Workshops Address Stress, Mindfulness and More
Students are faced with a multitude of major life changes in a short period of time; making new friends, learning new things, and making the most of their years on The Hill. This may not leave much time for students to focus on their mental well-being. The Whisler Center for Student Wellness supports students’ wellness, so they can make the most of their college experience. Two workshops help in this work:
AIR, or Ask, Investigate, Respond, helps students build emotional tolerance, create flexibility in response to stress, and provides knowledge to focus energy in more productive ways.
A second workshop, CALM, Control Anxiety and Live Mindfully, is designed impart a better understanding of the neuroscience of anxiety, and helps students create their own personal plan to manage symptoms related to anxiety.
These workshops were designed with the intention of providing students with a safe space to voice their concerns, learn coping skills, and gain support from fellow students, all who have similar goals.
“The short-term benefits of attending the workshops include increasing your repertoire of coping skills,” says Darlene Compton, associate director of Counseling Services at Denison. “ And they also help in making connections with others who share a common goal to improve in the way they cope.”
“The skills and strategies taught in the workshops, when practiced and implemented regularly, have the very real potential to positively impact the way students manage stress, shift their outlook on demands and life in general, and improve their overall quality of life.”
The programs were developed to accommodate the growing demand on counseling services, according to Staff Counselor Sanda Gibson. “I did considerable research last semester and talked to Darlene about some workshops I thought would fit our Denison culture,” she says. “Denison students are busy and need to feel there is personal value in committing time to learn coping skills. Learning and practicing skills to build resilience will help students manage the social and academic challenges of college life.”
The workshops, open to any Denison student, run for two to three sessions, depending on the topic and the interests of the students attending the workshops.
And in Fall 2018, Counseling Services is adding a new workshop series on relationships. The Relationships Workshop will explore and identify healthy relationships, with a focus on improving communication skills.
There are benefits to talking about these topics in group settings. “While some issues are best addressed through one-on-one counseling, many issues can more effectively be served through the groups and workshops offered by counseling services,” says Compton.
“Connecting with others is a basic human need. Yet so often, our relationships are threatened by conflict, miscommunication and fear. Groups and workshops are a widely recognized and effective option in college counseling centers, and are a great place to allow students to connect more deeply with themselves and others.”
In addition to these workshops, Counseling Services will continue to offer other groups, including the Grief Group; the Productivity Circle, in partnership with the Academic Resource Center; and Spectrum, co-facilitated with Religious and Spiritual Life.