Counseling and Wellness

Making Therapy Successful

The purpose of this to provide strategies to help you improve your mental, physical, and emotional health. It contains information on resources, such as self-help books, that can be a powerful addition to therapy or used independently to improve your well-being. This page also includes guidance to increase the likelihood of successful therapy. Consider the following preparation tips before beginning therapy.

On this page:

Helpful Strategies Success in Therapy

Come up with goals

Therapy cannot be successful if you do not know what you want to change.  Goals establish a sense of direction.  They help you and your therapist choose strategies to best deal with the problems you are facing. They will serve as markers of the progress you have made in therapy.

Consider participating in group therapy

Research has shown group to be as effective, or more effective, than individual therapy. Although many students are initially hesitant to join a group, they consistently find group therapy to be a very beneficial and positive experience. They connect with others and learn that they are not alone in the struggles they are facing.  We offer a wide array of groups to address the various needs of students.

Be committed to therapy

Maintain regular attendance. Work on making changes between sessions and applying what you learn in therapy. If you find yourself skipping sessions or are reluctant to go, ask yourself why. It is important to share concerns related to commitment with your therapist.

Medication can be a tool for your arsenal

Psychiatry is a CWS service to provide you with consultation and address concerns you have about taking medication.  They will work with you to decide if medication is the right step for you.  Many people may be afraid of taking medication for psychological issues, but we know medication can be a powerful tool to help people improve their lives. 

Identify the support you will need

It is hard to change.  Identify those people, organizations and resources that will aid in your growth. Your support group may consist of friends, family, campus and community resources, volunteer organizations and those from your religious community.

Healthy Lifestyle and Coping Strategies

Work on identifying and expressing your feelings

  • Holding in feelings leads to depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other problems
  • Start a journal or write (you can even destroy what you write afterwards, it just helps to write it down)
  • Identify people who can be supportive of your feelings


  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t have time to take care of yourself.  Success starts with self-care.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.  Be sure to eat. Some people claim they are too busy to eat. Hard to have energy and be at your best without eating.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and caffeine. These substances can contribute to depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and other problems.
  • Engage in daily exercise.  Exercise releases chemicals that can improve mood and functioning.
  • Sleep.  Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.  Consider learning sleep hygiene techniques if you are having trouble with sleep.  Sleep is strongly linked to school success and health.

Find more information on Self-Care.

Get Organized

  • Purchase and use a planner (can be electronic)
  • Don’t wait until the last minute for assignments
  • Work on time management skills
  • Organize and clean your living space
  • Make sure you have leisure time in your schedule

Balanced Lifestyle

  • Maintain a balanced lifestyle.  Laugh.  Have fun and do things you enjoy. 
  • Learn to relax.  Practice deep breathing and relaxation skills.  Take a short break during the day.  Slow down.
  • Participate in healthy spiritual practices, social relations, and meaningful pursuits in life. Consider joining a campus organization or volunteering. Active, involved students do better academically, socially and psychologically. 
  • Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).  Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. (Find more information on Goals.)

Volunteer Opportunities