The Counseling Center is offering a free self-harm and depression therapy group this semester. Dr. Sherry Pollard, head of the Counseling Center at Harding, started the group.
According to Pollard, the self-harm and depression group gives students a place to come together and share similar struggles. The group is confidential, and no information is shared outside of the group, Pollard said.
“If you are suffering with self-harm or depression, remember you are not alone,” Pollard said.
Pollard said she started the group because she and several other counselors noticed many clients dealing with depression and self-harm issues.
Tanner Brown, a licensed professional therapist in the Counseling Center, said students will benefit from gathering together to resolve common problems. Brown advised those interested to get involved early, because group therapy takes time to develop.
“This is a space where people can have a ‘me too’ experience,” Brown said. “These interactions produce changes in other areas of life as well.”
Brown said having a group where people feel safe is an important component of therapy. Korey Alfred, a graduate student counselor, said people often feel they cannot talk about depression or self-harm because they fear a “get over it” response from others. Alfred stressed that an advantage of group therapy is being around others who are not saying “get over it.”
Pollard said people are often unsure how to help those dealing with depression and self-harm. She said it is wise to encourage the person suffering to speak with a professional, and to offer to visit Counseling Center with them for support. She advised that students not try to help the person alone.
“Be there and show unconditional love,” Alfred said. “Trust that what they are telling you is true.”
Pollard said self-harm and depression are often cries for help that stem from a deeper issue. Depression and anxiety are usually intertwined, and that noticing the signals people are giving is important, according to Pollard.
“You get strength knowing you are not the only one,” said Pollard, “There is strength in knowing that other people struggle with the same thing.”
The group meets on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in McInteer 313. Pollard said students need to contact the Counseling Center and make sure they qualify for therapy before attending. Students may contact the Counseling Center at 501-279-4347 and make an appointment with a counselor to qualify for the group.The Counseling Center is free, so someone who feels they are experiencing such an issue should take advantage of these resources, Brown said. Students may also visitwww.selfinjurysupport.org.uk/feelingsfor more information and an interactive grid about self-harm and depression.