Karunia Counseling just started offering group courses last year and is now offering two of the courses out of its Wetaskiwin office, which opened approximately one-and-a-half years ago.
“This is the first time we’re officially offering courses there,” said registered psychologist Joanne Koopmans.
“We’re pretty excited,” she added.
The courses start in early fall and correspond to a Thanksgiving Pay It Forward theme.
“The reason we’re doing these courses now is because it’s Thanksgiving,” said Koopmans. “We are grateful, clients are amazing. People are courageous when they come for counseling.”
The Wetaskiwin office offers an anxiety relief course and an anger management course.
Koopmans says the people Karunia Counseling sees needing anxiety relief include those with relationship challenges, teens and confused or overwhelmed parents, those centered on going to school, new jobs or growing up.
“We often deal quite a bit with anxiety and depression. But often when people are feeling depression it’s because of that, they’re anxious,” said Koopmans. She says both women and man can feel like they will not be able to handle what is coming up in their lives.
When people experience anxiety they tend to fall into a defensive model and suffer from an inability to effectively communicate, which can also lead to panic attacks. “It feels like a heart attack, it feels like you’re going to die,” said Koopmans.
In a panic attack a person’s supply of oxygen is being cut off and any form of exercise — such as jumping jacks — will help alleviate the attack. “But a panic attack means you’re not listening to your body,” said Koopmans.
She says taking the course will help people develop the skills to listen to their bodies. “It’s a loaded course.”
In Wetaskiwin it runs from Oct. 19 to Nov. 9 and from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5 in Leduc.
The anger management course is not a full anger management course but Koopmans says it could act as a partial fulfiller for a probation order.
“But it can also be for anyone who isn’t really proud of what they do or say when they’re angry,” said Koopmans.
The term “blow your lid/top/stack” refers to uncontrollable anger and is actually a representation of what occurs in the body when it takes place. In such a state a person will lose the connection between their prefrontal cortex — the more calming area of the brain — and the more emotional limbic portion, says Koopmans.
The anger management course is designed to help develop the actual muscle there and keep people focused on achieving their goals in a more effective way, explained Koopmans.
The course is offered from Oct. 6 to 27 in Wetaskiwin and Oct. 14 to Nov. 4 in Leduc.
In both anxiety and anger management courses there is a limit of 10 people.
More information can be found online at www.karunia.com for by calling either office; 587-274-3939 for Leduc and 1-844-337-3939 for Wetaskiwin.
Koopmans says Karunia Counseling is finally able to offer the courses now that the funds are available, but one-third of the counselors are still volunteering their time for free. “You need money to be able to do this.”
Other courses offered at the Leduc office include: stress and depression relief, effective communication for couples, the practice of mindfulness and grief crisis care.