After the unforgettable years that surrounded COVID-19, it is not surprising that therapy has become one of the most popular ways for people to deal with this crisis. During this time, I reached out to therapy as a way to process the large changes that were happening in my life as well as the lives of the people I loved.
While therapy, for me, was a positive experience, attaining a therapist was another stress that added to the problems I already had. As a UF student, I was aware of my access to the Counseling and Wellness Center. At the CWC there are a multitude of resources that can help students struggling in various parts of their lives. But what I wanted most was to talk to someone and get help figuring out what exactly was bothering me.
At the time, the CWC was only offering online sessions, but that was strictly a COVID era, today this is not the case. However, because the sessions were only online, I felt that there was already a wall between me and my therapist to begin with. Not being able to meet face to face made me feel I wouldn’t be able to connect with my therapist on a deeper level. Despite this, I decided to go ahead and try the program.
After reaching out, I was told I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment for about a month unless I was potentially going to hurt myself. I understood that COVID had flooded their department with new patients, but it was extremely frustrating. My issues were also time sensitive, so this did not seem like a good route to continue on. I researched other therapists and centers in the area, but the cost and unwillingness of insurance to cooperate added another burden to receiving help. So, I decided to wait.
I battled my own issues and marked the days for weeks until I could talk to someone. Finally, my appointment day came.
I had never been to therapy before, so I didn’t realize the first appointment was more about formalities and basic information than anything. I was able to discuss some of my problems, but I was told to wait another two weeks before we could have another session where we’d get more in depth. I was disappointed to say the least.
After realizing I would not get help in the time I needed, I sought therapy in a different place, and even though it hurt my bank account, I received the help I needed.
This is not to say the CWC does not do amazing work, it does. But I never felt like anyone was concerned for me; I was just another patient that had to be fit in the schedule somewhere.
It seemed like they didn’t have enough staff to support the amount of need coming from the students. But times have changed quite significantly from the “COVID years'' and by looking retrospectively, I can at least say I was thankful to have a program to turn to.
I know many people who have benefited greatly from therapy and other services it provides. However, I do think that one of the downsides of being a student at UF means that you will deal with excessive wait times and competition to receive services.
I wouldn’t say I would never try the CWC again, but I think anyone who does try it needs to go in with the knowledge that there are a lot of students at UF and very few providers to accommodate for this. The CWC makes it known that for students who are in urgent situations, care is immediately available. They also have a referral process to help allocate the numerous students to a therapist or service that works for them outside of UF.
Cayman Forbes is a UF political science and international studies senior.