Among all the new faces this fall is a new one willing to help his own kind with the stresses of adjustment. Actually, this new face is willing to help anyone on campus by offering his counseling skills.
Jeff Ellens was hired as the new mental health counselor at Simpson. The Storm Lake native graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Ellens moved back to Iowa looking for clinical psychology jobs and accepted the position at Simpson. But being a mental-health counselor working on a school calendar took some adjusting.
“College counseling centers have natural breaks like holidays and time between semesters that are important to plan for,” Ellens said.
Even with these breaks, Ellens is enjoying working with the students that have come to see him so far.
Ellens is aware of the stigma associated with his job.
“People often think counseling implies weakness, but people that enter my office are the bravest around in their courage to make their lives better,” Ellens said. When faced with a problem, the answer is not retreat, but confrontation.”
Ellens will have to return to UCSB to complete his Ph.D. program, where he would like to continue working with young adults, as well as teens and possibly children.
While working at Simpson, Ellens has noted how college students tend to spread themselves too thin while trying to accomplish their many goals in their time at school. Ellens encourages them to “know and embrace your limitations to enjoy your pursuits more thoroughly and be aware of your approach.”