By Sydney Fuller, college intern, and Dr. Divya Babbar

College life is often portrayed as a time of excitement, self-discovery, and freedom. However, the reality for many college students includes overwhelming stress, academic pressures, social challenges, and mental health struggles. While therapy is commonly associated with seeking support during the academic year, we often overlook the importance of therapy during breaks and summers. Prioritizing mental health care is essential for our overall well-being. Let’s explore the significance of continuing therapy during breaks and summers, and its transformative potential beyond the confines of the academic year.

How can college students benefit?

  1. Continuity of Care: Taking breaks from therapy can disrupt progress being made in addressing issues that were discussed in therapy during the academic year. Therapy during breaks and summers provides college students the opportunity to continue their therapeutic journey without interruption, ensuring consistency in their mental health care.
  2. Time for Reflections and Growth: Breaks and summers offer college students the chance to step back from the stress of academic life and reflect on their experiences. This includes time to process thoughts, emotions, and experiences you may have ignored during the academic year. Breaks and summers are a great time to learn more about yourself and dive deeper into emotions that may have been brushed over during the hustle and bustle of the academic year. Through consistent therapy sessions, individuals can have more time for introspection and emotional exploration, paving the way for profound insights and positive transformations.
  3. Coping with Transitions: College students face various transitions during breaks, such as returning home, moving to a new place for an internship or job, and managing changing relationships. These transitions involve emotional adjustments, necessitating therapy to explore and cope with the associated challenges. By addressing transition-related stressors, therapy equips students with effective coping strategies to navigate unfamiliar environments and build resilience. Therapy can serve as a stable support system during transformative periods.
  4. Sustaining Mental Wellness for the Long Haul: Mental health is a journey, not a destination, and prioritizing self-care is essential for long-term well-being. Students actively invest in their long-term growth and healing by integrating therapy into their summer regimen. This allows for the better management of symptoms by providing ongoing support, staying connected to support systems, and ensuring access to interventions if needed. When we move to new places, it can sometimes be uncertain whether we’ll have reliable access to trusted friends and family. However, keeping up with therapy can ensure we’re better equipped to handle any unexpected challenges that come our way.

While the academic year may be characterized by deadlines and exams, breaks and summers present a precious opportunity for college students to prioritize their mental health. By prioritizing mental health care throughout the year, students can benefit from continuity of care –– allowing for uninterrupted progress in addressing mental health concerns. Moreover, breaks and summers provide invaluable opportunities for reflection, growth, and coping with transitions. Ultimately, investing in therapy isn’t just about feeling better emotionally –– it’s about laying a foundation for sustained well-being and resilience in the face of life’s uncertainties. As we navigate the complexities of college life and beyond, let’s remember the transformative potential of therapy beyond the confines of the academic year. Our clinicians at Georgetown Psychology are here to help.