Counseling and Student Development Center helps students with their emotional challenges

NIU’s Counseling and Student Development Center is located in Room 200 of the Campus Life Building at Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue.

NIU’s Counseling and Student Development Center is located in Room 200 of the Campus Life Building at Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue.

NIU student “Bob” recently had broken up with his girlfriend, “Maggie,” after two years of dating.

Feeling depressed and noticing his grades dropping since the break-up, Bob didn’t know what to do, who he could talk to or where to turn. He did remember, however, learning about the Counseling and Student Development Center during his UNIV 101 class.

Although he was worried about going to the CSDC because he had never talked to a counselor before, he finally decided to seek help there.

“Students can have a lot of fears or concerns about seeing a counselor, so we try to make the process as comfortable and easy as possible,” said Brooke Ruxton, acting executive director of the CSDC. “We work with students on a huge range of issues that can include dealing with a loss or grieving, depression, anxiety, a break-up or a transition to a new place.”

Located in Room 200 of the Campus Life Building, the CSDC employs 19 counselors, including graduate students. Close to 10 percent of NIU students utilized the CSDC last year.

Among the wide range of free services:

  • Individual Counseling. Students sit one-on-one with a counselor and discuss what is going on in their lives. This is short-term therapy, and the number of sessions can range. The average number is six to eight.
  • Group Counseling. Students meet with a group of other students and a counselor in a judgment-free zone and discuss what is going on in each other’s lives and give each other feedback. NIU students can attend as many times as they want.
  • Referral to another professional in the DeKalb or surrounding area who has specific expertise to work with a particular student.
  • On-Call is the nighttime service when the CSDC is closed. Students who experience a crisis after-hours can phone the NIU Police Department at (815) 753-1212 and ask to speak with the counselor on call.
  • Crisis Services are available for students who need help the same day. Students who visit the CSDC and ask to speak with a counselor will meet with counselors promptly to discuss what is going on. No appointment is needed. Walk-in hours are from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Consultation Services. Students, faculty, staff and parents can contact CSDC if they are concerned about an NIU student, and the counselor will help them determine the best way to approach the student.

To meet with a counselor at CSDC, students should attend a walk-in appointment. This process usually takes about 90 minutes.

“You will be asked to fill out some paperwork. Then you will meet with a counselor to discuss why you are here and what is going on in your life,” Ruxton said. “Together, you will decide how CSDC can help you best meet your needs.”

Students who are hesitant to seek out the CSDC services because of fear of privacy can rest assured that sessions are kept confidential.

The CSDC is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (815) 753-1206.

by Brandon Grosz

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