Relieving Holiday Stress

Vanessa Duffy

The economy hasn’t left people in a very jolly holiday mood these past few years. Stress is heightened during the holidays and colleges offer counseling for those who need it now more than ever.

Glendale College offers aid to students with stress and depression through on-campus professional counseling.

The health center, located on the first floor of the San Rafael building, offers more than just flu shots. It has professional counselors as well as counseling interns and trainees to relieve students and their problems.

The counseling services are included in the $12 to $16 health fee that students are charged when they register for classes.

“There is no such thing as a stress-free life,” said Crescent Orpelli, a mental health counselor and clinical supervisor. “There is always stuff you have to manage; the key is to know your individual balance at that point in time.”

Depression is another problem among GCC students, according to Orpelli. Many students who seek counseling for depression have experienced a sudden death in the family.

Students can seek individual counseling by speaking with a nurse at the health center who can refer them to a counselor. All information is kept confidential. Although individual counseling is the center’s specialty, there has been an increasing demand for group counseling.

“Groups are a great way for people to share similar experiences,” said Lara Sayles, a Marriage and Family Therapy intern for Glendale.

The sky is really the limit, because the center works with relationship problems, acculturation, time management, anger and much more.

These are problems people may experience often, but it’s especially heightened during the holiday season.”Holidays magnify stress and remind people of what they want instead of what they should be content with,” said Michael Dulay, psychology professor at Glendale.

Dulay says students tend to externalize when they are unhappy. He says there are two primary ways to cope with issues. One is problem focused, which is to look backwards and understand what went wrong. The second, and most important, is solution focused.

Eventually a person will have to stop dwelling on the problem and figure out the steps to overcome the issue.

“I didn’t know the school offered those kinds of services,” said Ani Aghazarian, a student at Glendale. “It’s really good to know that there people to turn to when students need help.”

Many students take on several classes while working a part-time or full-time job.

“Overwhelming yourself is self-defeating,” said Orpelli. “It’s important to find time for yourself whether it’s sports or a walk on the beach. Fun helps people focus and prevents them from feeling deprived.”

To see all of the available services, visit the health center’s page on the GCC website. Services and hours vary by semester.