College of Staten Island
 The City University of New York

The CSI Counseling Center is accredited by the
International Association of Counselling Services (IACS)

Counseling Center
 Counseling Services

Counseling involves meeting with a professional to address a particular issue, situation, or problem.  Professionally trained counselors provide individual and group counseling for CSI students.  As a collaborative effort between you and your counselor, counseling can help you address various issues that affect your performance and experiences in college and your personal life.  With a few legal exceptions to confidentiality that your counselor will explain, counseling is a confidential process.

While walk-in counseling services are provided, it is recommended that you call or drop by the Counseling Center to make an appointment.  All services provided by the Counseling Center are free.

At CSI, counseling usually addresses one or more of the following: personal issues, crisis situations,  and academic performance.

Crisis Counseling

Crisis counseling is designed to help students who are experiencing immediate and extreme distress.  Students who are in crisis may be depressed, anxious, agitated, express suicidal intent, or have psychotic symptoms (e.g., not in touch with reality, hearing voices).  Students may also have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event (e.g., being assaulted, seeing a building collapse). Counselors will talk with students to assess their situation, provide brief counseling, and make needed referrals for care.


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Group Counseling

Groups bring together a number of students sharing a common concern to provide an opportunity for support, skill building, and personal growth. Groups meet once a week for 90 minutes. Instead of just signing up, you'd first make an appointment to talk with a counselor, who could then introduce you to a range of therapeutic strategies. If you are interested in one of the groups below, please visit the Counseling Center in Building 1A-109 or you can email for more information.

This is an unstructured group in which members are welcome to bring any issues to the group that they feel are important. It is an opportunity for members to share various thoughts and express feelings that they may be experiencing in a safe and confidential environment, while also providing encouragement, support and feedback to others. The focus is flexible and can change from week to week.  Some common themes are family issues, relationships, stress management, self-care, academic stress, study strategies, cultural issues, any past events that clients find affect them now in any way, and how members have coped with depression/anxiety and other stressful situations in the past or present. Members can deepen their own level of self-awareness, as well as learn how they relate to others. 

The Coping Skills group is a structured group that teaches students how to better manage distressing feelings and/or change problematic behaviors.  Common emotions that group members experience are sadness, depression, anxiety, worry, or anger.  Students learn healthy ways to cope with these emotions skillfully so that they can reduce their distress, increase enjoyment in their lives, and improve aspects of their lives such as relationships or academic performance.  The coping skills group is run in an supportive instructional format, in which the group leader teaches coping skills, and members have the opportunity to learn both through practicing new skills and through providing and receiving support by way of the connection with other group members.  

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Individual Counseling

Individual personal counseling is designed to help you address your concerns, come to a greater understanding of yourself, and develop effective strategies for dealing with life's challenges.  It is best to seek help early, before problems become overwhelming.  Problems that are ignored can affect your schoolwork, job, life at home, or your relationships with others. Counselors are skilled listeners who provide support, help you explore your issues, and help you discover ways to cope with your problems.  Counseling may entail as little as 2 to 3 sessions with a counselor, or may span a semester or two.  Your counselor can also help you with referrals to services outside of the campus.

Students seek personal counseling for a variety of reasons.  Doing so does not mean that you are weak or crazy.  In fact, it is a sign of strength to recognize that you may need help.  Some common reasons for seeking personal counseling are listed below.

Family Issues                
Problems with Drugs and/or Alcohol
Life Changes/Adjustments
Suicidal Feelings
Achieving Goals
Sexuality/Sexual Identity Issues
Problems with Food
Relationship Issues
Academic Struggles
Cultural Adjustment

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HeartMath EmWave

Stress is a part of every student’s life.  Some stress is good; it can help one feel motivated and focused.  In contrast, too much stress can lead to overload and affect us emotionally, mentally and physically.   According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all health problems are related to stress. 

How stressed are you? 

Everyone responds to stress differently.  Do you have any of these symptoms?

  • I feel overly tired or fatigued.
  • I often am stressed, nervous, anxious or depressed.
  • I have sleep problems.
  • I have repeated headaches or minor aches and pains.
  • I worry about different things such as school, money or relationships. 

If you answered yes, it may be time to do something about your stress.

Help is here

The Counseling Center is now offering emWave, a computerized biofeedback program by HeartMath, to help you reduce your stress levels.  Studies show that training slower, deeper breathing in a way that measures heart rate variability (HRV) can be useful for a wide range of stress-related issues, including sleep, anxiety and depression. 

How to Train

To get started, make an appointment for a training session at the Counseling Center.  A counselor will show you how the emWave program works, and how you can change your reactions to stress and increase your energy.   The program is easy to learn, with interactive exercises, game play and user friendly graphics that update you on your progress.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you have stress in your life, this new HRV biofeedback training program could help you.  After completing your training at the Counseling Center, regular practice is important.  We encourage you to make appointments for practice sessions at any of four CSI locations:

Counseling Center, (1A-109), 718.982.2391
Health and Wellness Services:
Health Center, (1C-112), 718.982.3045 or Drop-In Center, (1C-111), 718.982.3113      
SEEK Program, (1A-108), 718.982.2410

Once you are able to perfect the technique and you are comfortable with slower, deeper breathing, you will be able to use it for quick stress relief anytime you want to feel calm and focused, even when you do not have access to the HRV biofeedback instrument.   

References and Resources
For more information about HeartMath emWave and HRV biofeedback, see research studies and other useful resources.

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