Everything You Wanted to Know about HSE Counseling Services
Counseling services are now available to all HSE students and staff on campus at HSE University – Saint Petersburg. Students and staff can receive psychological assistance at no cost in person or via Skype. Provided below is information about the types of counseling services available at the new Psychologist's Office, how to make an appointment, and why HSE – St. Petersburg has begun providing these services.
Why has HSE begun providing counseling services?
Many world-leading universities provide counseling services to students and staff. Services vary, but they make the learning environment more comfortable. When in need of psychological support, students do not have to look for resources beyond the university. Instead, they can see a psychologist right on campus.
Cambridge University is just one example of a university that provides psychological support services for its students. However, the situation abroad is a little different, because psychological help is included in a students' insurance plans, so students pay an annual fee to get access to this help.
What kinds of counseling can I receive?
The HSE Psychologist's Office provides individual consultations in private and by Skype. When making an appointment for an individual consultation, you must select a psychologist. If you need to talk with a psychologist online, you should indicate that in the application form. Skype consultations are a good solution for HSE students who are currently studying abroad.
We also offer group therapy, where clients can receive assistance in working through interpersonal conflicts. In a group, they can work out the problem, get relevant feedback from an impartial outside party, and learn to build healthy relationships. For individuals who struggle with interpersonal communication and relationships in their daily lives, group therapy sessions can provide a positive communicative experience and help develop communication skills. It also can help patients overcome personal doubts and insecurities.
For some patients, it is most convenient to meet with their counselor privately in person. Patients can share private problems that they would not like to discuss in group therapy. In individual consultations, the psychologist focuses on the individual patient and his or her issues, while group therapy does not offer this kind of individual approach. However, in individual consultations, patients do not receive feedback from multiple parties — varied feedback is the main advantage of group therapy.
But won't it be awkward sharing my innermost thoughts with a stranger?
Sometimes people feel uncomfortable during counseling. For example, a patient might not like or trust their counsellor. In this case, they do not feel comfortable sharing their worries and fears. Thus, it is crucial to get a counselor with whom you feel comfortable, confident, and calm. Sharing everything about your problems is essential for successful therapy since it is the patient who does the main work — the talking — while the counselor provides guidance.
You can also work through the emotions that your counselor evokes in you. Fear accompanies internal processes that should be worked through. It should be discussed both in group and individual consultations.
What kinds of psychologists work at HSE University – Saint Petersburg?
Psychologists following humanistic and existential approaches work at the University. Humanistic psychology relates to personal values, self-realization, rights, and personal boundaries. Existential psychology helps us to answer questions about the meaning of life, freedom, and death, so it is a more philosophical approach.
How do I make an appointment, and what can I expect?
Individual psychological consultations are held on Griboedova Kanal Embankment 123, in room 702. You should visit the Psychologist’s Office website to make an appointment. Leave your name and phone number, so we can contact you and remind you about the appointment. Individual consultation is a dialogue between a patient and a counselor. Firstly, we set a target to achieve. The patient talks about what has brought him or her to the appointment, and the psychologist asks some clarifying questions to know what exactly the patient wants to change and what his or her desired result is.
In group therapy, participants sit in a circle in a comfortable environment and discussing a problem. There are moderators who guide the conversation. If a particular member has an issue he or she would like to address, he or she can discuss it individually within the group. At the same time, other members are mindful of their reactions and try to understand their feelings. Upon completing an individual part of group therapy, all the participants may give feedback and express what they felt while listening and how they want to provide support.
What rules do the psychologists follow?
Psychologists adhere to a code of ethics. Whatever happens in the psychologist’s office remains between the psychologist and the patient. The counselor will never say a word about what a patient has shared. A counselor should create a comfortable atmosphere to make one feel safe.
Group therapy sessions also follow a set of rules. Firstly, everything that happens in the therapy remains within the group. Group members should not judge each other, they should share their emotions and troubles instead. Participants share their psychological responses to a story shared by other group members. They discuss everything following the ‘here and now’ concept.
It is not necessary to share one’s ideas and feelings; it is okay to remain silent if you like. However, active participation is encouraged.
When should I see a psychologist?
A psychologist should be visited if you are struggling to overcome difficulties, want to improve the quality of your life, and live more mindfully. You can visit the Psychologist’s Office to find the support you are looking for.
We are grateful to Ekaterina Sushko, HSE University – Saint Petersburg Social Care Teacher, for her help in preparing this article.