What is counseling?
Counseling supports individuals (students) with guidance regarding their difficulties and problems by utilizing professional knowledge and techniques. Counselors listen to you, ask questions, and provide information and psychological therapy. They help you to see your problems from new angles, express your feelings, and deepen your self-understanding to productively work on a solution. Counselors do not solve the problems for you, rather they help you so that you can decide and act towards a solution. As a result, counseling has the additional benefit of enabling you to become better at solving problems when you come across similar challenges in the future.
Will all my problems go away?
How counseling progresses depends on various elements including the complexity of the problems, the counselors’ skills, and the recipients’ environment/situation. Thus, we cannot guarantee any specific outcome, but many have experienced benefits via counseling. In order to achieve a result you can be happy with, we advise you to discuss with your counselor and set specific goals, such as a reduction in symptoms, decisions on some things, and improvements in communication skills.
If I need counseling does that mean I am sick?
Counseling is helpful with or without sickness. It often deals with adjustment issues, personal relationship issues, academic/career options, academic accomplishments, accidents, trauma, loss, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Some international students get counseling to understand themselves better, to improve their interpersonal skills or to like themselves better. Getting counseling does NOT equal illness. On the contrary, it is a means of helping yourself proactively. If you face any difficulties, do not bottle everything up inside. Please contact us for help.
Does my counselor tell my instructor/advisor that I got counseling?
Counselors are obliged to protect the confidentiality of your information, and thus will not disclose any information to your instructor/advisor without prior consent from you. However, in case of emergency when we must ensure your safety or when we are demanded by law to disclose, the compliance with safety or the law will be prioritized.
Does it involve any fee?
Student counseling is a free service for Hokkaido University students.
Is there any prep work I should do before counseling? Anything to bring?
You are required to present your student ID at the reception desk, but no prep work is needed.
My friend is in trouble. What should I do?
You should suggest to your friend that they should go to the counseling office. If necessary, you can come with them.
To Faculty/Staff and Families of Students
One of my students seems unwell. Can I bring them to you?
Talk to the student and suggest that they visit us. You can accompany them. The sooner they come to see us, the sooner we can try to help.
I want to have a training session. Does it involve any fee?
The training sessions for our faculty/staff are provided for free. (For requests from outside, contact the general inquiry desk.)
Who is eligible to receive the services of the Center?
Current Hokkaido University students.
Can professors get counseling?
Our counseling services are for current Hokkaido University students only. However, if any of the professors and instructors are facing difficulties, please contact us. We can refer you to relevant institutes.
What should I do if my child insists on not using your services?
In principle, whether or not your child gets counseling is up to them. However, you may want to suggest to them to speak to a counselor about their difficulties. Here are some tips that may help you.
- Make sure to let them know that whatever they tell the counselor will be kept confidential in principle.
- Tell them that getting counseling is not shameful but the act of an independent and responsible adult who wishes to proactively seek solutions.
- Make sure to tell them that they can either continue or stop after the first session at their own discretion.
What should I do when I notice my child is worrying about something?
Many of the worries in college days are temporary, but some may last for a long time or have significant influence. If you notice such indicators, contact us. We will assess the situation and help accordingly.
Can you let me know what my child revealed during the counseling session?
Unless your son/daughter is a minor by legal definition, we cannot accommodate your request without their consent. While we understand that it must be frustrating for parents not to be able to learn what their own son/daughter is saying during counseling sessions when they worry about them, the strict adherence to the confidentiality obligation is the only way to ensure an environment where students feel comfortable disclosing personal issues and problems. Thank you for your understanding.
Do other faculty/staff find out that my child is getting counseling?
Other faculty/staff will not be able to find out that your son/daughter is getting counseling unless they permit it, or in the case that they are deemed to be an imminent threat to themselves or others.
Does the counseling history appear in my child’s grade report?
No. The counseling record is subject to the confidentiality obligation and kept separately from any academic records.
To Students Who Are Interested in Being Peer Supporters
How busy are peer supporters?
We can flexibly accommodate your schedule so that peer support does not interfere with your studies. For details, inquire with the section you are interested in.
Is the peer support volunteer work?
No. You will receive monetary compensation from the university as an assistant administrative clerk.
Does participation in peer support help my job hunting?
Yes, indeed. You can include it in your CV as your work experience at the university, and if you need it, we can issue a “certificate of peer support participation.” This role requires leadership and sense of responsibility, thus serves as a great competitive edge for your career search.
Simultaneously, you can brush up your skills in our training programs to prepare for the future.
Can I improve my English skills by serving as a peer supporter? Can I still participate although I am not good at English?
While this program is not meant to provide students with the opportunity to learn English, you will certainly get a lot of chances to interact and become friends with international students. Different levels of English proficiency are required in different sections, so do not worry too much about your English ability.
What are the requirements to be a peer supporter?
You must be a Hokkaido University student as a prerequisite. Each section has its own set of requirements including the period of attendance and permission required from the instructor (mandatory for international students). Contact the section you are interested in for details.
Once I am accepted as a peer supporter, how do I start working?
Our current supporters and peer support advisors will give you training before you start. So, no need to worry. You will also have meetings and training on a regular basis after you start.