The Counselling Centre

The Counselling Centre


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The Counselling Centre provides a broad range of confidential services all free of charge to students currently registered and attending classes at Saint Mary's.


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We offer individual personal counselling, academic & life skills coaching and consultations. Our team of professionals will help you meet your academic and personal goals. We understand how stressful university life can be and how making small changes can have a huge impact. Staff are generalists in their training. Students wishing to speak with a Psychologist/Clinical Therapist with specialized training in a given area (e.g. addictions, learning disabilities, etc.) should go to apns.ca.

We try our best to respond as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our students. We are not an emergency clinic therefore we will refer all emergencies to the QEII Emergency Department, located on Robie Street.


For all of The Counselling Centre services, students are required to complete an intake form which takes 5-10 minutes.

Our hours during the academic year are 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm and during the summer 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:00pm.

All new students to our service are required to do a drop in appointment first with our Intake & Programs Coordinator. Summer drop in times are as follows: Monday: 1pm-3:30pm, Tuesday: 9am-11:30am, Wednesday: 9am-11:30am, Thursday: 1pm-3:30pm and Friday: 1pm-3:30pm. Drop in times are subject to change without notice and are based on the Intake & Programs Coordinator's schedule.

Returning students can book an appointment for personal counselling or academic & life skills coaching by calling 902-420-5615, emailing counselling@smu.ca or droping by our office, 4th Floor, Student Centre (turn left once you get off the elevator) or you can book online.

Morneau Shepell offers 24/7 free, confidential phone counselling to Saint Mary's students. If you are an emergency or crisis after hours, please contact Shepell-fgi at 1-855-649-8641 and tell them you need immediate assistance.

To view Morneau Shepell's new student support website visit http://mystudentsupport.com/ and be sure to check out the articles on: Managing stress with yoga, mental health myths, etc.

Sexual Assault Brochure & Sexual Misconduct Reporting Referral Form

Addictions Community-Based Services Program Schedule

For more information on mental health and life balance please visit http://ourhealthyminds.com/.

Healthy Minds is now available for free for iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod Touch through the App Store or through healthymindsapp.ca and difd.com, where printable promotional materials are also available.

Transitions is a free mental health booklet. To view the booklet please click the link http://teenmentalhealth.org/toolbox/transitions/ .

The Counselling Centre has various mental health initiatives we have developed which include: how to help a student in distress, SMU Talks for Faculty and Staff, WellTrack an online mood tracker for students and much more.

SMU offers some great InBalance Wellness programs. Please visit http://www.smu.ca/campus-life/inbalance-wellness-program to view upcoming events/sessions being held.


July Thoughts from The Counselling Centre

Body Image

Body image is the mental picture you have of your body - what it looks like, what you believe about it, and how you feel about your body. Self-esteem is the "real" opinion you have of yourself, how you value and respect yourself as a person. Your self-esteem has a direct effect on how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Self-esteem and body image also exert influences on each other - it is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your body!

How do you feel about your body?  How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror?  If you respond negatively to either of these questions, you are not alone.

Many people in our culture have a distorted perception of their physical appearance and worry obsessively about how to change the shape and appearance of their bodies. We are socialized to believe that the presence of fat on our bodies is an indication of weakness and that we can achieve happiness or perfection by changing our bodies.  Since body-esteem and self-esteem are very closely linked, worries about body inadequacy can interfere with relationships and distort our sense of self.

Messages from the media and even from family and peers can create insecurities about our appearance and drive a desire for a “perfect” (and always unattainable) body.  Exposure to body imagery in advertising, TV, film and other visual media has affected men and women alike. In our society, the premium placed on physical attractiveness makes all of us more self-conscious and vulnerable to depression, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss for women or building muscle for men. 

Body Image Advice

While we may all have days we feel dissatisfied or uncomfortable in our bodies, it is important to appreciate and respect our bodies and disconnect body image from self-worth.  Here are some suggestions to help you to experience your body in a more positive and accepting way:

 

Stop criticizing yourself in the mirror. The body you see in the mirror maintains and nourishes your life. Treat it with the respect and love it deserves.  Recognize that our bodies come in many different shapes and sizes and focus on the things you love about your body.  

Think about all of the things you are missing out on with the time and energy spent on worrying about your body.  Don’t let your body shape concerns prevent you from participating in activities you love.  

Refuse to accept criticism from anyone about your body—including yourself!  Challenge any negative thoughts you may have about your body with positive affirmations.

Find friends who are not overly concerned or critical about weight or appearances.  Surround yourself with positive people who appreciate you and your inner strengths.

View social and media messages about appearance critically.  Question assumptions made by marketing ads and TV shows and films that imply that one has to be “attractive” to be happy and successful.  Challenge the truthfulness of images that depict men and women without any physical flaws.  Seek out and show support for media images that promote positive messages about differences in body shape.

Wear clothes that make you feel good about your body and reflect your personal style.  Learn to appreciate the way your favorite clothes feel and look on you.

Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly.  Learn to see exercise as a great way to improve your health and strength instead of a way to “control” or “fight” your body.  Take time to appreciate the positive changes in your emotional and physical well-being when you exercise (i.e., feeling happier, more energetic).

 Understand that your body is your own, no matter what shape or size it comes in. Try to focus on becoming strong and healthy, not the imperfections of your body (really, well all have them) or what you want to change about it. If you're worried about your weight or health, it doesn't hurt to meet with your doctor to make sure that things are OK. But ultimately, it's no one's business but your own what your body looks like — you have to be happy with yourself.

By learning to have a positive body image, you can accept yourself the way you are, even if you don't fit the media ideal of "perfection". Such an approach to body image allows you to explore other aspects of your personality, developing healthy friendships, becoming more independent and confident, and challenging yourself physically and mentally. Giving the necessary attention to these parts of yourself can be very helpful in boosting your self-esteem.

The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary’s University!