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Students often seek our services based on our extensive experience working with the special issues that are unique to student life.


At the Counseling Center of Ann Arbor, you receive a wide range of services to help you with the challenges that life presents.


We have been helping people to improve themselves, to lead happier, more productive lives, and to have better relationships with others for over thirty years.



The University of Michigan


Most students getting help from The Counseling Center of Ann Arbor attend The University of Michigan. Even though everyone’s problems are unique, there are some similarities that many students face.  The big one is usually diminished academic performance. Many of the students who come to us for relief suffer from what we call “Student Dysfunction Disorder” or SDD.  This is not an actual diagnosis but an attempt to bring a little humor into an upsetting configuration of late adolescent or young adulthood anxiety and depression and often substance abuse.  Sometimes students' problems just do not fit neatly into a category.

Expertise and Close to Campus

Our expertise with students and our close proximity to the campus make an excellent choice. Our office is easily accessible from campus. Students benefit from our expertise with the unique challenges that face them in this special time of their life.  We have substantial, detailed expertise with college students, both personally and professionally. And we like helping young people.  The clinical director has raised two children as a single parent from early adolescence through college years and beyond.  He knows firsthand the challenges and joy of raising children through adulthood.  The therapists at The Counseling Center of Ann Arbor want the same success for those seeking help that they want for their own children. 

Looking at one scenario, many U of M students come from great homes with loving families.  They did well in school, scored high on standardized testing, have impressive academic and non-academic achievements. There are a good number of valedictorians. They feel special and they are special until they get to U of M. Many, if not all, of incoming freshman, like them, from around the state, country and world are also special.   Suddenly, after being exceptional at home, at U of M they are just one of many.  This shocking realization can initiate a downward emotional spiral as the student tries to cope with this loss of esteem. Our task is to infuse the student suffering from SDD with motivation to overcome this loss, using success strategies, "talk therapy" and medication.



Help for a student is just a phone call away.  
We try to return all calls within 24 hours or less.  
We try to set the first appointment within a week or less from your call.
Call Today: (734) 761-7204


At U of M, students are faced with a bewildering array of challenging experiences. They include:

  • A new meaning of the word competition suddenly appears when excellent performers now are in a group of peers who are all the best and the brightest.  Some students seem to do little work yet get phenomenal grades.  Others struggle without success.  Most do the work and get the perk.


  • High intelligence in high school often means that the student never really developed the study skills needed to succeed at U of M.  So video gaming, having fun, and avoiding schoolwork in any number of ways often trumps studying.


  • Problems with authority.  We all have problems with authority because we do not like being told what to do even if it is good for us.  A modicum of maturity is needed here.


  • The massive diversity of outstanding students who come from 50 states and 114 countries. This can be a real shocker.


  • Somewhat related to diversity are adjustment challenges or “fitting in” for the minority student, or the racially mixed student.  There is no such thing as racial purity and the concept of racial purity has done nothing good for humanity. We openly discuss the concept of racial purity along with any and all racial issues as necessary in the context of its effects on embracing reasonable self-expectations.


  • 98% of incoming freshmen lived in on-campus housing in 2010.  Being crammed into tiny dorm rooms, and being faced with group living, being confronted with the often bizarre habits and personalities of roommates provides additional stress.


  • Sometimes just being away from home can be stressful, with no parent or sibling around to be sure the student takes care of himself or herself and that the student gets his or her work done.


  • The level of distractions are limitless, both good and bad.  Clubs, U of M has 1200 of them, sports, dating, night-life, concerts and other cultural activities can challenge one's discipline.


  • The most destructive distraction is substance abuse.  Marijuana and alcohol—yes, even a little and even in controlled use--are the big ones. But students also abuse prescription drugs, ADHD medications, cocaine and even heroin.


  • Sometimes students have an underlying mood problem--primarily anxiety and depression--that did not surface at home and it suddenly shows up at college.  Mood problems can be really befuddling in this demographic because they can otherwise seem so healthy and happy emotionally.


  • Symptoms of anxiety can show themselves in many ways. From general unspecified worry and fear of failure to headaches of unknown causes, hypochondriasis, the feeling that something is wrong with them, or just being sick all the time or sick at a particularly inconvenient time is part of this one. 


  • Coping with the massive administrative juggernaut of the U of M itself can be an overwhelming experience.  "Why do I have to take THIS class when it has nothing to do with my major or anything I will be doing for the rest of my life?"


  • Problems at home can impact students negatively, even if the student appears to be on his or her own and “shouldn’t” be affected by it.  Parents’ discord, divorce, alcoholism, job loss, neglect or abuse can trigger a problem for a student’s mood and performance.


  • Am I gay?  Sexual identity confusion can occur once a student is away from home and begins to explore who he or she is in a new found depth and independence.


  • Breakups with a first major boyfriend or girlfriend can trigger depression.

  •  New sexual experiences can trigger a downward spiral.  Intimacy skills are very difficult to learn.


  • What am I going to do for the rest of my life?  This one does not usually show up until later in their college career, but can be disabling all the same.  The student becomes immobilized with the inability to make a decision.


  • An adolescent quality in the way the student interacts with the world such as, ''my way is right," even if it defies rational thinking. 


  • Unwillingness to take themselves seriously enough and risk working hard for fear of an unknown outcome, even if the outcome for NOT working hard is known:  poor performance.


  • Poor problem-solving skills because they have been coddled by their family.  Suddenly, students have to solve myriad complex problems, academic and personal, and they simply lack the skills to do so, resulting in panic.


  • Fitting in socially can be a real challenge.  Some students are more aggressive than others socially and intellectually.  They garner more attention inside class and out.  Others are more advantaged in material possessions, vacations, clothes, electronics, vehicles, parental support and just plain money.  The more advantaged tend to be more visible than the less advantaged.  A less advantaged student may be harmed by this.


  • Sometimes smart people can be odd.  This is not a bad thing; it goes along with the territory.  It does not mean they are autistic or anything like that.  Their social skills may be a little off, their interests are not main stream.  Sometimes they have unusual beliefs about the thoughts of other people and situations, but they are not mentally ill.  These students can be a challenge to themselves and to their peers.


  • Inability to process conflict forward to a resolution.  Everything in their life worked well and successfully, until they got to U of M where the stakes and functionality of people was much, much higher, especially when figuring out how to get along with their peers and in team projects.


  • A competitive environment, along with a newfound sense of freedom, late hours, and increased social activity can lead to unhealthy eating habits. In a recent survey, sixty percent of students were found to have issues with body image; thirty-three percent of undergraduates and twenty-five percent of graduate students tested positive for eating disorders. While there is no shortage of awareness of this problem, students are often reluctant to seek treatment.


Again, we are all different.  Yet these are some of the major challenges students face.


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