By Marj O’Neill ’21, Staff Writer
Counseling Services is continuing to provide support and resources to students during these emotional times.
Like other offices on campus, with the COVID-19 outbreak and consequent campus shutdown, Counseling Services had to adjust accordingly and start operating remotely.
“All of our counselors (psychologists, psychiatrist, social worker, or Licensed Professional Counselor) are licensed in the state of PA,” Dr. Stevie Falk, LVC’s director of counseling services, said. “Usually other states do not let you practice across state lines. Each state is different but most all have relaxed the strict adherence to those rules and have now allowed us to work across state lines. The other issue was to find a HIPAA-compliant platform that was cost effective.”
Falk said that after working through these issues and few other ones, Counseling Services found the HIPPA-compliant platform, doxy.me, and have been doing teletherapy for a few weeks and that both students and therapists find it just as effective and comforting to be able to meet “face to face”.
Counseling Services is offering virtual appointments and walk-in hours for the counselors. Students can call (717)-867-6232 or email email@example.com to schedule appointments. In addition to remote services offered by licensed counselors, 5050 peer helpers, Bailey Harper and Lisa Orlando are still available.
Bailey and Lisa are still holding their weekly office hours and weekend groups via WebEx. Lisa’s office hours are from 7-8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesdays and she hosts 60 Minutes on Sundays from 7-8 p.m. Bailey’s office hours are from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and she hosts O.A.S.I.S. on Saturdays from 7-8 p.m.
“When Dr. Falk reached out to us to let us know we would begin working as 5050s remotely, I was ecstatic,” Harper said. “In the few weeks we had been off campus, I had truly missed the connections that I had made through working as a 5050. It had become a part of me that I wasn’t ready to give up for the semester. The transition was quite easy with little technical difficulties and I’m proud to say that despite being miles and miles away, we have had great numbers attending our weekend groups. Overall, it’s been super rewarding and fun to be able to work again and serve the LVC community from my home.”
Typically, during this time with finals week approaching, Counseling Services and 5050s would be hosting their Destress Break on campus. As an alternative during these coming finals week, they will be posting pictures, videos, and songs on their Instagram account (@lvc_5050) and are encouraging faculty and staff to join them on Thursday, April 30.
With the most stressful time of the semester beginning, Harper shares some advice for students.
“Remember to take an hour a day to do something for yourself, whether that be taking a walk, listening to music, practicing mindfulness: whatever it is that you need to do to remind yourself you are in control of your thoughts and feelings,” Harper said. “Allow yourself to feel the very real pain or anxiety you may be having, but also remember that you are doing an amazing thing by completing your semester online. This is a very difficult time for all of us and finals being moved online only adds to the stress, but I promise you that we are all in this together and we will make it through. Just think, eventually, this will all be a memory. As always, reach out if you need help. We are all here for you.”