News in Brief: Spotlight on EDEN, New Wellness Center Group for Students of Color

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Photo courtesy of WikiCommons.

Starting on Oct. 20, the Wellness Center: Counseling and Psychological Services began hosting “a supportive and therapeutic hour for students of color to Engage, Define, Encourage, and Network,” otherwise known as EDEN.

According to Danielle Johnson, graduate intern at the Wellness Center, students of color have been reporting hurtful and aggressive incidents that they’ve experienced to the Wellness Center recently. Considering that students are reporting these cases on a regular basis, the Wellness Center wanted to provide a safe and inclusive place for students to meet and feel comfortable sharing their experiences.

Johnson explained that “repeated exposure to those [hurtful] messages can become traumatizing. What makes this group unique is that the concept of cultural trauma is defined and analyzed, which allows participants to feel validated and, hopefully, given the skills and confidence necessary to thrive in spite of racism.” She said that unfortunately it’s easy for people to absorb “constant messages of racial exclusion and stereotyping” and that it creates traumatic experiences for those targeted. EDEN will work with students so that they feel supported despite the attacks.

At the meetings, students will be able to engage in “thought-provoking” discussions while encouraging others to do the same. Students will be able to learn skills for networking and use their identity in their future career. The group will help each other take into consideration our changing society into their own definition of their culture and character.

The group allows students to address issues that upset them while offering support within a therapeutic community in the process. Students who wish to participate in the group are not required to be assessed prior to joining, nor are they required to have previous experience with counseling services.

EDEN meets every Thursday at 4:00p.m. in Goodpaster Room 152. A few more sessions will be held before the start of next semester, on Dec. 1, and Jan. 8; group activities will resume in Jan. 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Danielle Johnson at dhjohnson@smcm.edu.

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