- Counseling is private and confidential.
- It’s free of charge to undergraduate students and to graduate students who have paid the Health Fee.
In many countries and cultures, counseling can occur in any relationship where two or more people work together towards understanding and resolving a problem or difficulty. For example, you may have called up your close friends to vent your upsetting feelings or stressful events you experienced. Or you might have turned to your parents or siblings for advice or support.
In the United States, international students often have lost immediate access to their primary support system, as they physically moved away from their primary supports. In addition, international students may experience increasing stress due to homesickness or to adjusting to the college environment, language and cultural difference in the U.S. These factors make international students more susceptible to academic, health, emotional, or psychological problems, or these factors may make a preexisting condition worse.
In counseling, a professional can function as your support in a way that is different from your family and friends. A counselor helps students to discuss their concerns in a safe and friendly environment. A counselor works with students to find the best way to help.
There is no such thing as right/appropriate or wrong/inappropriate issues that can be presented in counseling. The most common examples of what Tufts students address in counseling:
- Stress management (e.g., "I feel stressed out" or "I feel my muscles are tensed")
- Relationship concerns (e.g., "I just broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend/or partner, and I feel sad, upset, and lonely")
- Homesickness and loneliness (e.g., "I miss my family and I feel lonely and isolated")
- Academic pressures (e.g., "I have difficulty concentrating on my studies" or "I am extremely worried that I will disappoint my parents")
- Career (e.g., "I am not sure what I want to major in" or "I am concerned about getting a job after graduation")
- Language and cultural differences (e.g., "I am concerned about speaking in a class" or "I feel like people are misunderstanding me (because of my difference)")
- Anxious feelings (e.g., I feel anxious about taking a test" or "I feel anxious about speaking to others")
- Depressed mood (e.g., "I have lost motivation, interest, or pleasure in activities," or "I sleep a lot and I don't want to hang out with friends")
- Physical illness (e.g., "I experience headache/stomachache/fatigue/chest pain/dizziness, but the doctor said that there is nothing wrong with me")
- Sleeping difficulty (e.g., "I sleep a lot," "I have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep," or "I don't feel rested after sleeping").
- Eating concerns (e.g., "I eat a lot when I feel stressed out" or "I am very concerned about my weight")
- And a lot more . . .
We provide therapy in the following languages:
We also make referrals off campus, where more foreign languages are spoken.
Entering college is a significant milestone for students, one that reverberates throughout the family. Although each student, and each family, is unique, some issues commonly crop up for parents and families. We are here as a resource for Tufts students and caregivers and families who want to be sure their student has the best possible experience.
If you are concerned about your student’s emotional well being, encourage them to come in to see one of our counselors. We do ask that students call to make their own appointments, however, rather than having you make one for them.
- Counseling for students: We provide confidential, brief counseling and referral, including individual appointments, walk-in consultations, emergency psychological services, psychiatric consultation, and psycho-educational programming.
- Consultations to parents: If you would like to speak to a counselor about concerns you are having about your child, including how to be helpful to them at a difficult time, you can call the CMHS and ask to speak with one of our staff.
Confidentiality is critical to the success of the counseling endeavor, and we adhere to all legal and professional guidelines pertaining to the confidentiality of student counseling information.
We cannot share whether we have, or have not, seen or heard from your student, even if they have told you themselves that they are coming to see a counselor.
We do want to hear from you if you have serious concerns about your child, and are worried about their safety. Please remember that the counselor who speaks with you will not be able to tell you whether or not they know your child. We may want to discuss any information you share with us with your student.
It can take time and work to get accustomed to your student's growing independence, both for you and for your student. It may be helpful for you to reflect on some of the many changes taking place for your student during this time of life.
- Greater independence. Students must learn to take care of themselves in important new ways, and they must be increasingly self-reliant while still depending on parents in many ways.
- Developing intimacy. Typically, students develop strong ties with peers, important intimate relationships with both friends and romantic partners, and greater self awareness within relationships.
- Changing role in the family. Within the family, students need to re-negotiate important aspects of their relationships, including roles and boundaries.
- Intellectual growth. College is a time when students experience rapid intellectual growth and explore different ideas, opinions, and ways of thinking.
- Identity development. Students at this age are exploring different facets of identity and may experiment with different styles and behaviors.
Every family is unique, as is each individual within it. It follows that everyone is likely to have their own experience of this life passage, with their own particular challenges, joys, expectations, and concerns.
The following ideas may help nurture a growth-promoting and satisfying relationship with your college student.
- Set reasonable expectations about academics. Your student may have been a super-academic achiever in high school, but may not get straight-A's in college. Help them to accept that doing the best they can is terrific, even if they do not make the Dean's List. If they truly do need academic assistance, encourage them to seek it out.
- Be a good listener. Support them in exploring options and finding their own solutions, without taking it upon yourself to solve problems for them. Remind them about the resources available to them at school and encourage them to seek those out for further assistance.
- Be emotionally supportive. Be positive and encouraging, but don't push your student to follow a particular course of action, or pressure them about majors or grades. You can be clear in your own opinions, but trying to impose them on your student is likely to create unproductive conflict.
- Stay in touch. It can be tricky to walk the line between maintaining connection with your child and giving them the space they need at this age. Email, letters, care packages, and phone calls from home can help fight homesickness. Express interest in your child's experiences at school, and ask about their classes, activities, and friends.
- Ask them what they need from you. When you are not sure what to do, it's okay to ask your child what they feel they need from you at that moment. They may want you to just listen, for example, while they "vent" about something, without having you respond or be helpful. Perhaps they need sympathy, a hug, a visit, a phone call, or some distance.
- Get the support you need. This can be a confusing time, and may even sometimes feel like a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. One day your child may reach out for your support, the next day reject any offer of help. Stay in touch with your own supportive friends and relatives and talk with other parents who have been, or who are now going through, the same thing.
- The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, Harlan Cohen (2011)
- College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It, Richard D. Kadison and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo (2004)
- Don't Tell Me What To Do: Just Send Money, by Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, (2000).
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide, Carol Barkin (1999).
- Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger (2003).
Note: Adapted from the Counseling Center at the George Washington University.
Counseling Services at SMFA offers free, on-site, confidential mental health care to SMFA students. Services include evaluations, referrals to outpatient providers, short-term counseling, and wellness programming for undergraduate and graduate students.
Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS) affirms and supports students of all gender identies and gender expressions. Our staff is trained in providing informed mental health care to Tufts students, regardless of gender identity or expression.
Our forms offer you the opportunity to self-identify gender, and our electronic medical record gives the option to share your pronouns and name in use. We also provide support for individuals seeking letters for gender affirming medical procedures. Like our partners in health service, we strive to provide a safe, intentional space where trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students can have all of their health and wellness needs met.