YSU hosts workshop for mental health professionals

On Friday, Audrey Ellenwood, director of the school psychology program at Youngstown State University, and Lars Brok, a psychiatrist and internationally renowned family therapist, presented a workshop for mental health professionals in the Ohio Room of Kilcawley Center.

The workshop was based on Ellenwood and Brok’s book, “Shake-UP: Moving Beyond Therapeutic Impasses by De-Constructing Rigidified Professional Roles.” Kenneth Miller, a professor of counseling at YSU, served as the book’s editor.

“[The workshop is] designed to enhance [counselors’] therapeutic roles when working with clients,” Ellenwood said. “The workshop is unique because we’ve brought an external consultant on campus as an expert.”

After presenting the workshop internationally, Ellenwood said she hopes to make it an annual event at YSU.

“We hope to do it again next year, based on the success and feedback from today’s session,” Ellenwood said on Friday.

Christina Guzzo, a graduate student in counseling, said the session was enlightening.

“It’s taking a lot of the classroom stuff I’ve learned to this point and enhancing it,” Guzzo said.

Guzzo said the workshop is applicable to anyone in the field — from undergraduate students to longtime professionals.

Dennis Gioiella, a clinical counseling professional since 1987, attended the session to renew his practicing license. He said that although he sees the session from a different viewpoint than the students who attended, he still found it informative.

“I first encountered psychodrama in the ‘70s, so it’s not brand new to me, as opposed to some of the others here,” Gioiella said.

Gioiella said role-playing, or examining what role each person takes in a conversation or social setting, still fascinates him.

Elizabeth Pugh, a graduate student studying school psychology, said it was interesting to see how the workshop tied into the course material.

“It ties in the collaborative part with the teacher and student interaction,” Pugh said.