WT to provide free group therapy for frontline workers

“I had some wonderful counselors in my life and so really it’s just I wanted to pay that forward”
Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 at 10:18 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Starting next month, health care workers and first responders in the Texas Panhandle will have more access to free group therapy.

In an effort to help her students gain the experience they need and provide support for her friends working essential jobs, West Texas A&M University professor Alyson Morgan created “Thriving through the Pandemic”; a series of online therapy sessions, run by graduate students.

“We all have moments in our lives that you know are what I call dark days. I’m no exception to that. I had some wonderful counselors in my life and, so really it’s just I wanted to pay that forward,” said Tina Godino, graduate student at WT.

Tina Godino knows the importance of a counselor, which is why she is studying to become one.

Now, before she’s even graduated, she is getting to help those who need it most.

“I kind of came up with the idea based on the fact that our students haven’t really been able to do a lot of hands on practice things, really this last year because of COVID. They’ll do practicum’s, field placements, but a lot of agencies aren’t allowing them in so they’re missing out on opportunities,” said Alyson Morgan, LCSW, instructor of social work, WT.

Students like Godino will be creating group therapy sessions that focus on grief, loss, stress management, secondary trauma and more.

“Oh, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to put what we learned in the classroom to practice,” said Godino.

These virtual therapy sessions will be free to any health care worker or first responder.

“Really, we want to focus on anyone in the health care field. That goes on the way down to custodial, administration, registration, everything; because they’re seeing these people come in every minute of the day,” said Morgan.

Morgan hopes this opportunity will not only help those sacrificing their health and safety daily, but also help prepare her students for what’s to come after graduation.

“This opportunity is paramount. Even if last resort, nobody shows up, they are getting the experience of actually developing a program from the ground up,” said Morgan.

Morgan says this program is just the beginning.

She hopes that in the future WT can utilize it’s building in downtown Amarillo for therapy that would focus on support groups, parenting groups, anger management and more.

If you are a first responder or work in the health care industry, below are links to sign up for free group therapy starting in January.

Session 1: Compassion Fatigue / Secondary Trauma: 8:00 p.m. Jan. 5 and Jan. 7.

Session 2: Grief / Loss: 8:00 p.m. Jan. 12 and Jan. 14.

Session 3: Stress Management / Physical Fatigue: 8:00 p.m. Jan. 19 and Jan. 21.

Session 4: Coping Skills / Resources: 8:00 p.m. Jan. 26 and Jan. 28.

WT says sessions will be led virtually on a private platform by advanced social work students under the supervision of Morgan. Each session will offer the workers time to talk about other issues beyond the week’s topic.

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