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Students react to counseling center fees

John Brown University’s student counseling center now charges individuals $10 per session after their first eight individual sessions have been completed. The students on campus have voiced their opinions, and although many people understand why the center is doing this, some are still opposed to the new policy.

The center made this decision with reasons they felt were right and beneficial to both the staff and the students.

Tim Dinger, director of student counseling, said the change allows the staff at the center the ability to free themselves up to more requests, while not therapeutically compromising a student’s work.

The center was created as a place for students to work through any problems that they might have and to give them the opportunity to connect with others; this allows for students to be more open and transparent.

Senior Matthew Wheeler said he feels the University already invokes a sense of transparency in people. “Friends seem to be closer to each other here than they might at a massive public university,” said Wheeler.

Some students reacted in a positive way upon hearing about the new change.

“I think the counseling fee as $10 per session over eight [sessions] is completely reasonable,” said Wheeler. “A student who is in emotional distress or experiences psychological neglect already benefits from counseling, and after that $10 per session is roughly 10 percent of what it would normally cost to see another counselor.”

“Eight sessions is a lot of counseling,” said sophomore John-David Hubbs. “You can get a lot done and most people really don’t need more than that; this frees (the center) to help more people.”

On the other hand, some students were uneasy about the new change.

“I don’t understand why they are doing it,” said junior Rebekah David. “I think that if they are going to charge you $10 per session, then they should lower the cost in our tuition that is already going towards it.”

Junior Kory Gann thinks that the counseling center should be a place that students can go to seek help without being asked to pay more money on top of the tuition they are already paying.

According to the University website, most students are served on an individual basis and typically meet with a counselor weekly for a 45-50 minute session. Some individuals need only a few sessions to work through their personal concerns, but some need more time. The number of sessions is based on the student’s need and particular circumstances.

The center provides the opportunity of group therapy sessions for students who wish to seek counseling after their eight individual sessions are completed.

“Group therapy has demonstrated to be as effective and in some cases more-so than individual,” said Dinger.

In group therapy, students are not charged extra fees, even if they have already used up their eight individual sessions beforehand. The center encourages students to continue to work within a group if they feel the need for more counseling.