The University Counseling Center has officially offered Mindfulness Workshops for three semesters. The workshops give students the opportunity to practice mindfulness in a relaxed, group setting with no commitment.
Kurt Kumler, Director of the Counseling Center, said the main goal of the workshops is to provide students with an optional group that could give them tools to help if they did not have time to meet every week.
“Psychotherapy…is a process that requires commitment of time,” Kumler said. “Now I’m of the mindset that more time is better, but if you don’t have time, at least we can offer this group.”
According to Kumler, the program is not group therapy, but rather an opportunity for students to stop by when they feel they may need help.
“So, the workshop is different in that there is no commitment, come once if you want, come every time,” Kumler said. “There is no signing up, no screening. It is what we would call a drop-in workshop that is convenient for students. That’s why this is a good idea.”
Kumler said he was hired only two weeks before classes started last year and he worked closely with the assistant director, Beth Moore, to get the workshops up and running. Kumler stressed that they tried to find times that would be convenient for every student, but he admitted that it would be impossible to find a schedule that worked for everyone.
“We offer two different times. One on Monday and one on Thursday,” Kumler said. “We’re doing the best we can to pick times that are going to be best for students, but of course, student schedules are going to be all over the place.”
Every meeting focuses on broad topics that could be beneficial to all students. Kumler said the workshops help students learn how to use mindfulness to their benefit, no matter what they are going through.
“The topics they talk about in the group are kind of flexible, but they’re focused around basic issues for all of us,” Kumler said. “Life is so busy and so frantic that we almost have to learn how to be human and the class kind of teaches…that and practices that can be put into place.”
Kumler said that as the group sizes become more consistent, he hopes more students will come to the workshops.
“So far this fall, the numbers have been steadily growing, which is not only [an] indication of success, but it’s an indication that we might be doing something of use,” Kumler said.
Alex Frank, a sophomore PR and advertising major, admitted that she never attended one of the workshops. However, she said she was interested to see what the Counseling Center viewed mindfulness as.
“I like meditating frequently, so that’s my perception of mindfulness, and I don’t know what they do there,” Frank said. “I definitely would find it interesting though.”
Mary Felix, a freshman theater arts major, said she had never gone to one of the mindfulness workshops, but she wanted to in the future.
“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get myself adjusted to college life,” Felix said. “Sometimes the events happen when I’m busy or it’s too late, and I didn’t know they had already happened.”
Felix added that many students may not know the workshops were happening because they ignored emails or posters.
“Some of my acting teachers have suggested going to them because they think they are important, so I will be trying to go to one sometime this year,” Felix said. “I think there is a lot of publicity, but people just don’t pay attention.”