Counseling center launches innovative online program to help students cope with trauma
The Loyola University Maryland Counseling Center has launched REACT Online, a web-based, interactive program that helps students respond positively after a crisis or traumatic event.
REACT, which is short for “ReAdjustment after Crisis and Trauma,” is the result of three years of collaboration between the Counseling Center and Technology Services. The program is considered unique for a campus community of Loyola’s size.
“We recognized that students who had experienced traumatic events were less likely to reach out for support, specifically to the Counseling Center but also in general,” said Jason Parcover, Ph.D., associate director for public health, research, and information systems at the Counseling Center. “We needed to be innovative, so we turned to the Web knowing it was accessible to students who are already comfortable communicating in that medium.”
College is a time when many young people could potentially experience a range of traumatic events, from sudden loss of a family member to a campus-wide tragedy. Students often feel pressure to return to normalcy and not dwell on trauma, said Parcover, and in-person counseling carries a stigma. Counseling Center leaders shifted direction to the Web to offer easily accessible information and initial intervention services that destigmatize seeking professional support and minimize the residual effects a crisis has on a person’s ability to function.
REACT’s interactive focus allows for personal reflection and helps students put together a plan for coping and healing. Engaging elements and videos featuring Counseling Center staff provide information about common reactions to stress, challenging events, and healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Users are also guided through relaxation exercises that include deep breathing and calming visual imagery.
“At Loyola we’re about taking care of each other, supporting one another, and we want people to actively take steps to get the support they need and we want to make sure their friends are doing the same,” said Parcover. “In the big picture, that’s why REACT is so important.”
To access REACT Online, visit https://reactonline.loyola.edu/online/. More information about REACT and other Counseling Center services are available on the Counseling Center’s website.