With the semester in full swing and the difficult weather northern Utahns have been navigating lately, some Weber State University students may find themselves stressed or having negative feelings. The Counseling and Psychological Services Center at WSU is offering help in the form of four-week coping skills training groups.
The groups are aimed at teaching students skills to help them cope with stress and negative feelings, and also improve their interpersonal skills.
“It’s something that a lot of students could really benefit from,” said Dianna Abel, director of the Counseling and Psychological Services Center. “If they would take four weeks and get some tools in their bag of tricks, then they can utilize those throughout the course of their life in various circumstances.”
Tamara Robinette, a licensed clinical social worker with the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, said the group is being put on to help students who are just looking to gain some of those skills.
“The reason we decided to do it is to reach out and help students that may not really need to have individual therapy sessions, but they do want ideas,” Robinette said. “They want solutions, and just a coping skills class would really provide that.”
There are two of these training groups on WSU’s main campus. One group meets on Mondays from 2:30-3:50 p.m., and the second group meets on Thursdays from 12-1:20 p.m. The first Thursday group will meets on Jan. 31. Though the first Monday group met on Jan. 28, Robinette said students are welcome at the future sessions. The four-week course will repeat after the first session finishes, restarting around mid-March. Students can register by calling the Counseling and Psychological Services Center at 801-626-6406.
Robinette said the group format is ideal for what the group is aiming to accomplish, and is also helpful for students who attend.
“You get ideas from other people,” she said. “Like, they’ll come up with something that they’ve done, and suddenly it clicks for you and you think, ‘Wow, what a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that?’”
Abel said having a group also provides a measure of support and solidarity.
“You feel supported in whatever you might be going through,” she said. “If things are stressful or if you’re really worried about something, feeling extra burdened, you see that somebody else is talking the same way you’re talking. Suddenly it just feels like ‘oh, I’m OK. I’m not different. I’m the same as other people.’ There’s a support feel with other people.”
A pre-group consultation is required for students before they can register for the sessions. Robinette said the pre-group meeting is informal and just intended to ensure the group is what students are looking for or need.
“It gives a chance for us to get a little familiar with (the students) and to let them know what a group is like,” she said. “We get to be a little bit familiar with them and find out whether or not this is an appropriate fit. You know, some of them have an idea, and then when we talk with them we find out it’s not really what they’re after.”
Abel said she thinks students who attend the group find it very useful and see it as a success. Because of this, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center plans on continuing the coping skills training group as far into the future as possible.
“Everybody has had a time in their life when they found their thoughts, for instance, just stuck in a really negative place,” Abel said. “They didn’t really know what to do to help bring them out, or felt really stuck and overwhelmed with emotion and really just not able to pull yourself out of it. What student has not experienced overwhelming stress and really is sort of lost as to how to manage it better? Who wouldn’t benefit from learning some of those things? Even if you don’t need all of them right now, everybody’s going to use them at some point in their life.”