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Kemp MFT Clinic Offering Grief Support Groups for Students, Employees

March 23, 2022

The Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic at OBU is launching multiple grief support groups for students and employees on the University’s Shawnee campus. The groups begin meeting the week of March 21 and last through the remainder of the spring semester. The groups are designed as safe and confidential support groups for those who have experienced grief and loss from death, divorce, incarceration, deployment, deportation, and/or foster or adoptive care.

A group for faculty and staff will meet each Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Stavros Hall room 204. LaShane Hill, director of the Kemp MFT Clinic, will lead the employee group.

Students have three options available throughout the week. An in-person student group will meet each Wednesday, beginning March 23, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Shawnee Hall room 118. A virtual group will meet each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. A second in-person group for students will meet each Friday morning, beginning March 25, from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., also in Shawnee Hall room 118.

Employees and students interested in joining these groups may call the Kemp MFT Clinic at (405) 585-4530 or email Employees may register online for the employee group and students may register online for the student groups as well.

The grief groups were made possible by a grant received through Calm Waters Center for Children and Families, a non-profit group based in Oklahoma City. Through this grant, Hill and several master’s degree students in OBU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program received specialized grief training in order to facilitate these groups. Calm Waters is a leading provider of grief support services for children and families throughout central Oklahoma using research-based curriculum and programming. Through the “Grief Reach Grant,” Calm Waters has been able to extend their efforts to reach students on college campuses. 

Founded in 1992, Calm Waters Center for Children and Families is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping bereaved children and families in their grief journey after a death, divorce or other significant loss by providing free support groups both at their center and in schools, private pay counseling and consultation, parenting seminars, professional trainings and workplace crisis services. OBU joined together with other universities around the state to receive this training in order to host these groups on campus, offering a safe and confidential space for OBU students, faculty and staff to process their grief in healthy, healing ways.

Hill noted the importance of processing grief and loss in a healthy way, especially given the state of the world today.

“Our world has been flooded with experiences of horrendous tragedies, both personal traumas and as spectators, and I am excited to offer a safe, supportive space to just have the conversations within a community that cares,” Hill said. “I think about the decision that many of our students, faculty and staff have made to advance educationally amid global turmoil, and for some this choice came with the sacrifice of being away from their families as they experience personal loss. In the grief groups, it is acceptable and welcomed to share your experience, and others want to hear what you want to share.”

She also noted that on the Mental Health America website, in the report for the State of Mental Health in America, Oklahoma ranked 37 out of 50, reflecting higher rates of mental illness and substance abuse in Oklahoma.

The Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic provides affordable, high quality therapeutic services to individuals, couples and families of the OBU and greater Shawnee communities. The Kemp MFT Clinic is an educational training facility and its services are provided by graduate therapists under faculty supervision in the OBU Marriage and Family Therapy program.

OBU student therapists work with clients in a way that incorporates mind, body, faith and community. MFT therapists utilize an adaptive approach to help clients find positive changes and connect with support systems in meaningful ways. MFT therapists believe that clients may find healing by approaching presenting problems through a holistic lens that sees opportunities for growth in clients’ faith, relationships, mental health and physical health.

Kemp MFT Clinic therapists work with a variety of client concerns, including but not limited to relationship concerns, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, couple conflict, self-esteem, work and school stress, blended families, life transitions and more.

OBU students and employees receive an allotment of free sessions each year, with students receiving discounted rates beyond their free allotment. For details about the Kemp Clinic, to schedule an appointment, or to inquire about the grief support groups, visit the Kemp MFT Clinic or call (405) 585-4530.