Veteran Interpersonal Skills Group offers resources for student veterans

October 17, 2017

Sarah Bubke

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    Last spring, the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center started the Veteran Interpersonal Skills Group in an effort to ease the transition to college life for student veterans.

    The group was created to help student veterans develop interpersonal relationships by providing tools for communicating and relating to other people, according to Cathy Calvert, director of Clinical Training for Mental Health Services.

    “It’s designed to help them find ways to be more present so they can determine how they want to react or engage with other people, and it gives them skills to effectively ask for what they need and want,” said Calvert.

    The group, which is considered to be a mental health service, had high attendance this spring, but Calvert hopes that more student veterans will take advantage of the program.

    “Unfortunately, we haven’t had anyone sign up yet for the fall, but we are hopeful that we will get some interest. It just depends on if people are in that space and are interested. We may have more people interested in the spring, after they’ve been here for a while and figuring things out,” said Calvert.

    For many of the student veterans that attend UCCS, the transition can be difficult.

     “For some of them, it’s really hard; they’ve come from their own culture of being military, and higher education is a culture all of its own,” said Calvert.

     “Our hope is that the program will provide veterans with skills so that they will feel comfortable with being able to interact with individuals, be able to be successful in college and be able to relate to people in the way that they want to.”

    According to Calvert, the Wellness Center has worked with the Office of Military and Veteran Student Affairs over the past two year to create focused programming for veterans.

     “The idea for this group came after talking to several individuals and talking to the current veterans that we are working with,” said Calvert, who trains students in the Department of Psychology’s trauma Ph.D. program.

    A student in the trauma program suggested the idea of a skills group as she wanted to find a way to work with veterans who may be struggling, according to Calvert.

    “She and I sat together and talked about what might really be helpful and decided that this might be a good group,” said Calvert.

     Meetings for the group are held at the Wellness Center on Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. There is no official start or end date for the program, so students can start at any time. Appointments can be made through the Wellness Center.

    Along with the Veterans Interpersonal Skills Group, the Wellness offers individual, group, couples and family therapy. All students are allowed seven free mental health sessions. Additional sessions are $15.