BY ELISSA BORDEN
It has been a long semester and professors keep piling on assignments and projects. It is hard to keep up.
The weight of all of those assignments has been bearing down on you. Not to mention, you want to maintain a social life.
You're trying to keep track of everything, but you feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. It’s starting to impact your sleep and your relationships with others.
For students struggling with mental health or stress, it can be hard to take the first step and reach out for help.
On-campus resources, such the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH), may not always be able to see students right away. Off-campus resources may be a better option for some students.
“When a person is depressed, doing the very things that help us to feel better can be really hard,” said Gabe Slavin, a licensed medical health counselor (LMHC) in downtown Amherst. “So reaching out to somebody when you’re feeling sad is exactly what you need to do.”
Someone struggling may wonder how to go about getting help when CCPH is booked. Fortunately, there are many therapists in the Pioneer Valley who are capable of helping students.
Below are three of the many therapists in the surrounding area. Each are on bus routes or within a five minute drive from campus.
Gabrielle Slavin welcomes students to her practice in Amherst. (Elissa Borden/Amherst Wire)
Gabrielle ‘Gabe’ Slavin, LMHC (licensed mental health counselor)
Address: 24 S. Prospect St., Amherst
Insurance Accepted: Tufts, Health New England, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Beacon Strategies, Harvard Pilgrim, private pay
To make an appointment with Slavin, call 413-404-3673 or email her at email@example.com
Gabe Slavin is a LMHC located in downtown Amherst. Her office is located on the second floor of a gray Victorian-style building behind the Amherst Cinema. Despite the daunting exterior of the building, both her office and her demeanor are warm and friendly. It is evident that she has a genuine love for people and a passion to help.
Slavin has been a LMHC for 14 years. She studied at Antioch University in Keene, N.H. Slavin works with people of all ages, ranging from children to adults, and says she enjoys working with college students. She feels that she can understand and relate to the problems that 20-somethings often endure. One of her areas of specialty is with members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Slavin often works with people who have depression, anxiety or ADHD, are experiencing loss or grief, have learning disabilities or are enduring familial changes and divorce. Additionally, she enjoys helping those who are dealing with life changes, including the overwhelming independence that a college student may experience upon entering a new school environment.
Slavin identifies as an integrative therapist and uses a number of methods to help her clients. These methods include talk therapy, behavioral therapy, education regarding why clients feel the way they do, or psychoeducation, and art and sand therapy. The treatment clients receive is tailored specifically to their needs and what they are willing to try.
Jonathan Goldin likes to use a sense of humor in his therapy sessions. (Elissa Borden/Amherst Wire)
Jonathan Goldin, LISCW (licensed independent clinical social worker); JD (juris doctor)
Address: 28 Pulpit Hill Rd. Amherst and 809 Mass Avenue, Lexington
Insurance Accepted: Anthem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Commonwealth GIC, Fallon, HNE, Harvard Pilgrim, Health Net, Health New England, HealthNetBMC, Medicare, Neighborhood Health Plan, Optum, Optum/United Behavioral Health, Tufts, Out of Network
To make an appointment with Goldin, call 413-222-3006 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Goldin Practice is just a five-minute drive from UMass. It is run by Goldin, a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) and doctor of law. Goldin’s local practice is run out of his charming farmhouse on Pulpit Hill Road in Amherst. He also has a practice in Lexington.
At his practice in Amherst, cats poke in and out of the office from time to time. Clients may pet them. Goldin has been working as a therapist since 1995 after he graduated from Boston University’s School of Social Work. He will gladly work with anyone, including students, millennials, couples and families, he said. Goldin has been seeing students for some 16 years
Goldin specializes in helping people with ADHD, anxiety, substance abuse and temperament issues. Goldin especially loves working with students because he feels that he is “young at heart,” and is eager to impart his wisdom to anyone who will listen, he said.
Building a friendship with clients is important to Goldin.
“Therapy is not a transaction, it is a relationship,” Goldin says.
His primary practices include positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy, which challenge negative thoughts a patient may have in order to evoke change. Goldin also uses a therapy technique called "family systems" to better understand a patient. He describes this type of therapy as “analyzing the overall family of origin dynamic even if treating only one individual of such family.”
Often, Goldin likes to assign ‘homework,’ suggesting books or activities that may help his clients.
He prefers not to preach to his patients, but rather to look at things in a “novel way,” often using humor in his therapy, he said.
Jessica Murphy offers group therapy sessions at her practice. (Elissa Borden/Amherst Wire)
Jessica Murphy, MSW (master of social work), LICSW (licensed independent clinical social worker)
Address: 409 Main St. Suite 252, Amherst
Most insurances are accepted.
To get in touch with Murphy, call 413-314-2974 or email her at Jessica@HampshireMindfulness.org.
Jessica Murphy works on the second floor of the red-painted building at 409 Main St. in Amherst. She is a master of social work and a LICSW. Her practice, Hampshire Mindfulness, is an alternative to traditional therapy.
Murphy’s space is quiet, peaceful, warm and set up to foster productive conversation in her group therapy sessions. Even though group therapy may seem intimidating, Murphy said it is powerful.
“We learn to see ourselves more objectively and we relate to ourselves in ways that are helpful rather than self-defeating,” Murphy says.
Murphy has been practicing social work for over 20 years and specializes mostly in mindfulness-based individual and group psychotherapy.
Murphy sees herself as more of a guide or coach in her therapy sessions, she says. She sets the path to healing and well-being, as well as promotes and supports growth. She says she believes group therapy is especially beneficial for students because the group atmosphere offers extra support.
Murphy’s practices are helpful for those struggling with problems like anxiety, stress and depression. She helps her clients to get in touch with their bodies by doing exercises such as body scans, breathing, improving patience and noticing thoughts, emotions and sensation.
During a body scan, the patient lies down and takes a moment to connect the brain with each part of the body. The idea is to tune the brain into the feelings of the body that may not have been previously noticed.
Murphy says she can offer a non-judgmental, self-compassionate and understanding atmosphere for anyone who needs to reconnect with themselves.
Email Elissa at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @ElissaB_Journo.