Palm Beach Atlantic University has a high percentage of students in relationships. “Ring by Spring happens a lot,” junior ministry major Michael Todd and junior psychology major Emily Figge, one of many PBA couples, said. “PBA encourages relationships and they are not against dating.”
“Last year relationship issues were the primary reason people were coming in for counseling,” said Jeremy Bonta, a licensed mental health counselor. Bonta mentions how counseling benefits students in relationships. “It not only helps them to have a better relationship but ultimately it helps them better their career and where they are wanting to go in life.”
The Counseling Center at PBA strives to encourage students to better understand one another through friendship. When relationships end up not working out, that means the couple did not truly know one another, Bonta explains.
“There was not a friendship that was established,” Bonta said.
“It is not easy when two people come together and try to make things work. There are differences and it is good to talk through them,” Todd and Figge explained. “If you do not talk through them then, resentment just grows and it will not work.”
“It is always good to be on the same page,” junior education major Tyler Hawks and sophomore pre pharmacy major Alexis Brown, another PBA couple, said. “And if you do not have communication then there is a lot of misunderstandings and that leads to conflict.”
When couples find common interests and continually build their friendship with each other, growth takes place. Couples Todd and Figge and Hawks and Brown found ways to build their bonds.
“Hanging out, cooking, running and training for a marathon are things we enjoy together,” Figge and Todd said.
“Doing things like fun such as going out, playing games, going to the beach and studying are some of the things we love doing together,” said Hawks and Brown.
From couples just starting to navigate the relationship world to couples starting the engagement and marriage process, each stage in a relationship will benefit from a counseling session according to Bonta.
Challenges occur when navigating life with another person. With the growth of couples seeking help, PBA students have a great tool to utilize right on campus.
“There is just a need,” Bonta said.
The first six 50 minute sessions are free. From sessions for couples dating to sessions for recently engaged or married couples, the PBA Counseling Center offers a wide variety of ways to help students with their relationships.