Coping With Losing Someone to Suicide

Death by suicide not only affects the person who died, but also others – “suicide survivors” – who cared deeply about the person. If you are a student survivor, this experience may be one of the most challenging experiences that you’ve ever faced. While there is no easy way to grieve, it is often helpful to understand what you might experience as well have access to resource information.

Understanding Grief

The shock and grief that consumes you after you lose someone to suicide is overwhelming. It can feel like you have fallen into a deep hole and will never be able to get out. These are natural feelings which will likely change as you move through the grieving.

No two people experience loss in the same way. Some may experience physical symptoms such as headaches or changes in appetite and/or sleeping patterns. A person in grief may also experience some or all of the following feelings:

SHOCK: “I feel numb.” Feelings of being dazed or detached are a common response to trauma. Shock can protect the mind from becoming completely overwhelmed, allowing the person to function.

DENIAL: “I feel fine.” Sometimes people can consciously or unconsciously refuse to accept the facts and information about another’s death. This process can be even more challenging when there is little information or explanation about a loved one’s suicide. Eventually, as you gather information and accept that you may not be able to know everything, you can begin to process the reality of this tragic event and all the emotions that come with it. In time, however, our minds become more able to analyze the tragic event, and this allows the denial to give way to less troubling emotions.

GUILT: “I think it was my fault.” Feelings of guilt following a suicide are very common. Guilt comes from the mistaken belief that we should have, or could have, prevented the death from happening. Guilt can also arise if there are un-reconciled issues with the deceased or regret about things said or not said. In truth, no person can predict the future, nor can they know all the reasons for another person’s actions. It is human nature to blame oneself when experiencing a loss, rather than accepting the truth that some things were out of our control.

SADNESS: “Why bother with anything?” Once the initial reactions to the death by suicide have lessened in intensity, feelings of sadness and depression can move to the forefront. These feelings can be present for some time and can, at times, be triggered by memories and reminders of the loved one who was lost. Feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, and self-pity are all common when dealing with a loss of a loved one. Typically, you gradually learn to accept the loss and embrace both your happy and sad memories.

ANGER: “How could they do this to me?” Feelings of anger towards the person you have lost can arise. Many who mourn feel a sense of abandonment. Others feel anger towards a real or perceived culprit. These feelings can be complex and distressing when they are directed at the person who died. It is important to know that it is possible to both be angry with someone, and to still hold them dear in your heart. Sometimes anger is needed before you can accept the reality of the loss.

ACCEPTANCE: “I can miss them and still continue living.” The ultimate goal of healing is to accept the tragic event as something that could not have been prevented and cannot be changed. Acceptance is not the same as forgetting. Instead, acceptance is learning to live again and to be able to reopen your heart, while still remembering the person who has passed away.

What Makes Suicide Different

Losing a friend or loved one is never easy. However, when you lose someone to suicide, it can feel different from other types of loss. Several circumstances can make death by suicide different, making the healing process more challenging.

STIGMA AND ISOLATION: Talking about suicide can be difficult for those who have experienced the loss. Different cultures view suicide in different ways, and sometimes discussing it can be a challenge. This can also be made more difficult when the act of suicide conflicts with religious views. Suicide can be isolating as communities of friends each struggle differently to make sense of the loss they all experienced. Finding the right people in your support network who are able to help you experience your loss is important. Sometimes, this may mean seeking professional help in order to help you cope with your loss. In those situations it is recommended that you contact a counselor at the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center, or find a trusted therapist in the community.

MIXED EMOTIONS: After a death by illness or natural causes, the bereaved’ s feelings may be less complicated than when the death is by suicide. When a death is by suicide, you might both mourn the person’s passing while also hold intense feelings about the circumstances of their death. Feelings such as anger, abandonment, and rejection can all occur after a suicide as well as positive feelings about the deceased. Sorting through all of these diverse feelings can make the healing process more challenging.

NEEDING TO UNDERSTAND WHY: Understanding the circumstances of a death by suicide can sometimes lead us to asking “Why?” You may second guess actions, wish that you had noticed signs earlier, or wonder how you could have acted differently. This need to understand “why” may be a difficult path, as the circumstances surrounding the loved one’s death could be unclear or not easily known. Some questions may never be answered, while you may find other answers that make sense. Sometimes you will find answers to your questions, while other times, you must learn to accept the fact that there are some things no one can know.

RISK FOR SURVIVORS: People who have recently experienced a loss by suicide are at increased risk for having suicidal thoughts themselves. After experiencing the loss of a loved one, it’s not uncommon to wish you were dead or to feel like the pain is unbearable. Remember that having suicidal thoughts does not mean that you will act on them. These feelings and thoughts will likely decrease over time, but if you find them too intense, or if you’re considering putting your thoughts into action, seek support from a mental health professional.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Grief and Loss

You will never “get over” the loss you’ve experienced, but you can “get through” it. You have been changed by this loss, but you can learn how to survive, even grow, from this challenge. The following are suggestions for healing in healthy ways:

SEEK SUPPORT: It’s very important to find people in your life who are good listeners, so you can turn to someone when you need extra support. You may find it helpful to talk to a friend, family member, mental health professional or spiritual advisor. Some find joining a support group helpful since each person will be able to relate in different ways to your experience. The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center offers a Grief and Loss group that you could join. Whatever support looks like for you, it’s important to reach out for help when you feel like you need it.

BE PATIENT: Just as you may be feeling a range of emotions, people around you may also be sorting through their feelings. Be patient with yourself and others: those who are supportive of you as well as those who do not seem to understand. Limit your contact with those who tell you how to feel and what to think. Take time to heal. Set limits for yourself, and give yourself permission to say “no” to things that may come your way. It’s difficult to make decisions when you’re feeling overwhelmed; you may decide it’s best to put off important decisions until you feel ready to make them.

STAY PRESENT: Take each moment as it comes. That way, you can better accept whatever you’re feeling and be able to respond in the way that is most helpful to you. Maybe you would benefit from calling your best friend. Maybe journaling would help you let go of your thoughts for now. Learning mindfulness or relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help you stay present and experience your emotions without feeling overwhelmed. The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center offers a Mindfulness Meditation group, or you could check out their MindBody Lab located on the 5th floor of the Student Services Building.

EXPRESS YOURSELF: You can choose to tell others how you’re feeling or acknowledge your feelings privately. If you don’t feel like talking, you can set aside time each day to grieve. Just make sure you leave enough time to do something pleasantly distracting before bed. Either way, acknowledging your experiences helps.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE FUN: Social events or pleasant activities can provide relaxation and distraction. Laughter heals, and it’s also OK if you cry.

ESTABLISH ROUTINE: Even getting dressed may seem challenging, but it’s important to reestablish routine as soon as you can. Building in some structure can help you manage your grief and provide a sense of normalcy and hope.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: Eat as well as you can, exercise when you can, and avoid alcohol and other drugs that will make it harder for you to work through your feelings.

We at the Counseling Center want to support you- Set up an Appointment. If you are currently considering suicide or fear that someone you know is, please contact the Counseling Center at 919-515-2423, visit us in person for urgent care services, or contact Campus Police 919-515-3000. If you would prefer to be seen off-campus, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

 

Information on this page adapted from University of Texas at Austin-http://cmhc.utexas.edu/bethatone/studentscopingsuicide.html

Chris Carden

I am the Training Coordinator for the Predoctoral Internship here at NCSU, and I also serve as a staff psychologist here at the Counseling Center.  I have special interests in supervision and training, multicultural identity development, couples therapy, positive interpersonal relationships, trauma and group therapy.  My theoretical orientation is Time Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy (TLDP), which seeks to assist with gaining insight into problematic patterns, then seeks to interrupt these patterns through cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and psychodynamic interventions.  With these interventions, I seek to assist clients with an increased understanding of thoughts and beliefs regarding self and others, to assist with learning more about how past experiences have impacted interactions with self and others and then to assist clients with learning about how to interrupt problematic cognitive and relational patterns.  The interruption of patterns is achieved through learning specific skills around negative thought reduction, and skills regarding how to better navigate interpersonal relationships.  My hope is that clients can have a different experience of themselves as they relate to others and/or the academic environment here at NCSU.  I earned my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University and completed my pre-doctoral psychological internship at Appalachian State University.

NC State Mental Health Ambassadors Program

Stigma Hand

NC State Mental Health Ambassadors

NC State Mental Health Ambassadors are a group of undergraduate and graduate students with a passion for mental health awareness and wellness education.  NC State MHAs will assist in the development and presentation of various topics for classroom presentations, campus partners and community events.  Our goal is to utilize the benefit of peer to peer education and support to continue to decrease stigma around mental health, help seeking and self-care.  In addition to a significant time commitment, this program will require students to have strong communication and organizational skills, work well in a group, display maturity and empathy and a high level of responsibility.

NC State MHAs will be thoroughly trained in various areas of mental health and wellness.  Each participant will shadow current staff members and then be paired with other MHAs for all programs.  Ambassadors will be prepared and knowledgeable to educate peers in an effort to positively impact the NC State campus community by raising mental health awareness through preventative education.

NC State Mental Health Ambassadors will gain:

  • Solid leadership experience and opportunities to serve as group officers
  • Completion of Certified Peer Educator (CPE) program through NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education)
  • Significant public speaking experience that will boost graduate school and/or career credentials
  • Professional references
  • Connections with other likeminded peers and mental health professionals

Students will be trained in and offer standardized programs on the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Counseling Center and how to refer a friend
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management and Academic Skills
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Diversity and Multicultural Awareness
  • Communication Skills and Assertiveness/Conflict Resolution
  • Anxiety and Depression Reduction strategies
  • Assist with QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Suicide Prevention Program
  • Mental Health Screenings and Tabeling Events including Suicide Prevention Vigil, Stop the Stigma events, information fairs and Earth Fair.

Requirements:

  • There will be a two day training ( 2 -6 hour days) the week before classes resume in August (date to be determined by availability). All NC State Mental Health Ambassadors must be available to attend.
  • NC State Mental Health Ambassadors will meet weekly (time to be determined by availability). Students must commit to not miss more than 3 meetings per semester.
  • NC State MHAs must complete at least 6 outreach presentations per semester. All presentations are co-presented with senior staff or other MHAs.
  • NC State MHAs is a one year commitment. Only apply if you can commit to both semesters.
  • Must have and maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA.

Please complete the following application including 2 reference forms and return to Angel Bowers, LPC. They can be submitted by email (abjohns2@ncsu.edu) or by bringing the application materials to the Counseling Center (Attn: Angel Bowers). The application is due April 10th, with references due April 17th. Reference letters that are not submitted electronically by recommenders must be enclosed in an envelope and signed over the envelope flap. Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled between April 13th and April 24th.  Feel free to send any questions to above e-mail as well.

Mental Health Ambassador Application Packet

Mental Health Ambassador Reference Form

Application Process – Post Master’s Fellowship

Application

Thank you for your interest in NCSU’s Counseling Center’s Post-Master’s Fellowship. We anticipate offering three positions for the 2015-2016 Fellowship year. You will find information about the application process below. Please feel free to contact the Training Director (Richard Tyler-Walker, retyler@ncsu.edu) regarding any questions you may have.

Minimum Experience/Education: Recent Graduation from accredited Master’s Program in Counseling or Social Work and completion of an Internship or Field Placement at a University Counseling Center or equivalent clinical experience. Also, demonstrated progress in application for licensure within applicant’s discipline.

Departmental Required Skills: Established commitment to multicultural competencies. Candidate must have had prior clinical experience (during Training is sufficient) and experience in assessing for risk and managing crises. Strong interpersonal skills required.

Preferred Experience, Skills, Training/Education: Experience in a University Counseling Center is desirable. Preference for candidates who are generalists with experience utilizing a time-limited model of care.  Preference for candidates who have experience and strong interest in providing outreach presentations and group work..

Application Deadline

All Applicants must apply online at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/  The vacancy posting should be like by late-March.  It will be advertised on the NC State Jobs website and through PICC.  Review of Applications for 2015-2016 are currently underway.  We anticipate have similar vacancies for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Application Process

Once the position has been posted, Applicants need to apply at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/  Application materials will include:

  • Completed University Application
  • Statement of interest and how the Post-Master’s Fellowship at NCSU fits with your experience, training goals and longer term plans
  • Vita detailing educational, training, practicum, and employment experiences
  • Contact Information for References, two of which must be from persons familiar with your recent clinical/counseling work.  (It is fine to provide this in your vita).

Skype interviews will be held in April. Skype interviews typically average 45 minutes in length and are conducted with members of the staff. Applicants are notified of invitation for a interview via email and are asked to sign up through an on-line scheduling program.

Contact Information:

For questions about our Internship Program, please contact

Richard Tyler-Walker, PhD, LPC-S
Training Director
via e-mail at retyler@ncsu.edu
or 919-515-2423

Counseling Center

NC State University

2815 Cates Ave.  Box 7312

Raleigh, NC  27695-7312

 

The Post-Master’s Fellowship is for a full Academic year (August through July) and Fellows must be able to commit to full-time work.  Focus of time will be on direct service with clients.  The Fellowship will be renewable for a second year if both the Fellow and Center are in agreement

The stipend for the internship is $30,000 annually (August through July).  The training program also provides full benefits and leave equivalent with an EPA position at the university.  This includes full employee benefits, including health care and flex options.  Interns receive the same amount of leave as other EPA employees. Annual leave is accrued at 16 hours per month, and sick eave is accrued at 8 hours per month. In addition, interns have university holidays off.  The university typically closes between Christmas and New Year to save on energy costs. Depending on the designated state holidays staff, including interns, may need to use some leave during this time (usually 0-2 days).  Leave requests must be submitted for approval and it is encouraged that larger amounts of leave taken during slower times of the semester to allow us to
better serve students.  Please review NC NC State University Benefits Website for more information.  In addition, Interns will be provided with professional development money and educational leave.

Fellows receive a University ID which allows them access to the NC State University Library and check out materials for an extended length of time.  Fellows also have membership at the university recreational center (for a nominal fee), access to many cultural and social events on campus, use of the Wolfline bus, and access to dining facilities on campus.

Fellows are also entitled to purchase a staff parking permit.  Transportation will deduct the cost monthly, pre-tax, from employees checks if they prefer.  Fellows receive clerical and technical support for client scheduling, business and travel arrangements, computing, and general office functions.  Each Fellow has a private, fully furnished office with a computer and wi-fi access.  Fellows are also eligible for a number of other employee discounts that are outlined on the HR Benefits page.

There are nearby a number of other activities that are close by that might be of interest. The Pullen Arts Center, run by the city of Raleigh, is adjacent to campus and offers affordable classes in pottery, jewelry making, painting and more. Pullen Park is also close-by and houses picnic areas, paddle boats, playgrounds, and a merry-go-round and mini-train.  The location of the university allows for numerous opportunities.

Sample Weekly Schedule – Post Master’s Fellowship

The Post-Master’s Fellowship is a full-time, one year, paid internship that can be renewed for a second year if the Fellow and the Center are in agreement.  A sample 40-hour weekly schedule is described below. While the experiences described in this section generally remain constant, the specific number of hours devoted to each activity may vary.  This is a sample of a typical Fellow schedule and may be modified depending on the time of the year, completion of activities or seminars, and with respect to any specialized focus, and any systemic changes in the Center.

Direct Services Activities: Hours Per Week
Intakes (Personal, Academic & Career) 4 – 6
Individual Counseling Follow-Ups 15 – 25
(Personal, Academic & Career)
Triage 0 – 3
Outreach Programming 0 – 4
Group Counseling 0 – 2
Consultation 0 – 1
After Hours / On-Call 0 – 1 (Rotates through staff)
Observing Senior Staff 0 – 1
Total Direct Service: Ave 25
Training – Supervision Activities:
Individual Supervision 2
Group Supervision 1
Training Seminar Topics 2 – 3
Case Consultation 1
Total Training & Supervision:  Ave 6
Administrative Activities:
 Clinical Notes & Paperwork 5
Preparation for Supervision 1
Staff Meeting 2
Committee Meetings / Center Involvement 0 – 2
 Total Administrative:  Ave 9
 Approximate Totals:  40 (Possibly more due to nature of EPA position)

 

Please note: We expect all trainees to take a lunch break when appropriate (when full or most of day is worked).  Self-care is essential for a positive and successful training experience.  We attempt, with all staff, to encourage balancing our busier times with some respite where possible. We feel that for all new professionals learning to set
limits and establishing reasonable goals is an important part of self-care and
is a goal of the training program. Also, trainees are not able to see students after the Center is closed, unless the supervisor has agreed to remain and be available.  This does not include educational outreach presentations which may be scheduled after-hours.

Intern Seminar:

Intern Seminars are designed to enrich the training experience of emerging mental health professionals.  In addition to weekly group process time with the intern cohort and case-consultation meetings with fellow trainees and senior staff, training seminars are offered on a variety of topics.  Seminars are didactic in nature and are illustrated with rich case examples.  Seminars will be offered on a weekly basis for a minimum of two hours.  Some topics will be offered regularly and others will be offered throughout the academic year.

Seminar Topics include:

  1. Multicultural / Diversity Seminar
  2. Clinical Skills / Clinical Issues Seminar
  3. Theories and Techniques Seminar
  4. Assessment Seminar
  5. Outreach Seminar
  6. Supervision of Supervision Seminar
  7. Group Counseling Seminar
  8. Professional Identity / Professional Development

 

Model of Training Program – Post Master’s Fellowship

Training Model

The NC State Counseling Center supports students by offering personal, academic and career counseling. The staff is multidisciplinary, and although staff members may have some specific area of expertise, all are considered generalists. Interns will be trained in virtually every area of center functioning in order to prepare them for practice as a generalist first, while supporting each trainee’s distinct professional interests and skills.  Training is viewed as a way to contribute to the profession, but also as a way to ensure that we stay current on practice issues. Trainees also infuse our center with the energy and enthusiasm that is both valued and supported.

The training program is based on the values inherent in the Practitioner-Scholar model. Learning that comes through direct experience with others and thoughtful self-reflection is valued by the training staff here at the Counseling Center. As scholars, the training staff recognizes the importance of theory, research and critical thinking. Both practice and scholarship are essential to preparing new mental health professionals to work effectively with diverse individuals and groups in a rapidly-changing world. The training staff seeks to foster a lifelong commitment to the integration of self-reflective practice and scholarly examination.

Becoming a competent psychologist requires graduated experiences and training; therefore, the NC State Counseling Center offers training experiences which offer developmentally appropriate experiences as the year progresses. The didactic instruction and supervised practice opportunities will vary based upon Fellows cohort needs, input from Fellows and requirements based upon APPIC and APA accreditation standards. As trainees gain experience, expectations for more advanced professional skills, greater self-awareness and autonomous functioning increase.

A high value is placed on the integration of one’s personal and professional identities. The training staff strives to tailor each interns’ experience to their individual needs within the structured activities of our training program. Ongoing self-assessment of one’s strengths and limitations is encouraged. When coupled with the supervisory feedback of multiple staff members who are committed to training new professionals, there is great opportunity for personal and professional development.

Fellows learn through direct experience under close supervision and are encouraged to also utilize their cohort group for learning and support. All staff involved in training will be expected to serve as a mentor and positive role model. Interactive, skill-building seminars are used as an additional source of learning. Trainees receive on-the-job training in the full range of university psychological services including individual and group psychotherapy, intake assessment, psychological assessment, urgent care, on-call, clinical supervision, multicultural competence, program development and outreach services. Opportunities to initiate or continue the development of specialties or areas of interest are also provided.

Orientation and training will occur when Fellows begin in August.  Presentations, trainings, and other activities are scheduled to assist trainees in transitioning to our setting.  Initial assessment of skills in various areas of professional functioning determines each intern’s areas of strength and areas for growth. During this time, each intern is given the opportunity to explore goals for their training experience and to discuss ways to maximize opportunities in individual areas of interest. An attempt is made to match interns to supervisors based on interns’ areas of interest and individual needs.

In addition to the variety of training activities offered during orientation, informal social events are scheduled to help Fellows build group cohesiveness and to aid in meeting Counseling Center staff members.

Description of Training Program – Post-Master’s Fellowship

North Carolina State University Counseling Center invites applications for a two year, full-time, 24-month position as Post-Master’s Fellow. The position is on a year-to-year basis and can be renewed for a second year if the Fellow and Training staff are in agreement. The Post-Master’s Fellowship at the NC State Counseling Center is designed to prepare individuals for a staff position in a university counseling setting, with particular emphasis on social workers or counselors wishing to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Each year of the fellowship will offer a different specialized training focus, in order to provide Fellows with the flexibility to work in a variety of settings. The Post-Master’s Fellowship requires graduation from a master’s program in Counseling or Social Work and completion of a clinical Fellowship or field placement preferably at a university counseling center. The program is designed to meet partial requirements for licensure in the state of North Carolina.

 

Fellows will develop skills in brief intervention, assessment, and crisis intervention. They also will serve as part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary medical team, providing on call services to medical providers working with distressed students. A primary focus of the fellowship is the consolidation of generalist clinical skills, to prepare Fellows for licensure and independent practice. Fellows will spend the majority of their time working in General Services, where they will have the opportunity to provide individual and group therapy, crisis intervention (both daytime and after-hours), triage, initial consultations (intake), and outreach programming.

 

Fellows also are expected to commit to the development of cultural competence through self-examination and participation in university-based outreach and prevention services for both the general student population and underrepresented groups on campus. The NC State Counseling Center has a strong commitment to multiculturalism and has solid working relationships with the various Diversity Programs and Services Offices on campus. The training of clinically skilled, ethical, self-aware, and culturally competent mental health professionals is central to the mission of the NC State Counseling Center.

 

In the first year of the fellowship, Fellows will focus gaining additional training in the mental health field as well as gaining clinical experience and supervision as a generalist clinician. Our staff are dedicated to providing a robust learning environment and clinical supervision to facilitate professional growth. In the second year of the fellowship, Fellows will have the opportunity to function effectively as part of the team in a large, fast-paced Counseling Center and have some opportunity for additional training in areas of specialization.

 

 

 

North Carolina State University’s Post Master’s Fellowship Overview of Training

 

Training at North Carolina State’s (NCSU) Counseling Center begins with the idea that learning is developmental, and that trainees have different needs that change with time and experience. Fellows will be supported in both their personal and professional growth. Post Master’s Fellows will be encouraged to continually seek awareness of self and use this information to define strengths and areas for development. Fellows’ examination of personal values will help them to discover the impact of their beliefs on professional functioning. Increased personal awareness should also assist advanced trainees in understanding their role in interpersonal dynamics and their role in personal and professional interactions.

 

Diversity is a core value here at NCSU’s Counseling Center. Fellows are encouraged to explore their beliefs, attitudes and skills in order to assess and increase their multicultural competence. Furthermore, the emphasis placed upon personal understanding as part of professional development may require that Fellows be asked to consider issues that are somewhat personal in nature. Every effort is made to provide a safe and nurturing environment which respects disclosure and protects Fellows’ confidentiality.

 

In support of the desire to foster diversity, the Counseling Center is committed to developing diversity training for staff. The Counseling Center recognizes that factors such as multiculturalism, race or ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, and range of ability affect college students’ lives and sometimes present unique challenges. The Counseling Center values each student’s individuality and commits to welcoming all people with respect and sensitivity. Counseling Center staff also attends to their own professional development by participating in training and programs designed to enhance their understanding of the needs diverse people.

 

As part of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ mission to promote the success of the whole student, the University Counseling Center believes that a healthy emotional life is the foundation for personal, academic, and professional success. Honoring individual and cultural identities, strengths and differences, core personal values, and the complexities of collegiate life, our multidisciplinary mental health team uses compassionate, professional interactions to support emotional balance while encouraging students to reach their potential.

 

Our mission is realized through the delivery of comprehensive services, such as:

Brief individual, group, and couple’s counseling

Psychiatric evaluation and treatment

24-hour crisis response

Campus and community referrals

Faculty, staff, and student consultation

Outreach/Prevention Service

Mental health educational programming and training

 

Training at NCSU’s Counseling Center will cover all of the services listed above, and will be comprehensive in breadth and depth.

 

Direct Service Experiences

 

Individual therapy

We consider personal counseling of individuals the primary direct service practice. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with students with varying presenting issues. While our center works primarily within a short-term model, all staff, and especially Fellows are encouraged to work with a few longer-term clients. Fellows may have the opportunity to do some couples counseling work either individually or in a co-therapy situation.

 

Group therapy

Groups are an integral part of counseling service in our center. We have a variety of groups offered at any given time, with a combination of closed therapy groups, drop-in groups, and psychoeducational groups. We are a busy center and find groups an excellent opportunity to provide support while students are waiting for an Intake, in between sessions, as individual work is finished, or in some case instead of individual therapy. Typically Fellows will co-lead a group with a permanent staff member and will have an opportunity to do a different group each semester. Fellows typically meet with their group co-leader on a weekly basis while planning and running the group.

 

Triage

Our center uses a triage model to assist in determining student’s level of risk and urgency for which they need to be seen. Triage is used as a screening and referral tool. While we have Triage Clinicians who do the bulk of Triage, we include this experience as part of the Fellowship as it is a valuable skill that may be expected of them in future positions. Training for Triage and opportunities to observe Triage clinicians occur early in Fellowship. Our Triage system offers back-up for consultation and support in crisis situations.

 

On-Call

All counselors at our center do some after-hours on-call. Fellows will be trained to participate in the on-call system, with back-up available if consultation is needed.

 

Career Counseling

Our center provides career exploration counseling and assessment for students. Fellows will use the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory with students when suitable. We provide training in the career exploration process as well as in use of these instruments.

 

Outreach

Our center does a significant amount of outreach programming for the campus community. This includes screening days, tabling events, Residence Life training and programs, classroom and campus organization presentations, as well as in-house programs. These programs cover a large variety of topics, from time and stress management, to healthy sleep and healthy relationships. Our center also offers QPR (Question Persuade Refer) training to students and staff. Outreach is considered an essential skill for clinicians in a university setting. As such we require Intern participation in outreach programming. Outreach programs and projects will offer additional exposure to a range of interventions with diverse populations. If there are special populations an intern would like to work with Outreach is another way to gain this experience.

 

There is training for all Fellows each August to prepare Fellows in outreach presentations. For those who have a special interest in outreach there is opportunity to work closely with our Outreach Coordinator to gain further experience.

 

Consultation

Staff regularly consults with student, faculty, staff, parents, off-campus mental health providers and others. Most consultation requests come through phone calls, on-call, and walk-ins. Other times consultation will be around a particular student or issue of concern. Fellows will participate in consultation as circumstances arise and back-up will be available as needed. Consultation will offer further opportunities to work with diverse populations and student issues.

 

Psychiatric Consultation

Our students have access to time-limited psychiatric services, including evaluation and medication management. Our staff can refer students to our in-house psychiatrists, and consult with psychiatrists about students. Additionally, there may be some opportunities to sit in with students during the psychiatric evaluation when a student is referred.

 

Academic Services

Our center is involved in some academic processes on campus, including withdrawal and course drop requests. While Deans make decisions about granting exceptions to academic policy, center staff is expected to provide assistance in assessing psychological issues that may impact a student’s performance in classes. We have staff that takes the lead in this area, but all staff may be required to participate in this process at times, particularly if a student a staff member is seeing needs to request a lower course load or to withdrawal from the semester entirely. Academic policies and procedures are covered in training in August.

 

Training Activities

 

Orientation

In order to prepare to see clients and function as a Counseling Center staff member, Fellows will be introduced to Center modes of service delivery via an orientation process. This orientation will be completed within a two-week period. Orientation will consist of sessions in which Fellows will learn more about policy and procedure regarding Center functions, and will be given time and space to process any questions they might have.   Fellows will also be introduced to the Center’s electronic record system (Titanium), will engage in orientation to available benefits, will have an “Onboarding” session in which important personal information is entered into the university system (i.e. banking information for direct pay deposit) and will have a chance to meet with the Administrative Team here at the Center.

 

Finally, orientation is also a very important piece of training in that Fellows will be exposed to many different staff here in the Center; thus, beginning the process of integration into the team through learning about staff interests and areas of expertise.

 

Supervision:

Individual supervision

Fellows receive 1 hour of individual supervision per week with their primary supervisor. During the first year the Fellowship, the Fellow will have one primary supervisor. For the second year of the Fellowship, a secondary clinical supervisor can be assigned if the Fellow is interested in seeking supervision in a specialty content area (i.e. Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Trauma work, etc.)

 

Trainees will be supervised regarding their triage/intake work, during individual supervision. There will also be a monthly supervision meeting of all trainees providing triage services (in order to ensure understanding of policy and resources related to triage services). Trainees will be expected to provide coverage for triage services, and will learn how to engage students in timely and effective assessment of their risk and needs. Triage here at NCSU’s Counseling Center is the manner in which students enter the system, and is generally a short session focused on assessing current symptoms and directing students to services they need (whether that’s here in the Counseling Center or off campus). Trainees will also learn more about how to conduct an intake interview.

 

The intake Session is utilized as the student’s first session with their therapist here at the Counseling Center. Intakes are scheduled off of triage, and are longer and more involved than a triage session. Training regarding an intake interview will occur through live observation and through viewing audio/video tape. This session will allow the trainee to gather more information regarding the client’s history and general well-being. Risk will also be assessed.

 

Group Supervision

Group Supervision meets 1 hour weekly to discuss clinical issues including: challenging cases, disposition issues, professional concerns, multicultural or ethical issues salient to a particular clinical situation and various treatment approaches. Fellows are encouraged to participate in discussions and to informally present cases throughout the year

 

Didactic Training Opportunities:

 

Training Seminar

For the first year of the Fellowship, there is a two hour weekly meeting during which topic-focused subjects are covered in areas such as ethics, theoretical orientation, multicultural competencies, professional issues, utilizing specific treatment strategies, crisis and risk management, psychopharmacology, etc. The seminar will be organized by the Training Director and the Training Coordinator, but will utilize center staff in their areas of expertise on a rotating basis.

 

 

Outreach Seminar

This seminar will occur a few times over the semester. During this time, the Assistant Director of Outreach Services and Wellness Initiatives will assist trainees with discussions regarding their outreach responsibilities and will provide training/supervision as needed regarding the provision of outreach, liaison and consultation services. This seminar will also serve as a “check-in” regarding trainees’ progress with the outreach requirement (4 presentations per semester, 8 in all). Fellows will be expected to show increasing competence related to provision of outreach, liaison and consultation services.

 

Group Counseling Seminar

This seminar will occur during the semesters for clinicians offering group counseling. During this time, the Coordinator of Group Therapy Services will assist Fellows with discussions regarding their group therapy experiences. This supervision will not serve as primary supervision for the Fellows’ group experiences (this will be provided by the leader(s) of the group), but will serve as a processing and didactic space for Fellows to increase knowledge about group theory and process/learn more about group therapy interventions.

 

 

Case Consultation

All staff participates in small-group case conference meetings and trainees are included. Case conference is every week for 1 hour. This is an opportunity for staff, including trainees, to present and discuss cases that are more complex or for which the staff member would like feedback.

 

Case Presentation

Fellows will engage twice per month in an “all trainees seminar” during which they will (on a rotating basis) be asked to present a formal case presentation. Trainees will be asked to present from a written report. The presentation time allotted is 30 minutes, and trainees are encouraged to provide enough time for staff to ask questions and comment about the case. A format will be provided regarding this case presentation.

 

The goal of the presentation is to assist Fellows with developing their case conceptualization skills, along with an ability to share relevant details of client presentation and how theoretical orientation was utilized intentionally to guide treatment.

 

 

Additional Opportunities for Training:

 

Staff Meetings

These are typically 2 hours every week. This is an opportunity for the entire clinical staff to get together and discuss center issues, policies, current happenings. Several times a semester this time will be used for CE activities to assist in enhancing the staff’s professional development or to work on the center’s planning, mission/goals, or cohesion.

 

CE Programs

The center provides a number of CE programs throughout the year on a variety of topics. Guests from other departments or from outside the university frequently serve as presenters for these programs. Most of these CE programs are approved by APA and NBCC for CE credit. The CE committee works in conjunction with the Multicultural Task Force to include topics relevant to multicultural training and competence. Additionally, some other professional development programs are offered by the center. This may include “lunch and learn” discussions, or webinars.

 

Committee Work

Fellows are invited to participate in at least one committee. Committees range from Outreach Committee, Groups Committee, Multicultural Task Force, Clinical Services Committee, CE Committee, Assessment Committee, Training Committee, and the Social Committee. Some committees meet weekly, while others meet bi-weekly or as needed.

 

Professional Training & Conferences

There is a budget set aside for Fellows to attend off-campus trainings or conferences. The amount available may vary depending on budget allowances each year. There are a number of trainings that are convenient based on our location (close to Chapel Hill and Durham) and the number of colleges and universities in the area. All requests need to be made directly to the Training Director.

 

Campus Trainings

There are some opportunities to take place in trainings available to staff on campus. For example, most of our staff has participated in Project Safe training that is offered by the GLBT Center on campus. If Fellows see trainings advertised for the campus community that are of interest, we encourage them to discuss participation in these with their supervisor or Training Coordinator.

Alea Baron

Alea Baron is a fourth year Psy.D. student in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She received her MA in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine and her BA in psychology from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently a pre-doctoral intern at North Carolina State University Counseling Center. Her practicum placements include: MFT trainee for Green Dot Public Schools at a high school in Inglewood, Psy.D. trainee at the Pepperdine Community Counseling Center in Irvine and West LA, Psy.D. trainee for the Department of Mental Health-Specialized Foster Care program, and Psy.D. trainnee UCI Medical Center. She has worked as a behavioral therapist with Autistic children for ACES Autism. She has also served as CPAGS Divsion II representative and Secretary. Her dissertation research interests include how parent-child relationships affect child self-esteem of at-risk youth in academic settings. Clinically she is interested in working with individuals needing support around interpersonal dynamics, grief, existential questions, self-esteem, growth/motivation, communication, and relationships.

Rachel Berry

Interests include: sexual violence, intimate partner violence, family-of-origin issues (e.g. adult children of alcoholics, dysfunctional families), LGBTQ issues, alcohol & substance abuse issues, body image & eating concerns, depression & anxiety. My approach draws from time-limited dynamic psychotherapy and relational therapy.