Guide for Staff
The C3 office (Counseling & Career Center) at Lancaster Bible College (C3@LBC) exists to provide comprehensive, biblically based services to students so as to effectively serve Christ in the Church and society. C3 offers services in two key areas: Counseling and Career.
Counseling, both individual and group, is our first and foremost goal. We work very hard to provide the best service that we can. Because our staff is small and our purpose is to provide services for our students, we are not able to offer counseling services for faculty or staff. We are available to consult with a faculty or staff member on a short-term basis, however, for assessment or to assist in a referral to a private practitioner. Find a Counselor in your area
Education is also an important function for us and we provide it in a number of ways. First, the counseling we provide has a very strong educational component. This is especially true when working with young adults. Many of the concerns college students bring to counseling are developmental in nature and education is essential for the resolution of these issues.
We are involved in the annual training of the residence life staff through workshops presented to enhance listening skills, confronting skills, and crisis intervention. The staff also provides both classroom and other presentations on a variety of topics as requested by faculty or staff.
Consultation is provided in a number of ways. A student may not want or need a counseling experience, but may have questions about how to handle a difficult roommate, a situation at home, or a troublesome relationship. Students who have met with a counselor on a one time basis have found the consults to be very helpful. We also provide consultations for faculty and staff. You may be wondering about a student with whom you have frequent contact. Perhaps a student is exhibiting disruptive behavior in class or on the job. We want you to be able to discuss this situation with one of our staff. While we cannot provide long term counseling for faculty and staff, we can assist you with personal consultation and referrals. Link to Student Referral Process
Crisis Intervention is another important function of the Counseling Center during times when a student may find himself or herself in a crisis. A family member has become seriously ill or has died. A student feels suicidal and takes an overdose of medication. You may be the first to discover such a situation. Our counselors are available at any hour to help students, faculty, and staff manage these situations.
Common Problems of Students Using Counseling Services
Young adult students are typically growing in their ability to establish meaningful interpersonal connections. Becoming more aware of themselves in a relationship and examining what it means to be a friend are important topics of student discussion. Establishing appropriate emotional, physical, and sexual boundaries is one of the most important tasks facing young men and women during this time. How much time to spend with others or to be alone, how much of oneself to share personally with another and at what point in a relationship it is helpful to do so, and how involved to be with another are all pressing issues for many of our students. For some, navigating these waters is done without much turmoil. The occasional late night discussion among friends can decrease the normal anxiety experienced during this period. For the “unconnected” student, however, this can be a very difficult time. Being aware of the friendship groups of others but feeling unable to “break into the loop” can be a very painful experience; the yearly room sign-up for this student is a time of anticipated, and subtle, rejection.
Also common is the student who has ample same-sex friendships but finds it very difficult to have opposite sex friendships. Another group comprises students in opposite sex relationships that are destructive or abusive. Abusive relationships can be manifested by physical violence in the relationship, sexual harassment, or stalking. Whatever the case, students in this situation need support, encouragement, and perhaps some skill training. Gone unnoticed or unattended to, these relational difficulties can result in a student’s withdrawal from college, though the “reason for leaving” will never be stated as the inability to connect.
Young men and women need a sense of interpersonal competence, and LBC’s “small, friendly campus” is a potentially healthy environment for developing such connectedness. It can be helpful to a student if you, as a faculty or staff member, make an effort to listen for a student’s level of connection. You may be a source of encouragement needed to help a student along this important journey.
Many students arrive on campus knowing quite well what it means to be a part of their family. They may not know, however, what it means to be apart from their family. For that matter, it is our experience that students who come to the Center to discuss difficulties in leaving home have parents or siblings remaining at home who are also struggling with this new transition. Leaving home is something that happens to a family, not just to an individual. While the overly connected “parents who just can’t let go” often characterize this common problem, the student has trouble letting go as well.
This period is also marked by the ambivalence between emotional dependence and independence. The student seeks the autonomy of living apart from family, but simultaneously needs the emotional support of the family to do so successfully. Adults in the campus community can encourage a student to take healthy risks, to ask for guidance when needed, and to trust their own developing sense of judgment. It is a common misconception that, when young adults struggle for independence, significant older adults need to “back off.”
Although “over-connection” can create a problem, “under-connection” in families may be more of a serious problem for today’s student. Families torn apart by divorce, infidelity, violence, substance abuse, incest, untimely death, and many forms of physical and mental illness often have young members searching for a “stable connection.” In some cases, students have had the opportunity to address these difficult matters before arriving on campus. Others may come to college in a state of emotional pain and confusion. Whatever the case, we have a commitment to our students’ intellectual, emotional and spiritual well- being. Your role in such a student’s life can be a very important one.
While we have long abandoned the “in loco parentis” function on campus, it is not true that our influence and place in a student’s life is a minimal one. Our example as a “substitute” family can be a great source of encouragement and healing for such a student. You may also be in a position to encourage such a student to seek counseling while on campus. Ideas on how to refer a student for counseling will be given in a subsequent section of this guide.
Students arrive at LBC with a variety of backgrounds in church and discipleship. They may be experiencing their first freedoms in life, to make decisions and decide for themselves who they want to be. They may be struggling to make their faith their own, and not just loving God because it is what their parents want them to do. They may need a “safe” place to discuss these concerns, and a referral to The Counseling and Career Center can encourage them to do that.