Profile: Lu Switzer
Lu Switzer is curious about people — what life brings their way, how they see themselves, and how she can help them through difficult times.
A staff counselor with Student Counseling Services, Switzer especially enjoys the opportunity to work with college students. Traditional students are at a developmental stage in which they are transitioning into emerging adults, she said. Non-traditional students also face challenges and transitions, she observed.
"We provide therapy services for students only at Student Counseling Services," she said.
The Clarksdale native has been a Starkville resident for nearly 25 years. She enjoyed an earlier career in the field of insurance before staying home with her children. With an undergraduate degree in sociology from Millsaps College, she decided to further her education and embark upon a new career path in psychology. She finished her master's degree at MSU in 2006 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor upon joining Student Counseling Services in late 2009. She also is a board qualified supervisor and provides supervision for LPC licensure.
A mother of three college-age children, Switzer said she often talks with freshmen who are having a difficult time transitioning to life away from home. Common issues she discusses with clients include depression, anxiety and identity issues, she said. Disordered eating patterns and self-injury are additional issues she addresses in her role as counselor.
Making use of cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavior therapy concepts, among others, Switzer said she often asks clients to artistically express their feelings or write about their emotions in journals. She said she enjoys working and consulting with her colleagues at the center, adding that, "We each have our individual way of working with students."
Switzer said having outlets away from the office helps support the work of a counselor. "Students often present with painful and sad histories. As a counselor, self-care cannot be underestimated in order to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue," she said.
Running and gardening are her methods to recharge, relax and stay healthy. She also loves dogs and raises German Shepherds.
Students can make arrangements to talk with Switzer or other staff counselors by calling 662-325-2091Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Russ Houston
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