How to Navigate Therapy as an Out-of-State or International College Student
By Gabi Drobot, Assistant Editor
College is one of the most significant changes in the lives of students. It is beyond liberating to gain the freedom to blossom into your own self, but resources to help students succeed may not be equally accessible to all.
Life in college changes so rapidly, it can easily overwhelm students and create stress. Sometimes, students need to let all of that out, and the best sounding board for those frustrations and anxieties is an unbiased professional who can guide them on the right track.
The word therapy may be daunting to many, and specifically so to international students, as many countries are not as open about mental health struggles as others.
“My mom really struggled with having someone take care of my mental health,” said Duda Durado, a sophomore from Brazil. “She didn’t believe in that.”
Fortunately, the U.S. has become much more accepting of mental healthcare over the past few years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, insurance companies are beginning to cover the costs of these specialized visits. Still, this luxury is usually not an option for out-of-state or international students.
Fortunately, resources are increasingly more accessible, and finding someone to speak to is as easy as a click of a button.
Right here on campus, Lynn University offers an incredible Counseling Center that is free to students. Although it is not advertised as much as it could be, Lynn’s Counseling Center is an easily accessible on-campus option. The staff is welcoming and professional, and scheduling is as easy as making a phone call. Students are eligible for eight sessions per semester.
If the in-person nature of the Counseling Center is unnerving, virtual therapy with a licensed psychologist is a readily-available option in 2023. Online therapy has become significantly more popular since the pandemic, and therapists offer their services to clients with or without insurance.
Some companies that offer virtual therapy and do not require insurance are Youper, BetterHelp, Cerebral and Talkspace. While these programs are not free, they are offered at more reasonable prices than the average therapist would charge clients without insurance.
Another method, which many licensed professionals are beginning to offer to make mental health care more accessible, is called the sliding scale. The term means you pay what you are able to afford at the time. This option is excellent for low-income families and college students on tight budgets.
Additionally, Lynn’s Counseling Center is more than happy to provide students with a list of recommended psychologists in the area in varying price ranges.
However, if none of these options seem feasible for you, do not worry. When you head home for the summer, therapy can be done through insurance in your hometown. The practices learned in these therapy sessions can be used throughout the year and will help you learn how to cope on your own!
“Before I left the Dominican Republic, [my therapist] told me to apply all the exercises we learned into my day-to-day life,” said Gretchen Lembcke-Pena, a junior. “Whenever you find something that makes you anxious, write it down with how you’re feeling, and as you’re writing, you will begin figuring it out.”
With Lynn University’s sizable international student population, it is essential to help everyone realize that change can be scary and there is no shame in seeking guidance.
“Changing countries is something that only if you have experienced [it], you can understand,” said Durado. “You have none of your family around you.”
The world is changing faster than ever, and it is understandable to need help handling it all. There are resources out there for everyone.
It is OK to not be OK.
You can contact Lynn University’s Counseling Services at (561) 237-7237.