Sunday, April 11, 2021

April brings counseling to light

The month of April is Counseling Awareness Month. Plattsburgh State contributes greatly to providing information to its students for counseling awareness.

Many people do not fully understand what counseling entails. Sarah Yancey, graduate student for the counselor education department who also works at Ward Hall Counseling Clinic, gives an insight on what counseling is.

“(Counseling is) a therapeutic relationship between two people that helps the client reach any goal they are seeking to achieve,” Yancey said.

The Director of Ward Hall Counseling Clinic Portia Turco explains that counseling is a form of helping clients seek resolution to something that is bothering them. It is a collaboration but also a confidential relationship between a counselor and client. She said there is no such thing as a conflict too small.

Professional counseling empowers people to accomplish their mental health, wellness, education and career goals, according to the American Counseling Association (ACA), whose mission is to promote the development of professional counseling in order to enhance the quality of life.

ACA also states the importance of Counseling Awareness Month. Their mission is to educate the public of the different ways counselors can help people grow from unhealthy behaviors and thoughts.

Turco said that professional counselors play many roles in different settings, such as education, community and agencies. She also talked about the resources that Ward Hall Counseling Clinic offers to the community.

Turco explained that in New York State, professional counselors need to be licensed. The license is called License Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).

This license allows counselors to provide individual therapy, psychotherapy, group therapy, couples therapy, children therapy and work with social services.

Ward Hall Counseling Clinic offers free counseling services to the community as long as an appointment is made.

The Counseling Clinic provides these services through graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. The graduate students are heavily supervised by an technical room which allows the professional counselors to help train the graduate students in the Counseling Clinic.

The Clinic is not only for anyone residing in Plattsburgh, but also for people from Clinton, Essex and Franklin county are provided with these free services.

Turco spoke upon the collaborative relationship of the counseling services. “It is not a power over relationship, there is no one who is better.” She explained counselors and clients are in an equal relationship, where the counselors are only trying to help the client find what is best for them.

Yancey discussed the many benefits to counseling but something she would have to point out is their increase in confidence. The counseling services motivate the clients to create healthier everyday life decisions in order to increase their quality of life.

Turco recognized that counseling does have a social stigma and that is why many people may be nervous or tend to shy away from counseling.

“Being counseled can be from finding mediation with a roommate due to miscommunication or finding meaning in your life,” Turco said. “One of the many challenges we face in this stigma is someone judging you.”

The Ward Hall Counseling Clinic is open Monday through Thursday. The hours vary by semester, but there is a 24-hour recording system that allows students to leave messages at any time. The clinic phone number is 518-564-4180, and there is currently no fee for these services.

Email Isaiah Bermudez at

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