Last Friday at the Student Resources Building, Counseling and Psychological Services introduced “Pathways to Healing” a group counseling program designed to address the needs of students and faculty who have not fully recovered emotionally from the shooting that took place in Isla Vista last spring.
Pathways to Healing will offer free, drop-in, open workshops for faculty and students throughout the year where participants can gather and discuss their feelings on the tragedy. The next workshop meeting will be held this Tuesday afternoon in the SRB multipurpose room.
According to C.A.P.S. mental health specialist Gladys Koscak, Pathways to Healing was originally started by the university’s human resources department and was designated for faculty and staff. However, a few weeks before fall quarter began the program was opened up to students.
“We knew going into the fall and even over the summer that students were in very different places in terms of their grieving process and where they were at with wanting to talk about what happened in May,” Koscak said. “We wanted to offer different avenues for students to attend if they felt comfortable and if they felt it was better for their healing process.”
Koscak said Pathways to Healing is designed for students that still might not have emotionally and psychologically recovered from the shooting last spring.
“With these workshops specifically, we’ve heard a lot of people say ‘my friends don’t really want to talk about it anymore but I still want to talk about it’,” Koscak said. “We are hoping that these workshops can be a safe place for people to come and talk to others who are feeling the same way.”
UCSB psychologist Janet Osimo said the program will help students, who are wondering why they are still feeling affected, realize there is a whole spectrum of reactions to the type of tragedy that occurred last Spring.
“There was so many different efforts being made around campus, part of [Pathways] is to consolidate all of the events and support that’s available and put it in one place that people can come to,” Osimo said. “The other part of it is to be able to improve student’s self-understanding and how to continue to make sense of what happened when it feels like it’s still impacting them.”
According to psychologist Mario Barfield, many students feel that they should have put the event behind them in some way and moved on. However, Barfield said doing this can only worsen the grieving process.
“Students often push themselves to feel how they don’t feel which is usually more distressing so we just want to normalize that and ultimately continue to be proactive and provide support,” Barfield said. “We want students to get what they need so they can continue to thrive here and reach their academic goals.
Koscak also said the program aims to offer workshops throughout the year to specifically address the needs of students following the shooting.
“C.A.P.S. has always been here for students but we wanted to have something specifically addressing what happened in May,” Koscak said. “The idea for Pathways to Healing is to continue to offer these events throughout the entire year, not just fall quarter, because we’re hoping students will find this helpful.”
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.