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Interview & Reportage: Want to Find a True Comforter?Visiting the Counseling Center in SKKU

The word “healing” is drawing a huge popularity in modern days. This trend shows that people's need to ease their worries and pain in their heart is growing. Even though contemporary people have a broader network of relationships with others compared to people in the past, it seems that they feel more isolated and have difficulties in finding someone to count on. For readers who are looking for time of “healing,” the Sungkyun Times (SKT) provides detailed information of the Counseling Center in SKKU and explores exclusive benefits for Kingos.

Brief Introduction of the Center

The Counseling Center has a very long history. It was first built in 1965, and was furnished up in 2014, changing its name to the current one. There was a much longer waiting time before, causing some students to wait even six months for counseling. After the remodeling, it diversified its programs, recruited more counselors, and equipped suitable facilities. The goal of the center is to boost every student's potential to the highest level and assist their self-realization. All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to receive the services, and all counseling and psychological tests are offered for free. Information about users will be kept strictly confidential at any circumstances. Students who have hardships in adjusting to their school-lives, concerns about their career decisions, or troubles with relationships and addictive problems are always welcomed to visit the center.

How to Use the Center’s Service

The center is officially open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Lunch break: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m). However, this semester, for Kingos’ convenience, it has extended the operating hours to until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. One can easily make an appointment with counselors by visiting the center or making a phone call.

What Does the Counseling Center Do?

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is available at any time during the semester. One session lasts for 50 minutes and a full counselling period consists of 12 sessions. To increase the accessibility for exchange students and those who are not familiar with Korean, the service is also available in Chinese and English.

Psychological Tests

The center provides eleven types of tests, available at all times. Even though most of the tests are related to personality or aptitudes for career guidance, students can receive much more diverse tests, such as intelligence tests or drawing tests, under the counselor’s recommendation.

Group Counseling

A typical group counseling program consists of a main host who leads the discussion, one or two sub hosts, and eight to ten participants. It is a long-term process, scheduled for six to eight weeks. Considering that the characteristics of students from both campuses are different, programs are formed a little differently.

Other Events

To have students become more familiar with the center, the center opens up various events which can draw students’ interests. For example, there is culture therapy, which gives students a chance to think about their mental health through activities such as photo contests or discussions after watching certain movies.

Contact Information
Humanities and Dasan Hall of Economics 1st floor (32107)
Social Science Campus Tel. (02) 760-1290 Website http://scc.skku.edu
Natural Science Campus
Shops & Services Center 2nd floor (04209)
Tel. (031) 290-5681 Website http://scc.skku.edu

For better understanding of the center, the SKT had an interview with five fulltime
counselors from both campuses. They shared their various experiences and
thoughts about the mentality of college students.

Q1. How well do students know about the center? Are they making good use of the center?

On average, 30 students are using the center’s service a day. Even though students in the Natural Science Campus still have a low utilization rate of the service compared to students in the Humanities and Social Science Campus, the number of total users almost doubled after remodeling the center in 2014. Even though it is hard to visit the center for the first time, once a student makes a visit, he or she tends to come again. There are many students who revisit the center even after they graduate.

Q2. What is so special about the center in SKKU compared to those of other schools?

The biggest merit of our center is that it is closely connected to the school’s Health Care Center and Gender Equality Center. If students need further help, we support them to get adequate services from those centers. For example, we connect students who are in serious conditions to a psychiatrist in the Health Care Center so that they can have regular checkups and medical prescriptions from experts.

Q3. Is there a specific mindset or an ideal attitude you hope for students to have while attending counseling?

“Courage” is the most important attitude to have. Actually, you are being really courageous from the very moment you visit the center and ask for help. Although we cannot perfectly draw the line for what is a “right” or “wrong” attitude to get therapy, it would be very helpful if you are courageous enough to be completely honest, and confront the emotional experiences or the degree of anxiety which might accompany the process of counseling.

Q4.Among programs of the counseling center, there is “Group Counseling.” Some students might feel uncomfortable sharing their personal stories with of strangers. What would be a merit of group counseling compared to individual counseling?

Group counseling is a process in which multiple people share their own stories and seek solutions for their problems together. Since participants are experiencing similar difficulties, it is easy to form a bond between them. Furthermore, there is a case in which a participant suggests completely different approaches to others’ problems.

Q5. How would you define “mental health” in your own words?

It seems like students these days are expecting only perfect, flawless aspects of themselves. Some are feeling anxious and guilty for giving themselves just a little rest. As we are all human, it is natural to make mistakes sometimes. Not only is it important to acknowledge the positive sides of ourselves, but it is also crucial to accept that we have some weaknesses. Carl Rogers, a famous psychologist, has once said, “the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Therefore, we think “the ability to accept oneself as who he or she really is” is mental health.

Q6. Any last words for Kingos?

Many students, especially in SKKU, might be unfamiliar with the word “failure,” having achieved a continuous series of success in their lives. Nonetheless, knowing who you are and becoming familiar with yourself is true meaning of success in one’s campus life. If you take the chance to look deep into your inner side at the counseling center, you may find a driving force to overcome and cope with hardships in your future. We are always here to listen to your story!

Until now, we are always taught that we should be considerate of the others. Consequently, some people end up forgetting the importance of taking care of themselves. If you have hard time finding a good listener around you, how about giving yourself a short rest in the center?

지하영  lalotus@naver.com

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