Fall 2020 update
MENTAL HEALTH AND COUNSELING CENTER
The Counseling Center will be open and provide mental health resources and services to students and employees according to guidelines set forth by CDC, Arkansas Department of Health, and Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. The Counseling Center reception and waiting area will be arranged to provide a minimum of 6 feet separation, and traffic flow will be one-way by utilizing a side exit following sessions. Masks will be worn by all staff and students in common areas and in accordance with University policies. Hand washing or application of hand sanitizer will be practiced before and after each session. Common areas and contact objects will routinely be cleaned and sanitized.
Students and employees seeking counseling services will complete CDC guidelines for COVID-19 screening prior to entering the Counseling Center. Personal and specific screening responses will be submitted to the Counseling Center on appointment day via the screening link on the Counseling Center website. Signage will be placed in the Counseling Center identifying this requirement and the process of non-touch temperature screening. Students and employees who do not feel well, have a temperature, or have symptoms of COVID-19 based on their screen will not be served and will be encouraged to contact Health Services or their primary care physician.
All appointment requests must be made either by phone at 501-279-4347 or email at email@example.com. No walk-in appointments will be allowed without prior referral and completed COVID-19 screening. At the time appointments are scheduled, students and employees will be informed about safety protocols when reporting for a session. Individuals are discouraged from having others accompany them except in situations where deemed necessary.
To promote safety and reduce the amount of contact, telehealth may be utilized in situations that pose a health concern and/or require multiple sessions. The use of telehealth will be determined by the counselor and adhere to applicable ethical and legal standards for the use of distance delivery. Telehealth will not be utilized in the event a student is enrolled and living in another state other than Arkansas due to professional licensure regulations.
Screening Form Before Coming
During this unique time of disruption in our lives and physical distancing, we wanted to provide you with some helpful resources to structure your day and provide you with some essential tools that will help you keep your best mental state.
How to reduce Anxiety:
Resource work book from ASU: health.uark.edu/coronavirus/caps-covid-19-resources-anxiety-workbook.pdf
Coming to your senses with Licia Sky: www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6-MGwrdBRk
Setting up Telemental health:
Search for a Therapist: www.psychologytoday.com/us
Talk Space www.talkspace.com
Counseling resources and services are available at no cost to the student. A staff of six professional counselors is available to confidentially answer personal questions and provide counseling services as needed. Our goal is to assist students as a part of the University’s mission to promote student success in all areas of life. Help or information regarding any of your concerns is available at firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-279-4347, or located in McInteer 313.
Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.
Alcohol/Substance Abuse & Dependence
Coalition Against Drub Abuse
Al-Anon and Alateen
MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Driving
National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism
National Institute on Drug Abuse
SADD-Students Against Destructive Decisions
SMART: Self-Management and Recovery Training
Souls Self Help Central
Gam-Anon Family Groups International Service Office
Phone: 718-352-1671; Fax: 718-746-2571
Phone: 213-386-8789; Fax: 213-386-0030
X3 Porn Addiction Support
Setting Captives Free
Every Man’s Battle
Be Broken Ministries
Heart to Heart Counseling Center
Anxiety and Panic
Anxiety is a painful uneasiness of mind, usually over an anticipated ill. An abnormal apprehension and fear, often accompanied by physiological symptoms such as sweating, increased pulse rate, doubt about the nature and reality of the threat, along with self-doubt are common signs of anxiety.
We all feel anxious at various points in our lives when our stress level becomes overwhelming. Anxiety is a close relative of excitement, but it is best described in terms of worry, or an uneasy feeling of apprehension and impending doom. In a person with an anxiety disorder, the worry is persistent and habitual, often initiated by unrealistic situations or thoughts. In addition, this worry seems uncontrollable and often interferes with the ability to concentrate or otherwise function normally. This type of anxiety may be learned and therefore can be unlearned.
The most common complaints of people suffering from chronic anxiety include:
- strong anxiety episodes
- racing heart/chest discomfort
- hot and cold flashes
- feelings of unreality and disorientation
- scary, uncontrollable thoughts
- depressed feelings
- feelings of helplessness
- panic episodes
- muscle tension
- migraine headaches
- numbness in various parts of the body
- strange aches and pains
People suffering from anxiety disorder often have extreme apprehension about the following:
- having a heart attack
- losing their breath
- going “insane”
- losing control
- embarrassing themselves in front of others
- hurting themselves or someone else
The four most common concerns from this list are:
- embarrassing themselves in front of others
- going “insane”
- losing control
During a panic attack, the sufferer truly feels he/she will lose control, go “insane” or die if they do not get to a “safe” place or person. The “safe” place is usually home or somewhere very familiar and comfortable. The “safe” person is usually a spouse, boy/girlfriend or close friend – someone who can be there if the sufferer needs help. God may seem far away.
If anxiety is a problem that troubles you, call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.
Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives
Trichotillomania Learning Center
National Panic/Anxiety Disorder Newsletter
Anxiety Panic Hub
Agoraphobia: For Friends/Family
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity & Impulse Control
Depression is a mood disorder experienced by many people ranging from mild to severe at different stages. As you will see in the indicators below clinical depression should not be confused with occasional "blue" moods, pre-occupation or times when things just don't go well.
Many in the medical community believe depression is related to chemical imbalance or other biological origin. The other significant consideration is that depression results from intense or prolonged negative life experiences. Feelings of anger, sadness and confusion commonly accompany unexpected or continuous struggles with life issues.
The following are characteristics often associated with clinical depression:
lack of concentration
excessive sleeping (especially daytime)
withdrawal from social activities
preoccupation with feelings of low self worth
sudden and repetitive crying spells
feelings of hopelessness
Help for depressed feelings usually involves a combination of remaining involved, diet, exercise (very important), spiritual stimulation, counseling and possibly conferring with a physician about antidepressants.
A key to evaluating depression and most emotional concerns is to ask yourself two questions.
- How often do I feel this way? (Frequency)
- How long does the feeling last? (Duration)
Emotions Anonymous International Service Center
Phone: 651-647-9712; Fax: 651-647-1593
National Foundation for Depressive Illness
BPSO-Bipolar Significant Others
How to Avoid a Manic Episode
Depression & Bi-Polar Support Alliance
Wing of Madness: A Depression Guide
Covenant House Nineline
Phone: 212-613-0300, 800-999-9999; Fax: 212-629-3756
Friends for Survival
Phone: 212-613-0300, 800-999-9999
A whole range of issues may be behind the eating disordered choices of an individual. Eating disorders may begin as a way to smoke screen other concerns and may be a symptom of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings over which the person does not feel control. These other concerns may be the catalysts for restricting caloric intake or for binge-purge cycles. Either of these can result in serious health problems and even death. Red flags for use in the early identification of eating disorders are as follows.
- Loss of menstrual period,
- Dieting with relish when not overweight
- Claiming to feel "fat" when not overweight
- Distorted body image
- Preoccupation with food, calories, nutrition and/or cooking
- Denial of hunger
- Excessive exercising, being overly active
- Frequent weighing
- Refusal to maintain weight expected for age and height
- Intense fear of gaining weight or being fat
- Strange food-related behaviors
- Complaints of feeling bloated or nauseated when eating normal amounts of food
- Intermittent episodes of "binge-eating"
- Excessive concern about weight
- Strict dieting followed by eating binges
- Frequent overeating, especially when distressed
- Bingeing on high calorie, sweet food
- Expressing guilt or shame about eating
- Use of laxatives, over-exercising, enemas, diuretics, fasting and/or vomiting to control weight
- Leaving for the bathroom after meals (secretive vomiting)
- Being secretive about binges and vomiting
- Planning binges or opportunities to binge
- Feeling out of control
- Depressive moods
Help is available. Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.
National Eating Disorders Association
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Service
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders
Food Addicts Anonymous
National Center for Overcoming Overeating
Overeaters Anonymous General Service Office
Phone: 505-891-2664; Fax: 505-891-4320
For many people the process of growing up and dealing with loved ones has been one of ups and downs. For some the process has contained many more downs than ups. When problems such as abuse, control, manipulation, substance-abuse, and any number of problems are present, the effects on children can last long after the child becomes an adult. There are times that individuals do not even realize their family had problems until they find themselves in a new context, like college. For others the awareness of family problems is an everyday occurrence. Even families that from all appearances to “outsiders” seem to have things together, the presence of dysfunction for its members may be great. While all families experience problems, the members of families that have prolonged exposure to dysfunction are more likely to experience problems as a result of their family environment.
At times the impact of one's family dysfunction is felt most in relationships with others. In college settings like Harding’s, you are exposed to a number of relationships. Dating relationships, roommate relations, and intense friendships can all highlight the impact that certain family dysfunction has had on your life. The presence of certain family dysfunctions such as:
- Abusive and/or Substance Abusing Parents: Unfortunately many children are raised in families that contain abusive and/or alcoholic/drug abusing members. Various forms of abuse can have a number of effects on children. Ranging from sever physical abuse, sexual abuse, to verbal abuse, all abuse can promote a measure of distrust in children who’s caretakers have betrayed them. Likewise, even the inappropriate handling of an abuse to the child when it is reported to the family can develop an environment of mistrust and secrecy in the family. It is not uncommon for abused children to take personal responsibility for the abuse. To be resentful, angry, untrusting of individuals in authority, and even untrusting in relationships themselves.
- Absent Parents: Individuals who have parents that are workaholics, neglectful, and even single-parent families may at times promote a sense of abandonment. It is quite common for the children of absent parents to take on more adult responsibilities and miss out on many of the important aspects of childhood.
- Domineering Parents: Children who are raised in rigid families may not be allowed to experience age appropriate responsibilities due to the controlling nature of their parents. Likewise, this type of environment might promote a spirit of “secrecy” and/or “loyalty” that must be maintained at all costs. In such an environment it is not uncommon for children to develop a lot of anger, dependence, and/or feelings of inadequacy as a result of parental control.
In addition to those mentioned above, children and adults who are raised in dysfunctional families commonly report a wide range of difficulties in a number of areas. If you feel like some of the things you are struggling with are related to the way you were brought up or your family, there are some useful ways to begin the healing process.
- Give yourself permission to be hurt/angry about what occurred at home.
- Take time to take care of yourself not just everyone else.
- Make a slow effort to trust others who have shown they are trustworthy.
- Get some professional help.
Some people believe that since they are away at college the things that happened at home will not effect them anymore. Likewise, that there is nothing that can be done about the past. While the past can’t be erased talking to someone who can provide an “outsiders” view is often very helpful to those who are struggling with family issues. Harding has trained professionals that can be a resource for you to learn more about ways to deal with family of origin issues and the impact that a family dysfunction can have on its members. In you feel like some of the things you are struggling with are a result of your family environment don’t hesitate to call the University Counseling Center at 501-279-4347.
Grief and Loss/Adjustment
The loss of a significant relationship or the death of a loved one can trigger grief. For most who grieve, it is some comfort to know that the pain is normal under the circumstances and that others have shared a similar experience and eventually achieved a resolution.
Normal grief reactions include the following questions and statements. "Is there a right way to grieve?" "Why do I feel so out of control?" "I'm so glad it's over. Is that wrong?" "I never knew it would hurt so bad!" "I feel so relieved."
Other normal symptoms of grief are:
- I feel as if it isn't real.
- I feel a tightness in my throat and a heaviness in my chest.
- My mood changes over the slightest things.
- What is there left for me to live for?
- Sometimes I feel angry.
- I cry at unexpected times.
- I don't want others to see me when I feel sad.
- I can't concentrate.
- I sense my loved ones presence, like hearing their voice.
- I feel like my mind is on a merry-go-round that will not stop.
- I have trouble sleeping.
- I don't feel hungry.
- I'm eating all the time.
- I have an empty feeling.
- I miss being touched.
- I miss having someone help me make decisions.
- I'm so lonely.
These grief responses are all natural and normal after a loss. It is important to reach out and talk with people and to cry when you need to.
While profound grief is not a sign of mental illness, many people who experience it for a prolonged period may benefit from counseling to help work through unresolved issues. If you need assistance call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.
Death/Trauma Loss Support
Relationship and Learning Center
First Candle/SIDS Alliance
Center for Loss in Multiple Birth
Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing
Surviving the Emotional Trauma of Divorce
Research indicates that as many as 70% of university students develop feelings of homesickness at some point during their college career. While the excitement, stress, and new surroundings of being in college are a part of every student’s experience, the adjustments that have to be made are not always easy. It’s important to remember that you aren’t the only one having these feelings and that there are many others that have to make the transition to college life along with you.
The process of adjusting to your new environment (e.g. your dorm room, new roommate, courses, and schedule) may seem exciting at first but may become somewhat overwhelming after the newness wears off. However, others may find that the process of making new friends, adjusting to the dorm, or missing your friends and family back home is difficult from the start. Since most people find comfort in familiar surroundings and relationships, the process of leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a new environment can make this process difficult. It is important to remember that dealing with change can be a difficult process and that it is normal to have some difficulty adjusting. Since every student has varying degrees of connectedness to friends and parents, distance from home, and level of independence the impact of homesickness can vary greatly from person to person. Some common characteristics of homesickness are as follows:
- A faint sense of loss when thinking about familiar things like friends, family, pets, and even your own bed.
- Failure to get into a comfortable routine.
- Being miserable and lonely and lacking the desire to get out of your room.
- A strong resistance to return to school after a weekend visit or holiday.
- Crying for no reason and an empty feeling like nobody understands.
- Getting angry at others who seem to be enjoying their college experience.
While some students with homesickness may experience all of these, others might struggle with completely different things. In addition to remembering that homesickness is common and normal there are some other things that might help you to get acquainted with your environment faster and/or help you to get some relief from the homesickness.
Get involved and do things that you enjoy.
Though you may feel like staying in your room watching TV, listening to music, or chatting with your friends from back home on line, get out and take advantage of some of the campus activities. Get involved in a club, intramurals, or home Bible study group. There are a lot of activities on campus and you will likely find that there are others who like to do some of the things you enjoyed doing back home.
Keep in touch with your family and friends.
Even though reminders of home might make you feel even further away at first, the comfort of a familiar voice can ease the sadness when you feel like an unknown in such a strange place.
Keep your goals in mind.
Don’t lose track of what you came to college for. Make the decision to go to class and to make the best of your college experience. Focus on your school work and on the mission that you’ve set out on to get a degree that will be with you for the rest of your life.
Talk to a professional.
Some people feel like an issue like homesickness is stupid and should just go away; just having that disposition about it can make the feelings worse. Harding has trained professionals that can be a resource for you to learn more about ways to deal with homesickness and they can help you remember that you are in the majority if you are having some difficulty making the transition to college life.
Most students find that after they begin to develop a routine, strong friendships, and make a new home for themselves on the Harding campus their homesickness diminishes. However, there are others that continue to struggle despite all their efforts. In either case if you feel like homesickness is having a negative impact on your college experiences don’t hesitate to call the University Counseling Center at 501-279-4347.
Same Sex Attraction
Same-sex attraction is an identified interest in a person(s) of the same gender. The attraction may be intense and involve recurring thoughts/feelings, at times, which can be pervasive. However, intense attraction may or may not include sexual behavior. Same-sex attraction usually develops over time and is not initially a process of conscious awareness. At some point interaction with others involves more awareness of self and a formative interest that is more focused on same gender. At times these inner thoughts and perceptions can become highly sensitized and preoccupying. An expressed reason for seeking counseling is to understand the attraction in context of significant emotional, relational, physical and spiritual aspects of life.
The Counseling Center is committed to providing an environment for sharing life concerns and experiences that is safe and trusting. Providing counseling for individuals discussing same-sex attraction deserves and requires attentiveness to thoughts and feelings often very difficult to share with others.
The Christian counseling platform for providing help with same-sex attraction or unwanted attraction consists of a non-judgmental disposition along with a willingness to help with the struggle while caring deeply for the person. While training can provide skills, the centerpiece for helping will be devotion to confidentiality and affirming an individual's courage in being vulnerable and seeking help. Ultimately, the Counseling Center goal is to extend a Christ-like spirit while utilizing professional skills of men and women who exhibit faith and service.
Call the University Counseling Center at 279-4347.
Gender Identity/Same Sex Attraction
The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction: A Comprehensive
Counseling Resource Paperback by Jenelle Hallman
Searcy Counseling Resources
309 E. Race Ave
Searcy, AR 72143
Ryan Butterfield & Jim Galyan
103 N. Main Searcy, AR 72143
Stress can be a most debilitating problem when we become so frazzled that we don’t function well and our work is affected. The stress which motivates us to go to class and to do our work is a good thing, but too much stress is counter productive and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and drained.
Four types of stress symptoms often appear:
- Physical symptoms include fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle aches and stiffness, heart palpitations, chest pains, cramps, nausea, trembling, sweating, frequent colds, etc.
- Mental symptoms include decrease in memory and concentration, indecisiveness mind racing or going blank, confusion and loss of humor.
- Emotional symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, irritability, impatience, short temper, etc.
- Behavioral symptoms include pacing, fidgeting, nervous habits like nail-biting, increased eating, smoking, drinking, crying, yelling, swearing, and blaming.
Everyone experiences stress. It cannot be eliminated, so if you find yourself feeling tired and irritable, restless, not sleeping well, and unable to relax on your own, you need to look for some positive stress reducing strategies. Many ways exist to manage stress in our lives.
Here is a list of ten good strategies.
- Decrease or discontinue caffeine.
- Exercise regularly
- Prayer, relaxation, and meditation
- Get 7-8 hours sleep per night
- Have regular rest breaks and leisure time.
- Develop realistic expectations.
- Reframe situations positively.
- Check your belief system.
- Find and use a support system and talk it out.
- Look for humor in every situation.
If you need help learning to relax, reframe, or talk things out, call the University Counseling Center at 501-279-4347.
Do you enjoy taking tests? Many people do actually look forward to the challenge of test taking. These people like the thrill of the unknown and the excitement surrounding the fact that they will be tested. Many people do not like to take tests. Are you one of these? The thrill of the unknown and the expectation of performance can sometimes spiral into a fear that reduces a student’s capacity to produce. Test anxiety is a temporary condition relating to how a person responds to a testing situation. For some people this fear can result in physical symptoms. A person may experience increased heart rate, sweating palms, shortness of breath, or an ache in the stomach. A person may have trouble capturing known facts from their memory and an inability to organize thoughts. If you struggle with this type of response to tests, then there is hope and help for you.
Some Ideas to help Test Anxiety
- Prepare thoroughly: the more prepared the less anxiety
- Study with a partner or group: go into the test with a sense of community
- Look at the test realistically: one test at a time. One test does not make or break the course.
- Learn some relaxation techniques: deep breathing, positive visualization
The University Counseling Center can assist you with channeling your excitement into a positive direction. You don't need to fear tests any longer. If we can help, call us at 501-279-4347.
Where does time go? Actually time is constant. Time is always the same, there is no more or no less in any given day. The issue people have is how to manage this constant. Often time just seems to slip away without anything of necessity being accomplished. If you find yourself missing deadlines and appointments, constantly running late or over procrastinating, then you may struggle with time management. There is no need to find time, only to manage it productively. For some students, college is the first time they must solely manage their time. This responsibility can easily be neglected in the midst of making new friends, going to class, finding a social group, and just fitting in to place.
Here are some ideals that might help identify some "black holes" that eat up your time:- Set your priorities and goals for the semester: this will include all aspects of life, not just school work.
- Keep a daily log of activities: this is a temporary method of identifying what is happening in a day.
- Make a "to do" list.
- Schedule work time and play time.
- Learn to say NO
Time management is an important aspect of successful life. If you or a friend is struggling with managing time, call the University Counseling Center for help at 501-279-4347.