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Boe House staff expansion brings culturally specific mental health services

Boe House Counseling Center recently hired two permanent staff members, Nina Mattson ’95 and Saras Bhadri. Boe House staff anticipate Mattson’s background working with diverse communities and Bhadri’s unique practice approach will greatly benefit St. Olaf students.

“We have been talking about how diverse our tiny little office is and decided that on a largely homogeneous campus such as Olaf, that maybe we should let students know that we are here,” Mattson wrote in an email.

In her previous therapy experience Mattson worked with a diverse group of communities, cultures and clients. She brings a mainly Adlerian therapy approach to St. Olaf, which is about unconditional positive regard towards clients. It aims to help people feel appreciated, loved and understood in order to implement change and heal. She also brings aspects of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as an emphasis on mindfulness.

Bhadri’s therapy approach incorporates self-compassion, self-awareness and strengthening the mind-body connection, occasionally integrating yoga and meditation into her practice.

“I am also mindful and sensitive to culture, race and gender issues, as I myself am a racial minority from a different country,” Bhadri wrote in an email. “I am hoping to create a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space for students to work through their struggles.”

Anne Breckbill, Boe House’s Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, sees the benefit in therapists understanding the experience of marginalization.

“No person remains unaffected by the experience of marginalization,” she wrote. “Therefore, understanding the impact this experience has on existing mental health conditions is crucial.”

Breckbill hopes that her identity as a queer woman can also benefit students on campus.   

“It is our hope that by publicizing our diverse permanent staff, it would encourage students to come in who are considered underrepresented and who may be looking for culturally specific mental health services and or emotional support,” Mattson wrote.

Reporting contributed by Asmae Benzireg

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