Counseling Center to offer new specialized support groups

BY SARAH CHAFFEE-ASST FORUM EDITOR

The new school year has brought with it new changes to the Counseling Center. Three support groups were created to help students dealing with anxiety, coming back from studying abroad and navigating the first year on campus. Daily walk-in times were also added.

“Taming the Dragon” is a group that focuses on teaching students how to battle anxiety.

Assistant Dean and Director of Counseling Services Dr. Stacey Pearson-Warton said: “What we know is that almost 90 percent of the students who come to the Counseling Center come because of some form of anxiety. That’s our top concern.”

“Sometimes what will happen is that a student will be struggling with anxiety but not know what to do. Our goal is to really give students the skills they need to combat anxiety,” Pearson-Warton said.

The center will also offer a “Go Home” group, and Pearson-Warton said: “[It] is for helping students transitioning back to classes, culture and campus. It’s for students who have been on GO Long and are back in school and may need extra support.”

Senior Kelsey Miller, who studied in Italy, said: “I’m kind of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork and seeing a lot of people I know. It’s not necessarily culture shock at this point, but more like school shock.”

Senior Michelle Gillette who studied in Africa, said, “It’s weird to go to a different culture where literally nobody knows you to coming back and everyone knows everyone.”

The final group will be for first-years, and Pearson-Warton said, “The First-Year group might talk about homesickness and missing a friend or family or how to do things for themselves.”

Sophomore Rebekah Smith said that she hopes that the First-Year Student Support Group will talk about getting involved on campus.

Smith said, “They should talk about not being afraid to get involved because I think sometimes first-year students don’t necessarily want to get involved because they’re afraid it’s going to take up too much time, but sometimes it’s worth it to put that much effort into something where you can make a group of friends.”

Pearson-Warton said that students who participate in these new groups can expect to meet once a week for five to six weeks.

“There will be a counselor who will help facilitate the conversation. Students can expect to learn from other students’ experiences and what has worked for them,” Pearson-Warton said.

Daily walk-in times were added to make the Counseling Center’s services more accessible to students, and these will be offered from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Pearson-Warton said, “I want people to know that we are here to help and that we’re here to support students.”