Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
quickly divided into two teams: one to handle phone calls, and another
to focus on walk-ins and scheduling counseling sessions. “Group sessions
worked better than individual sessions because of the volume of clients,”
recalled one counselor. “And being with peers helped students realize
that their responses were normal.” Students were worried not just about
their personal safety but about missing class assignments and tests. The
sessions, therefore, were designed to provide reassurance, care, and
information so badly needed. In retrospect, the counselors were grateful
for training they’d had for crisis situations—which seemed to be effective
both in the immediate wake of the event and in its aftermath.
A counselor in the EAP office recalled getting a call at home from his
supervisor in the middle of the night. “We went into the office very early,
cleared our schedules—rescheduled clients, meetings, trainings—and
reached out to various departments to coordinate our efforts.… We made
ourselves available to anyone who needed to be seen. To my knowledge,
everyone who needed or wanted help was accommodated.” They saw
people individually as well as in groups. “What stood out to me most
was the communication between Administration, FSUPD, TPD, Student
Counseling, EAP, and other departments on campus. Everyone was alert
and ready to help.”
Another counselor shared a glimpse into her own mind-set: “I was very
nervous about what that day after the shooting would bring and how it
would be handled. I remember walking into the office—it was still dark
since it was so early. You could just feel the pressure of the day in the
air. I remember being surprised at how strong my emotions were upon
hearing the news, and the trepidation that followed.”
Counselors were seeing—and personally experiencing—classic crisis
reactions: fatigue, difficulty sleeping, increased or decreased appetite,
difficulty concentrating, confusion, frustration, fear, anxiety, anger,
sadness, and grief or sorrow. An important part of their work was to
explain to clients that these reactions were all normal. Fortunately, they
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