run my life.
  6. I don't fit in and don't know how to get past hello with new acquaintances.
  7. So much has changed, and I no longer know who I am.
  8. I worry a lot about my weight; I am preoccupied with food.
  9. I am my own worst enemy. I don't treat myself well, and I question whether I should even exist.
  10. The "unspeakable" has happened, and I need to get past it.

Some of the issues students discuss:

  • Academic Performance
  • Stress
  • Life Transitions
  • Loneliness/Isolation
  • Relationships/Intimacy Issues
  • Roommate Conflicts
  • Self-Esteem
  • Anger
  • Grief/Loss
  • Anxiety/Persistent Worry/Panic Attacks
  • Family Issues
  • Identity Confusio
  • Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity
  • Eating Disorders/Body Image Concerns
  • Depression/Apathy
  • Sexuality
  • Abusive Relationships
  • Alcohol/Substance Use/Abuse
  • Sexual Assault/Rape
  • Pregnancy

Why You Might be Reluctant to Seek Counseling

Here are some common ideas students may have that can interfere with their seeking therapy and responses to each of these interfering thoughts:

“I’m not crazy, and I’m not weak.”
Wanting to resolve problems is wise, not crazy. Seeking therapy allows you to get support and help with personal issues that are common for many people. Reaching out for resources to solve problems is a sign of strength and not a sign of weakness.
“What would my friends think if they knew?”
All services in the Counseling Center are completely confidential. Unless required by law, no information is shared without your written consent.
“I don’t discuss family matters outside the home.”
In many families and cultures, it is common to keep problems within the family environment. There are times, however, when an issue/problem might need the help of someone who can be objective and who has skills and training to handle particular concerns. The staff in the Counseling Center are professionally trained therapists who have expertise in multiple areas to help students.
“I should be able to handle my own problems.”
You are capable of handling many of your own problems. However, when an issue surfaces that is causing you to question yourself, or affects your daily functioning, or seems to be “unsolvable”, a therapist is an excellent resource. The therapist can assist you in finding ways to handle a particular issue.
“My problem isn’t that big, other people have bigger problems.”
Some of your problems may feel less important than those of your friends. However, if they are causing you distress and interfering with your daily life and work, a little help is a good thing. The Counseling Center staff is trained to work with students on a variety of issues and to focus on your unique needs.
“It’s too expensive.”
This is the best part! If you are a registered student, services in the Counseling Center are offered at no additional cost to you!

What Can You Expect From Therapy

The Counseling Center recognizes that each person is unique. As such, the issues addressed and the approaches used for each individual will be tailored through your work with your therapist. This is a collaborative, professional relationship with the focus on your concerns. Initially, your therapist will work with you to identify and assess your needs. Your therapist will often focus on gathering information on the current issues you present, and looking at historical data, if it is appropriate. Your therapist will help clarify your reasons and goals for entering into therapy. Once this is done, your therapist will work with you to determine the best therapeutic approach to help you meet these goals.

There are many approaches to help you move towards growth and problem-resolution. Often therapists will provide you with opportunities to learn new skills and coping mechanisms while also increasing your self-understanding and insight. Therapists may also examine past patterns to help you assess in a healthier way your current/past relationships, decision-making, and family dynamics. With the help of your therapist, you will better understand your strengths and abilities to manage life challenges which can be very important in achieving your therapy goals.