The counseling center starts therapy groups, workshops

With the spring semester in full swing, the Taylor University Counseling Center has set up therapy groups and workshops for students and faculty.

Three therapy groups will meet on a weekly basis for three or four weeks. Each will address a variety of topics, including healthy relationships, managing anxiety and stress, and trauma and resilience.

Registration closed on February 14 for the Healthy Relationships and Trauma and Resilience groups, but registration for a second Anxiety and Stress Management section is open until this Friday, March 11.

There are approximately 25 people currently registered to participate in therapy groups.

Kathy Chamberlain, Director of the Counseling Center, started in July 2020. She has over 30 years of social work experience and specializes in anxiety, trauma work, couples work and mental disorders. ‘mood.

“I hope that one, people recognize that they are not alone and two, that they get the resources they need to make the changes they need,” Chamberlain said.

Like the therapy sessions, the counseling center will host three workshops this semester that students and faculty can attend without registering. The topics of the workshops are communication and conflict resolution, eating disorders and cognitive resetting.

Chamberlain said the counseling center tries to provide workshop opportunities once a month so the Taylor community can learn more about mental health.

The first of three, Communication and Conflict Resolution, met Feb. 15 from 4-5 p.m. in the Cornwall Auditorium to discuss practical communication skills and conflict resolution techniques needed in various relationship situations.

The Disordered Eating Workshop will take place on March 15 from 4-5 p.m. in Cornwall for faculty and staff and 6-7 p.m. in Alspaugh East for students. Members of Shelah House, an eating disorder treatment center in Anderson, Ind., will share their knowledge about early signs of the disorder, body image, and treatment options. Students participating in the second session are encouraged to bring their lunch to the space.

For the final Cognitive Reset workshop, there will be a session on April 12 from 4-5pm in Cornwall. This is specifically aimed at students, providing ways to identify negative thought patterns regarding self-esteem and ways to rewrite those beliefs in a positive light.

Freshman Jonathan Berry said he has been attending individual therapy sessions since the end of J-term and also attended the conflict resolution workshop.

“Even if you don’t get all of your problems resolved right now, it really helps to talk to someone like a professional,” Berry said. “It’s useful even if you’re just organizing your thoughts.”

As an added incentive for students, many professors offer extra credit for attending workshops due to their built-in educational component.

For example, Mike Guebert, professor of geology and environmental science, offered his students additional credit opportunities if they use the advice center and hand in a brief account of their experience.

The counseling center usually receives a quarter of the student population, whether it is a one-time appointment or ongoing appointments. However, Chamberlain said that by the end of 2021 their numbers had increased by 33%, approaching 60% usage of Taylor’s student body.

“The need for mental health care is greater than it has ever been,” Chamberlain said.

One of Chamberlain’s passions in mental health treatment is preventative care. Realizing the need for an outward-looking approach, Chamberlain said it is only now with the COVID-19 pandemic that mental health professionals have begun to intentionally practice preventive care.

Most topics for therapy groups and workshops came directly from student feedback in light of promoting preventive care. According to Chamberlain, communication and conflict resolution was the number one ask of Taylor students who completed a survey sent out through announcements late last fall.

“Our hope is that we reach people who aren’t already in our clinic,” Chamberlain said.

QR codes and counseling center fact sheets are available across campus for easy access. Additionally, grounding boxes—kits containing supplies designed to reduce stress and anxiety—can be found in each dorm as well as at the Academic Enrichment Center. Specifically, they include toys, coloring tools, and therapy lights that mimic sunlight.

Individual appointments can be booked by emailing [email protected] and walk-in sessions are open Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

For times when students or faculty cannot use in-person services, Chamberlain pointed out that online resources such as breathing techniques and mindfulness videos are easily accessible anytime through the MyTaylor portal.

The counseling center has office hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For program updates and mental health tips, follow them on Instagram @tucounseling.

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