How The Cabin Counseling & Resource Center Has Approached the Pandemic Pivot
Writer / Megan Arszman
It’s hard to find a silver lining surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but if anyone can, mental health specialists can. The specialists at The Cabin Counseling & Resource Center in Zionsville certainly learned how to continue providing their care for current patients, while also growing to accommodate the needs of a growing number of Hoosiers realizing that mental health is very important for their overall health.
“I think the pandemic really shined a light on mental health because so many of us had a lot of space to do introspection and realize that we were either more anxious than we’d like, as well as the skyrocketing numbers suffering from loneliness and depression,” says Deidra Rausch, Ph.D., LMFT, Executive Director at The Cabin.
Couple that with the Indianapolis Colts’ new campaign “Kicking the Stigma”, mental health has taken a starring role in many Hoosiers’ lives.
This is why The Cabin has expanded its outreach and resources, and why Dr. Rausch says they focused on emphasizing the “Resource Center” of their name.
“For the first 20 years, we did a great job cultivating the Cabin Counseling Center, but we needed to provide more of a resource,” she says. “The Retreat is where we can provide education, wellness and mental fitness to greater numbers of people.”
Since its inception, The Cabin has grown to have four locations: three in Zionsville (including the Retreat at 25 East Pine Street) and one in Westfield (121 South Walnut Street). The three Cabin locations offer individual, couples and family counseling. The Retreat offers more low-cost opportunities in the form of seminars, workshops and group sessions.
“With 30% of our population qualifying for a reduced fee and financial assistance through our Samaritan Programs, we really wanted to make our mental fitness and wellness programs available to everybody,” Dr. Rausch says.
She hopes that people have learned, coming out of the pandemic, that mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness, and that just as you have a yearly physical with your general practitioner, mental health checkups are just as important.
“I’m not saying that everyone should go to individual counseling year-round,” she says. “But it’s more as a way to find support and an outlet.”
Resources are available for people of all ages, with collaborative groups such as “Am I the Only One?”, a group for teen girls, and mediation yoga groups to help people learn how to deal with their breathing and being still. Summer programming grew out of the pandemic as a way for practitioners to meet with their patients in a socially distanced way, with adventure and art therapy groups.
“Being creative is one of the hallmarks of The Cabin,” Dr. Rausch adds. “We don’t only provide traditional counseling, but we have formats that have been very attractive to folks who don’t have any desire to just sit in an office.”
Adventure therapy allows for a patient to tackle walking trails or kayaking with their therapist, or even go fly fishing in Eagle Creek. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique utilized for trauma, and eight therapists with The Cabin provides this service that assists with trauma from post-traumatic stress, resistant anxiety and depression.
All of these new resources and offerings have meant not only the increase in space, but also in hiring to accommodate the growth in patients.
“From May 2020 to May 2021, our critical hours are up by 45%,” Dr. Rausch says. “Coming out of the pandemic and seeking care is a real thing now. I don’t ever take pleasure that more people are needing therapy, but I am happy that people are choosing to seek it out.”
Dr. Rausch goes on to say that the stigma of seeking counseling has been that it’s only needed for those hanging on by a thread, but she’s hoping the turn to realization of the importance of mental wellness will help people realize that it’s not normal to live an anxious life and have disconnected relationships in their lives. Also, that depression and anxiety are a disease like heart disease and diabetes, needing routine care and intervention.
“My heroes through the pandemic, in addition to our first responders, were the people with young kids because they were managing the household, working their jobs inside and outside of the home, teaching their children and managing their wellness,” Dr. Rausch says. “That disconnect and the additional stress most families experienced added burdens that weren’t there before. And now, we’re seeing the effect of the need to be healthier not only physically, but mentally.”
To learn more about The Cabin Counseling & Resource Center and their services, you can visit them online at thecabin.org, or headquarters in Zionsville at 220 South Elm Street. You can also call the Zionsville office at 317-873-8140.