Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Broene expands offerings in response to high demand
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The Broene counseling center is introducing several new treatment options for students this semester due to increased demand.

Over the past five years, student demand for services at Broene has increased by 55 percent.

The new programs include a seminar on stress management and three workshops about managing anxiety, depression and strong emotions. The stress management seminar will happen three times during the semester, focusing on different coping skills each time.

The workshops go for three weeks and occur several times each semester. Attendees should commit to attending for all three weeks.

Broene will continue to offer the more intensive group therapy options it has in the past. The newest of these, started during the fall semester, focuses on “process[ing] thoughts and feelings about race and race relations.”

In the past, most students were directed to individual therapy after a one-hour intake session. Now, students will complete a 20-minute screening with a counselor, who will help them determine which treatment option is best for them.

“Students are often hesitant about group therapy because it takes a little more vulnerability. Ironically, our data shows that students get much more out of group therapy as opposed to individual therapy,” said Irene Kraegel, director of the Broene counseling center.

These new programs offer some “easier ways for students to get their feet wet with group experiences,” she added.

Kraegel attributes the increase in demand to “a lot of really good work around stigma reduction in the past several years — not just at Calvin, but nationwide.” The trend at Calvin mirrors a nationwide pattern.

According to Kraegel, the current scholarly consensus is that the actual number of students suffering from anxiety and depression hasn’t increased, but more students are reporting their experiences and seeking treatment.

Broene is also introducing two online treatment options: Peer Listeners and Therapist Assisted Online (TAO).

Peer Listeners is part of 7 Cups, “a network of volunteer listeners who provide free, confidential, online support for individuals who are going through a challenging time or who just need to talk.”

Broene is looking to recruit students to be peer listeners as well as to provide this service as treatment.

“We’re wanting to encourage students to see emotions as not just something to come to the Broene counseling center about, but as something to talk to each other about,” Kraegel said.

TAO includes online modules and videos that a therapist can assign to a student. This allows therapy to continue throughout the week rather than only in a one-hour session with a counselor at Broene.

This new “stepped care model” is designed to provide expanded care for students with Broene’s current resources. It does not require any additional hires.

“Our goal is to be more customized in the way we’re offering services to students. We [are] thinking carefully about how to craft the resources we have more specifically to students’ needs,” Kraegel said.

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