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SMC creates walk-in booth to discuss interpersonal issues

Ashley Charnley | Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saint Mary’s Women’s Health and Counseling Centers are teaming up to provide students with an informal way of talking about their issues.

The Belle Booth is set up in the Student Center atrium from 12 p.m. to 1:15 on Thursdays for students to come and talk about whatever they have on their minds, Gina Christiana, a counselor for the Women’s Health Center, said.

“We will listen to whatever students bring to us. We are here to talk about interpersonal issues,” Christiana said.

Kris Pendley, clinical director of counseling, came up with the idea as a way to increase publicity for the services offered in Women’s Health and Counseling Centers on campus.

Inspiration for the booth came from Charles Schulz’s character of Lucy and her “Psychiatry for a nickel” booth that Charlie Brown often approached in the classic cartoons.

“We wanted an image people were familiar with,” Christiana said.

This is the fourth week the booth has been in place and it seems to be attracting attention, Christiana said. She also said the counselors and nurses will continue to make themselves available in the atrium on Thursdays as long as students keep showing an interest.

“We wanted to get our faces out there and develop a friendly rapport with students,” Christiana said.

Three nurses and three counselors rotate work together to run the booth. Each week there are two counselors and one nurse at the booth at all times. Students are encouraged to go and chat about whatever issues they have.

Christiana described the booth as a user-friendly resource for students where any questions they have can be answered.

Cathy DeCleene, director of the Women’s Health Center, wanted a place with high student traffic for the booth. With the current Women’s Health Center located in the basement of Holy Cross, not a lot of students make the walk over, she said.

It is easier for students to have the discussion times they want when help is offered in the Student Center, she said.

“It’s a safe introductory environment. Students don’t have to go all the way to Holy Cross if they want help,” DeCleene said.

Although appointments can’t be made at the booth, students are able to make them with the counselors in their office in LeMans, Christiana said.

Both the Women’s Health and Counseling Centers will be in the same booth, DeCleene said.

“We just want to be a warm, friendly face on campus,” Cyndie Horton-Cavanaugh, a nurse for Women’s Health, said.