APU’s University Counseling Center Offers Summer Workshops for Students and Families

by Peter Cooley

This summer, Azusa Pacific University’s University Counseling Center (UCC) will host workshops for current and incoming students, parents, and families to prepare for a successful academic year when fall classes begin. The workshops themed, “Building Resiliency,” offer effective tools for thriving on campus when faced with adversity.

“It is important that we are able to recognize our strengths, rather than deficits, in difficult times,” said Patricia Becerra, MSW, LCSW, clinical care and crisis coordinator for the UCC. “Our workshops help equip students with the tools they need to approach difficulties with a growth mindset, to gain confidence and manage emotions and stress in an academic environment.”

Becerra, who is leading this year’s workshops, is a licensed clinical social worker who joined the UCC team in 2017 after providing mental health services in community-based and hospital settings. She completed her training at Smith College School for Social Work in 2007 and has extensive training in trauma-based counseling and working with diverse populations. As a Latina psychotherapist, fluent in Spanish, she seeks to understand each student’s culture and strengths.

The student workshop takes place Tuesday, August 9 at 6 p.m., via Zoom. Students will have the opportunity to create personal plans for stress management, participate in group discussions, and learn more about the resources on campus offered by the UCC.

Register for the student workshop here.

The parent, guardian, and family workshop is Wednesday, August 10 at 6 p.m., via Zoom. Family members will receive information on how to connect with offices at APU, how to recognize when students are going through difficult times, and how to best support students during their college years.

Register for the parent and family workshop here.

Becerra notes the importance of faith as a foundation for the workshops, as well as other UCC services and resources. “Spiritual wellness is holistic. Our desire is to help students renew their minds with truth, equip them to overcome negative thinking, focus on their strengths, and engage in community.”

The UCC is committed to providing top counseling services, accredited by the International Accreditation of Counseling Services. Over the course of the last academic year, the center provided counseling for 637 students, offering 2,820 individual sessions, therapeutic groups and workshops for 123 clients, and couples counseling sessions for 46 clients. From these opportunities, 90 percent of students reported they were better able to address their concerns that caused them to seek counseling as a result of their experience at the UCC. In this survey, one anonymous student said, “At the UCC, I have learned methods and strategies to help my mental health. I have also been able to see how I can best approach similar situations, and give myself some grace the same way God gives us grace.”

For the upcoming school year, the UCC plans to offer several groups and workshops, including an Anxiety Toolbox Workshop, Self-Growth Groups, “Wellness Wednesdays”, among other sessions and resources. In addition, there are groups such as the Women’s Support Group, and Student of Color Group, designed to empower specific communities on campus.

Visit the UCC website for more information.

Peter Cooley is a public relations intern in the Division of Strategic Communications and Engagement. He is a music education and honors humanities major, and performs in multiple ensembles at APU. Outside of work, Peter enjoys reading, hiking, and playing music.