Stigmas Growth & Unity

Sara Wetter is a second year master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program here at UD. She met Dr. Reeb and started working in the shelters in August 2016, doing a wide range of activities designed to empower the guests. She is working toward a PhD in health psychology, and  wants to work in hospitals or clinics with chronically ill clients and their families.

Cassandra is in her second (and last) year in the Master's of Clinical Psychology program here at UD. She was born in upstate New York but raised in Dallas, Texas. She is an advocate for mental health and suicide, through both the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Through her work and advocacy, she hopes to destigmatize mental illness and end suicide. To fulfill these aspirations, she plans to attain a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Sara Wetter and Cassandra Hartman joined me for a wonderful inaugural podcast. Sara and Cassandra are both obtaining their masters in Clinical Psychology. The two graduate students came to discuss their work with the behavioral activation project at St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelters here in Dayton.

The behavioral activation program was set up by Dr. Roger Reeb, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor here at UD. Dr. Reeb created this behavioral activation program to expose homeless shelter guests to positive reinforcing activities such as small group discussions, music therapy and resume workshops. These activities help the guests gain and build self confidence, awareness and love. Behavioral activation does work and we discuss a couple stories where that is shown to be evident.

In the podcast we also discuss a trip to Ireland for a research conference that Dr. Reeb, Sara, and Cassandra attended. Here, they presented exactly what they were doing with their program and and its positive impact on the community. This is great because Dr. Reebs program is a very unique one that has shown positive results, so sharing it all over the world only seems natural.

Sara, Cassandra, and I touch on the importance of students getting out of the UD bubble. UD is a great place, but so is the city of Dayton and when when you get out of your comfort zone, you are forced to adapt and grow. Sara made a great point of students getting caught up in their own problems, so they refuse to look at the problems of others. Getting out and understanding yourself in the context of the world tends to have humbling effects.

If you are looking to get involved, contact Roger Reeb. He loves getting students involved in this project.

-Chris Miller, Program Coordinator/Peer Advisor