CWS Staff 2022-2023
(from left to right: Roland Mendiola, Brenden Myers, Kyra Babakian, Shelley Roseboro, Kim DeCarlo, Tamsen Lyons, Eliza Burwell, Matt Langella, Lindsay Jacobs, Sanja Gerskovic, Kate Nicholson, Adriana Swancy)

The Mission and Values of                      Counseling & Wellness Services

Our Mission: 

To provide accessible, multidisciplinary, and evidence-based services for the purposes of delivering culturally-conscious care and promoting integrated self-awareness, comprehensive coping resources, personal and social development, and campus-wide community building.

Our Core Values:

  • Compassionate, Multiculturally-Focused Care
  • Holistic, Intersectional Identity Development 
  • Mind-Body-Heart Awareness and Empowerment
  • Strengths- and Resilience-Based Resources
  • Systemic, Community-Based Change
CWS Staff

News and Updates from Counseling & Wellness Services

APRIL 2022

Week of April 25

Starting next week on Monday, April 25th, our counseling services will be transitioning to a formal “Flexible-Care Model” for the remainder of the semester. As previously mentioned at the beginning of the semester, this means that all clinicians on staff will have their schedules primarily open for students to be able to contact our office (via phone or email) on any weekday and schedule an appointment for either that day or within 24 hours (Monday through Friday). Students will also have the options of meeting for 30, 45, or 60-minute appointments as well as the choice of who to meet with (based on the availability at that time). The model of care, also known as “Same-Day Access,” is designed to offer greater access during times of higher demand and to tailer the services to the needs of a student at that time. According to Meek (2021), “Defining features include same-day access, variable sessions lengths (including concise sessions), an immediate treatment approach (goal-focused counseling), and customizable follow-up plans.” In this way, students can access our counseling appointments as much or as little as they would like during this period and co-create a plan that best fits their current concerns and goals. To schedule a “same-day appointment” in the coming weeks:

  • Please call x3145 or email counseling@bowdoin.edu
  • If you have a preference for counselor, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate
  • Request an appointment time for either that same day or within 24 hours
  • Select an appointment length of 30-, 45-, or 60-minutes

Please know that during these weeks, we will still have on-call services and crisis management through our counseling staff and our telehealth platform (LifeWorks/MySSP), as well as opportunities for maintaining general well-being through our various wellness programming and fitness classes.  

We in Counseling and Wellness Services wish you all great health, happiness, and success in the coming weeks. Take good care.

References:

 

JANUARY 2022

Week of January 24th

Please know that while Counseling and Wellness Services will be fully operational this week, our physical location will be closed and all services will happen virtually. Please feel free to contact us at x3145 or counseling@bowdoin.edu for any questions or for making any appointments.

Our Evolving Clinical Model:

Especially with the recent rise in demand for our services and the extended wait times that students have had to contend with, we in Counseling and Wellness Services are continually re-assessing in order to evolve and innovate what we have to offer. In recent months we have researched and consulted with students, colleagues, peer institutions, and experts to gauge how we can do this, even with this coming semester. These have included Dr. Will Meek, founder of the Flexible-Care (Same-Day) Model (developed based on urgent-care settings, common factors research, and multicultural psychology), and Charles Morse, Associate Dean and Director of Counseling at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

What to Expect with Counseling Services Spring 2022:

This spring semester, Counseling and Wellness Services will be adopting RIO (Recognition-Insight-Openness) as a primary intervention along with individual and group counseling, psychiatric treatment, crisis management, and wellness classes and coaching. RIO is a 3-session psychoeducational seminar developed by Dr. Geneva Reynaga-Abiko at California Polytechnic State University and is implemented in colleges and universities throughout the country. It is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an evidence-based, cognitive behavioral approach, and designed to help students clarify their concerns and develop a clearer sense of what they would like to change in their lives (Morse, 2017). 

  • When you contact our office, you will schedule an initial, 50-minute appointment with one of our counselors who will assess current mental health needs as well as provide resources and interventions.
  • You will then be referred to the three sessions of RIO, which will be offered multiple times each week for the entirety of the semester.
  • Once you have completed the three sessions, you will have the option to continue with RIO sessions as desired or engage in individual or other group counseling.
  • While participating in RIO, students are welcome at any time to engage our various other clinical or wellness offerings, including our free telehealth counseling and crisis services through My Student Support Program (MySSP).

Finally, for the final weeks of the semester (four to five weeks), our counseling services will be shifting completely to a Flexible-Care Model (and likely some of this model will be utilized throughout the semester). This means that during those weeks, students will be able to call any day of the week and be able to schedule an appointment either that day or within 24 hours. Counselors will only have availability for urgent-care appointments, either for 30 or 45-minute blocks. The model is designed to provide faster access and more options for individual care than traditional systems. According to Meek (2021), “Defining features include same-day access, variable sessions lengths (including concise sessions), an immediate treatment approach (goal-focused counseling), and customizable follow-up plans.” 

References:

 

NOVEMBER 2021

Grieving the Losses of Theo Danzig '22 and Finnegan Woodruff '21

We in Counseling and Wellness Services share in the Bowdoin community's grief and mourning of Theo Danzig and Finn Woodruff. During a time already fraught with uncertainty and overwhelm, these are tremendous losses, and the impacts are felt in widespread and varied ways. We offer any kind of support and services we can in the weeks and months ahead as we navigate this challenging and complicated time in our life as a community and in our personal, emotional lives. Please see below for some initial suggestions for consideration as you work towards personal and collective healing:

Common Reactions to Traumatic Events

Trauma events can bring about significant stress - especially if you have experienced a previous trauma or disaster - and it can be as if your world has been shaken or turned upside down. Responses to a tragic event vary from person to person. There’s no single, standard or “right” way to react. Even individuals who have not had any personal contact or connection to the persons or event may likely exhibit reactions. The following are some of the reactions individuals may experience during or after a traumatic event:

Possible Emotional Reactions:

  • Anxiety and Panic: People may experience a range of nervousness following a traumatic event. Some may experience low levels of chronic nervousness or startle easily, while others may have panic attacks and feel hyper-vigilant. They may frequently cry, be more irritable than usual or have difficulty relaxing or falling asleep.
  • Numbness: When people are overwhelmed, they may experience shock and feel dazed. At times they deny how bad a situation is or disbelieve that something traumatic actually happened. They may feel isolated and disconnected from their own usual feelings.
  • Sadness and Depression: Often people feel sadness and grief following a trauma or disaster, may experience diminished interest in everyday activities, and feel a lack of energy. A sense of despair and hopelessness may be present, and individuals may have frequent crying spells.
  • Anger: Often, people may experience sudden bursts of anger or low levels of chronic irritability. If you act out because of the stress, acknowledge your actions quickly, apologize and make amends. If you feel your anger is out of control and you could hurt others, seek help immediately.

Possible Cognitive Reactions:

  • Difficulty Concentrating: It may be difficulty to concentrate or attend to things as you usually do. Reading, paying attention in class, or holding conversations may be more challenging. Your mind may wander, and you may find yourself day-dreaming at inappropriate times.
  • Memory Problems: You may be more forgetful than usual following a traumatic event or disaster, and you may tend to lose or misplace things more easily.
  • Invasive thoughts or flashbacks: People often re-experience the traumatic event or have invasive memories of the event. Often people can’t stop thinking about the event even though they would like to.
  • Nightmares: People may have bad dreams related to the event. As a result, people may have difficulty sleeping or may avoid sleeping all together, and thus may experience fatigue. If this happens, seek help, as there are strategies that can help you sleep.

Possible Physical Reactions:

  • Many people manifest stress physically. Here are a few of the most common physical reactions people have following traumatic events:
  • Aches and pains, such as headaches and backaches
  • Weakness, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Heart palpations, profuse sweating and chills
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite and digestive problems
  • Being easily startled by noises and/or unexpected touch
  • Increased susceptibility to allergies, colds, or illness
  • Increased alcohol consumption and/or substance abuse

Possible Behavioral Reactions:

  • Isolating yourself from others, or needing to be around people all the time
  • Becoming very alert at times and startling easy
  • Avoiding things that remind you of the trauma, including places or people that bring back memories
  • Having increased conflict with family members, friends or co-workers
  • Keeping excessively busy to avoid thinking about the trauma and what has happened to you
  • Being overprotective of you and your loved ones’ safety

Things To Help You Feel Better

Taking action:

Getting ourselves and our lives back in a routine that is comfortable for us takes time.

  • Take care of your safety. Find a safe place to stay and make sure your physical health needs and those of you family are addressed. Seek medical attention, if necessary
  • Stay connected with family and friends. The most important thing you can do for yourself during this time is to spend time with friends or family, face-to-face. Social support, more than any other factor, will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, depressed and/or anxious.
  • Eat healthy foods. During times of stress, it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Get some rest. With so much to do, it may be difficult to have enough time to rest or get adequate sleep. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.
  • Avoid too much caffeine, as it will interrupt your sleep.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping, develop relaxing pre-sleep routine. Wind down with a book, crossword puzzle or quite music before bed rather than watching television.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities, such as going for a walk, or playing catch with a friend. They will take you away from the stress and refresh you mentally.
  • Try different relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, listening to music, visualization or yoga.
  • Engage in something creative like writing, drawing, playing an instrument, dancing, etc.
  • Avoid seeking relief or escape through alcohol or other drugs. If using, please use in moderation as substances likely will have a significant effect on your mood and stress, either during or after use.
  • Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognize that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order.
  • Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.
  • Some people find it helpful to spend fifteen to thirty minutes alone every day to reflect on their emotions and thoughts. Turning off your phone ensures that you won't be disturbed.
  • Try keeping a journal. Writing down your feelings and memories of your loved one can be comforting, and helpful in seeing how your grief changes over a period of weeks and months.
  • Stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support, and help others when they need it.
  • Gather information about assistance and resources that will help you and your friends and family meet your mental and emotional health needs.

If you still don’t feel better….

If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for 2 weeks or longer, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.

  • Crying spells or bursts of anger
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Losing interest in things
  • Increased physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
  • Avoiding family and friends

For additional resources, contact Counseling and Wellness Services, Health Services, Bowdoin College EAP, or your local Red Cross Disaster Mental Health.

In the event of a mental health crisis:

During the counseling center’s business hours (Monday-Friday 8:30 – 5:00), you can call Counseling and Wellness Services at 207-725-3145, email at counseling@bowdoin.edu, or walk into the counseling center (32 College Street) and identify the situation as urgent and you will be seen by a clinician as soon as possible. The receptionist will link you with a clinician who, after assessing the situation, will provide support and resources as well as a plan for next steps.

During non-business hours in the evenings or on the weekends, you can reach out to our 24/7/365 on call services, LifeWorks/MySSP, through the app or the website or you can call the Office of Safety & Security at 207-725-3314 for assistance in connecting you to on call services. Please know that a counselor on call is available as well for any additional support and resources. 

Additional Numbers you can call if in crisis:

 

For additional resources, including recommended reading, please visit our page on Coping with Grief & Loss.

 

SEPTEMBER 2021

Typically our counseling center tends to carry a short waiting list at limited times during the semester, especially in the months of October and April, when we can see a large influx of student requests for appointments. On average, a student will be seen for an initial intake appointment within a few days, but depending on the availability of the student and counselors, as well as the demand at certain times of semester, that wait could be extended to about a week. When it comes to having regular counseling appointments, students at certain busy times of the year can wait a few days or sometimes as long as seven to fourteen days.

At present we are witnessing a substantial influx of students seeking appointments for counseling and psychiatry, especially for the first time, and our wait times may be longer than usual.

Bowdoin College Counseling & Wellness Services now has partnerships with three organizations to offer greater access, range, and diversity of mental health care to our students. Through the telehealth platform LifeWorks/MySSP, all Bowdoin students have access to crisis management and short-term counseling via text chats, phone calls, and video sessions, as well as a host of online educational and coping resources. Additionally, our partnership this year with Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) will provide students with a host of online self-help resources, including interactive exercises, coping tools, and educational modules. Lastly, we will also be collaborating locally with LifeStance to offer a robust network of providers in Maine that will prioritize our students for services that include counseling, psychiatric care, and psychological assessment. 

To access these three resources, please see our Telehealth/Online Services.

 

Our Message of Solidarity 

You are seen. You are heard. You are valued.

We in Counseling and Wellness Services join the rest of the Bowdoin community in taking a stand against the deplorable and unconscionable acts of injustice, oppression, inequity, and systemic racism that are rampant in American society and deeply impact our students, our wider communities, and our nation. While this has long been the legacy of our nation, we recognize how the year 2020 was yet another turning point in the collective consciousness regarding the deep, systemic roots and traumatic effects of racism in America. We re-commit our services and resources to promote and uplift Black health and well-being, to seek healing, justice, and safety for Black communities, and do our part to remedy and heal the deadly effects of structural racism and racial trauma.

As we continue in this global pandemic, we acknowledge the ongoing burdens of financial crisis, sickness and death, healthcare and housing shortage, political and social unrest, anxiety and uncertainty, and loneliness and disconnection.  We also acknowledge the disproportionate burden of illness, death, and emotional distress on communities of color. This unacceptable reality is the result of centuries of systemic inequities in our healthcare system as well as every other sector of society. We recognize how even in the events of domestic terrorism on our US Capitol and other places in America in early 2021, systemic oppression and inequity are evident in the differential response of police and government officials to those responsible for this terrorism and those nonviolently protesting over the last year in the name of justice for Black lives.

Unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.

If we truly value our emotional well-being, both individually and collectively, we must contend with this inherent darkness, this inherited shadow on our culture and our history that is racism and racial traumatization – both inwardly and outwardly. It is about utterly examining ourselves and deeply understanding the basic assumptions which guide the way we live our lives and make us complicit in systems of inequity and injustice. It is about interrogating, disrupting, and dismantling systems of power that serve to oppress and exploit Black people, communities of color, and other marginalized populations. It is about being true to who we say we are, what values we hold, and the world we want to build for ourselves and each other.

We each have a role to play in the healing and liberation of our society. This is not solely about uplifting, protecting, and honoring our Black communities and other marginalized communities. This is also about each individual having the support, dignity, and freedom to be able to understand themselves and their history, to be who they are, to feel that they belong, and to realize the kind of world they want to live in and how they can contribute to it.

We realize it is never enough to issue statements of solidarity or read the latest trending racial justice literature. We re-commit to doing the very deep, personal, and transformative work of uprooting our individual racism and actively demanding justice, empowerment, and healing in every domain of human society.  

Click for Resources for Racial Trauma.