LifeShops Outreach Tools & Services
A Little History About LifeShops
I first created LifeShops in the late 1990's, creating PowerPoint presentations and websites for college counseling center professionals. It didn't reach many, largely because I have also been working in college counseling centers all these years, and those jobs keep us busy! Still, it has served as a holding place, a sort of filing cabinet over the years, that has allowed me to share some materials with colleagues across the country while also seeing the evolution of our work over the years.
I remember, back in the mid-1990's, noticing that when colleagues would be leaving the counseling center for an outreach, they were often prepared with only a legal pad that had a few notes scribbled down to guide them through the program. Back then, PowerPoint was a new phenomena for counseling center clinicians, and using it made my outreach activities seem like ultra-modern technological performance events. Over the years, it became clear that the content, provided with a conversational and caring tone, mattered more than the flare of the slide animations. What has not changed is that it takes time to produce outreach tools.
We are at a strange time when it comes to "outreach" in counseling centers on college campuses, where a wave of Wellness umbrellas are involved in much of the same work, and more of our work is increasingly located in the "health" spheres of service. We do continue to evolve, including reaping the benefits over the last decade of the Association of College Counseling Center Outreach, a group of professionals that have always recognized that the work we do outside the 50-minute therapy hour matters as much as (and sometimes more than) the clinical services which struggle to keep up with demand for appointments.
What remains clear is that professionals in counseling and psychotherapy roles rarely have time to produce high quality outreach materials or programs for the campus communities they serve. With the increasing complexity of college Student Affairs demands and high school demands to meet national standards, student development professionals struggle to find time to create programs that reflect the nuances of their students’ lives. Because this is actually fun for me, I've been revising those original presentations, "updating" them to include more relevant layouts and graphics, with improvements in both the appearance and content of the materials. And I've been creating new materials, with the LifeShops tools evolving as my clinical lens and my student development expertise grows more nuanced as our campus issues grow more complex. They have evolved with the feedback of increasingly diverse student communities---not only on campuses where I've worked, but in campus communities I've visited or provided staff training or administrative consultations on various forms of outreach.
I suppose I could put my photo, here. The fact is, what I look like doesn't really inform whether you'll find these tools useful. I can say that the vast majority of these tools were created in coffee shops in the cities I've lived and visited. Not only have I enjoyed creating these materials, I've discovered how much I enjoy good coffee drinks, and so I raise this cup to all of you who spend time helping create therapeutic communities. This particular coffee mug was in a place called Mona Lisa, in NYC's Greenwich Village almost 2 decades ago, now. I don't think they're still in business, but it was a cool place to get some work done...or not.
The Diesel Cafe in Davis Square in Somerville, MA, Bean Traders in Durham, NC, and Joe's Coffee in East Atlanta Village, though, get most of the credit for what is on this site. They are not paying for advertising. I'm just grateful to them.