Oakland University Counseling Center

Graham Health Center, East Wing
408 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-3465

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Well-being Videos

The OUCC is offering a selection of videos on a variety of important mental health topics. Below you will find videos offering helpful tips, support, and strategies for improving well-being.

Amelie Lacoste

Hello. My name is Amelie Lacoste. I'm a staff psychologist working at the OU Counseling Center. Today, I'm going to talk to you about a difficult topic, which is grief and loss. So there are various ways of experiencing grief and loss. Obviously, right now in the pandemic, we are all experiencing grief to some extent. So grief is normal emotional response to loss. So during this pandemic, we've all experienced loss, loss of our routine, loss of our, for example, things that we were doing all of us. Loss of graduation ceremonies, loss of finishing some research project, loss of some competitive events. So feeling some grief is a normal response. Obviously there's the other side that's a little bit different. When you lose someone that you love, you will experience grief. There are ways to experience healthy grief. Healthy grief will be to be able to find ways to cope in your own ways with the loss. That will be obviously taking care of yourself. I think it helps to have some specific dates to help yourself feel better. For example, in order not to grief all the time finding some anniversary dates or some special events that you can take the time in a healthy way to grieve the person you've lost, is a good way. So I think these two, losses and grief are really different. People have a tendency to say that you should be done grieving by certain time, which is very true. Everybody has different timelines in order to grief either a person or something that they've lost. So don't listen to people saying, oh, you should be done grieving within a year, that's not true. You have to be aware that grief takes some time and right now, we all have lost our ways of living, so it's about re-adapting. So re-adapting can be hard, but it can also be seeing the silver lining, like being more creative, understanding how social interactions are very important and knowing that being healthy and having your family being healthy is very important. So when to reach out to professionals is when your grief becomes complicated. Like you think about the person that's gone too often, you cannot function, you don't sleep, you don't eat. This is when it's time to reach out for professionals. So we are here at the counseling center, we have a team of therapists ready to help you to deal with any type of loss and grief that you've experienced or are experiencing this year or in the upcoming months. So don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'd be very happy to help you out. Thanks.

David Schwartz

Hello, I'm Dr. David Schwartz. I'm the director of the Oakland University Counseling Center and I just wanted to do a short introductory video to talk a little bit about the OUCC services and some of the new changes that are going to be happening this year. Just real quickly, overview of our services. As you would probably guess, one of the main services we provide is there will be counseling for students. All students get six free sessions and it's up to 15 sessions. Those following nine sessions are only $12 a session. However, we know that some students are on a very tight budget and we want to let you know that we never let finances become an obstacle for a student getting the help that they need. If you're working with a therapist beyond those six free sessions and it's putting a financial stress on you, all you have to do is talk with your therapist about that and they'll work with you. The other thing I wanted to mention about our counseling services is that they are confidential in nature. We're a clinic just like any other clinic that you'd go to. Just because we're part of OU doesn't change that. In fact, the only people that have access to our files on the campus are the clinicians in the counseling center and also the nurses from the health center. We do coordinate care with the health center and collaborate with them a lot. We have a lot of mutual clients, so they have access to a limited amount of information from our records as well. Other than that though, our files are completely confidential and it would be just like going to any other clinic. We also offer diagnostic testing. This is for students who are struggling academically who might suspect that they have ADHD or a learning disability. We're still working on some of the finer details of how we're going to be doing the testing this year, but it does look like we are going to be able to offer some level of testing this year as part 1 of our main services. We also, you this year are going to be implementing a group program. Obviously these are going to be online groups, but we think that this is going to be a really important addition to our services this year that is going to be really beneficial for the campus, and I'll talk a little bit more about that in a couple of minutes. A few of the other things we also provide is we do outreach. Again, that's going to probably look different this year. Most of this is going to be online, but we do online screenings, we're going to be putting our workshops online, and we're hoping to do some maybe town hall forums for students to talk about mental healthcare or specific issues that they want to talk about. We also do crisis intervention and consultation. We're always available by phone or e-mail if somebody during our business hours wants to get a hold of us, we're available. If you ever just want to talk to us and pick our brain, have some questions or concerns about a family member or friend, we're available for that as well. We also do some substance abuse evaluations as well for students who suspect that they might be struggling with a substance use issue. In terms of who we are and where we are, we actually have a new location this year. We have temporarily for this year moved out of the Grand House Center and we're going to be located in Suite 2050 of the Human Health building. In terms about our staff, we have five full-time psychologists and four part-time psychologists, all of them who are returning. They were with us last year as well. In addition to that, we also have a new position that is a shared position with athletics this year, a sport psychologist and he's going to be working half his time with the athletes and coaches and trainers and the other half his time he's going to be working as a therapist at the counseling center. We also have pre-doctoral interns every year that join our staff and again this year we have another great group coming in. What's new about this year? Well, I already mentioned the location, we're going to be in the Human Health Building, Suite 2050. The main way we deliver our services is going to be the biggest change. As you've probably guessed, we're not going to be able to do in-person appointments because they just won't allow us to be able to follow the governor and the CDC guidelines of social distancing and keeping things safe. The main way we'll be delivering our counseling services this year will be either over phone or through a HIPAA compliant video platform. The services are going to be the same services, same way of scheduling appointments, everything else will be the same. The only difference will be, you'll be looking at your therapist through your monitor or talking to them on the phone. We're also going to be offering virtual crisis hours where people can call in instead of having a walk-in appointment, they would have a therapist who's available during a set period of time where they can call up and say, "Hey, I need to talk with somebody," and somebody will be available for you to talk with. There will be some exceptions where we will be doing a small amount of in-person appointments. Those are probably going to be some more emergency or severe type situations. We do have at least one room in the clinic that is big enough where we feel comfortable doing that. The other thing I mentioned a little earlier that's new this year and exciting is we're going to be trying to implement more groups this year. I think, especially with everybody being more remote, a lot of students only taking online classes, we need to be really creative of finding ways to connect with students and I think groups are going to be very valuable. We're looking at coming up with some ideas for topics for groups that are probably going to be in-demand. One, for example, would be anxiety and stress and dealing with your anxiety and stress during the pandemic. Having a support group like that I think would be very beneficial for our students. Another new thing we have in the clinic this year is we're going to have what we're calling our Zoom rooms. While we're not using Zoom, we're using a HIPAA compliant video platform, essentially what these rooms are is they're rooms in the clinic where a student can come and use the computer equipment, the high-speed Internet, and have a private space to have their therapy session through the video with their therapist. We know that a lot of students who live in dorms or live at their home, they might not have a private space to be able to talk with their therapist, or they might not have a stable Internet connection or the computer equipment needed to do a video session. We are going to have a couple of rooms available where students would be able to call and reserve them and when they have their scheduled appointments with the therapist, they just show up and we will have them have their therapy in that room using our computer equipment. Like I mentioned earlier, we are going to be trying to put a lot of our outreach that we would normally do in-person online, videos like this, myself and the rest of the staff have already produced several videos and we plan on adding more throughout the year. A number of our workshops, particularly the most popular ones like our test anxiety workshop, we're going to be putting those up in the video format as well as the students can watch them from their homes or rooms at their own time and pace too. The other thing we're going to be doing is we are going to be partnering with RecWell in helping them in their relaunch of the iPods program, which is a program to help students learn great techniques of how to deal with anxiety and stress better, learn how to breathe and other mindfulness techniques. This year is going to look different, there's no doubt about that. But I want to emphasize and make it very clear that there's not going to be any drop-off in our services. We will be available. We know that this is going to be a very challenging year for students on a number of levels. The pandemic, everything that's going on in the world right now is very stressful and there's a lot of anxiety and rates of depression and anxiety to no one's surprise have gone up. I want to assure you that we are available. All you have to do is give us a call, send us an e-mail, reach out to us and we will be available to set up an appointment. Don't be afraid to call us even if it's not about you. If you want to talk about a friend or family member that you're concerned about, we're happy to consult with you either over video or over the phone or through e-mail as well. Please don't hesitate to give us a call and let us know if you need any help. Thank you and be safe and be well.

Seth Swary

Hello you all. My name is Dr. Swary and I'm one of the staff therapists for the Oakland University Counseling Center, and I get to talk to you today about motivation, which is really exciting, and probably something that we may be struggling with a little bit right now with everything getting shut down. When it comes to struggling with motivation, some things you might notice is it's just a little bit harder to get out of bed, not really having any direction or purpose through your day, or may be staying up a little bit later, oversleeping just way more often. So you might see some of these small changes that may seem small at first but just get bigger and bigger until all of a sudden we feel lost and we don't really know what to do with our days. There's a couple of things that we can do to help out and improve our motivation, and one of those things is to set a schedule for ourselves for the day. If we just get up and we don't really know what we're going to do, we tend to not really do anything and we just meander from thing to thing, giving yourself a set schedule helps give you some direction and purpose. You can use apps like Google Calendar, which is really helpful, or you can do the old fashioned calendar on a wall, just writing some tasks for yourself down for the day, blocking some time out so that you know what you're going to do and when you're going to do it. Through your schedule, one thing that's really helpful to put in there is, having some goals for yourself for the day. What is it that you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish that? Part of setting that goal is connecting with your larger aim. So as a college student, you probably have a major and a certain career that you're hoping to pursue, spend a little time to reflect on why do I want to go into this major? Why do I want to go into this field? Then thinking about what can I do today that will help me get there? Is it studying, or taking some time to read a book from someone that you really look up to in the field, or watching a TED talk, or watching a really cool video like this one to help you feel more motivated? More tips on motivation would be things like thinking about the language that we use with ourselves when it comes to going through the day and taking on certain tasks, we tend to use language like, I have to do this, or I need to do this, or I should be doing this. Those tend to not make us feel very motivated, they tend to do the opposite and make us feel like it's something that isn't really a choice when we can change how we approach those tasks in situations. We can use language like, I get to do this or I want to do this, or I'm going to try to do this. It makes us feel like it's more in our control and not just someone else telling us what to do. Taking more ownership of what we're doing throughout the day, connecting with why you want to do what you want to do, and setting your goals for the day so you have some direction and purpose. Some other tips that can help increase our motivation are things like, getting outside like I am and It helps make us feel like we're connected a little bit and not just stuck in the house all day, reaching out to friends who may also be going through the same thing right now having a hard time focusing or sitting through long periods of time. Skype with a friend, or Zoom, or Google Chat or whatever platform most suits you and be able to use them for accountability. If you're both struggling, at least you get to struggle together and you can set goals and share your goals with one another. Use that support network around you, friends, teachers, counselors, parents, whoever it is that is helpful for you. Last but not least, one little piece of adding motivation to your day, is just starting something, starting somewhere, it doesn't matter where you start, it just matters that you start. Once you get the ball rolling a little bit, it's usually a little bit easier to keep moving than it is to start moving. Thank you all so much and we hope to see you soon.

Laura Sanders

Hello, I'm Dr. Sanders from the Oakland University Counseling Center. I'm going to talk to you today about self-care. As we approach this coming year, it's going to look a lot different than what we're all used to. Our world is filled with unknowns and uncertainty right now. But it doesn't mean that we can't enjoy our time at Oakland University. But in order to do so, we really need to focus on taking care of ourselves. In order to do that, we have to know when self-care is needed. I'm going to talk a little bit about how to pay attention to your mental health and how to make sure that you're functioning well. I'll give you some specific techniques on how to do that. In terms of self care, it's important to have a daily maintenance routine, where you're just implementing some self-care relaxation in your day. But it's also important to make sure that you're paying attention to when symptoms like anxiety or depression starts to heighten. Then implement some interventions and coping mechanisms at that point as well. We all have a different threshold, and I think that it's important to know what your threshold is. You have to use your self-awareness to check in with yourself and to make sure that as your threshold rises that you're using various coping mechanisms. When you use those coping mechanisms, what helps is that you increase your frustration tolerance. That way you're able to hold on to more discomfort and handle things, and we're going to need that this coming year. I'll give you some specific techniques that might be helpful for self-care. I think that it's important that we all have a schedule and a routine. With classes coming, that might help us implement a routine. But it's also important just to know what time is good for you to wake up, what time is good for you to go to bed and having some structure for yourself throughout the day, some accountability, some tasks that you want to get done. Beyond a routine, some specific interventions. If you're feeling anxious, frustrated, or down, you can always rely on breathing techniques. The breathing techniques are really good to help our body physiologically relax when we're struggling. Journaling is great. If you want to do that just basically as needed and write down your thoughts and your feelings, and that's a good way to release. You can always reach out to a family member or a friend that's really important to rely on your support system right now. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Outdoor activities are also wonderful, especially as the weather's still good. Making sure that you're doing a combination of high-intensity, low-intensity techniques, making sure that you're enjoying the weather, the wind, the sun, walking. Then when you just feel like you have that extra burst of energy, definitely getting some exercise in. Some more low key techniques that you could do: reading, music, creativity, those are always great. Sometimes too, it's important to really pay attention to when you're being flooded with too much social media. Whether that's just turning off your general notifications or making sure that you're maybe taking a break from the news. Sometimes it's too much to hear about everything that's going on, you want to stay informed, but not too much if it's causing too much anxiety. Relying on your animals and your pet, if you have plants to take care of. This can be really good self-care just to take a moment, do some deep breathing, and snuggle with your pet can help really calm your nerves and your body. Cleaning and organizing can be good too. If you feel like you just need to gain control over something and regroup that can feel really cleansing to do. Candles, essential oils and lotions can be really helpful. Taking a nice hot bath or shower, or something to that effect can be very good to just reset yourself. Cooking, baking, trying new recipes all of these things are good right now. In general, you want to rely on your senses. You want to use your senses as a way to tuned in with your body and calm yourself. I think that if you use those, that can really help you to reset yourself, find your center, and regroup. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you're knowing when to reach out for professional help and using your therapeutic resources on campus at the counseling center, we're here for you. We can also help you find resources in the community. If you're not really sure if you need therapy, it doesn't hurt to have a phone call with one of our staff members and talk things through a little bit. You can find some resources on our website as well. There's a lot of good things there to help with trust management and different coping mechanisms. But just to make sure that you're taking care of yourselves, stopping, taking some breaths, and checking in. Good luck with the coming year. Thank you.

Janae Kinn

Hi everyone. I'm Janae Kinn and I'm the OUWB Social Worker. Today I'm going to talk to you guys about the topic of anxiety, especially in the context of a global pandemic. One thing that is different about anxiety for us nowadays is even the healthiest people are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal, just because this is such an unprecedented and scary time. When stress becomes overwhelming, it becomes harder to focus, harder to learn, harder to absorb new information and so with us who are going back to school, it's going to be more difficult to focus on our schoolwork if we're feeling pretty anxious or overwhelmed about everything going on in the world. Another thing is that it might be more difficult to think rationally about the future. So you might notice that you are starting to catastrophize or think more about events that haven't happened yet down the road and worst-case scenarios of what could happen and it might make it more difficult to just live in the present moment and hang out with your family and friends, or focus on school or sports or extracurriculars. Some things that you can do if you are feeling this way, is first of all focusing on what you can control. Maybe you cannot control the anti of the pandemic or if a loved one gets sick or not, but you can choose to control what you eat, when you go to bad, choosing to do your schoolwork, choosing to hang out with friends, things like that. Finding something that you can focus on and to control yourself is useful when you're feeling like the world is spinning or the sky is falling. Another thing that can be really important is creating a routine, and so one recommendation is every evening around dinner time, setting an agenda or an outline for everything that you want to accomplish the next day and this shouldn't be just school work. This should also include things that are part of your self-care routine or things that you have to do such as like eating or taking care of kids if you have kids, taking care of a pet. So anything that you would do during that day, even if it's not related to school, put it everything down that you want to accomplish and this is less of a to-do list and more of a guideline. Show yourself compassionate if you don't finish everything on the list. But hopefully this will give you some organization on how to start each day. If that seems overwhelming to you, you can start smaller by picking one small thing to implement into your daily routine. Because a lot of things are virtual and I'm online right now, you might not be waking up and going to class at the same time and so choosing to wake up at the same time every day and eat breakfast or brush your teeth. I know those things seem like really small things, but if you implement that as part of your daily routine, that is going to make you feel like you are more in control. Another thing that you can do if you're feelings of stress or anxiety is different interventions like deep breathing, using the column.com app to meditate, going on walks, exercising, eating healthy foods, things like that. Whatever you're feeling during this time is valid, so acknowledging that finding ways to take care of yourself is really important. Lastly, I think during this time it's very important to find a balanced perspective. That can be really hard when the media is oversaturated with a lot of negative information, a lot of really serious information, scary information even and so it's important that you stay educated and you know what's going on, but make sure that you're not watching so much that it starts to become very stressful. Limiting the amount of media that you're consuming and news you're consuming and also taking some time to search out for some positive news as well. I think that's really important to remind yourself that there are good things going on in the world too. Lastly, reminding yourself that statistically even if you do contracts the COVID-19 pandemic, most people statistically recover and that is not to minimize the suffering that has occurred or has happened, but more so to remind yourself of what the reality is when you start to feel really overwhelmed, like the sky is falling. I hope this helps. If you feel like you've tried a lot of these things and you are still struggling or your feelings of anxiety are starting to overwhelm you and you can't focus on your schoolwork or your relationships with friends or difficulty sleeping or eating, that's a good indicator that it's time to reach out for more professional help and you can either reach out to the counseling center and always use campus, or if you are a medical student, you can reach out to myself. Thank you.

James Franklin

Hi, my name is James Franklin. I'm a clinical psychologist working at the Oakland University counseling center, and I'd like to talk with you about depression. Depression is a very common but potentially serious psychological problem which affects a large proportion of college students at one time or another. A recent survey of two and four-year university students revealed that around 30 percent of the students surveyed, reported that within the past year they had suffered from depression, serious enough to interfere significantly with their academic and social functioning. This suggests that, over the course of a four-year college career, any student stands at least a moderately good chance of suffering such an episode. So what is depression? It often includes feelings of sadness or anxiety. But virtually, all college students experience sadness or anxiety at times, usually in response to difficult circumstances, exams, romantic breakups, and the like. This can of course be very distressing, but it's normal, and generally resolved within a relatively brief period of time. Depression is different, and may or may not be in response to challenging circumstances. Depression can result from the long-term cumulative effects of stress, and college is nothing if not stressful. Depression often manifests as a loss of interest in things you usually enjoy. It can cause a lack of motivation for important functions such as studying or fulfilling other obligations. Depressed people may engage in unhealthy activities in an attempt to feel better. These can include abusing alcohol, which makes depression worse, smoking pot, over eating or even harming oneself physically. Depressed persons often feel distant and alienated from their friends, and may withdraw from participation in customary social activities. In extreme cases, depression can make life feel so painful, and the good things in life so unattractive or unattainable that the sufferer may consider suicide. While suicide is rare, it is the second leading cause of death among university age people. Also, although only a small minority of depressed persons commit suicide, the majority of persons who commit suicide do suffer from depression. The bottom line, depression is real, is common among college students, is serious, and may interfere with one's academic or social functioning, and it can even be life-threatening. Fortunately, depression is also very treatable, and typically responds well to counseling. Anti-depressant medication is also highly effective, and most people benefit greatly from making use of these proven and beneficial forms of treatment. Some people are reluctant to seek professional help for depression in part because when one is depressed it's often hard to imagine that anything could help. Another reason is the fear that seeking professional help will mark them as weak and unable to handle life's ups and downs, or that others will review them as crazy and socially undesirable. There was a time when such stigmas might be associated with problems like depression. But in recent decades, acknowledging emotional problems and making use of professional resources to resolve them has become the norm, even a sign of strength and mature decision-making. Now, professional athletes and other celebrities openly discuss the challenges they face, and credit professional help with their success in overcoming those obstacles and achieving their goals. The experienced mental health professionals at the Oakland University counseling center know that college life, especially male, presents unique challenges capable of triggering depression or other emotional problems in any one. We want you to know that we're there for you to provide appropriate and effective state of the art treatment, if you would like to make use of our services. By the way, some people expressed concern regarding the privacy of matters they discuss with a therapist. Simply stated, state and federal law, as well as the ethics of our profession require that information discussed in therapy is protected by the highest standards of confidentiality. Although we're employed by Oakland university, not even the dean or the president or your coach or your parents has access to your information without your written permission. We hope that you will not hesitate to take advantage of the services. Your first six sessions of counseling are free of charge, and subsequent sessions are $12 each. So let us help you succeed in your Oakland University career, and don't allow depression to undermine your dreams. Call (248) 370-3465 to make an appointment. Thanks.