Mina McVeigh has always had a love for the human story, and since 2011 she has pursued that love working at ETSU’s counseling center.
McVeigh received her bachelor’s degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis and began a career in publishing, but soon she decided to become a stay-at-home mother to her three sons. After 15 years, McVeigh decided to go back to college and received her master’s degree in social work from ETSU and was offered a job in the counseling center after graduating.
“I just became passionate about helping young adults kind of come to terms with their pasts but also discover who they are,” McVeigh said.
McVeigh is certified to handle all different student counseling needs, but she specializes in helping students cope with stress. She also developed a workshop known as Stress GPS, which helps students find ways to deal with the stresses of college and everyday life.
“We talk about how to solve problems,” said McVeigh. “There is a problem-solving strategy: So here is your problem, and here are the steps you take to solve it.”
Stress GPS is a three-part workshop that can be found and signed up for through ETSU’s online calendar. It teaches students the different ways of dealing with stress, such as self-soothing and problem-solving. It also helps students learn more about themselves and potential career interests.
“We do a thing where you take an online test on your character strengths, and we talk about the importance of living a life from your character strengths,” said McVeigh. “People are happier, healthier and more productive if they know who they are and what they’re good at, and they select a career in an environment where their strengths are used.”
In addition to stress relief, McVeigh also uses a technique known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing to help students who have gone through trauma. EMDR is a process used when people who have gone through traumas are unable to talk about them without freezing or panicking.
Using EMDR, the patient receives stimulation either through their eyes or vibrating paddles in their hands, and by receiving that stimulation, the prefrontal cortex, or top part of the brain, remains focused on the stimulation, and the patient can recall the trauma without becoming panicked.
McVeigh also participates in the counseling center’s “Let’s Talk” sessions, which are provided by senior employees of the counseling center where students who want to try counseling without the commitment can do so. “Let’s Talk” sessions take place Monday and Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the third floor of the library.
Whether they need help with stress relief, anxiety, depression, trauma or just want to see what counselling is like, McVeigh believes everyone can benefit from a “Let’s Talk” or a traditional counseling session.
“Most people are never sorry,” McVeigh said. “I’ve never heard someone say they wish they had never gone to counseling, whereas people always say they wish they had come sooner.”