Counselors comfort

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April 21, 2007

1:19 PM

The tragedy at Virginia Tech has had a strong impact on the College community. The Counseling Center, located in Blow Memorial Hall, is available to those students who desire help coping with the tragedy.

p. The flow of students who have sought counseling has been steady since Monday, with surges of busy periods intermittently. Thursday has been the busiest day thus far. Associate Director of the Counseling Center Jan Pattis said that it is because students are beginning to process the tragedy.

p. Pattis said that the Counseling Center has done everything it can to accommodate the students who wish to talk to a counselor. Tuesday, the Counseling Center set aside an hour and a half for walk-in students. Each of the counselors worked with their regular clients to accommodate students who needed to process what
had occurred at Virginia Tech. Some of the clients agreed to share their time with these students, so that the needs of all who sought help were met.

p. Pattis referred to an article from the American Psychological Association that is available to students which offers tips on how to deal with this tragedy. She stresses that the best thing is for students to look after one another and to listen to each other.

p. “Sometimes talking to a peer is just as healing, if not more so, than talking to a professional,” she said.

p. Pattis also advised students to take a break from the news, to turn off the electronic media. The students have been inundated with news about the tragedy, and it is okay to think about other things, she said.

p. “Students should take care of themselves. I’m talking basics. Eat well, continue to engage in physical activity, sleep well, rest. Avoid alcohol and drugs, which can interfere with experiencing natural emotions,” she said.

p. If a student knows someone at Virginia Tech who is seeking help from a friend, Pattis said that the best thing to do is to let him or her know that you are there and to listen. In addition to the services provided by the Counseling Center during its normal operating hours, the College offers some other methods of coping. Group sessions were offered at 5:00 p.m. Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler welcomed both students and staff who wished to attend.

p. Pattis stressed that the Counseling Center’s goal is to be available and see students as they walk in if possible and defi nitely on the same day they wish to make an appointment.

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