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Health and Counseling Services offers opportunities for students to relax

Falcon News Service

November 30, 2016

With finals quickly approaching, students are feeling the stress. UWRF’s Student Health and Counseling office has a few options to help students who are anxious or need a moment to decompress.

Mark Huttemier is a personal counselor at UWRF and has started a weekly guided mediation in the meditation room located in Hagestad Hall.

“Meditation has a lot of impact to kind of deprogram some of the distraction stuff I think that happens to us in our culture, how fast our culture is,” Huttemier said.

Huttemier believes that meditation allows students to step back and experience themselves as they are doing something in a way that they might not have been able to do before.

The room is open every day of the week from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for anyone wanting to use it, but Huttemier leads a guided meditation every Wednesday from 3:30-4 p.m.
The class averages about 10-12 students attending each week and is open to everyone.
The meditation room was opened three years ago, but this is the first year that a guided meditation class has been offered.

The office also offers a biofeedback program. Biofeedback is a computer program that helps you monitor your emotions by looking at your breathing and heart rate.

Kaleah Bautch, a personal counselor, has taken a special interest in the program.
The program works by monitoring a person’s heart rate through a device attached to the ear which reads the heart rhythm while the participant uses games or programs on the computer.

“You’re kind of trying to switch your body from those negative emotions to the positive. It’s a way to soothe your body but have an alert, focused mind,” Bautch said.

The program allows a person to see the impact of their emotions on the body’s breathing and heart rate in order to help increase awareness of those emotions and to help learn to better manage them.

“It’s kind of, in a way, a self-soothing technique,” Bautch said.

Bautch recommends the program to anyone with focus issues, with anxiety, trying to learn coping skills and for athletes.

Bautch has also started doing animal assisted therapy this semester. This is different from pet therapy that takes place the first Friday of every month.

Bautch’s dog, Mocha, is a certified therapy dog, and she brings the dog in two days a week for anyone who wants to partake in one-on-one therapy with Bautch and the dog.

“She’s really good for people with high anxiety or [that] kind of aren’t sure about the whole therapy process. It’s been really successful so far,” Bautch said.

If a student wants to get active to beat the stress, counselors may also recommend yoga.

“Yoga is a way to experience your body and your body relaxing to relax your brain. That’s a great lesson,” Huttemier said.

Student Health and Counseling also offers a lightbox for those suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, as well as a massage chair for those just looking to unwind. These things can be found in the relaxation room in the Student Health and Counseling office. The relaxation room is available for any students and can be reserved for up to an hour.

Guided meditation, biofeedback, use of the relaxation room and yoga do not require a student to be enrolled in counseling.