Free support group teaches coping techniques

By JENNA GIBSON, Ranger Reporter:

Amarillo College is offering a free support group to help students manage stress.

Success over Stress is held from noon to 12:50 p.m. Thursdays in Dutton Hall, room 201. The support group began last spring and resumed again this September. Students may join at any time during the semester and are encouraged to bring a sack lunch.

Dr. Alan Kee, psychology professor and AC Counseling Center director, facilitates the class, which focuses on learning concepts based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

“The central idea is that how we feel and act are strongly influenced by how we think,” said Kee. “Therefore, changing our thinking can be a very powerful way to change our emotions and behaviors.”

Those who participated in the group last spring are reaping the benefits. Brenda Patterson, a psychology major, said it was a great resource to help manage the pressures of college, home and relationships.

“It was a place to talk freely without being judged and a place to listen to others’ struggles. We encouraged one another and learned from each person that attended,” Patterson said.

By using the REBT method, Patterson said she learned that her own beliefs influence her ability to deal with difficult issues.

“I continue to learn and use REBT to reason things out and move forward in my life,” said Patterson. “Of the other types of therapy I have experience with, this one stands out to be the most effective.”

This class also provides tips on how to manage and reduce stress by using certain techniques such as the importance of balancing work and recreation as well as talking about problems and taking one thing at a time.

There is no doubt that college students are stressed. From managing school, work and finding time for friends and family, the weight of it all and the stress to succeed can create a significant strain.  By teaching students how to effectivley manage stress, they are steering clear from long-term health problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems, depression and chronic pain.

Nursing major, Jeanette Camarena has experienced a lot of stress. “School adds more anxiety and stress to my life due to the amount of time that I have to study,” Camarena said. “I feel really tired most of the time, and other times I think this anxiety and stress make me feel moody and frustrated.”

Sometimes when things get too overwhelming, Camarena said she feels like crying, but reminds herself of her goals and how close she is to finishing, which helps her get back on track.

“I get stressed when exams are coming up and on top of that, having to make study time when I have 10-12 hour clinicals at the hospital, plus work all in the same week,” Camarena said.

Her stress increases as finals get closer. “Tests and assignments have the greatest impact on me because for me that’s my No. 1 priority, but sometimes life and personal issues get in the way and take up all of my attention,” Camarena said.

Kee encourages stressed students such as Camarena to try visiting the Success over Stress group.

For more information,
contact Promise Garrison at the AC Counseling Center by phone at 806-371-5191.

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