Psycho-social Problems Confronted by University Students and the Need for Counseling

Sarath Amarasinghe, Pemapala Pathirana


This study concerns the documentary evidence gathered from the students whosought treatment at the Counseling Center at the University of Ruhuna in the year 2008.A diagnostic survey of the student patients at the centre proves that the most prevalenttypes of psycho-social problems have been anxiety, obsessive compulsion, phobia andsomatic disorder.

Anxiety reactions resulted in by minor psychological problems have been thecommon disorder among most of the university students. The root cause of such anxietyreactions has been the weak social support available from their home backgrounds,guilty consciousness resulted in by failures in romantic relationships, and adjustabilityproblems.

Phobia suggests an irrational fear about developing social relations with theirpeers, facing university examinations, and tolerating the presence of certain harmlessanimals or insects in the environment. Obsessive compulsion is a situation where someirrational thoughts forcefully direct them to involve continuously in some abnormaltypes of behaviour or habits such as homosexuality, smoking or endlessly washing ofhands. Somatic disorder is a body pain resulted in by a prolonged psycho-socialproblems they have been confronted with. Frequent headaches, pains in legs or hands,and difficulties in sleeping are some symptoms of the somatic disorder.

This study reveals that all such psycho-social problems have led to thedevelopment of various behavioural disorders among the students in such a way inwhich their active participation in academic programs is greatly disturbed. Necessarytreatment to assist such students could be carried out through individual and groupcounseling conducted at the counseling center. Some students who are confronted withserious illnesses such as depression and post traumatic stress disorders were directed topsychiatrists for necessary medical treatment. Also it was revealed that conductingseminars, workshops, lectures and discussions for sensitizing students about suchpsycho-social problems and the role of counseling is vital to minimize the negativeimpacts of such problems and to enhance their educational achievements.

Key words: Anxiety, Obsessive compulsion, Phobia, Somatic disorder

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