Building Emotional Bonds with Students

BondsBeyond the subjects taught, educators have the unique opportunity to establish profound emotional bonds with their high school and college students. These connections can transcend traditional teaching, fostering an environment where students feel valued, understood, and motivated to excel not only academically but also emotionally. Recognizing the pivotal role of such connections in promoting mental well-being, educators from a mental health perspective can implement strategies that create lasting impact.

Embrace Authenticity:

Authenticity is the cornerstone of genuine relationships. Show students your genuine self, as this transparency encourages them to open up and reciprocate the sentiment. By sharing both your successes and struggles, you demonstrate vulnerability and authenticity, laying the foundation for a bond built on trust.

Provide a Safe Space:

A classroom should be a sanctuary where students feel safe expressing their thoughts and emotions. Create an inclusive and nonjudgmental environment that encourages open dialogue. When students know they can share their concerns without fear of criticism, emotional connections can thrive.

**Prioritize Active Listening:

When a student speaks, give them your complete attention. Active listening sends the message that you value their thoughts and emotions. This practice fosters trust and demonstrates your commitment to understanding their individual experiences.

Share Relevant Experiences:

Share personal anecdotes that resonate with the lessons you’re teaching. This can help students relate to the subject matter and provide insights into your own life journey. Such stories can be powerful tools for conveying empathy and understanding.

Value Their Individuality:

Every student is unique, with distinct backgrounds, interests, and struggles. Acknowledge and celebrate these differences, creating an environment where every student feels valued and accepted for who they are.

Stay Approachable Outside Classroom Hours:

Let students know that your support doesn’t end when the class does. Designate specific times, like office hours, when students can approach you for discussions, questions, or guidance. This accessibility reinforces your commitment to their growth.

Acknowledge Emotional Struggles:

Recognize when students are facing emotional challenges. Address these struggles with empathy and compassion and provide guidance or referrals to school counselors when needed. Your understanding can make a significant difference in their well-being.

Facilitate Peer Support:

Encourage an atmosphere of peer support and collaboration. Students can learn from and help each other navigate challenges. Initiatives like peer mentoring programs or collaborative projects foster a sense of community and connectedness.

Promote a Growth Mindset:

Instill in students the idea that challenges are opportunities for growth. This mindset shift can reduce anxiety, encourage resilience, and contribute to a positive emotional environment.

Empower Student Voices:

Create platforms for students to express themselves and share their experiences. Whether through class discussions, presentations, or creative projects, encouraging their voices ensures they feel valued and understood.

Engage in Continuous Learning:

Stay informed about the latest research and practices in mental health and education. This ongoing learning equips you with effective strategies to address students’ emotional needs.

Maintain Digital Boundaries but Stay Accessible:

While maintaining digital boundaries is important, use technology as a tool for accessibility. Email or educational apps can be a way for students to reach out, particularly if they find in-person communication challenging.

Collaborate with Mental Health Professionals:

Work hand in hand with your school’s mental health professionals. Their expertise can provide valuable insights on how to effectively support students’ emotional well-being within an academic context.

Practice Empathy:

Put yourself in your students’ shoes. This perspective can guide your responses, ensuring that students feel understood, validated, and supported.

Nurture a Positive Classroom Environment:

Foster a positive classroom culture that celebrates achievements, encourages collaboration, and promotes mutual respect. A supportive atmosphere enhances students’ emotional well-being.

Commit to Professional Development:

Engage in workshops or training sessions focused on mental health, emotional intelligence, and effective communication. These skills enhance your ability to build meaningful connections with your students.

While academics are a crucial aspect of education, the emotional bonds formed between educators and students transcend traditional teaching methods. By implementing these strategies and adopting a mental health perspective, educators create an environment where students thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Understanding CARE Coordination

Understanding CARE Coordination

Care coordination is an important aspect of your treatment; understanding this service can help ensure you receive the best care possible.
gaining independence

Gaining Independence and Finding Yourself After Being in an Unhealthy Relationship

It can be hard to adjust to a new norm after relationships end. It can also be tough to cope with the thoughts and feelings that come up after no longer being in a relationship you didn’t think would ever end.
Death Anxiety (Thanatophobia)

Death Anxiety (Thanatophobia)

While fear of death is a common existential fear, some people have intense fears of themselves or a loved one dying. An extreme fear of death or the dying process, known as thanatophobia is considered as a specific fear, or phobia that is under the broader category of anxiety disorders.
Understanding Fear: Questions to Ask Yourself

Understanding Fear: Questions to Ask Yourself

If you are experiencing significant discomfort or find that there are things that you want to do, but are unable to do because of fear, then talking with a mental health specialist is recommended. Fear that becomes persistent can take a toll on both your physical and mental health, so it is important to take preventative measures.
Sexual Violence Prevention

Sexual Violence Prevention

What (or who) do you turn to amid suffering? How about when faced with situations that seem beyond your own control? As strong as you are, you may feel weak or helpless. Adverse childhood experiences, community violence, and sexual violence are just a few of many serious public health problems that impact communities.
The Importance of Learning about Trauma (Psychoeducation) for All Ages

The Importance of Learning about Trauma (Psychoeducation) for All Ages

Psychoeducation can be provided in many forms including printed and web-based materials such as facts sheets, psychoeducational videos, books, and conversations with professionals in the field. Hearing stories from those who have experienced similar events can also be helpful. All these methods help normalize the reactions to traumatic events and can reduce feelings of guilt and shame through sharing of information and common experiences.
Learning How to Love Yourself & Living with Bipolar Disorder

Learning How to Love Yourself & Living with Bipolar Disorder

Did you know that seeking help for your mental health is an act of self-love? While bipolar can significantly impair functioning, many individuals are living with bipolar disorder and thriving!
3 LGBTQ Hotlines You Need To Know

3 LGBTQ Hotlines You Need to Know

Having access to resources to help deescalate emotional distress and manage (or prevent) states of crisis can help empower individuals to take control over their mental health and well-being.
Providing Affirmative Mental Healthcare: 6 Things You Should Know blog cover photo rainbow sky with two hands reaching out

Providing Affirmative Mental Healthcare: 6 Things You Should Know

Healthcare professionals play a necessary role in supporting the LBGTQ+ community, by providing affirmative relationships that don’t perpetuate attitudes of ignorance or discrimination.
3 ways to help children with school anxiety blog cover image school auditorium lecture hall

3 Ways to Help Children with School Anxiety & Somatic Complaints

School refusal and reluctance to go to school due to frequent complaints of aches and pain can be a challenging topic for parents and caregivers to manage.
supporting your gut graphic

Supporting Your Gut “the Second Brain”

If you ever had a “gut feeling” experienced as intuition, “butterflies” feelings of dread, disgust, anticipatory anxiety, or an instinctive urge to respond with action, these are all examples of your brain communicating with your gut.
bullying prevention

Bullying Prevention: The Role of Parents, School Staff, and Adults in the Community

Bullying is among the top concerns for parents, especially related to worries about their child struggling with anxiety, depression, and the fear of suicide.
Talking about women's rights

Talking about Women’s Roles & Rights (Human Rights) in Therapy

It is important to consider the impact of gender and other aspects of identity when exploring discrimination and privilege related to human rights and the emotional, psychological, and social implications on one’s mental health.
Body Appreciation / Body Neutrality

Body Appreciation / Body Neutrality

Reducing body dissatisfaction is an important topic. Oftentimes, one’s self-esteem is tied to physical appearance, with emphasis on body shape and size. How you feel about your body is going to directly impact your thoughts and the choices you make.
Coping with Stress and the Impacts on Eating

Coping with Stress and the Impacts on Eating

We all have our go-to strategies for coping with stress, and some strategies are healthier than others. I’d like to explore each area in detail, and share how certain strategies impact our eating and provide resources for hope.
Consent Before Sexual Activity: 6 Things You Need to Know

Consent Before Sexual Activity: 6 Things You Need to Know

Consent is an agreement of sexual activity, with clear boundaries discussed before, during, and after engaging in sexual behaviors.
Sexual Health Without Stigma or Shame

Sexual Health Without Stigma or Shame

Sexual health is one of many areas that your therapist will ask about in either your first or second session. There are so many areas related to sexual health that come up in therapy, so rest assured that it is OK to talk about it without sitgma or shame.
Self-Esteem Check In

Self-Esteem Check In

Self-esteem is a topic that comes up a lot in therapy, especially around dates that may trigger social comparison and loneliness.Self-esteem is a topic that comes up a lot in therapy, especially around dates that may trigger social comparison and loneliness.
Stress Could Be Breaking Your Heart

Stress Could Be Breaking Your Heart

Our bodies are designed to respond to stress, but chronic and long-term stress can take its toll on physical and mental health.
Finding a Mental Health Therapist

Finding a Mental Health Therapist

For those trying to find a therapist, it is frustrating when you call around, only to find yourself put on a waitlist, with these often being 3-months or longer. Problems don’t wait, and you shouldn’t have to wait either.
How to find inspiration to make positive changes, text over an image of hands making pottery on a pottery wheel

How to Find Inspiration to Make Positive Changes

If you are aware that some things need to change and are ready to do something about it but need some inspiration to get started, keep reading. I’ll be sharing ideas that others have found helpful to inspire motivation to act. These profoundly simple ideas can make a huge difference!
foggy window graphic

5 Ways CARE is Reducing Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

Did you know that in 2022, CARE Counseling supported over 15,000 individuals and families and in 2023 therapists held 175,196 appointments? That is a lot of people helped!
Martin Luther King Jr. graphic

Civil Rights Movement: Remembering MLK and our Nation’s History

Dr. Martin Luther King’s presence is found within our communities, throughout the United States, worldwide. Look around you and you will likely see places memorialized by Dr. King.