Weekly workshop provides a supportive and educational space for UNT students to learn and practice coping skills in a fun and engaging manner.

To address the myriad challenges that college students often face, UNT’s Counseling and Testing Services (CTS) has been conducting a Coping Skills Workshop every Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in room 313 of Chestnut Hall. Open to all currently registered students, the workshop aims to provide a supportive and educational space for students to learn and practice coping skills in a fun and engaging manner.

Led by experienced facilitators, the Coping Skills Workshop delves into various coping techniques to help students navigate life's difficulties, changes, stress, relationships, and emotions. The group emphasizes the importance of mindfulness as a foundational coping skill, encouraging participants to be present in the moment.

"We incorporate a lot of activities and discussions to make the learning experience enjoyable and effective," said Marilyn Parrish, CTS associate director of training and a licensed clinical social worker. "Many students are dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety, academic stress, family conflicts, relationship issues, or struggling to find friends. Our goal is to equip them with coping skills that are applicable to their individual challenges."

This semester, the workshop is centered around the acronym STRONGER: Building a Stronger You. Each letter represents a key coping skill, including Self-Compassion, Thinking in a helpful way, Relaxation techniques, Observing mindfulness, New communication skills, Goal setting, Emotion regulation, and Relationship improvement.

"We want students to leave our workshop not only with coping skills but with a sense of strength and resilience," Parrish said. "The acronym STRONGER encapsulates the essential skills that can empower them to face life's challenges confidently."

While the current attendance ranges from three to six students weekly, CTS emphasizes that there is room for double that number, and the workshop remains a consistent offering semester after semester.

"We believe in the transformative impact of these coping skills. It's crucial for students to have a toolbox of techniques to cope with struggles effectively," she added.

Recognizing that everyone copes differently, the Coping Skills Workshop is designed to provide students with additional tools in their coping toolbox. The signs that a student may benefit from such skills include unhealthy coping mechanisms, negative consequences, or inadequacy in facing challenges.

"I wish every student could gain this foundation of coping skills,” Parrish said. “They learn ways that they can be more effective, confident, and love and take care of themselves. I have seen students take the skills they are learning and apply them, seeing that it works and that they are stronger than they thought they were."

The Coping Skills Workshop is not only a one-time opportunity; students are encouraged to attend multiple semesters to reinforce their learning. Some participants move on to explore other workshops offered at CTS, recognizing that learning is an ongoing process.

The Coping Skills Workshop is a program offered through UNT’s Division of Student Affairs. It is held every Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. during the spring semester.  For more information, visit UNT’s Counseling and Testing Services in Chestnut Hall, Suite 313 or call 940-565-2741.