JMU School Counseling Connection

March 2016

In this edition of the JMU SC Connection you will see many ways that our current students are growing in their professional development through a variety of workshops and opportunities along with other news and highlights.

As always, if you have any personal or professional news you want to be featured in the newsletter, please email the program at

Professional Development

Asist Training

Our students recently participated in Asist suicide prevention training. This two-day workshop consisted of reflecting on personal beliefs about suicide, learning how to intervene with someone who is considering suicide, and practicing the skills and interventions.

Asist's intervention program allowed the students to draw heavily on their listening, understanding, and validating skills and highlighted the need to ask directly about suicide, listen to a person's suicide story, and co-create a plan to stay safe for now.

Askable Adult

Current intern students reflected on the need for school counselors and other school personnel to be willing to discuss sexuality if students are lacking appropriate information. Although this may put professionals in an uncomfortable position, it is important that students have a source that can provide accurate information. Our interns had the opportunity to reflect on how they would react in certain situations with students and practice how they would react to student's seeking out information.

Expressive Arts Workshop

Dr. Teresa Haase from EMU's clinical mental health program held a workshop for school counselors to learn and experience different expressive arts techniques that can be used with our students. She led us in a drawing activity where students draw various forms with a color that seems to connect with that shape and then label what that drawing felt like. Second-year student Brittany Cover reflected about how that activity could allow an understood language to develop between counselors and their students that could be a fun way for a student to express how they are feeling on any given day. We also explored the use of sand trays and ways that students can reflect on how they portray themselves to the world and what is on the inside that the world does not see. We are grateful that Teresa gave us this opportunity to put some techniques into our "tool box" and learn more about how to use the arts in counseling.

Suggested Reading from Faculty

Dr. Echterling, one of our experts in working with crisis and trauma, suggested the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's latest bulletin. This edition includes useful fact sheets, information about an app that parents can use, a podcast, and more information. If you are interested in drawing from this resources, here is the link:

We are Proud of our Alumni!

Jyl Gamble

Our practicum students were given the opportunity to hear from, recently retired (2013), Jyl Gamble. She was able to bring advice and answers to questions our students had by drawing on her 37 years of experience working for Harrisonburg City Public Schools (including during the implementation of the school counseling position as a mandate). Many of our practicum students are working at the elementary level currently, which was especially useful because Jyl spent 28 years working as an elementary counselor.

During her career, Jyl was recognized as CVCA Counselor of the Year twice (first in 2003-2004, and second in 2013). She was also recognized as educator of the year by her school. In her school, she was known for building trust with students, parents, and co-workers.

She shared many of the techniques that her students and school appreciated. These include her "Bee" song that focused on character development, use of songs, and using props. She emphasized the importance of allowing who you are to be a tool in a school counseling program; therefore, some counselors, like her, may love using songs and props and should use that love in their program, while others who do not love those techniques do not need to use them.

Recent Graduates Visit Interns

Korey Lamb and Kristin Williams (class of 2015) talked to this year's interns about the transition from graduation to working as a full time school counselor. They both talked about how it is a lot of work; although it can get tough emotionally or time-wise, they are happy where they are and feel fulfilled. Kristin said that having a good work-life balance has been important in her transition. She highlighted to the interns the importance of having a way to process the work they are doing. The class of 2015 often used each other to talk to and process; Kristin and Korey also use supervisors and time driving home from work as ways to reflect on the work they are doing. Korey encouraged the interns to give themselves time and grace to learn and grow when they transition to employment.

Greene County and Harrisonburg City are blessed to have Kristin and Korey as school counselors! Keep up the great work!

Dates to Remember

-April 10: Chi Sigma Iota New Member Induction

-April 12: Pizza and Process

-April 22: Spring Symposium for Graduate Psychology (Intern Presentations)

Happy Birthday to You!

-January 19 (belated): Tanny Nitterhouse (Alumna)

-February 1 (belated) : Erin Holland

-March 16: (belated) Carolina Fuentes Arriaza