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Should I Continue To Address My Anxiety In Therapy After Graduating?

Published: February 28, 2015
Dear Should I Continue To Address My Anxiety In Therapy After Graduating?,

I need some advice about something that I'm kind of confused about. I'm a frmale and I'll be graduating college in May. Since my freshman year of college I have been seeing a counselor pretty much on a consistent basis. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder during my sophomore. I have gone through some very difficult times as a result of the anxiousness that I have felt. I have also gone through some very good times where I felt like I had the anxiety under control, but then the cycle would continue and the anxiety would resurface. Being in counseling has definitely help me over the years. Recently within the past couple weeks I have come to a couple realizations and kind of had 'aha moments' about anxiety, life, myself. And things have been going really well because of that. I feel like I figure out some key skills, for lack of better words, that are really helping me be able to control my anxiety. I feel like I'm in a really good place mentally and emotionally and I feel happy and at peace with myself. So what I'm confused about is whether or not I should continue in counseling. I see a counselor in the student wellness center so I can only see her up until I graduate. I don't know if I should find someone who I can continue seeing after I graduate. I know that the time right after graduation is probably going to be a little stressful for me, but I feel like with the new things I have learned I might be able to handle it just fine. It would be hard for me to open up to a new counselor, it took me two years to really open up to my current counselor; but I know I could do it and probably more quickly if it's going to help me. I just can't decide if I really need counseling anymore or if I will in a couple months. Is it time to stop counseling after four years? If I should find a new counselor will she have to know everything that I've gone through right away? I just feel like I'm in a good place right now so do I really need another counselor? I've been nervous to ask my current counselor about this, but I know that's what I need to do. In the meantime, do you have any advice?

Dear Should I Continue To Address My Anxiety In Therapy After Graduating?,

TeenHealthFX would recommend you find a new therapist following graduation for two reasons:

  1. For one thing, you will be going through a major life transition after graduating from college, so it would be helpful for you to be meeting with a reputable therapist during this time in case any issues come up where you could use some guidance and support.

  2. Second, many mental health issues (such as anxiety disorder and mood disorders) can be like a roller coaster. They can level off for a while where things feel ok, but suddenly there can be a dip or sharp turn to deal with. Things may have leveled off for you right now. However, it is possible that you may experience a dip down the road – and it would be helpful for you to have a reputable therapist in place who you can immediately call rather than having to search for someone new while in the middle of a difficult time. You don’t necessarily have to stay with the person you find after graduation for a prolonged period of time. You can meet with that person for as long as it is helpful as you transition to a new phase of life, and then you will know that person is there if you need therapy at any point in the future.

FX can appreciate that it can feel difficult to start with a new therapist. It can feel hard to have to convey so much information all over again. It can also feel scary to build a new working relationship with someone and place trust in someone new. But given you history with anxiety, it does sound to FX like it would be helpful for you to have a new therapist in place, if only for a brief period of time while you transition.

Your current college counselor should be able to help you find a reputable private therapist such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.