By Alyssa Anderson
My parents don’t listen to me, who can I go to? Brian Hanchett is one of the many counselors here that Skagit Valley College has provided for you to come at with open arms. He has been representing the school for about twenty- seven years. He took this role on because “ I knew I would be able to make an impact on people’s lives”. He has developed the uncalming ability to listen and as he quotes “bite his tongue”, he speaks when he is needed to because sometimes people come to get things off their mind and have someone listen to them.
When talking with Brian or any counselor in general, you are in a safe place with someone you can trust. Coming to him about suicide or being neglected, will be him listening, making sure you feel validated, and making sure you know the problem is real and you are really feeling it. This goes for any counselor working here, their job is to make sure the students feel heard.
Parents tend to not hear their kids out sometimes, especially with a serious topic. The counselors will listen and hear you out, they will point you in the right direction that will help you get the best help, as well as do everything they can for you.
I interviewed a student from Skagit Valley College, her name is Noelle Belanger. I asked her why she would be in contact with a school counselor and she said “ I would see a counselor in hopes to get help with my schedule, future classes, and college help”. From my point of view especially being a student from Skagit, I can agree on this. Many of the people I know who are current enrolled in a college or even a highschool go to their counselors for many different reasons.
They don’t have specific goals for daily work, it all depends on the students. You base your goals on how all the students are doing. “I think of treating them how I would want my daughter to be treated,” Brian said. Bringing no judgment to the table will always be a must, no matter what situation a student brings you. Hearing students’ stories can be alarming or even hard to hear, you can become stressed trying to deal with multiple students and what they have to say. What Brian does to keep himself stress- free is “exercising regularly, six days a week”. Exercising is very good for your mental health, it will clear your head and take what’s on your mind off. Another thing that helps is “knowing the boundaries between work and your personal life” states Brian, he tries to finish all of the things involving the students while he’s working, so that way he can spend his own quality time with his family.
There are some challenges that counselors have to face, for example knowing which things to prioritize, and what things can wait. During my Interview call with Brian Hanchett, I was able to get the inside scoop. He carefully prioritizes based on the emails he has and what he has put in the calendar for each day, if emergencies pop up he will put that on the top of his to-do list. If there are no emergencies it is first come first serve, for example, if someone scheduled a zoom appointment that would be prioritized over someone coming the day of asking for a zoom appointment at that same time, depending on what the zoom is about.
There is a difference between a therapist and a counselor, the difference is a counselor is ”a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems”( Google Dictionary ) which is more of a “first responder” while the therapist is the “doctor”. As a counselor, you are the first person the students will go to with their problems or even just someone to talk to. You will begin brainstorming, if the issue needs expert attention or if you can help them will all the tools you are provided, you must give the best help and care for them.
“A person trained in the use of physical methods, as exercises, heat treatments, etc., in treating or rehabilitating the sick or wounded or helping patients overcome physical defects” (Therapist | Definition of Therapist at Dictionary.com). A therapist is an expert, they are qualified in this facility for long term patients and not just until the school year is up. There are different types of therapy, and your counselor will guild you in what way they think will help you the most.
At Skagit Valley College, Covid has had a huge impact on all the students, this year. Students who are not used to online now having to be online and do not have a choice. There are many different ways that Covid has affected many students. Students that are dealing with mental health issues are having a hard time because even though you are able to email, they do best with the in-person interaction. Counselors are very important people working for Skagit, they need more appreciation for all that they do for the students.