UHV opens new counseling center
Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:26 a.m.
Updated Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.
A small one-room office lined with plaques and awards is headquarters for the new University of Houston - Victoria counseling center.
Jesus Aros, director and lead psychologist who owns the accolades, turned down a handful of international positions to be a part something he says is almost unheard of.
"I was shocked that they hadn't created a center earlier," he said, noting that only one in about 8,000 university campuses don't have counseling centers. "But I guess their loss is my gain."
Aros, a Los Angeles native, said the center will help the new freshmen class cope with stresses from young adulthood and school.
"They are a unique bunch of folks because they're willing to basically jump into the dark," he said. "They're coming to a place where they have absolutely have no doubt that they are the very first freshmen class. They are going to invent themselves here."
Counseling services are vastly under-used in public universities, Aros said. Only about 5 to 15 percent of students use the services, something Aros attributes to a social stigma against counseling.
"The things about counseling centers is we're pretty much misunderstood," he said. "Because a lot of the issues that affect you and I usually don't required psychosurgery or eclectic shock."
Most psychological issues can be resolved in as little as eight sessions, he said.
Young adulthood is also the time when problems people may have experienced as children will resurface as the brain matures.
"More than half of young adults at sometime during young adulthood are going to have a problem that is diagnosable, treatable and should be addressed in counseling," he said.
Stress from romantic college relationships and separation from family can also create anxiety or depression, the most common mental health concerns on university campuses.
Aros believes it's better for students to visit him with their issues before they become harmful.
"We're not worried about you being crazy, we're worried about you not dealing with your issues," he said.
The school plans to add an additional two positions within the next year. For now, Aros is focused on developing the program as much as he can - solo.
"It's kind of like building your own home," he said. "Knowing that this home is going to house everybody in your academic family."