Rise of Psychological Counseling
Emotional Turbulence on American Campuses
The cherished notion of carefree student days has fallen victim to the strife and discord that many American schools have experienced in recent years. While there is now a glimmer of hope that the worst has passed, it cannot be said that a mass of students suddenly has found peace of mind. Indeed, young people in college and even high school have been candidates for professional help in sorting out their troubling emotions. Psychological counseling is already found on many campuses, and it seems likely to become a permanent fixture in the academic world.
While the need for psychological counseling of students at college level and below is often quite obvious, there is no unanimity of opinion as to why the need is more visible today than only a decade ago. According to one view, the social temper of the times has planted deep doubts and uncertainties in the minds of students. In short, society is held accountable. Another view, usually conservative in tone, is that overly permissive child-rearing practices—supposedly fostered by Dr. Benjamin Spock—have produced an indulged and over-protected student who is frightened by realities and who resorts to infantile expressions of rage at a world which is not as nurturing as his home nest. In short, students—or their parents—are held accountable.
Whether or not this “spoiled brat” view of students has any basis in fact, it is clear that constituted authority—both collegiate and governmental—was unprepared to deal effectively with student activism in the 1960s. Although the existence of activist groups provided a kind of home for some students who in the past might have disappeared quietly into some private agony, the general uproar on campus denied the individual student a secure setting in which to wrestle with his problems.