Counseling Center always ready to help out students

Johanna Torres, Del Mar College Counselor, welcomes everybody to drop by the office for free counseling.

Coming back from winter break can be stressful, but the Del Mar Counseling Center is reaching out to help students. With upcoming events and available counseling services, there is always a place on campus to relax and calm your mind. 

Johanna Torres, one of three Del Mar College counselors, said her main goal is helping individuals move toward their growth and life goals. 

“We provide students with individual counseling and that can range from anything from everyday stress, school stress, family stress, relationship stress to symptoms of anxiety or depression,” Torres said. “We also work with students that have experienced trauma, any kind of childhood trauma or childhood experiences that they haven’t worked through.” 

The department had over 1,000 appointments scheduled in 2018. According to their statistics, anxiety and depression are the most common diagnosis among students. Other issues that are present include eating disorders, employment issues, relationship issues, financial issues, childhood sexual abuse and familial-relational issues. 

Torress said they can help with “any issues or any difficulties that they are having that is impeding them from being as successful as they can be in school.” 

For over three and a half years Torres has enjoyed actively being able to support students and help them learn and grow in a way that makes them successful in their academic career.  

Krystal Munoz, a 21-year-old mathematics major, agrees that college can be a lot to handle. 

“Staying up late and then having other things going on in your life is stressful,” Munoz said.

Counseling is both confidential and free. Torres said she encourages everyone who wants to come speak their mind to visit their office in the Harvin Student Center, Room 233A. There is a 10-session limit; however, most students come for about four to six sessions.

“We provide individual counseling, we provide group counseling, and we also provide couples counseling as long as one of the students is enrolled in classes,” Torres said. 

Munoz said she had no idea that Del Mar offered free counseling services for students but would be interested in taking advantage of them. She also feels like she could often use someone to talk to on campus about her classes and other stresses.

According to Torres all services are confidential and all academic and counseling records are kept completely separate. Torres said sometimes the stigma that follows mental health would make it really difficult for students to step into their door. But once students do step into the door they learn that what is said in the room stays in the room, with very rare exceptions.

“Once students learn that, the motivation to continue to come in changes and increases,” Torres said.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Torres stresses that it is important to know there are fully licensed professional counselors on campus to help anyone out. 

“If a student is experiencing thoughts of suicide they can come in and talk with us through it,” Torres said. “That may not be the case if they disclose that to a faculty member.” 

Not only does the center offer counseling, but they also offer consultation services for faculty, staff and students. 

“Consultation services are different from counseling because in consultation it really is an individual that is coming with a concern,” Torres said. “If anyone is concerned with a friend or family member the Counseling Center will consult with them and provide them with resources and options.”

The center also offers their Zen Zone as a student getaway from school stress and a calm place to relax. The Zen Zone offers a massage chair, dim lighting, aromatherapy and different relaxation sounds. It is also a quiet place for students to get homework done. 

“Sometimes students come in to take a nap and that’s OK,” Torres said. “We have one both on the East and West Campus.”

Munoz said she also had no idea about the Zen Zone, but would be open to checking it out and scheduling an appointment. 

“Give it a shot,” Munoz said. “College can be stressful and anyway you can de-stress is a good idea.” 

The Counseling Center hosts several events open to faculty, staff and students such as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Training, Denim Day in partnership with the Purple Door, and Paws and Relax.

Torres also wants to give students advice when it comes to trying to set appointments. With everything adding up throughout the semester it can get very stressful, especially around midterms and finals. She encourages students to come in before these peak times so they have the skills to be more successful during their midterms and finals.


What:Suicide Prevention training

When:First Friday of every month

Where:Harvin Center Room 233, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; West Campus TBD, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

What:Denim Day in partnership with the Purple Door

When:11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24

Where:Between the Harvin Center and Heritage Hall 

What:Paws and Relax, a pet therapy day for students to pet trained therapy dogs.



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