NIU program to help people cope with trauma

By Rob Heselbarth

Anyone who has suffered from a traumatic experience in their life will have help in dealing with it through an NIU program.

Janet Moore, counselor with the NIU Counseling and Student Development Center, will be hosting a four-part mini-series called “Hope and Healing” in the Counseling and Student Development Center Office in Altgeld Hall.

The mini-series, starting today and continuing for the next three Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., will help students to get a hold on their problems as a result of any traumatic experience they might have had in their life.

“We want to have a program a person can identify with so they can have more mastery over their life,” Moore said.

The “Hope and Healing” mini-series is just the first step in establishing what the Counseling and Student Development Center hopes to be a larger, all-around program.

“We are thinking about offering something to reach the total person,” Moore said.

NIU Clinical Psychologist Barb Zuber, said the program being planned for the future will be a combined effort from various NIU departments and organizations.

“The Newman Center, the Office of Campus Recreation and University Resources for Women are some groups we are working with already,” Zuber said. “We would ultimately like to work with the Health Center, too.

“We’re really trying to start out as a task force to find out how people can cope with traumas,” Zuber said.

Moore said the program will focus on the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience.

Moore said post-traumatic stress disorder can result from any of a wide variety of events.

“A lot more people are coming forward about being abused as a child,” Moore said.

“Then these people leave the situation, like going to college, and experience nightmares, waking up feeling paralyzed or getting a sense of fear that they don’t know where it’s coming from,” she said.

Zuber said there are many more people suffering than those who show up for counseling. “We have to find out how else we can reach them,” she said.