Surviving the Storm with SWAC

Credit: Brock University

Credit: Brock University

In an effort to help students develop transferable life skills, SWAC is hosting a Surviving the Storm: DBT Skills Program.

The hour-and-a-half long workshop sees students learning to increase skills such as mindfulness, emotional control, handling an emotional or psychological crisis and maintaining a positive attitude and the right mood throughout school and later in the workforce.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), developed in the 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan, is based on four pillars: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. It is predominantly used to treat borderline personality disorder but can also be used to treat substance misuse, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and some forms of disordered eating. It incorporates the concept of dialectics, or balancing of opposites, encouraging participants to combat an all-or-nothing mentality that can worsen symptoms.
Simultaneously, students continue to be taught how to combat feelings of emptiness and other emotional crises, resolve interpersonal conflict in the correct way and cope with change.

Overcoming emotional crisis

Dealing with emotional crisis is different between individuals; however, there is general information that applies in virtually every scenario. If students find that they are having a hard time managing a particular situation, or that the situation is not getting better on its own, they have been encouraged to reach out for professional help. Sometimes the scope of a crisis is just too massive, or the individual might have a history of mental illness. Professional help can be immensely helpful in such cases. There are on-campus resources available at Brock to help students who have psychological concerns. Students can also contact Brock’s personal counselling services at phone extension x4750.

Dealing with interpersonal conflict

At some point in life, conflict arises between individuals. As these conflicts come about for a limitless number of reasons, the general idea here is for students to treat others like they would want to be treated. When individuals have this concept in mind, conflict can oftentimes be resolved with very little negative implications. Communication is an important part of this process and students continue to be encouraged to practice their communication skills as much as possible.

Coping with change

When a person has to leave behind familiar routines, it’s almost always a source of stress and sadness. The biggest means by which students can cope with change, even if the change was chosen by the individual, is reaching a point of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up entirely on a past experience or situation. Acceptance is realizing that you will always have and maintain valuable connections, skills and memories. At the end of the day, the point is that the individual is moving on in life with the hope being that the change will have been for the better.

The Surviving the Storm Program will continue run every Wednesday until April 10, with the exception of Reading Week, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Kenmore Lounge. Interested students are encouraged to attend as needed to benefit from the skills training session free of cost.

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