The ONU Counseling Center. (photo/Chloe Lovell)
The ONU Counseling Center. (Northern Review photo / Chloe Lovell)

The counseling center started a new program Feb 10. for students called the Coping Clinic. This program, led by Director of Counseling Services Anthony Rivera, is meant to help students learn methods and techniques to cope with struggles they may be going through. This program is intended to last three weeks, with sessions occurring Monday nights from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Heterick Library.

The first session began with an introduction to the purpose of the program and an icebreaker for the attendees. A confidentiality statement was signed by all individuals at the beginning of the session to agree that any information that was shared would remain with the group. Workbooks were passed out to jot down notes throughout the sessions, to respond to various prompts, and short homework pieces to consider for the next session. The remainder of the session was used to identify a problem each individual was struggling with and to introduce tools to help them deal with that issue.

I attended the first session of the Coping Clinic without a specific problem in mind that I had been struggling with, but I still walked out with tools to help me when I get overwhelmed. The method I found most helpful to help calm down was a mindfulness exercise. It was nice to take some time to sit back and release myself from all the thoughts that were running through my head, to focus on my breathing, and to feel present in the moment. I was also comforted to know that I could share as much or as little as I wanted and that anything I did share would stay in the room as each individual in the room was under an oath of confidentiality.

When the session ended, I felt less tense than when I had walked in. I hadn’t even noticed going in that I was fairly uptight about college and my personal life. While mindfulness techniques are not guaranteed to work for everyone, I found them effective, and I consider them tools to use when I’m stressed, or just in my everyday routine, as a way to disconnect for a few minutes before tackling responsibilities. 

If you missed this workshop, don’t panic. The Coping Clinic isn’t the only program the counseling center will provide for students. The counseling center plans to provide students with more opportunities in the following semesters to attend workshops and presentations that have varying topics. Each staff member within the counseling center is coming up with a different program to address different issues that students may be having.

The counseling center is often busy throughout the week helping students with varying kinds of support. These programs will be used to provide students with plenty of opportunities to receive the help they need but are not meant to replace a one-on-one counseling session.

“These are tools, concepts, and techniques that every student will benefit from,” Rebecca Diller, the Assistant Director of Counseling Services said, “and then if they need something more intensive, they can make a counseling appointment.”

One program that will be coming around within the month is a six-week workshop that will be covering mindfulness techniques for students. This is similar to the mindfulness techniques learned in the Coping Clinic, but much more in-depth information. If you find an interest in this topic, look through your email for an email from Chaplain David MacDonald regarding Mindfulness Lessons, that will be starting Feb 27. Professors and student organizations can also request a presentation done by counseling center staff members covering resilience and social connectedness. 

The Coping Clinic along with the other programs planned for the upcoming semesters are great opportunities for students to get the help they need with a problem they’re struggling with. They provide a learning and safe environment for students with no pressure to speak out about their struggles. If you don’t feel like making an appointment with the counseling center, consider one of these workshops. You will most likely be able to use the information you learned at some point in your life.

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