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The Carletonian

New services make debut at SHAC this year

<ir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-97c4df5f-c436-e963-44e4-871a2c7936dd">In an effort to expand its counseling services, the SHAC fall newsletter announced three new programs: Expressive Art Group, Growing Resilient and General Therapy Groups.

Expressive Art Group

Nate Page, the new full-time counselor at SHAC, and Leah Wellstone, a SHAC counselor, head the Expressive Art Group, which meets every Thursday during fall term at SHAC. Through this program, groups talk and do art exercises together.

“The process of engaging in art has the ability to help people uncover aspects about themselves and others that they might otherwise not be able to,” Page explained. “People tend to connect easier and quicker to emotions and meanings than with only talk.”

“Oftentimes people become less anxious as they engage in art,” Page said, “or will connect with passions, motivations, and other emotions that will lift depression. Art is also a wonderful communicator of these things, and group members invest time and energy in sharing their art with the group.”

The group filled up quickly, so Page said he and Wellstone created a waitlist for winter term. Due to the programs popularity, Page said SHAC plans to run two sessions next term.

Growing Resilient

The Growing Resilient workshop series, held Tuesdays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at SHAC, provides tools to improve the self, the mind and the body and helps develop stress management skills, according to the newsletter. Clinical psychologist Drew Weis runs this new program, which is held bimonthly and is open to the public.

“Resilience is the natural capacity to navigate and grow from adversity,” Weis said. “The workshops explore frameworks for understanding common factors in resilience and provide some resources for cultivating calm, engagement and connection.”

The workshop series has three parts. The first workshop focused on calm, providing attendants with strategies, including breathing exercises and sensor grounding. The second workshop centered on engagement. “The first time I did this workshop, we explored the three core engagements as strategies: exercise, meaningful connection and meaningful challenge,” Weis said.

“Future workshops will address those briefly before exploring cognitive strategies for shifting activation of cognitive biases consistently at play in low mood. We also take a look at a mythological perspective on getting stuck in an intolerable situation and the suicide risk that can emerge from that,” said Weis.

The third workshop focused on connections, such as social connections, social support and attachment theory. Weis explained that the themes for each workshop emphasize resilience.

“These qualities are not only factors in resilience, but they are part of flourishing, which is reflecting a steady shift in mental health awareness to look beyond mental illness, adversity and struggle to nurture a more complete picture of how we might thrive,” he said.

Attendance for the first three workshops was small, ranging from two to seven participants. In the future, Weis said he hopes to schedule the workshops in such a way that more people can attend them. He mentioned potentially making the workshops available online, so students can access them at any time.

General Therapy Groups

In group therapy, six to eight students meet weekly throughout the term for 90-minute confidential sessions led by one or two SHAC clinicians who are to trained to facilitate therapy groups, according to Page.

“The group provides a space for people to feel accepted and cared for regardless of their perceived ‘flaws’ and challenges and to discover that they are not alone in their struggles and worries,” he said.

Group therapy is unique in that it offers clients the opportunity to be of benefit to others. In individual therapy, clients are always in the help receiving”role, but in group therapy members shift between help receivers and help providers, according to Page.

“I like the adage that in individual therapy, you tend to talk about your concerns. In group therapy, you tend to have your concerns. When you experience your concern in group, you have a beautiful opportunity to make real changes.”

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