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Nursing, Education Faculty Members Appear on Community Affairs TV Programs

Faculty members from Old Dominion University's College of Health Sciences and Darden College of Education appeared recently on local community affairs television programs.

Christianne Fowler, associate professor of nursing, appeared recently as a discussant on a panel for the Norfolk Department of Public Health's (NDPH) "HealthWatch," a monthly news and community affairs television program that provides information about NDPH programs and services and highlights important health care issues.

"HealthWatch" is broadcast on the Norfolk Neighborhood Network (Cox channel 48). The program airs three times a day and is also available online at http://www.norfolk.gov/TV48/health_watch.asp.

Also, two faculty members from the Department of Counseling and Human Services, Kathleen Levingston and Suzan Thompson, discussed alternative therapies for WCTV Chesapeake Television's "PeopleNet" show. The program airs on Cox channel 48 and Verizon channel 43. It is available online at http://chesapeake.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=7.

Along with her fellow panel members and members of a live audience, Fowler engaged in an interactive discussion about the plight of caregivers who attend to adults and children who are homebound due to a variety conditions.

"I think the thing that came up the most in our discussion and is also well-documented in the literature is that caregivers, who are essentially homebound themselves, are not aware of some of the resources available to them," said Fowler. "Those of us who are in the caring professions have to do a much better job of reaching the caregivers at home and making sure they have access to important information and resources."

Fowler's fellow panel members included host Terrance Afer-Anderson, a health promotion educator for the Norfolk District of the Virginia Department of Health; Carol LaFauci, GNP, a local representative of the National Family Caregivers Association; John Skirven, CEO of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia; and Marissa Galicia-Castillo, M.D., a geriatrician with the Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The Darden College of Education's Levingston, assistant professor of human services, and Thompson, research associate professor of counseling and human services, were interviewed by "PeopleNet" host Cookie Placios, director of human services for the city of Chesapeake. The program focuses on social issues that are significant to everyone. The ODU faculty members talked about breakthrough alternative therapies, including Reiki therapy, play therapy and drama therapy.

As a registered play therapist supervisor, Levingston provided an overview of play therapy and how counselors can use the therapeutic powers of play to help children and adolescents improve problem solving, gain mastery over traumatic experiences and promote healthy development.

"Since many children are not cognitively able to express their worries and concerns in words, the toys in the therapy room become the words, and the play is their language. Play therapists learn how to understand the language of play and use their therapeutic skills to promote resolution and mastery over concerns," said Levingston. She offers a play therapy certificate program at ODU for people who are interested in becoming a registered play therapist.

In addition, Thompson shared complementary, alternative and integrative modalities that can be integrated into the counseling process. Since many clients are finding that traditional "talk" therapies are not addressing their concerns, they are often searching for more creative modalities over conventional mental health care. Modalities such as acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, spiritual healing and Reiki are all techniques that are being integrated into the counseling room.

Thompson, who teaches in the graduate counseling program and also has a public practice in counseling, offers an alternative therapy program for mental health professionals who are interested integrating complementary and alternative therapies into their own practice.