Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Counselor-in-Residence: A Counseling Service Model for Residential College Students

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Counselor-in-Residence: A Counseling Service Model for Residential College Students

Article excerpt

The Counselor-In-Residence program at the University of Arkansas was designed as a model to provide counseling for residential college students who otherwise might not take advantage of the services of a traditional university counseling center.

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Today, college students are coming to campus with a greater desire to seek out mental health services (Galatas Von Steen, 2000). This may cause some university counseling centers to put students seeking therapy on waiting lists, with priority placed on issues involving severe pathology. Thus, students with developmental issues may be underserved. Bishop, Bauer, and Becket (1998) stated that because of the ever-increasing demands for support services by students, counseling centers might not be able to adequately respond to students' needs. Some university administrators are concerned with retention, and counselors play an important role in helping retain quality students (Mattox, 2000). Researchers concluded that a contributing factor for students leaving universities is not due to academic difficulties or financial hardships but rather to attend to personal or family problems, or both (Turner & Berry, 2000). Turner and Berry further concluded that if students' personal issues can be addressed by taking advantage of counseling services, then colleges and universities might be able to retain these high-quality students. Komives, Lucas, and McMahon (1998) purported that students need to increase their self-confidence and to rely on their personal strengths, competencies, and skills to face the challenges that are presented while in college. Counseling services can certainly assist students in the process of regaining self-confidence, motivation, and self-efficacy. Research has consistently shown that students who take advantage of counseling services perform better academically and maintain emotional wellness more than students who do not attend counseling (Bishop et al., 1998; Davis & Humphrey, 2000; Turner & Berry, 2000; Upcraft, Gardner, & Associates, 1989). The Counselor-In-Residence (CIR) program at the University of Arkansas was designed as a model to provide counseling for students who otherwise might not take advantage of the services from a traditional university counseling center.

Counselor-In-Residence Program

Description of Program

The CIR program at the University of Arkansas was established in 1996 through a joint effort between University Housing and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The CIR program is a counseling and support service created to promote the personal and academic growth of students living in the campus residence halls. The counselors who live on campus and serve as CIRs have received advanced training in counseling and psychotherapy and are doctoral students in the Counselor Education program at the University of Arkansas. The CIRs receive clinical and administrative supervision from the director of CAPS, from the university's Counselor Education faculty, and from the associate director of University Housing.

Each CIR has background and training pertinent to the position: for example, as a therapist at a university counseling center, experience with a community agency for adolescents and at-risk youth, or service in residence life administration. The combined knowledge, background, and training of these counseling professionals enhance the quality of the overall services that residence hall students receive.

Services to Students

CIRs are an integral part of the campus residential experience. Each CIR maintains regular contact with students by having an office located in the residence halls. This provides easy access for students seeking help from a counseling professional. Students can visit with CIRs and set up appointments during office hours or at other scheduled times. Pamphlets and flyers are distributed to students on arrival to the university and are posted throughout the residence halls to promote the program and to inform the students of the service. …

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