'Think Strong' gives participants tools to face emotional difficulties

Facing life's obstacles can be made easier. The UC Denver Student and Community Counseling Center is offering free workshops aimed at enabling people to "Think Strong" when confronting emotional and situational challenges.

"Sometimes we are ineffective interpersonally and lack persistence and reliance because we lack the strategies and skills to handle stressful and interpersonally challenging situations," said Pat Larsen, Psy.D., director of the center, which serves the UC Denver community as well as metro Denver. The workshop series helps build strategies to remedy these situations.

The workshops teach skills in four areas:

  • Mindfulness is the skill of staying in the here and now. It's the ability to be aware of, balance and positively respond to internal experiences, such as sensations, energy level, emotions, thoughts and impulses, as well as what's happening around you.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness teaches you how to have functional, satisfying relationships. In this workshop you learn to understand your priorities and how best to meet them. You learn skills to build healthy, lasting relationships and interpersonal boundaries.
  • Emotional regulation teaches how to understand your emotions and to develop more resilience. This workshop will teach you to take charge of your emotions and improve your interactions with others. You will build awareness and acceptance of areas of yourself you might currently dislike.
  • Distress tolerance teaches you how to increase your effectiveness under pressure. It helps you learn how to tolerate frustration, calm yourself down when you feel overwhelmed, develop a crisis survival network, create your own stress-busting tool kit and keep stress in perspective.

"Depression and anxiety account for 80 percent of the presenting problems we see," Larsen said. "These conditions often stem not from mental illness but from a deficit of life-management skills. Gaining skills leads to increased confidence and self-efficacy."

The program was piloted throughout the summer; the full program will launch this fall.

"The results of our pilot were extremely positive," Larsen said. "Our staff is extremely excited about this new venture."

To book a workshop series, call 303-556-4372. Go to for more information.