University Counseling Services Host Mental Health Workshop

University Counseling Services recently offered students a chance to participate in a free, new mental health workshop about anxiety which took place Wednesdays April 5, 12 and 19 in Magruder Hall.

Elizabeth Miller, a UCS counselor, says the workshop was originally developed by California Polytechnic State University. Miller says Angel Utt, another UCS counselor, contacted with Cal Poly and received permission for UCS to use it and revamp it to fit Truman’s campus and students. Something to understand about the workshop, Miller said, is that it’s based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, which is a research proven method which has effective ways for dealing with anxiety.

Miller says there were 12 students in the workshop which consisted of three 50-minute sessions. Each were run like
lectures, Miller says with students having the option to participate in discussion. Miller says information was given to students so they could take notes on it and then use those provided materials to collect information to apply to their
everyday life. Miller says a lecture format was the most effective way to get out as much general information on anxiety to as many students as possible.

Miller says the purpose of the workshop is to help students learn to cope with their triggers, be aware of their triggers and handle anxiety symptoms they might experience in a different way. Miller says basic relaxation skills and techniques were also shown which can be applied to daily life.

Homework was a part of the workshop, Miller says, because in counseling there are skills students need to work on outside of session.

What the homework consisted of, Miller says, was a few different worksheets, handouts on how to get better sleep, how to do relaxation techniques and be aware of triggers and how the anxiety cycle works.

“I think that maybe ‘homework’ is the wrong word because our students think of homework as a paper or something that’s going to be graded but without homework the workshop would be pointless,” Miller says. “Without working on the skills we discussed in the workshop they [students] wouldn’t have benefit from it.”